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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oh, This is GOOD

Oh, This is GOOD

It's been making the rounds of the Intarwebz. I've seen it twice now, once on and once on a pro-Hillary site. How's that for "broad appeal" (no pun intended):
Palin is completely inexperienced and utterly incapable.

You heard me. The initial euphoria over the idea of a naughty librarian on the TV news each night for the next 4 to 8 years has worn off. Now, it back to hard, pragmatic reality and the reality is that she has no place in Washington, DC.

Want proof? Consider the following:

Only an amateur would speak off the cuff, as she usually does. Experienced politicians avoid speaking extemporaneously whenever possible. Otherwise, the electorate might find out what they really think.

If Palin had meaningful experience, she would have known that the job of Ethics Commissioner is SUPPOSED to be corrupt, thus saving her the trouble of resigning in protest and then running for the highest office in the state.

Only an amateur would attain political office by actually defeating opposing candidates at the ballot box. An experienced politician would have eliminated opposition candidates by protesting technical glitches in their nominating petitions or petitioning to change the party rules on how votes are counted in primary elections or hiring groups like ACORN to register 14 people who all, coincidentally, have the same names and reside at the same abandoned and boarded-up restaurant. Did she not once consider taking lessons from the Chicago political machine that got Obama elected? Sheesh.

Any experienced politician knows that upon assuming high office, you are supposed to demand a larger plane; not sell the useless behemoth that was recently purchased by your predecessor.

Only an amateur would implement a comprehensive energy and conservation policy shortly after taking office. A more experienced politician would have avoided the issue outright for at least 30 years while demonizing oil companies, then banning any voting on the topic followed by a recess vacation through the next election

Any experienced politician knows that once elected, you are not supposed to spend your first 20 months in office actually doing the job you were elected to do. You should be campaigning for another office – as Obama could have told her.

Sarah Palin was only supposed to TALK about government reform and utter platitudes about exiling corrupt, entrenched politicians – not actually do anything about it. She demonstrated her naivete by creating a smooth running government that included representatives of other political parties, thereby making it impossible for her to find a scapegoat if anything goes wrong.

Only a political greenhorn would thumb their nose at the environmental lobby by hunting and actually shooting moose and caribou. Worse yet, she foolishly told the truth: the proposed oil drilling site in ANWR is NOT the secret location of Eden but is, in fact, a barren wasteland.

What Sarah Palin does not seem to understand is that here in the 21st century, chief executives do not negotiate beneficial business deals for their states with foreign nations or take time to actually hang out with soldiers in Iraq. That time is better spent preening for the cameras in Berlin – something else a more seasoned and experienced politician such as Obama could have told her.

Holding oil companies accountable and successfully negotiating mutually productive agreements with them proves she does not understand their true purpose: if you work with them to the benefit of your state, you will no longer have a faceless villain to scare people into voting for you.

By creating new jobs instead of demonizing capitalism, Sarah foolishly enabled people to become more reliant on themselves and less reliant on government, hereby diminishing the dependant voter base – a classic newbie mistake. After all, if people have jobs, they will not have much need for the government and will be too busy enjoying their lives to protest the U.S., its corporations and, of course, opposing candidates.

Worse yet, Palin created a budget surplus and mailed it back to the taxpayers. Doesn’t she know that if the government generates a surplus, it’s doing something wrong? An experienced leader like Obama or Biden knows that taxpayer money belongs to the government – not to the people.

In another rankly amateurish move, she cooperated completely with government officials investigating accusations made against her. Experienced politicians know that you are supposed to stonewall, obfuscate, pressure libraries to expunge any record of unsavory political associations and ship potential witnesses off to Caribbean islands – another good reason not to sell the executive jet.

Yup, she is hopelessly inexperienced.

That is why I ♥ SARAH’CUDA and why I am voting McCain/Palin ‘08
I can't find it in the original, so I don't know who to credit it to.

Bumpersticker of the Day

Bumpersticker of the Day

Via SayUncle from an email from Tam:

As Uncle put it,
Ya know the really cool thing about not being a liberal nor a Democrat? It’s the fact that joke is funny and we’re not offended.
It's also Uncle's sixth blogoversary. Drop by and commiserate congratulate him!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
The more I think about it . . . which seriously causes the acid stomach, let me tell you . . . the more I believe the reason we haven't lined you all up against the nearest wall is the price is just too high, and we're too comfortable.

