Sunday, July 31, 2011

Counting Down to Default

I spoke with my closest friend last night over adult beverages - a good, kind, intelligent man (who, if any of you out there are looking, is also single/profitably employed/cute) who is cursed with the bane of self-described ultra-liberalism.

Political wonk that I am, of course politics came up, specifically the current debt ceiling debate. He's of the view that the two major political divisions have become essentially religious in nature, allowing no compromise - yet, a mysterious "they" will not allow the nation to default (as the consequences would simply be too catastrophic to contemplate, let alone endure) and similarly wave a magic wand and prevent the assorted credit rating agencies from negatively changing the credit rating of the United States (an event with bad results of its very own).

I find myself rather more skeptical. The House GOP & Tea Party (currently unified in a single caucus, but at this pace, I'm not putting any money on it staying that way) has realize they actually *have power to affect things*. Given that all money bills must originate in the House, soon or late the Senate is going to have to accept something that the House generates.

This is complicated by the fact that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barrack Obama are all operating on the false assumptions that (a) they didn't really lose the House in Nov. 2010 and things can continue as if the Dem's held both Houses of Congress (with a little more bullying), and (b) they are dealing with the some old RINO GOP sorts that are conflict aversive.

Both of those assumptions are in error, and this is being brutally demonstrated. The Tea Party sorts, at least appears to have grown the spine that the GOP has largely lacked at a national level since Reagan left office. The RINO GOP doesn't know quite what to do with it, or them - and may, if they push hard enough, discover they don't have to as the Tea Party schisms into it's own caucus - creating something we've not see before (if ever) in the United States - a coalition majority in the Senate.

We live in interesting times. This could get exciting.

Not again...

And now we have a Las Vegas, NV police officer found to have beaten the snot out of an admittedly less than savory sort (on camera) for the high crime of taking video of the officer in question.

Has someone been randomly distributing the donuts with LSD sprinkles of late?

I suppose we can at least be grateful that the LVPD is able to independently figure out that Officer Naughty was a liability - now, if they can figure out "chargeable" and "gee, we need to review how we prevent this kind of crap", they'll be making the best of a bad situation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Debt Star....

From Smallest Minority, one of those images with enough truth to it that you MUST pass it along...

Quartzsite, AZ - Cluster in progress?

Ok, yesterday I wrote of the silly town that put half it's police force on leave because they had the temerity to suggest, in writing, that the police chief was engaged in corrupt practices.

Le Sigh.

It now appears that they are determined to outdo Canton, OH in terms of sheer dippiness and low to medium-grade evil.

It's apparently a free-speech free zone in Quartzsite, where if you say heated or mean'n'nasty things to a city council critter, they'll steal your guns and your civil rights all in one fell swoop.


Update: Seems abusing the press is also a local hobby, even as the Mayor claims town is under martial law.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taking a distinctly wrong turn

Of late a lot of truly weird, perhaps criminally so, stuff has been turning up. The recent debacle with Officer William Harless and his partner in idiocy Officer Mark Diel in Canton, Ohio and now we have Quartzsite, AZ.

Seems several officers of that fine cities police department found the courage to point out that, in their considered opinion, their chief was corrupt.

In the normal course of events, one would expect that the accused would step aside in the face of such serious charges, taking administrative leave while waiting to be cleared (or convicted) of the charges as someone holding the office of Police Chief should reasonably be expected to conduct themselves above reproach in their professional duties.

If the charges were sustained, the officers in question might reasonably expect a pat on the back for their exemplary professional courage.

But not in Quartszite. Nope.

In Quartzsite, apparently a bubble universe exists where it's ok suspend officers constituting over half the department (placing citizens in and out of town at risk as now many calls will be answered more slowly by the county sheriff and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, stressing those organizations resources) for the grievous offense of reporting what appeared to the suspended officers as corruption.

In Quartzsite, it's ok to tell officers they have to spend their suspension time in captivity in their homes (where in the real world, if you're suspended, you can take up pole dancing or motorcycle racing until recalled to duty) for eight hours a day.

And in Quartzsite, the Chief now under investigation for corruption by the AZ Department of Public Safety, is still warming a full-duty chair with a half-strength department (due to his own, suspiciously retaliatory, actions) while still paying for a full-strength department.

Am I alone in seeing some problems with this?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Canton, Ohio Update

As discussed here previously, Officer Daniel Harless (with 16 Internal Affairs complaints since 2000 according to the local Canton rag) of the Canton, OH Police Department was very naughty indeed a few weeks back - and horror of horrors, not just word of the naughtiness leaked, but so did video. His partner, Mark Diels, was only marginally less naughty in failing to intervene when Harless went off the tracks and in participating in an unlawful search.

