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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 06, 2016

"American Healthcare is All Over But the Screaming"

I've covered the Obamacare debacle here at TSM for quite a while, with the earliest post on the topic being Multiply by the Zip Code from 2009, and going on from there. The "Primum, Non Nocere" (First, do no harm) T-shirts (2010) are still available, too.

In 2013 I reviewed some Obamacare Predictions. A bit later in the year, the GeekWithA.45 provided post materials with a comment on the state of the healthcare industry. His conclusion: American healthcare is all over but the screaming.

Obamacare survived not one, but two Supreme Court challenges that were decided on the basis of - well, let Antonin Scalia say it, from his scathing dissent to King v. Burwell:
Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.
But it cannot be saved from itself.

Investors Business Daily reports this week:
Aetna Joins Growing Chorus Warning About ObamaCare Failing
A chorus, I'm sure, that has about as many members as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at this point. IBD reports:
ObamaCare was supposed to be on a roll by now, promising 20 million signing up, low cost and stable premiums. Turns out it’s on a roll all right. It’s rolling towards the cliff.

Insurance giant Aetna (AET) has joined a growing number of insurers warning that the ObamaCare exchanges are failing in just the way critics said they would. (My emphasis - Ed.) This year’s anemic enrollment won’t help.

This week, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini warned that “we continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges.” Aetna lost more than $100 million last year on the 750,000 enrollees it has through ObamaCare exchanges.

Bertolini’s warning comes after UnitedHealth Group (UNH) announced that it might pull out of ObamaCare entirely next year, after getting hit with a $475 million loss in 2015. It expects to lose another $500 million this year. Last fall, CEO Stephen Hemsley said that “we can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.” That, he said, “basically is an industry-wide proposition.”
Now, refer back to the GeekWithA.45's comment from 2013, where he said:
Coming off my yearly engagement with the think tanks, I've heard, for the first time, a series of data points coming from hospital CEOs that add up to one thing: the admission that exercising a hospital's primary function is no longer a source of value and revenue, it is viewed as entirely cost, risk, and liability. Consequently, they are no longer building any capacity, and are in fact looking for ways to reduce their capacity and eliminate hospital beds.

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

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

That, as they say, isn't sustainable.
Reality is what exists even when you stop believing in it.

But the Affordable Care Act must be saved!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Challenger

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I first posted this in 2005. The link to Dr. Sanity's blog is still good.
As some of you may know, I grew up on Florida's Space Coast. My father was a Quality Control engineer for IBM, working on the Instrument Unit (guidance system) for the Saturn V rocket. I got to see all of the manned missions up through Skylab launch from just across the Indian River, except for Apollo XVII - the only night launch. I watched that one from my front yard in Titusville.

There were two dawns that day.

Consequently, I've been a space exploration enthusiast from a young age. I try to watch all the launches, or at least listen to them on the radio. I remember listening to the launch of the Challenger early in the morning here in Tucson, and thinking - as the station broke for a commercial - "At least this one didn't blow up on the pad."

Morbid, I know, but I'm also an engineer. I wasn't then - I had just graduated from college in December and didn't have a job yet - but that's been my orientation for most of my life. I knew that each manned launch was a roll of the dice, a spin of the cylinder in a big game of Russian Roulette, and that NASA had become just another government bureaucracy. (And I also knew just how close we had come to losing three men in Apollo 13 because a series of small, innocuous errors had cascaded into a catastrophic failure in a system that was almost neurotic in its quest for safety.)

It was just a matter of time.

Still, I was shocked when they came back from commercial to announce that Challenger had been destroyed in a launch accident just minutes after liftoff. I knew that all seven of the astronauts were dead. I knew that the "teacher in space" wasn't going to get there, and that a classroom of students had to be devastated by that realization. Many, many classrooms, but one in particular.

I watched the footage of the liftoff, now splayed in endless grisly loops on every network - all of which had previously declined to show the launch live and interrupt really important stuff like "Good Morning America." I watched as the flame bloomed out from a Solid Rocket Booster joint, impinging on the huge external fuel tank, and said, "That's what killed them. What the hell caused that failure?" I watched the Satan's horns of the SRB exhaust tracks as they trailed up and away from the epicenter of the blast. And then I watched it all again.

Over and over.

Later I discovered that the engineers at Morton Thiokol had tried to get the launch scrubbed, knowing the problems that cold weather caused in the O-ring joint seals of the SRBs, but they had been told to "take off their engineer hats and put on their manager hats" in order to make a launch decision. The launch had been delayed too many times, and President Reagan would be making his State of the Union address that night, with a call to Crista McAuliffe - Teacher in Space.

I decided right then that I didn't ever want to be a goddamned manager.

I also found out later that the crew, at least most of them, probably survived the destruction of the Challenger, and were alive and aware all the way to impact in the Atlantic. I like to hope not, but facts are sometimes ugly things.