It won't be that way forever, boys. - Hazel Stone at The Line is Here
Via Curtis Lowe

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Go Watch This

Go Watch This

THIS is activism.

Talk About an Internet WayBack Machine

Talk About an Internet WayBack Machine!

The Technorati Monster appears to have escaped again, but no one there has noticed. I checked my links page just a few minutes ago and saw this (click for full size):

Note the link ages - 14121 days? That's . . . (carry the one . . .) thirty-eight years and eight months! I'm pretty sure Al Gore hadn't invented the internet that long back!

Couldn't Say it Better Myself

Couldn't Say it Better Myself

And when I can't, I let the other guy/gal say it. Curtis Lowe fisks a bit of Obama's acceptance speech, and does it WELL in All This and a Toaster Too. A taste:
OK: This one paragraph I will fisk:

For over two decades, (McCain’s) subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy, give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. (No, it isn't given to them and they aren't "lucky." The vast majority of "the ones with the most" earned it through ingenuity, risk-taking, hard work and sacrifice - and they are the business owners, large and small, that employ the bulk of Americans - asshole).

In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society (Exactly! As in private property ownership - the cornerstone of all rights-based and law-based societies and the antithesis of what you believe in and propose)

Especially the last line. Yeah, I'm glad McCain chose Palin, too, but Curtis is pretty much right.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Now that's funny right there, I don't care who you are.

Via Tam, via One Man's Vote via Hoosier Access.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Let Me Show You Why I Love Bloggers

Let Me Show You Why I Love Bloggers

And the people who read them.

If you don't already read Boobs, Injuries and Dr. Pepper, WTF is wrong with you? (I just realized that I didn't have it listed in my ridiculously long blogroll. That's now fixed.) But if you don't, I'd like you to go to this page, scroll down to Tuesday, August 12 to the post entitled No, Not Upset. LIVID and begin reading. I'd like you to proceed upward through the current post. It'll take you a while.

It's worth it, I promise.

Some Bumper Sticker Ideas

Some Bumper Sticker Ideas

Now that McCain's VP pick has overcome my electile dysfunction. Let's start with this one:

Then we have:


And, finally:

What do you think?

A New Trial for Olofson?

A New Trial for Olofson?

Via The War on Guns comes the news that an appeal has been filed in David Olofson's case. For those of you with short memories, David Olofson is the Wisconsin man who was sent to prison for "transferring a machine gun" when the BATFE - after initially testing his malfunctioning AR-15 and declaring it not a machine gun, retested it with soft-primered ammo and then declared it was a machine gun - suppressed the evidence of the initial testing.

The appeal brief is here. (PDF) The body of the brief itself runs from page 6 to page 56. It's not a difficult read, but it ought to piss you off. Here's a key portion:
Four months after the search and ATF interrogation, on November 17, 2006, ATF agent Keeku filed a Criminal Complaint alleging that, on or about July 13, 2006, Olofson “knowingly transferred a machine gun ... in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(o).” As part of the factual support for the complaint Agent Keeku’s Affidavit stated:
On November 6, 2006, a Firearms Enforcement Officer with ATF test fired the Olympic Arms, serial number F7079 ... us[ing] 60 rounds of commercially available, .223 caliber ammunition. Three tests were performed, each with twenty rounds of ammunition. When the selector switch was placed in the unmarked third position, the firearm fired all twenty rounds automatically in each of the three tests. [Keeku Affidavit, p. 3, R. 1 (App. B-17).]
Omitted from the Keeku Affidavit was mention of an earlier test, conducted “in October of 2006” (Tr. 101, ll. 6-13), by the same ATF officer, utilizing “commercially available ammunition” (see Tr. 107, l. 17), in which Olofson’s AR-15 did not fire automatically,” as the testing officer had expected it to do (Tr. 107, ll. 4-10), but instead had malfunctioned by “hammer follow.” Tr. 122, l. 23 – 123, l. 2. See also Tr. 106, ll. 1-21. Based on this initial test, the testing officer determined that “this gun was not a machine gun.” Tr. 124, l. 21 – 125, l. 1. Thereafter, agent Keeku requested a retest.
Why? Because he didn't get the result he wanted. The initial test indicated that the rifle malfunctioned with the safety in the third position. A "hammer follow" is a malfunction. With the retest, this time videotaped, they managed to get the rifle to fire multiple shots.