Oddly enough, the community of firearms owners across the United States were less than favorably impressed with Harless' conduct, and the passive
approval of Harless' partner. Comments and predictions ranged from outraged fury to bitter predictions that at most Harless would get a few days behind a desk for his egregious misconduct.

In a stunning hint that a culture that endorses the actions of Harless exists in Canton, OH, City Council President Allen Schulman, let fly with an outburst that leaves one wondering whether the culture that allows, or even encourages, a cop like Harless might perhaps originate a bit higher than a mere police chief.

Certainly, an investigation by an outside agency of a municipal culture that appears to so freely deride and disregard the civil rights of its citizens with such callous disregard and contempt for said citizens would appear to be an appropriate first step.

Prosecutions and injunctions seem a fair bet, should such an investigation turn up the kind of institutional ineptness and hostility towards civil rights as Schulmans tirade leads me to expect. But that's just a passing glance at an admittedly flawed crystal ball - I'm just not optimistic in the face of Schulman's tirade.

Every arrest, prosecution, and investigation touched by Harless and Diel need to be revisited in the face of Harless' expressed willingness to violate the law, tamper with evidence, and generally misbehave with enthusiasm. His implication that Diel would go along with his actions is not particularly reassuring.

Further, every injury or death of persons in the custody of the Canton, OH police also is likely worthy of a second glance - as well as the treatment of any potential witnesses against Canton police officers or elected officials.

Our leaders and our law enforcement personnel in *every* city in our nation must be above reproach - at least in terms of a culture free of "street justice", witness intimidation, bullying, and extortion.

The actions of those in Canton at this point seem to me to be grounds for significant skepticism.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

5lbs of prevention...

“I would prefer to live in a society where police normally work unarmed,” said Johannes Knutsson, a professor of police research at the Norwegian Police University College. “It is a very forceful and symbolic sign to the citizens that this is a peaceful society.” - NY Times, 7/25/2011

Le Sigh.

I'd prefer to live in a society where chocolate cake didn't have calories, where every cute young thing found me irresistibly attractive, where disease/accident/age did not impinge upon our lives....

BUT WAIT...those things aren't possible! (Or at least pretty darned unlikely, and should they occur, likely to come with all kinds of interesting consequences).

An unarmed police force has consequences, with the only real variables being the speed and frequency with which those variables pop up.

A society sends police officers, whether as enforcers of societal norms or as officers of the peace, into tense situations where they must deal with persons of varying rationality and ethical considerations that are frequently untroubled by the niceties of legal concerns...i.e., the criminals and the crazy.

They deal with the general public as well, but just as firemen spend most of their time training for and responding to fire and rescue activities, police officers spend most of their time interacting with the naughty among us. And the naughty are not known for their religious adherence to the rules of engagement.

A well-screened and well-trained officer, equipped with a reliable firearm, is able to deal with a far broader range of issues and adventures than an officer equipped with merely a smile and a good line of patter.

It's 5-6lbs of "what if" carried around on a daily basis that, like a fire extinguisher, make the difference between a bad situation and a horrible situation. Between a dead/injured officer or innocent member of the public, and a live/uninjured one.

So when I see an allegedly educated sort wandering about prating the wonders of an unarmed society with an unarmed police department, it makes my head hurt - for verily, the nimrod celebrates the joys of humans as wolves hypnotized into sheephood in a world with no shortage of wolves - with the occasional "didn't take", and emasculated sheep dogs incapable of swift defense.

In such a society, with such a police department, all that is left for the citizens is to wait while the bodies pile up as the rare "designated users of force" are contacted and eventually show up. Conversely, an armed police department and armed citizenry severely inhibits the ability of an armed crazy to take out large numbers of individuals through the use of firearms - as every law-abiding armed citizen and police officer carries with them the ability to communicate "stop that" with great authority.

"But facing a man carrying multiple guns and ample ammunition, there was little he could do. " says the NY Times of the single police officer present at the site of the Norwegian tragedy, regarding the suggestion that if that police officer had been armed he could have intervened, and brought the horror to a screeching halt.

That, my friends, is fatuous bullshit indicative of vast media ignorance. A single person, armed with a single-shot derringer *might* have brought such horror to a halt. A police officer with brains, a wee bit of luck, training and a standard service pistol...would have rather better odds, particularly if not wearing some sort of "shoot me first" indicator (say, a uniform).

It's not the number of firearms or the quantity of ammunition in most cases. It's the skillset, the equipment, and the courage of the officer that can save the day.

A boojum with 4 rifles and 6 pistols and 250 rounds for each just has more crap to haul around - s/he can only fire one at a time effectively, will need to reload, and weight is not the friend of your average boojum...hauling all that mass about slows a person down and makes them more vulnerable, not less.