And I wondered if NASA could regain the spirit, professionalism, and devotion to excellence it'd had during the race to the moon - and doubted it severely. As I said, NASA has become just another government bureacracy, more interested in expanding its budget and not making waves than in the visceral excitement and attention to minute detail that space exploration should inspire. (I'm speaking of the upper-level management, and many of the lower-level drones. I'm quite certain that there are still hundreds of people there still dedicated to the dream. They're just shackled and smothered by the career bureaucrats and the nine-to-fivers who punch the clock and wait for retirement.)

Anyway, all this is leading to a blog I found while perusing my sitemeter links tonight. GM's Corner, which linked to me last month, has a recurring "new blogs" post. This month's entry is Dr. Sanity, the blog of Dr. Pat Santy - who happened to be the flight surgeon for the Challenger mission. She has a post up about that day, and it's well worth the read: Challenger - A Flight Surgeon Remembers.

Highly recommended.
And if you want to read something even more inspiring, I strongly recommend Bill Whittle's essay Courage, about the Columbia disaster. Warning: it gets dusty towards the end.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Goodbye, Glenn Frey

A perfect day, the sun is sinking low
As evening falls the gentle breezes blow
The time we shared went by so fast
Just like a dream we knew it couldn't last

But I'd do it all again if I could somehow
But I must be leaving soon, it's your world now

It's your world now, my race is run
I'm moving on like the setting sun
No sad goodbyes, no tears allowed
You'll be alright, it's your world now

Even when we are apart
You'll always be in my heart
When dark clouds appear in the sky
Remember true love never dies

But first a kiss, one glass of wine
Just one more dance while there's still time
My one last wish, someday you'll see
How hard I tried and how much you meant to me

It's your world now, use well the time
Be part of something good, leave something good behind
The curtain falls, I take my bow
That's how it's meant to be, it's your world now
It's your world now, it's your world now
He left a lot of good behind.

I'm tired of all these deaths.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Got a Spare Double Sawbuck?

(And man, did I date myself with that reference.)

Mark Alger, proprietor of BabyTrollBlog and author of the Baby Troll Chronicles is in a tight spot. He says:
I am a creative who has, for all my life, dreamed of earning my living as a writer. I even have published a novel and been a regular contributor to periodicals.

This past December, two weeks before Christmas, I came to an involuntary separation from my 35-year career as a commercial artist, and was left without a means of supporting myself. I was, at the time, a matter of weeks from being able to publish my second novel. Now, I am about to move forward with that goal, but the soonest I will receive any royalties will be in three months.
So he's opened a GoFundMe page trying to tide himself over for the next six months.

I've enjoyed his stuff for years, so I'm tossing in some ca$h. If you've got some spare laying around and feel the same, please feel free.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Debate? DEBATE?!?

No, it's performance art.

Watch this:


Those were the winners of the Cross Examination Debate Association's 2014 national championship.

What debate took place here?

From the Wikipedia entry:
In the 2013 tournament, the winning team from Emporia State University was criticized for using personal memoirs and rap music to criticize white privilege during the debate. Opponents to this form of debate argue that rhetorical tools utilized by recent championship teams violated the anti-harassment policies of CEDA and the National Debate Tournament, and common sense. CEDA President Paul Mabrey points to the value of limited actual formal rules in CEDA debate and the ways that a variety of forms of debate raise the educational value of the activity and call these objections "nothing other than thinly-veiled racism."

In the 2014 tournament, the CEDA came under fire for crowning a championship debate team whose arguments critics described as incomprehensible, off topic and refused to abide by time limits and moderation. Going so far as to make a fart sound as a rebuttal. Despite winning the tournament, the winning team from Towson University was criticized by these observers for referencing racial slurs. In the wake of this controversy, CEDA President Mabrey stated in an official CEDA video that the accusations of poor preparation and incomprehensibility "These stories represent the worst of our human bigotry. These attacks on Towson, Oklahoma, and others in our debate community are motivated by racism."
"President Mabrey" is Paul Mabrey, a professor of communication at James Madison(!) University.  One more example of why you should go ahead and stick a fork in Western Civ.  We're done.

I'm pretty sure James Madison is whirling in his grave.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Quote of the Day - Quora Edition

Someone over at Quora asked "Why do conservatives oppose progressive politics?"  A gentleman by the name of Charles Tips left an epic answer.  Unfortunately, those who need to read it, won't.  Today's QotD comes from that answer:
The implementation of our public schools supplanted our liberal “Little Red Schoolhouse” model that was firmly entrenched in civil society and has resulted in our children having their butts passively parked in desks for increasing terms of hours per day and years of their lives spent hermetically sealed from the real world, as, in progressive minds, the proper way to prepare them for the real world. The goal of J. G. Fichte in designing the Volkschule, which serves barely changed as the model for our public schools, was “workers who will not strike, citizens who will not revolt, soldiers who will not disobey orders.” It was designed as an indoctrination scheme to prevent the children of the non-aristocratic classes from becoming able to operate independently of state control. It is no way to produce rowdy, curious, can-do Americans, and statist Republicans clearly revere the scheme every bit as much as do progressives, just to slightly different ends. Our schools continuously disappoint, and the progressive cry in response is always, "More money! More teachers! More Admins!"
If you've read my posts on education you'll note that this QotD is echoed by the writings of John Taylor Gatto and numerous others.  It's a mini-├╝berpost, spanning a lot more than just education.  By all means please read the whole thing.