That part I was aware of. This part I was not:
At trial, the prosecution and defense counsel originally agreed “that we would allow our witnesses in throughout the entire trial.” Tr. 91, ll. 4-6. Immediately prior to the testimony of its expert firearms testing agent, however, the prosecutor informed the court that the prosecution would like to sequester defense expert during the government expert’s testimony. Tr. 90, ll. 10-13. In response, defense counsel argued not only that the prosecution should be held to his previous word, but also that “under Rule 703 it’s clear that an expert can testify to factual data ... that are just made known to the expert [the] day [of] the hearing.” Tr. 91, ll. 10-13. Without explanation, the court ruled in the prosecution’s favor, “exclud[ing] [defense expert] from the trial during ... that portion of the trial where the government is offering what it believes to be expert testimony.” Tr. 95, ll. 6-11, App. B-35. Thus, defendant’s expert was limited in his testimony to a brief “function check” of the firearm (Tr. 166, ll. 8-18), a review of the prosecution two expert reports (Tr. 171, ll. 14-15; Tr. 179, ll. 5-8), and viewing a portion of the video at trial.
WTF? Seriously - WTF?!?!

Read the whole thing, but take your blood pressure medication first.

Then read Appendix B (PDF).

We do not have a "Justice" system, we have a LEGAL system. If someone in that system wants to convict you of something, then they'll find a way.

David complains in his post:
I posted the appeals brief yesterday that details all the dirty tricks the government and the prosecution employed--from mischaracterizing technical points on the witness stand, to ignoring precedent established in the Staples case in re definitions, to failure to produce documents requested by the defense (the excuse was correspondence with the original manufacturer contained privileged tax information), to preventing the defense expert witness from inspecting the firearm and excluding him from the courtroom during when the "expert witness" for the prosecution testified--actually reneging on their agreement and legal requirements, and much, much more...all with the tacit consent of a complicit judge.

So far, there has been zero interest shown from the "gun blogosphere."
A commenter complains:
Sadly, many of the most vocal, and vicious, voices in the gun blogging community, including the gun forums, tend to be pragmatists. Neither Olofson nor Fincher are 'pure' enough for them. Anytime Olofson, or Fincher are brought up, outside of a few select blogs, there is an automatic flame war drowning out any opinions other than the party line that they got what they had coming to him.

Personally, I hope that both Olofson and Fincher manage to regain their freedom.
I left this reply:
Personally, I hope that both Olofson and Fincher manage to regain their freedom.

So do I. Olofson was railroaded, of that I have absolutely no doubt. Fincher, on the other hand, challenged already established precedent in the circuit in which he was tried. I don't like that he was convicted, but I understand why he was, and I was completely unsurprised that SCOTUS denied cert. This was, after all, about machine guns, and those scare the white people. Same for the 9th Circuit's Stewart decision.

As far back as Sun Tzu, the advice is to "know yourself, know the enemy, and choose your battles carefully." Mr. Fincher didn't do at least two of the three.

I don't read your blog daily, David, nor check JPFO daily either. Thanks for putting up the link. I'll write a post this evening when I get home. I hope Olofson gets another trial and an acquittal, and I hope he can successfully Nifong the prosecutor.
On second thought, it isn't the prosecutor I'm really interesting in seeing Nifonged, it's ATF Agent Keeku.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Pardon me if I think your threats are slightly less credible than Bigfoot stories. You don't have the stones to shoot a BB gun at the Trilateral Commission and their space lizard overlords and then you want me to quail in fear at your vague ninja skills? - Tam, Troofers
It's official. I'm a fanboy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Locke vs. Rousseau

This time from Brigid:
My work has value. My mind has value. I won't do it for free. those that do that, are amateurs (coming from the Latin amator - meaning lover), not professionals. As a professional I expect to be paid. Nor will I do it to pay the rent and gas and food of those who aren't willing to put forth their own effort to the best of their own ability. A hard working person, down on their luck, I will help in many ways. I've added to the tip jar of many a hard working blogger, caught up in exploding cars, dysfunctional pets, and bad experiences with Comcast. I've helped people in my community, neighbors, suddenly and through no fault of their own, out of a job, with food and/or child care while they went to an interview; with assistance with crafting a new resume and getting them some job contacts. Helping those that actively worked to help themselves.