The NY Times, apparently, needs to send it's reportorial staff to some kind of "how not to appear a biased and blithering idiot while reporting on firearms" (or "reality 101") course. Grrr.

Monday, July 25, 2011


First, my thoughts are with and condolences expressed to the families of those who lost their lives to the homicidal loon in Norway, and my best wishes for a speedy recovery to injured survivors of the malefactors activities there.

That said, a number of my other views are rather less charitable.

The blurb in the NY Times asserting that the initial assumptions that the perpetrator(s) were Islamic in origin was some baseless expression of xenophobia?

Xenophobic? Perhaps. Baseless? Certainly not - given that the perpetrators of most major acts of terrorism in the last three decades have emerged from the skirts of islamic extremism, it's certainly not baseless. One might even go so far as to say it would be a reasoned assumption with fairly good odds of accuracy.

However, reasoned or not, in this case the odds didn't really pan out.

But, that's not my point today, though I would suggest the editorial staff of the NY Times should at least be allegorically beaten about the head and shoulders with a text on elementary journalism. Perhaps twice.

But the various blood-dancers in the wake of a tragedy do catch the eye and raise the ire, and now to my main point.

As RobertaX so graciously puts it, waxing a mass killer as s/he is about their dastardly deeds is not a political act - it is a social service, not unlike putting down a mad dog or joining an impromptu community fire brigade or stepping forward to help victims of any other disaster, rather than fleeing.

I would suggest most folks with anything resembling decency or morals would *approve* of cutting a mass murder in progress short. Preferably, with extreme prejudice and amazing suddenness.

Some, however, take the view that expressing such views is....

A) not helpful

Any numbskull can express horror or sorrow. Both are appropriate in the face of such events. But it is a sign of maturity to take the next step, and while expressing regret at the tragedy to also express a desire that someone at the site of the island portion of the Norwegian tragedy had been equipped (and given the circumstances, a firearm would have likely been the most effective tool) and available to bring the horror to a screeching halt early on. To express regret that option was not present is no more and no less than an expression of additional grief that "things got as bad as they got".

B) make you sound like a right wing SA nutjob, and

I'm not so sure. There's a lot to the saying "A smile and a .45 will get you a lot further than a smile.." in such instances. Someone armed, and better yet trained, can bring an awful lot of badness to a halt...or at least be seriously distracting to the homicidal loon du jour. It might not be politically correct, but...

And frankly? Being silent for the sake of other folks delicate sensibilities is largely what's gotten us (and an awful lot of other folks) into this and other messes when plain speaking (ideally cushioned with some level of sensitivity and decency) would serve all concerned rather better.

C) demonstrate a remarkably piss-poor understanding of the Norwegian culture...

Norwegian culture, delightful as it is, is not particularly relevant to (A) and (B). Flying lead and other projectiles are not especially picky about cultural practices and beliefs, any more than gravity is sensitive to symphony performances.

Neither is the culture of a given nation relevant to an expression that some (in this instance, someone with gun and the will to use it to stop a mass murderer) intervenor had been present to avert tragedy.

Such an expression is a bit more constructive (and sympathetic, frankly) than pretending that bad things don't happen to good people for no humanly discernible reason (unless you've come up with a reason for evil and/or insanity verifiable by independent experimentation, you may go away now) - or that inanimate objects are somehow responsible for the actions of the allegedly sentient.

My prayers and condolences, such as they are, are with the victims and the Norwegian people.

And yes, I wish someone had shot the son of a bitch before he killed all those kids.

And searching for ways to prevent or derail tragedy is part of the very essence of the best of humanity - not something to be regretted or belittled.

Thank you, Rep. West...

It's a relief to see members of Congress abandon the false collegiality and mealy-mouthedness of recent decades and express an honest, unvarnished, opinion.

Thank you for your frankness.

Simply because one is a woman, a person of color, LGBT, aged, youthful, or does not mean one is beyond public and pointed criticism.

We may or may not agree that Wasserman-Schultz is vile, despicable, and unladlylike. He is most certainly right in pointing out the lack of courage in Wasserman-Schultz's passive-aggressive attempts to smear him - his demand that she either call him out or STFU is not unreasonable.

From the limited data I've seen thus far (after all, we've all seen that there's not a media source out there that's not slanted one way or another), I'd tend to believe odds are good West has it right on two out of three counts. But then I tend to score rather harshly on whininess.

Nevertheless, I find Rep. Allen West's e-mail a welcome relief from the smarmy political correctness of modern political speech. Perhaps that can be a new GOP value - plain speaking.