Monday, January 11, 2016

What Red Dot for .45-70?

For yesterday's Central AZ blogshoot, I put a spare Tasco ProPoint I had laying around on my Marlin 1895M SBL.  It survived about 50 rounds.  I think the Hornady 325 grain LeveRevolution rounds beat it to death.  But while it was working, I liked it a lot.

Obviously I need something that can withstand that sort of brutality.  Suggestions?

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Blogshoot Update

Earlier posts about the 2016 Annual Central Arizona Blogshoot are here and here.

I'm bringing the thumpers this year.  The .45-70, the .458 SOCOM, my as-yet-unfired Mossberg 930JM with 1oz sabot slugs, and one of my No. 5 Mk I Jungle Carbines.  I'm also planning on bringing the 629 if I can get some .44 Mag loaded in time.

If you want to shoot any of the long guns, I recommend wearing something with a pad in the shoulder.  Weather promises to be cloudy, calm and cool after the storms move through Thursday and Friday.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My Reaction to Obama's Gun Control Announcement

I've just about completed my inventory of reloading components.

I have a LOT of stuff I need to put together into functional ammunition, collected over the last few years while the picking's been slim.  Powder, primer, cases and projectiles.  Just received 200 .300 Win Mag cases this afternoon, for instance.

I'm going to be busy for a while.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Into the Fog

Bill Whittle's Opening Salvo for 2016:


Quote of the Day from this piece:
Because, you see, we no longer live in a nation of laws. If we did, this woman (Hillary) wouldn't be running for office, she'd be running for Mexico.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Blogshoot! (BUMPED with addendum)

The annual Central Arizona Blogshoot is scheduled for Sunday, January 10 - just two weeks away. As previously, it will be held at the Elsy Pearson Public Shooting Range just off Trekell Road and I-8, just West of I-10 near Casa Grande.  (Ignore the labeling on the map.  The one marked "Pinal County Public Shooting Range" is the one we're at.  The other is the Casa Grande Trap and Skeet club.)

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


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

The rules are pretty simple:


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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

ADDENDUM:  It has been brought to my attention that exit 199 to I-8 off of  Westbound I-10 will be closed starting Monday, January 4.  So if you're coming from the direction of Tucson, the recommendation is to exit at Jimmy Kerr (Exit 198, I believe) get back on I-10 Eastbound, then take Exit 199 to get on I-8 West.  Exit I-8 at Trekell Road.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pastafarians Rejoice!

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is now approved to perform marriages in New Zealand! 

Texas Pastafarians are allowed to wear the sacred colander on their heads when getting photographed for driver's licenses, will marriage here in the States be far behind?

Boomershoot 2016

OK, I'm officially signed up - Position 26.  Saturday Field Fire and Saturday High Intensity shoot, Saturday dinner, and Sunday Long Range event.  Room reservations at the Konkolville Motel are made for Friday through Sunday.

Still need a co-shooter/spotter.

And I really need to start working on my .300 WM loads!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

As Tam Said: Same Scene, Different Angles

The first one, from the film Secondhand Lions:


The second, from Terry Pratchett's Hogfather:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Have a Glowier Christmas

Peace on Earth, Good Will to All:

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(Click for full size)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wow, That Was a Lot of Work

Looks like I just finished another epic comment exchange over at Quora.  I'll give Matthew Heminger credit, he held on longer than most, but then he's a self-confessed hypocritical gun owner in favor of controlling other people's guns.

Whew.  Glad that's over.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Boomershoot?

I'm seriously considering attending Boomershoot 2016, which is April 22-24 this year.  Unfortunately DC, my shooting buddy, can't make it this year.  I need somebody to share a slot with and to trade spotting duties.  I'd also like to trade off on driving and split the fuel costs.  It's a two-day drive from Tucson to Orofino, ID.  I could pick somebody up in or near Phoenix or Salt Lake.

Anybody interested?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tam's Fun Show Song, as Sung by Bonnie

For your enjoyment!


Needs another stanza, I think!

Here are the lyrics:
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyeful
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
Thank Kelly Grayson for the video and Bonnie Burgette for the vocals.

I Guess Harvey Weinstein's Anti-NRA Movie is on Hold...

Remember when Harvey said "They are going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them"?

Guess he's got bigger fish to fry at the moment:

The Weinstein Brothers Have Oscar Gold. Now They Need Cash.

While a decent filmmaker, it would appear that Harvey's not much of a businessman.

Imagine that.

And not a mention of the anti-NRA film in the NYT piece.