But do not ask me to support, through work or taxes or even my time, which has value of it's own, a class of people who only wish to take, because they feel they are owed it for breathing, for crossing the border illegally, or for being a specific race, creed or religion.
Tam said something similar a while back:
It makes one look like a savage to say so, but if your house burns down, blows over, or floats away, it's not the job of the federal government to fix it for you. Charity is one thing, but federal tax dollars coerced at 1040-point from a single working mother of two in Dubuque (and then filtered through a morbidly obese federal agency) to rebuild your bungalow in Destin is not charity, okay? It's extortion.
I was having a conversation with a co-worker this afternoon, the one outspoken Obama supporter in the office. He kept talking about the right to health care. I kept correcting him - and he agreed, repeatedly - that "health care" is not a right because it obligates another to provide something, but each time he began expounding on health care he kept using the "right" language.

And I kept interrupting him and repeating the lesson.

A large part of the population is much like him, or Brigid's hairdresser. They're A-OK with extortion, because they'll benefit from it, and they think others like them will benefit from it. (Yes, yes, I can hear the anarcho-capitalists now shouting "Hypocrite! Hypocrite!" Sorry, but I do see a difference between, say, taxation to support the Constitutional requirement to defend the nation vs. taxation to support the welfare state. I'd be more than happy to abolish the income tax and operate the government strictly off of tariffs if we could pare the .gov back to its Constitutional limits. In the mean time I'm more interested in trying to stop .gov growth.)

But what it all boils down to is what Jonah Goldberg expressed in Liberal Fascism, and in his podcast interview with Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith:
All public policy issues ultimately boil down to one thing: Locke versus Rousseau. The individual comes first, the government is merely an association protecting your interests, and it's transactional, versus the general will, the collective, the group is more important than the individual. Everything boils down to that eventually. And the problem with "compassionate conservatism" is the same problem with social gospelism, with Progressivism and all the rest: it works on the assumption that the government can love you. The government can't love you. The government is not your mommy and it's not your daddy, and any system that is based on those assumptions will eventually lead to folly.
Barack Erkel Obama, and to a lesser extent, McCain, are promising a government that will love you.

And to hell with the individual. It all goes back to philosophy, and the fact that we're not teaching Locke's to our kids. Instead we're allowing our educators and our media to haphazardly feed them Rousseau's.

And it's led us here, to folly upon folly. It will eventually lead us to ruin.

And I fear that eventuality is not far off.

Hippo Birdy Two Ewe

Hippo Birdy Two Ewe!

Hippo Birdy Two Ewe!

Hippo Birdy Deer LabRat

Hippo Birdy Two Ewe!

I've got to use that one on my wife next year when she celebrates the 29th anniversary of her 21st birthday.

You've got yourself a keeper there, LabRat.

Well, THIS Sucks

Clayton Cramer is getting laid off from his job at Hewlett Packard after moving to Boise Idaho and building a home there. Anybody know of a job opening for a software engineer / semi-pro historian / part-time college professor / amateur astronomer / gun-rights activist?

I blame George Bush.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Last night the Democrats' Nixon, Bill Clinton, was slathered in ovations as he lauded the "achievement" of Barrack Obama before leaving the podium to the rocking strains of "Addicted to Love." It could have been worse if Clinton had chosen the bumper music and selected Jimi Hendrix and "Are You Experienced?" - Gerard Van Der Leun, The Democrats' "Forgotten Man": Happy 100th Birthday, Lyndon

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Terrorist Rifles" Hot Sellers in Louisiana

"Terrorist Rifles" Hot Sellers in Louisiana

According to Outdoor Life:
We just got a call from Devline Rossell, a charter captain based out of Venice Louisiana. He was shopping in New Orleans to get some supplies before the arrival of Gustav (currently listed as a tropical storm that has left at least 22 dead in the Caribbean) and reported that the item most in demand was not food, clothing or shelter.
"I just left a sporting goods store and you would think that the number-one selling item would be plywood or potable water or gasoline right now," he said. "Apparently it is AR-15s and .223 ammo. I watched at least 20 people buy AR-15s and cases of .223."

(h/t: Instapundit)

Quote of the Day

From a post that's just full of them, Tam's ParaUSA LTC After-Action Report:
The special pistol was outfitted with Para’s adjustable rear sights of a BoMar pattern (fauxMars, if you will,) and a fiber optic front. These give a phenomenal, fast-to-acquire sight picture, but their sharp, sure-snag corners make as much sense on an alloy-frame 4.25” carry gun as a kickstand on a tank.
Where does she come up with these phrases?