(Granted, I strongly support Rep. West's hiring a decent copy editor...but, unlike much of the tripe emanating from the elected, his meaning was anything but veiled.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On the Debt Limit...

Default and be damned.

At some point, we are going have to face serious economic pain (more) because of the bad choices of arguably two (and certainly one) administration in running up debt in the form of "rescue" packages and healthcare packages (which, if we bothered to look *anywhere* abroad, have proven expensive at first and fiscally suicidal in the long term when run in either a single-payer or gov-mandated fashion if truly egalitarian and providing medical care at the level we currently have in the U.S.) that were and are predictably unsustainable, and this in the face of falling revenues due to an economic depression of a scale unseen since the Great Depression.

In other words, to be blunt, Pelosi-Reid under the so-called leadership of Obama either engaged in epic obliviousness to the point of delusional behavior, "progressive" fanaticism to the point of being completely out of touch with reality, maliciously conspired to undermine the United States, or are just plain dumb as rocks.

Which, in this instance, isn't particularly relevant. That they have well and truly screwed the fiscal pooch with such vigor that it will take generations to recover is beyond dispute.

Refusing to even debate the "Cut, Cap, & Balance" approach proposed by the House. Refusing to pass a *budget*, one of the fundamental responsibilities of any Congress. Enough.

Screw it. Bite the bullet. If Greece, can ride this out, so can we.

Enough already. Say no to Obama and his Chicago-esque thugs and cretins. Demand a budget. Demand a "no-new-revenue" cut/cap/balance approach. This kind of garbage must stop.

That Obama and his cronies refuse to even disclose what their default plan is, and effectively attempt to blackmail the nation with clumsily veiled threats to suspend social security checks, military paychecks, and such (when there's a WHOLE lot of government that you can whack before you start hurting the folks that are either in the line of fire or already screwed to a greater or lesser extent) is simply unutterably vile.

The only appropriate answers to an extortionist, phrased with more or less diplomacy, involves either active defiance or the decision to take them with you when you go. In this case, the fairly obvious choice is a succinct "fuck you, we're sticking to our guns".

Here's hoping the House GOP can do that, with or without Speaker Boehner. And any Democrats with both two (or more) neurons rubbing together and anything resembling ethics would be welcome to join the fun of trying to insist on responsible steps to limit further debt and reducing the size and scope of the federal government.

And no, we don't need an unelected and likely unconstitutional "super-Congress"... Link

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bad Cop!! NO DONUT!!

For whatever reason, it seems that over-aggressive officers are turning up more and more often - whether this is simply because of new technology exposing a long-term problem or because there are more bad cops out there, or both...some of these REALLY need the light of day shined brightly upon some instances followed by multiple legal air strikes.

This, my friends, is one of THOSE cases. Sit down, be sure you're not holding any liquids near the computer, hang on tight and watch the multiple offenses.


The video pretty much speaks for itself. What's next, however doesn't. The kids over at Ohio Concealed Carry are fighting back, helping "William" with his defense. Click through and make a donation.

From what I was hearing on GBC tonight, the City has offered to drop charges if "William" promises not to sue them - an offer declined (understandably, in my opinion) by the defense team.

Barring new data, I hope Canton gets sued into bankruptcy as an example to others.

Wouldn't mind a bit of confirmation on that. But what we do know, is that there apparently exists a very naughty cop that appears to be in deep need of becoming a non-cop, rather quickly.

I suggest re-posting of the video (with a link back here, if you're feeling gracious).


A Legal Review & Update at Of Arms & the Law.

Law Enforcement Perspectives from LawDog and BetterAnd Better (here, here).

A note from Irons in the Fire.

Tam makes a fairly interesting observation.

Ongoing coverage from Ohio Concealed Carry.

Fugly Review, Pt. II

Ok, it's been about 10 days now and it's time to look at how the Fugly from Dragon Leather Works is that time, it's made one round trip from Seattle back to New York and back...

The picture to the left depicts why - while over all an entirely splendid IWB holster, the muzzle end of the holster was attempting to wear a hole in my distinctly un-svelte hip.

One of the critical features of any holster is that it be comfortable - if it's not comfortable, the owner won't use it - and if it's the only holster, the owner will leave their gun at home rather than having a frisky masochistic exercise complete with abrasions, welts, blisters, and other fun options. Dennis not only knows this, but it's darned near his mantra.
The welts, not a desired or intended design feature, led to a wee chat with Dennis of Dragon Leather Works and it was decided the holster would visit him for some modifications.

On Monday afternoon, the holster returned to its' rightful place in Seattle, and to continued testing/use. A wee small change had taken place.

Please note the pic on the right. Dennis and I had independently come to the same conclusion - the problem I was having was born in how much pressure was being concentrated in specific points on my hip, raising the unwelcome welts.

