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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quote of the Day - Tam Again Edition

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

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

Still Playing over at Quora.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Praising with Apocalyptic Damns

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

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










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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your Thanksgiving Moment of Zen

...from Arizona:


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

I hope.

Ammo by the Pound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Day - Daniel Hannan Edition

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Requiescat in Pace

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

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

I'm entirely serious on both counts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Kicked Over My Gigglebox

Monday, November 25, 2013

Central Arizona Blogshoot!

No, we won't be shooting blogs.

Or bloggers.

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

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



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

The rules are pretty simple:


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bleg!!

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

Robert Anson Heinlein is currently running in second place.

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

Thanks!

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mr. Virtual President - On Healthcare

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



So the Democrats Pushed the Button

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

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

I think what the Democrats thought in 2005:


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

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

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

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

Why We're Winning

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


AR-Kitty!  And AR-Kitty Jr!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bill Whittle - The Hammer of Reality

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

Thomas Sowell Calls Them "The Anointed"

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

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

--

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

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

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


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

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

THIS is The Other Side™

And why we call them "blood dancers."

Damn, those people are sick.

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

...other than Chicago, that is.

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

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

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

--

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

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

GeekWithA.45 on Health Care "Reform"

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

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

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

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

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

That, as they say, isn't sustainable.

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

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

Welcome to the endarkenment, a peculiar state of nature.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quote of the Day - Government Competence Edition

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Holy Crap, the Chicago Tribune?!?

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

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

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

--

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

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

Wow.

Who knew the editors of the Trib were racists?

Quote of the Day - Og the Neanderpundit Edition

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quote of the Day - Angelo Codevilla Edition

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

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

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


Well, now we know what's in it:


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Congress has not voted on this change.

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

Even Howard Dean wonders where he gets this amazing power:


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

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

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

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

Quote of the Day - Joe Biden Edition

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

People Policing the City on Their Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 09, 2013

"Here Lies Lester Moore...

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

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

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

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

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

"So what do you kinda want?"

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

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

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

What did he have?  This:

 photo IMG_0157.jpg

 photo IMG_0156.jpg

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

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

I think I stole it.

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

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

Final update:

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 08, 2013

Bleg

OK, I want some help here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's all.

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

No Right to Feel Safe

I've written about this before.  Colion Noir on "The Right to Feel Safe"


Bill Whittle - Silent Saturday

Bill knocks this one out of the park (no pun intended):


New Playground

Apparently, some time ago I became a member of the website Quora.com.  I recently discovered that they discuss gun control there.

I've been spending some quality time there, rather than here.  I figure the TSM audience is what it is after ten years, so I'm spreading the love to a new group.  So far it's been kinda fun, since most of my research is already done, and all I have to do is dig through my archives for the data and quotes I want to use.  It appears that most of what I post is new to people there.

(*sigh*)

My work is never done.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

"...there will be different people who benefit and different people who don’t."

Do tell.

A reader sent me an email early this morning with a link to this Pro Publica story - Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare. It's hard to resist schadenfreude when you read stuff like:
San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are "cradle Democrats." They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama's re-election.

Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietitian and diabetes educator. "We've both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don't smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on," Hammack told me.

The couple — Lee, 60, and JoEllen, 59 — have been paying $550 a month for their health coverage — a plan that offers solid coverage, not one of the skimpy plans Obama has criticized. But recently, Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The couple would need to find another one. The cost would be around double what they pay now, but the benefits would be worse.
Awwwww. Sucks when karma runs over your dogma, doesn't it?
Hammack recalled his reaction when he and his wife received a letters from Kaiser in September informing him their coverage was being canceled. "I work downstairs and my wife had a clear look of shock on her face," he said. "Our first reaction was clearly there's got to be some mistake. This was before the exchanges opened up. We quickly calmed down. We were confident that this would all be straightened out. But it wasn't."
Do tell. I guess he was in favor of Obamacare before he found out that he, personally, would be paying for it.

But wait! It gets better!
In a speech in Boston last week, President Obama said those receiving cancellation letters didn’t have good insurance. "There are a number of Americans — fewer than 5 percent of Americans — who've got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident," he said.

"Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad-apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received, or use minor preexisting conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy. So a lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good."

What is going on here? Kaiser isn't a "bad apple" insurer and this plan wasn't "cut rate." It seems like this is a lose-lose for the Hammacks....
What's going on here? Obama LIED. Again. And it is a "lose-lose" situation.

But here's the pullquote for me:
"In a few cases, we are able to find coverage for them that is less expensive, but in most cases, we're not because, in sort of pure economic terms, they are people who benefited from the current system ... Now that the market rules are changing, there will be different people who benefit and different people who don't."

"There's an aspect of market disruption here that I think was not clear to people,” (Kaiser Permanente spokesman Chris) Stenrud acknowledged. "In many respects it has been theory rather than practice for the first three years of the law; folks are seeing the breadth of change that we're talking about here."
In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. For the Left, it isn't results that matter, it's intention. Read on:
So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing.