Going into this event, Tam wasn't really interested. At the 2nd Amendment Blogger Bash she made it apparent that Para-Ordnance was not high on her list of manufacturers to do business with based on her long experience as a merchant of death at Coal Creek Armory, but this weekend converted her:
The acid test? Well, if I have to sell a kidney or get a paper route to do it, I am buying this gun. I may be a starving artist, but even a starving artist knows the value of a dead reliable, deadeye accurate pistol when she sees one.
Attention Thanos Polyzos and Kerby Smith (not to mention Dan Smith of ICC): You just received the highest praise possible from the gunblogosphere for your product.

Expect orders.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Freudian Slip?

Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson -- yes, that Charlie Wilson -- was speaking at an anti-war rally when he, um, flubbed a line:
"We should be led by Osama bin Laden," he said, then quickly corrected himself. "I mean Obama and Biden."
Osama bin Laden, Obama and Biden, hey, it's a mistake anybody could make.

And will keep making all the way 'till election day.

Obama bin Biden 2008!

I'm suddenly feeling a little less sick to my stomach over this year's election.

From Real Clear Politics via Glenn

This one needs to be spread far and wide.

UPDATE: New bumpersticker!


As noted, the pistols we shot over the weekend were equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips that, if I understood correctly, were sighted in personally by Todd Jarrett for about 12 yards. The laser emitter is located on the right side grip, about half an inch below the centerline of the bore, so the point of aim and the point of impact are not necessarily the same. As a training aid, the laser allows you to see just how much movement you have while aiming. Todd demonstrated this in the classroom by putting the dot from his pistol on the wall about 10 yards from where he was standing.

I didn't think a human being could be that still. I know I can't.

On Sunday in the shoot house he had us, three at a time, doing drills on targets while the rest watched. One of the things he wanted us to notice was how high the dot went when a pistol was fired - regardless of whether that pistol was chambered in .45 or 9mm. As you can see in this photo, my .45 comes up quite a bit at full buck. The other thing he wanted us to notice was how far down it comes during recovery. When the pistol is held properly, the dot simply returns to the original point of aim. (He showed us that with a couple of full mags, rapid fire.) Held improperly the dot is all over the target, moving in big loops. This is something you can't really notice with iron sights only.

Going through the shoot house, a couple of the targets were so close that using the sights was practically redundant, but on the second trip through there were two "long shots" - bad guys behind no-shoots - at about 12 yards. I decided to use the laser, rather than the front sight. I deliberately put the red dot on the left shoulder of a target and touched off a round. A hole appeared where the dot had been.

And I did that three more times in quick succession.

Crimson Trace gave us t-shirts with their logo on it, and this un-PC marketing blurb:

Helping Bad-Guys Make Informed Decisions

To that I would like to add: Helping Put Rounds On Target, FAST.

More Blackwater Blogger Outreach

Apparently we weren't the only bloggers at Blackwater over the weekend. Mary Katherine Ham, N.Z. Bear, and Armed Liberal were there, too! And nobody introduced us! I'm shocked and outraged by this snub!

Dammit! THEY got to drive on the track!


Go to Google.

Type in "Klingon marital aids" (without the quotation marks).

Hit "I'm feeling lucky."

Is that cool, or what?

Flying with a Firearm

Until this trip, I'd never checked a firearm while flying. It was an interesting experience. I took my Kimber Ultra CDP II and my Comp-Tac Minotaur holster. I've modified the Kimber slightly. At Chris Byrne's suggestion I've added a stainless S&A mag guide with an arched mainspring housing, and replaced the original checkered Double-Diamond grips with a smooth set of Cocobolo grips cut for the magwell from Hogue. I packed these in the original Kimber plastic container along with the factory 7-round and one Chip McCormick 8-round magazine. To meet the "original packaging" requirement, I dug through my reloading bench and found a 20-round box that originally contained Cor-Bon 45ACP+P loads, and put 20 of my handloads in it, then locked the box with two sturdy Masterlocks.

The guy at the Phoenix Delta counter was pleased that I'd followed the rules, gave the pistol a cursory glance to ensure the magazine well was empty, and sent me on my way to the TSA guys and their X-ray machine. They did not ask to see the pistol.

On the way back, the ladies at the Norfolk Delta counter ooh'd and ahhh'd. "That's pretty!" one of them said. "I really need to learn to shoot," said another.

As Tam once put it, I love being in American-occupied America.