We both figured that if the pressure was distributed across a broader area, that things would get rapidly less painful. To the right, you see the result - the bottom half of the holster now sports a "paddle" distributing the pressure from the outward leaning gun across a much broader area on my hip, and after three days, I'm not seeing any adverse affects.

The holster is probably the most comfortable I've worn to date, and as a certain recent visitor to Seattle points out, the ability it provides (because of the rigidity of the holster) to re-holster one-handed is an amazing convenient thing, and according to wiser heads than mine, tactically useful.

Let's take a look at the back of the holster. I'm guessing if folks order this variant from square one (rather than realizing later that their physique makes it a fine notion) that Dennis will build the holster back from a single piece of leather rather than the add-on second piece that works the magic.

Looking at the back, however, gives us the chance to look at some of the workmanship that we wouldn't normally see, that (I suspect) will see the holster outlasting me, and possibly outlasting the Bersa.

Not only did Dennis attach the second paddle firmly enough I just don't see it going anywhere, he thought through the implications of the two-piece leather back design and abraded down the border between the two pieces, where otherwise another pressure point would likely have formed - a sign of not just just a craftsman, but one equipped with a brain and a willingness seen far too seldom these days to think through the logical consequences to design and engineering choices.

On the right you see the finished product (hey, if it WAS inside the waistband, you'd not see all it's glorious features!), ready for use, with the Bersa .45 proudly featured.

I'm eagerly awaiting my OWB Talon (Vicious Circle Edition) from Dennis, and the accompanying magazine carriers.

If Dennis goes along with it, I'm suggest he designate this model the Fugly-FA - for those of us who waived goodbye to boyish and slender a long time ago and have darned little hope of seeing those features return.

The sturdy and economical Fugly at $55.00 is a heck of a bargain, and with the Bersa .45 running between $350 - $380, the combination gets you out the door for not much over $400 - not a bad price for an effective self-defense combination. Link

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AD & His Admirers

You know, sometimes you call someone out as a knuckle-dragging jack-ass in a public space and despite the callouses on their knuckles and their obviously unusual equine ancestry, and they get all bent out of shape.

And, if you were raised in some traditions, you may even come to the conclusion that even if someone *does* have the skills of a brain-damaged duck, it's unkind to point it out in public.

To your surprise, they are minimally competent in multi-syllabic conversation - at least enough so to make threats of physical and legal mayhem. And that's about the time the funny ends.

Seems AD posted a properly anonymized blurb about a co-worker. No reasonable person would've been able to identify this dickwad from data provided without an exercise in creative proctology involving the use of electron microscopes.

From what I understand this mouth-breathing troglodyte got so unhinged that he/she/it not only threatened legal action, but to pop over to AD's (seems he knows where AD lives) and beat the snot out of AD. As a bonus, this fucking dumbass did so via text, voicemail, and private Facebook message.

This kind of takes the care for distilled cretin-grade stupidity. Essentially he's just nominated himself as AD's personal bodyguard for the rest of either of their natural days - because if *anything* unfortunate happens to AD, he's now number one on the suspect hit parade with the local po-po - even should this rockhead be thoroughly alibied, the "hire it done" thing leaves this dipshit under suspicion.

AD was raised in one tradition. I'm from another. This ding-a-ling has made, on the record, what I understand to be a number of viable and criminally actionable threats to AD. I'd suggest the dork get about the project of begging for mercy and claiming temporary insanity (stupidity isn't much of a defense, and is more likely permanent)...because the moment AD turns those communications over to the local po-po, things are gonna get exciting for our ninny du jour as he meets his new roomie Bubba the Festive at the county lock-up.

DRAT. Google Cache betrayed me. If anyone has a screen cap of the original blog post, feel free to post it in comments. BAD GOOGLE!


Monday, July 18, 2011

It seems only fair...

You know, if you find yourself on a jury...there's this thing called jury nullification, wherein you not only judge "did the defendant do it" but you judge "is this law in societies best interest?".

If the answer to *either* question is "no", you probably shouldn't vote to convict.

What's good for the goose...

Small Triumphs.

At least in one state, spending is being reigned in rather than taxes raised as a legislative majority finds the cojones to look further than the next election.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting better isn't easy...

I was going to write about a town that was facing bankruptcy, the problems it was facing, and basically point out that "hey, you spent yourself into a corner, be glad it's not a debtors prison".

Then our national error, President Obama, turned up on the tube in a news conference this morning, as I tried to have breakfast.

Regrettably, the depth of bullshit exceeded my ability to ignore or keep a quiet stomach.