That's what he's leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.
Wait - a LIBERAL is threatening to "Go Galt"? And I have to object here. Earlier in the piece the author states that Hammack and Brothers make not much more than four times the federal poverty level, or "about $62,000 for a family of two." In San Francisco. And he's an architect. One: How does a couple live on $62k in San Francisco, and Two: If he's an architect, what does he design, playground equipment?
"We're not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it's because it wasn't any good, and our costs would go up only slightly," he said. "We're gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don't seem to have heard."
Or care.  And you're lefties from San Francisco.  I wouldn't expect you to change your views if Obama himself put the muzzle of a re-educator to your skull and pulled the trigger.  Or as one commenter put it:
...they would follow Obama off a cliff, then thank him when at the bottom, he finished them off with a bayonet.
There you go talking about "death panels" again.  Perhaps they should donate $500,000 to Organizing for America. Maybe then they can get a waiver, too.

Oh, and by all means, read the comments to the piece.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

So How About if People Start Policing the City on Their Own?

So a couple of thugs commit an armed robbery on a convenience store in Reading, PA and are confronted by an armed citizen outside the store who orders them to stop and stay still until the police arrive.  They don't.  Said citizen shoots and kills both robbers.

The families of the criminals are outraged, and want the citizen charged for "taking the law into his own hands."  Says one:
How about if people just start running around here, policing the city on their own? How much worse is it going to get?
I guess he's never heard of Sir Robert Peel and his Nine Principles of Modern Policing, number seven of which is:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
How much worse? Wrong question. How much better?

...the Magic Fairy Dust of Government Authority

Today's Failure to Fire:



Just another illustration of Moshe Ben-David's observation up there on the masthead.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

So, I Was at the Used Sports Equipment Place Today...

Never mind what I was there for.  One of the salesguys was helping me out, and I looked around the place and snorted.  He asked why. 

"You've got stuff for everything but my sport," I said. 

"What's your sport?" he asked. 

"I'm a shooter," I replied.

He looked around for a second (guy's in his VERY early twenties at a guess) and confided with a smile on his face, "Until a month ago, I'd never shot a gun."

"Fun, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yeah, I keep trying to get them to take me again!!"

This is why we're winning.

A View from the Inside

I received an email yesterday afternoon from a reader who did not want to leave it as a comment because his name and email might be attached to it by Disqus.  Here it is:
I'm long-time reader and sometime commenter. I wanted to comment on your post on "Government is Magic", but for reasons which will become obvious I didn't want my name or e-mail associated with my comment publicly. If you believe any of this is worth sharing feel free to do so, without my name or e-mail address associated of course.

I work for the company responsible for the Obamacare web site fiasco. I don't work for the Federal division, but a different one. I can tell you from personal experience that the problems that caused the web site to fail are institutional.

If you or I were going to embark on a project we'd try to get the most competent people in each area of expertise required in an effort to make the project a success. That's not the way this company does things. First, especially if the project is highly visible, they make sure that the people assigned to the project are the "right" people. Not "right" as you or I would understand it, namely competent, with a strong work ethic, and capable of delivering. Oh no, the "right" people are politically connected, they belong to the "correct" groups of people, or they're people who others wish to see advance (often despite their incompetence). So it's more important that the project leader be a Hispanic woman than that the project leader have any actual experience with the technology, or even be capable of doing the job. Just as it was more important to give the project to a company whose VP was a black woman than that it have a proven track record of getting similar projects done successfully. All the better if that VP went to Princeton with a certain FLOTUS. Even better if money went to a certain re-election campaign.

A dozen competent developers could have delivered a functional web site, their compensation would have cost one or two percent of what the contract brought in. Doing so, however, would have required an acknowledgement that such people were required for the success of the project, or that a functional web site had anything to do with such success.

I used to think the problems I saw were localized to my little corner of the company, but it seems the problems are with the company mentality. Worse, as far as the company is concerned this was a big win. They made a TON of money, and they're managing (so far as the media is concerned) to foist the blame off onto others. They'll now make a ton MORE money fixing a system that should never have been broken in the first place.

I've been doing this for over 25 years, I've worked for a bunch of companies, and this is the first time I've ever been ashamed to have my name connected to the company that writes my paycheck.
Shame? I thought the Left had effectively destroyed that concept.

Monday, November 04, 2013

TSM on Opera

I noted in a previous post that I'm not a fan of Opera (the music, not the web browser).  A couple of respondents took issue.

Dogbert took up this topic awhile back:







Sunday, November 03, 2013

Quote of the Day - Culture Edition

Once again from Sultan Knish - Government is Magic:
Competence is the real modernity and it has very little to do with the empty trappings of design that surround it. In some ways the America of a few generations ago was a far more modern place because it was a more competent place. For all our nice toys, we look like primitive savages compared to men who could build skyscrapers and fleets within a year... and build them well.

Those aren't things we can do anymore. Not because the knowledge and skills don't exist, but because the culture no longer allows it. We can't do them for the same reason that Third World countries can't do what we do. It's not that the knowledge is inaccessible, but that the culture gets in the way.

--

The idea that we should go by results, rather than by processes, by outcomes rather than by appearances, was revolutionary. For most of human history, we were trapped in a cargo cult mode. We did the "right things" not because they led to the right results, but because we had decided that they were the right things. There were many competent people, but they were hamstrung by rigid institutions that made it impossible to go from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time.

And we're right back there today.
RTWT.

Friday, November 01, 2013