The TSA guy in Norfolk wanted to look at the gun. Again, all he did was check to ensure the magazine well was empty and the magazines were unloaded. "Nobody ever checks the chamber," I commented. "We're not allowed to touch the gun," he replied, "but when I put it through the X-ray machine, I'll be able to see if there's a round in the chamber."

As I noted below, I made the flight from Atlanta to Phoenix, but my bag didn't. It's an uncomfortable feeling knowing that your luggage - with a lot of expensive stuff in it - might not be showing up as scheduled. This further reinforces my resolve to drive where I need to go if at all possible.



I just noticed that Tam got some bad news. If you're of the persuasion, some good thoughts in that direction would be appreciated.

I'm Going to be On the Radio, er... Internet!

Tonight's exciting episode of Gun Nuts: The Next Generation will be an exclusive follow-up to the Para-USA Weekend at Blackwater. Caleb will be interviewing several of the attendees, including yours truly during the show which will run a full hour rather than the standard 45 minutes.

As always, you can "tune in" at at 11:00PM Eastern, or catch it as a podcast the next day.

Quote of the Day

After two trips thru the shoot house, this really isn't that exciting. Hmmm, a motel fire. - Dave Hardy, from a motel in Arlington, VA this morning.
Here's the view out the front door of his room when he awoke:

Apparently it wasn't any big deal to the firefighters either. They didn't bother to evacuate the other lodgers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

On the Ground in Phoenix

On the Ground in Phoenix

I've been here for about an hour and 15 minutes. I made it to the plane, but my luggage (with my checked firearm) caught the next plane. I'm waiting for it to hit the carousel. Then I have to take the bus to the parking lot, find my truck, get it out of hock and drive an hour and a half home. My body says it's almost 2:00AM.

I think I'm going to be late to work tomorrow.

Stuck in Norfolk

Apparently Atlanta is stacked up. We were supposed to push back from the gate here in Norfolk at 4:01PM local time, and arrive in Atlanta at 5:50. Now they tell us that we'll depart about 5:30, and nobody knows if our connecting flights will still be on the ground when we get to Atlanta or not.

So I just paid $9.95 for a 1Mbps wireless connection so I could get back on the 'Net and do some surfing. I'm on Boingo. I'm not impressed. When I logged on it immediately gave me a chat screen and a perky salesperson who tried desperately to convince me that I needed to sign up for the $6.95/month service rather than the $9.95 single-use. It was tough to convince her I really didn't need it. Until I mentioned I was a blogger.

I need to learn to control this power . . .

I think I'm going to be late to work tomorrow.

If I get there at all.

The power of blogging is very limited in scope.

Shooting with Todd Jarrett

This is one of the high-capacity scenarios we shot Saturday afternoon. The drill was to advance with your partner, firing three shots each onto a stationary plate. Pass through the "doorway" and then split, left and right. Engage the falling plates and put two rounds onto any "mover" that came into your field of vision. On the ground behind the barricade where you can't see it in this video is another fixed plate you had to shoot twice, then shift to the end and shoot the stationary plate there six times, again putting two rounds onto any mover that entered your field of vision. All reloads had to be done from cover. We were uniformly bad at it, but damn, it was fun!

OK, I have to go to the airport now. No more blogging for a while. Maybe tomorrow.

The Best Picture of Me This Weekend Award

. . . goes to Joe Huffman, who caught me in full recoil, brass freshly ejected, with the pistol about halfway back into battery when I was shooting the 8" plates at 35 yards. And I'm using the proper grip!

Many more good photos at the link.

When I Win the Lottery. . .

I'm gonna build one of THESE:

That's the shoot house we played in on Sunday. AR500 plate walls, movable interior walls also lined with AR500 plate with a plywood skin on the surface, hollow-core doors, and portable bullet traps:

These are constructed of AR500 plate with a piece of what looks like rubber conveyor belt over the open side of the box that traps the splashed particles of the bullet after it penetrates.

If I had unlimited wealth, I would have a shoot house on my property.

I Think Gunsite Ranch was Spying on Blackwater

This is Gunsite's logo, right?

Well, up in a tree a couple hundred yards from the shoot house was a fairly large bird:

That then did this for about ten minutes:

I suspect Ninjas were involved . . .

Two Guesses...

. . . as to who was wearing sandals at the range:

Giving Thanks

I just realized I hadn't done so. My mother would be appalled. So, copying Sebastian, I'd like to thank everyone involved in getting us to Blackwater to shoot Para-USA's guns and IPCC's ammo:
Thanos Polyzos, CEO of Para-USA - the guy who signed off on the idea and had his factory build us a run of really cool pistols. We're not worthy! We're not worthy! But we're very appreciative!