No, Mr. President, the American people have not been sold on what you deceitfully call a "balanced" approach - better described on raising taxes on people that already can't afford it.

Your party has played the class warfare card often enough that most of us have figured out that it's a crock.

When you raise taxes, you get side effects - folks spend less (i.e., less revenue to businesses to pay employees and to pay THEIR bills, which in turn support another tier of businesses - and less sales tax revenue for for states and municipalities). At the same time, prices go up...and at the same time, folks in the bottom economic rungs spend less...distributing another hit to business and non-federal government entities.

And you hit the magic point of formal and informal tax resistance.

The best thing the Federal Government can do at this point is *get out of the way*.

Legalize drugs. Between Darwin and other forces, we'll survive it - and as the DEA goes away or is vastly reduced in size and function we save money.

Raise the age for age-related social security eligibility to 70, or even 80. I think we all recognize that the disability side of social security needs to be largely left along. But on the age-related side, I suspect that folks with a pre-tax income in excess of $200,000 can get along just fine without social security.

Similarly, repeal Obamacare. Sorry, we can't afford it.

And while we're at it, disband BATFE. We've watched this band of felonious and capricious thugs in clown shoes bumble their way through ruining and ending peoples lives for technical and arbitrarily designated violations of alleged self-generated regulations for decades. When the most gracious possible description of an agency is "tragicomic Keystone Kops", it's time for that agency to end - sadly, for some years, that has been a far kinder appellation than BATFE is worthy would be an insult to bumbling fools with badges everywhere, and an even greater insult to those in law enforcement with even the vaguest hint of competency or professionalism.

We don't need a Department of Education. Shut it down. We can probably use a much smaller creature charged solely with guaranteeing privately provided student loans and maintaining a voluntary register of available scholarships. And, just a hint, they don't need armed thugs with the power of arrest. Or "company cars".

Set Amtrak free. No more subsidies. No more government-mandated union contracts. If there's to be passenger rail service - let it pay for itself.

In our condition, we don't *need* an Arctic Research Commission. Let Hilton set up a hotel/research facility and charge researchers room'n'board - but get it off the tax teat.

Abolish the hated TSA. Let local agencies and the airlines for locally appropriate solutions - all off the federal tab.

I think you get the drift. We don't need new taxes in the middle of an economic depression - at all. If anything, we need tax reductions to free up cash for consumer spending and business capital.

Mr. President, in short, quit being a small minded jerk.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Recently a good friend was telling me, emphatically, that California could not and would not be permitted to crash and burn. I responded here, making a few comments.

Now...I'll note a couple of things. The feds are about to run head first into a credit limit that Congress doesn't look to be raising...or if they do, there will be heavy conditions attached that effectively prohibit much of anything in the way of federal rescues of states.

Then, I'll quitely point out that the melt-down is accelerating....

I suspect the best we can hope for is that California hit bottom soon and hard, so they can then get about the business of recovering. Not holding out a bunch of hope, though. Get out while you can, is my advice.

Madam Senator...

Dear Senator Klein -

While I'm certainly glad to welcome you to the ever more diverse family of gun-owners, I'm sorry to hear that somewhere along the line, someone seriously neglected your education.

1. All guns are always loaded!
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!
4. Always be sure of your target!

- courtesy of Col. Jeff Cooper, 1920-2006

I recognize, that as an elected official, you may have gotten used to being excused from various little inconveniences. Rules, conventions, accepted practices and politeness-es.

These are rules you don't get a pass on. Losing office is cheap...a body bleeding out on the floor because of arrogance, carelessness, obliviousness, ignorance, or all of the above...isn't.

To review your errors so you might correct them in the future, let us review.

1. All guns are always loaded.

Operating on this assumption makes those ugly little adventures known as "accidental" or "negligent" discharges much tougher to experience. Any gun that you have not personally verified, without it having left your hand or been near ammunition since you verified, IS considered loaded. The gun you just checked that's still in your hand - might be.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!

No matter how annoying, currently there is not an open season on reporters. Additionally, Richard Ruelas’ family and friends might, perhaps, have missed him in the event of a negligent or accidental discharge while you were engaged in your reckless behaviour. Chests, even those of reporters, are not normally disposable objects. Given he was not busily engaged in an assault or attempt thereat upon your person - you placed him needlessly in danger of life and limb.

The proper response to such a faux pas involves profuse apologies and vast humility. Not trying to play off such a fundamental violation of basic safety and respect of the well-being of others.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!

Depending on the laser sight, and whether or not the system du jour is palm or trigger activated, you may or may not have violated this rule. Odds are, those of us amongst the unwashed masses will never know. But if you did activate a laser site with a trigger mounted switch, your negligence is certainly graver yet.