Kerby Smith, Director of Communications for ParaUSA. Sorry about the t-shirt joke, Kerby!

Todd Jarrett, who put together and taught the course. He even tried to get us time on the Blackwater track driving their cars, but I told him it was OK that hadn't worked out. If he'd pulled that off, I'd have to worship him as a God.

Michael Bane, who sent his film crew for DRTV and The Shooting Gallery, and who was, I think, responsible for the idea in the first place.

Patrick Harlan, Internet Marketing Specialist for Crimson Trace who supplied us with laser grips. Seriously - buy some Crimson Trace grips. You will be AMAZED. They'll do a lot to teach you what you do wrong.

All the folks at Blackwater USA. Sorry about the sink. And next time, do you think you could open the Pro Shop for us? I just want to see what Blackwater sells in their Pro Shop. Shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles? Backpack Ninjas? Sharks with frikken laser beams on their heads?

All the folks at Blackhawk, who supplied us with SERPA holsters and rigger's belts, shirts and goodies, and the bus that took us to and from Blackwater. You'll be getting a knife order from me soon, and possibly an order for another SERPA holster.

Dan Smith of International Cartridge Corporation, who supplied us with all our ammunition needs. I'm sorely disappointed that we sent him home with some full cases. But mostly I'm just sore.

"Green" Ammunition

I've posted once before on the subject of "green" ammunition. It seems the U.S. Army wanted to switch to a non-lead projectile due to the incredibly high volume of ammunition fired during training contaminating their ranges, so they chose a tungsten/nickel/cobalt alloy - lead free! Unfortunately in laboratory tests where tiny grains of the alloy were surgically placed into rats, this produced a fast-moving cancer in 100% of the rats in pretty short order.


As I understand it, the Pentagon has dropped that idea for the moment.

The ammunition we shot this weekend at Blackwater is also "green" but it contains no tungsten, nickel or cobalt. It is sintered copper and tin. Sintering is a process by which powdered metals are bonded together under carefully controlled heat and pressure conditions. By controlling the process, the final physical characteristics of the sintered metal can be manipulated. Sintering is being used in industry for everything from piston engine connecting rods to decorative gee-gaws. Now they're using it in projectiles.

And they work.

I shot several hundred rounds of International Cartridge Corporation's 155 grain .45ACP Green Elite TR non-toxic frangible flatpoint (loaded to 1,150fps) through my Para Tac-S this weekend without a single failure of any kind. I popped 8" steel plates with it from 35 yards, and I did full magazine dumps on a steel plate from a distance of about three feet without anything splashing back on me but some dust. I didn't have to worry about pieces of jacket coming back and sticking me (which has happened at distances considerably farther than three feet), nor did I need to worry about lead exposure.

In addition to their training ammunition, ICC also makes a line of Duty ammunition. It's still frangible, but by controlling the sintering process it is not as delicate as the training ammo (which, as far as Robb Allen and I could tell, blew up on impact with the plywood interior walls of the shoot house without penetrating.) The duty ammo is the same weight and velocity as their training ammo, but it performs entirely differently. The bullet design is a hollow point, and the forward section of the bullet is designed to fragment, much like the "prefragmented" ammo we've all heard of. The base of the bullet remains intact for deep penetration but if the bullet strikes a hard surface it disintegrates like an frangible should, reducing the possibility of hitting a bystander. They even manufacture pistol ammo capable of defeating a Level II vest, that still performs as though it never hit the vest at all. (But not in .45 ACP. Not enough velocity, I'd imagine.)

This is all very tacticool, and I appreciate the need for such ammunition, especially at places like indoor ranges and Blackwater where so many rounds are fired in a very short period of time. However, I'm more than a little disturbed by the fact that California has outlawed lead projectiles for hunting, that the Violence Policy Center is going hard after lead as a pollutant on public shooting ranges, and, according to the rep, California's law is going to migrate to Arizona.

This stuff is not (at present) available as a component. The bullets are, as you might imagine, brittle. If improperly crimped, the bullet can break just as if it were ceramic, so they don't sell anything but loaded ammunition. I would imagine the same is true for other manufacturers of similar technology - the physics of sintered metal technology makes the bullets rather fragile (though they stand up to being dropped on concrete with no evidence of damage.)