4. Always be sure of your target!

Even this rule you bent in passing, in that you failed to realize that as long as your muzzle swept him...that Ruelas' was potentially at risk.

Basically, you screwed up in a potentially lethal and reckless fashion. And you, and Ruelas', lucked out. Aside from deserved embarrassment and public humiliation, nothing particularly dreadful came of it.

There is a *right* way to show a gun. Of even letting someone unfamiliar handle a gun. What you did wasn't it.

1) Present the firearm with the muzzle pointed in a known safe direction.
2) Remove all ammunition (cartridges, magazine) from the firearm.
3) Check visually that the gun is empty.
4) Check by touch the gun is empty.

THEN you may safely and responsibly demonstrate the features of the firearm, but the muzzle should ALWAYS be pointed in a safe direction. You may even choose, carefully and if you trust the individual, to provide basic handling directions - even hands on.

When completed, again with muzzle in a safe direction, reload the firearm if a carry piece, and secure it in any case - whether in holster or a secure location.


The lesson is NOT "never show your gun to anyone", or "a gun isn't a fashion accessory".

A firearm can be a fashion accessory, just as can a Porsche - it is, however, far more portable. The key in both cases is to recognize that, while beautiful and complementary, that they must be responsibly handled.

Similarly, if we never show our firearms to anyone, we lose a valuable teaching opportunity and a chance to defuse some of the hoplophobic demonization of that most useful of inanimate self-defense tools, the firearm. We lose the chance to demonstrate that the firearm is inert and inanimate without human interaction - that it is incapable of magically turning a mild-mannered law-abiding sort into some frothing homicidal loon. And we betray some small part of our role as ambassadors and educators to folks who have been fed purposely bad data wrapped in fear and myth over the last few generations regarding firearms.

Don't just (safely) show folks your gun. Take them to the range. Shoot with them. Have dinner with them after. Expand the fraternity.

But be safe. If you need a primer or a refresher course, you have one of the worlds finest training organizations just down the road from you - the Gunsite Academy, founded by the legendary Col. Cooper, just a bit north of Phoenix. And if you are serious about carrying for self-defense, and can find any way to afford it...strongly consider taking their courses.

I'm glad you're on our side, fighting the good fight. I'd like it if you stayed there. But you need to remember, there are some rules that *cannot* be ignored.

Seattle, WA

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No, I'm afraid not...

We *don't* need our ISP's spying on us for warrantless searches and data mining, no matter how high minded a principal you may be starting out with, we all know how such things spiral into naught but abuse, corruption, and tears.

What say we just take a miss on this one?

Nanny state morons.Link

Sunday, July 10, 2011

First Review...a holster

I bought a holster. What, so far, is seems a very nice holster indeed.

This is the Fugly, courtesy of Dragon Leather Works and thus far it is a vast improvement over the hideous suede pouch I'd made do with for some years.

Dragon Leather Works products do cost more than $15/copy - but in exchange you get hand-built craftsmanship fit to both your firearm and your physique, with the ability to do custom stuff to meet your needs.

The large shield rising up behind the holster protects my less than svelte bits from the sharp/abrasive elements of the firearm (reducing the number of times I grind a hole in my side) and cuts down on corrosion from bleeding on the firearm - not incidentally, making me much more willing to carry this gun.

What's the gun we're working with here?

Bersa Thunder .45acp, courtesy of Butch's Guns in Seattle. It's not the worlds most expensive sidearm, nor is it pure joy to shoot - however, it's affordably priced ($375+/-) and reasonably accurate in a fairly common caliber.

Back to the holster. At $55.00, the Fugly is a far from ruinous investment...and I'm told for a small additional fee, it can arrive embossed with the Vicious Circle emblem and bonus coolness. Sadly, mine escaped before that feature was announced. And it's a screaming improvement over the $15 Suede Sack.

The Fugly has a sturdy build, allowing both single-handed draw and re-holstering (note, depending on your cover attire, second hand MAY be required to hold clothes out of the way), has good retention on the Bersa, and actually feels *good* to carry in most senses.

I'm sending it back for a minor modification - it seems I suffer from a moderate case of Flabbius Arsus, resulting in the muzzle end applying unpleasant pressure to my hip. At no extra charge, Dennis (the fearless proprietor) is planning a redesign that will create a *smaller* shield to re-distribute the pressure on my hip such that pressure marks don't appear - the challenge is persuading myself to even give the Fugly up, even for a week or two and with promise of additional coolness.

If you've listened to Dennis on Vicious Circle, you've already figured out he's a bright and generally good guy. When it comes to customer service and meeting a customers needs, he's simply exceptional. And as a result, another holster will be meandering my way.

This is a hint. Buy one now, before Denis & Dragon Leather Works are so deluged they are forced to raise prices in self defense, just to prevent being overwhelmed by the deluge of orders.

Note - bad photography is mine.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coming up...

Two reviews coming up...a pawnshop find, and the first of two Dragon Leather Works holsters (the Fugly)...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Read....and Consider.....

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

We have much to be proud of...

On the Left, we have a plethora of voices crying that citizens of the United States should be nothing but ashamed of their citizenship, often in such strident tones sensible folks wonder why they don't just leave for climes friendlier to their political views - say, perhaps, Cuba or N. Korea....

They tell us how the United States is too powerful, too dominant, too successful, too free, and too independent - and all of these bad things simply must be eliminated. Regrettably, it appears our President subscribes to many of these views.

I think that out of all the national holidays, I despise July 4th the most. It is our government's actions in first stealing this land from indigenous peoples and then going around ripping off resources of other countries that angers me and makes me ashamed.

Anonymous - 7/4/11
On the right, we've despair and gloom as folks look at our increasingly polarized nation and see fewer historical parallels to the Great Depression (extended by Roosevelt's failed policies and from which we were only dragged by WWII and the full employment of a nation fighting for survival) and more parallels to the divided nation of 1858 or 1859, shortly before the American Civil War.

This set of crystal-ball gazers predicts increased polarization to the point that the Union cannot hold in the face of such broad philosophical differences and, in their eyes, the utterly despicable and unprincipled nature of their idealism-blinded opponents - resulting in division into like-minded regional polities at best, and bloody civil war at worst.
The die has been cast, the train is in motion, the avalanche has started… however you want to phrase it, but what started as a grand experiment in the preservation of individual rights and liberties has ended, for me, with the bullet-ridden body of a United States Marine, laying dead on the floor of his home, guilty of nothing more than being related to some unsavory characters. The country around us will still keep going – after all, there was a massive number of reagents at play, and a lot of time, energy, and effort stored up in that experiment, and all that has to go somewhere – but it is scant more than a corpse tied up in marionette strings, being toyed with by the people "in charge" who want to keep the charade going as long as possible.
The thing is, both of them are forgetting something (or many things). First off, the past is dead and immutable.

There is no POINT in bemoaning, regretting, or generally getting all wrought up about it - all it offers us are opportunties to gaze over our collective shoulders and figure out if various past efforts worked out well enough to try again, or cratered so badly that they should be avoided at all costs.

Our history as a nation offers us heroes to admire and emulate, and a sufficiency of fools and villains to abhor and abjure...but that history serves as mere inspiration and example for the choices we make today.

As a nation, we've had the courage to make grand experiments...and work through grand failures, as well as embrace great successes.

We fought a civil war (and more completely unrelated internal skirmishes than you can shake a stick at) and freed the slaves, and at the same time substantially undermined our protections against the depredations of an over-potent federal government.

We've made huge progress in terms of civil rights for all persons, even as we've both failed to go far enough in some instances and gone much too far in others.

We are, state by state, in leaps large and small, moving towards recognizing marriage as a civil matter between two consenting and competent adults...separate from religious sensibilities and ceremonies.

Our armed services have been integrated for over 50 years. Women have the vote, and by and large we see equality in the workplace as the dominant paradigm today, not the exception.

Our nation has led numerous technological revolutions, and should we shed our self-imposed bureaucratic overhead, may well again.

For the progress we've made alone, we've a huge amount to be proud of as a nation. We have been on of the most giving nations on earth, and are more tolerant within our borders today than we have ever been - despite the fact that the bad acts of the few get the press and the publicity (and the readership FOR the press) largely to the exclusion of the far more frequent daily acts of kindness, cooperation, and tolerance of the many.

While we are in a Depression looking to attain or exceed the scope of the Great Depression of the 1930's, and are facing a brutal increase in food prices in all likelihood this coming fall (it has NOT been a good farm year, from what I'm hearing...) even as our President seems determined to cripple our ability to provide for our own energy needs while binding the hands of industry...

We have much to be proud of, and we have reason for hope.

But as libertarians and socially liberal conservatives (i.e., fiscal conservatives) we need to get up off our fundaments and speak (or continue to speak) loudly, providing strong arguments for our causes and interests to counter both the thankfully dwindling numbers of the socially conservative right and the depressingly large numbers of those of the Democrat & Democrat Lite persuasions - forming alliances where we can, but recognizing a temporary alliance on one or a set of issues is not a sign of a permanent alliance on all issues.

Celebrate. Remember the unique and pride-worthy history of the United States. And then get active.

Friday, July 1, 2011

More on California

It's been awhile since I've seen such bold abuse of authority...but this is California, I should be surprised?