If "Green" ammunition gets a good running start at the legislatures, then handloading is in trouble. I don't have a problem with new and better technologies, but I do have a problem with legislatures destroying old ones.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
It looks like Jackson Pollock threw up on the walls. - Tam, commenting on the effects of multiple Simunitions hits on the interior walls of the shoot house.
Runner up for QotD is this one, posted by SayUncle.

UPDATE: Here's a shot of one of Pollock's lesser efforts:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Should Not be Allowed Out Without a Keeper

On Thursday evening I was picked up at the airport by Sailorcurt, who was accompanied by JR, Robb and Ahab. We went straight from the airport to a restaurant in the 15-passenger van Curt had borrowed from his church. When I got out of the van, I turned around to open the second door to let JR out of the back, and hooked a belt loop on the bug deflector of a pickup truck sitting in the parking slot next to the van, snapping off about a six-inch piece from the driver's side.

Oh well. I picked up the piece and put it on the hood, figuring whoever owned it would come back to the restaurant looking for the group with the van when they found it. Later in the evening, Curt went out to the van for something and saw an obviously agitated couple writing down the information off the side of the church van. When he unlocked the door, the female of the couple came around and informed him that they'd called the police about the damage.

Curt came and got me, I gave them my contact information and told them to send me a bill. When we came back out a half-hour later, they were gone.

This morning I woke up at about 4:30, and then never really did get back to sleep before I finally got up at 6:15. After I showered I was brushing my teeth and I leaned over on the sink, just a little. (I swear!)

You know, I'm pretty sure that you're not supposed to mount sinks, especially heavy ceramic ones, only with butterfly bolts through the drywall. You're supposed to secure them to, you know, wood.

The funny thing was, I went out to the lobby to tell the desk attendant what I'd done, and brought her back to the room to show her. She looked at it for a second and said, "Do you need to finish?" I explained that the drain plumbing had snapped off, so running more water through the sink probably wasn't advisable, so she informed me that a shower room was available down the hall where I could find a sink and shave.

I promised not to lean on that sink.

I shouldn't be allowed out of my house without a keeper.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tired, Sunburned, Achy, and Happy

I'm back at the Black Bear Inn after a full (and I mean full) day at the range. We started out the morning with Todd Jarrett checking and correcting our grip on our pistols. Now, I'm not one much for tattoos, but I'm giving serious consideration to having the witness marks he put on our hands with a sharpie permanently replicated in subcutaneous ink. By merely altering my grip and teaching the isosceles stance I firmly believe he has reduced my shot-to-shot recovery time by about half. I have complained before about my split times when shooting controlled pairs. That slowness is due to the fact that I have a hard time reacquiring the front sight after the first shot.

Not today. Each and every time the front sight was RIGHT THERE after each and every shot.

When I did it right.

Now I just have to practice that grip, because I've been shooting with a different (and wrong) grip for so long I instinctively use it. And go slow.

As always, it's practice, practice, practice!

The Para ran almost flawlessly for me today. We gunked it up pretty bad. They told us we'd be shooting like 500 to 1,000 rounds a day. I'd say I did at least 500. Towards the end of the day the slide stopped locking back on some of the magazines.


There is one fly in the ointment, however. Joe Huffman discovered that it was possible to manipulate the controls on his pistol in such a way as to cause the sear to release without first cocking the hammer on the trigger pull. This resulted in essentially the same condition as a misfire - the round in the chamber had to be ejected to re-cock the action. To duplicate the fault, you have to pull the trigger with the thumb safety engaged, then disengage the thumb safety with the trigger partially depressed. You have to do it just right, but Joe, being the analytical type, was able to duplicate the malfunction on his pistol, and on mine, and on a couple of others. He was not able to get SayUncle's to fail, however. I was then able to do it - unintentionally - on the range.

Solution: Don't use the thumb safety. It's not necessary, anyway. The grip safety and the long trigger pull are safety enough. Not encouraging, really, but I still like the pistol. A lot. I WOULD use it as a carry piece.

We shot paper, we shot steel. We shot standing and we shot moving. We shot moving steel, while standing and while moving.

We had a helluva lot of fun. My hands hurt. My face hurts from smiling. My legs hurt from standing all day. And I've got some sunburn despite borrowing some of Armed Schoolteacher's SPF55 sunscreen. I forgot to put any on the sides of my face.

Tomorrow morning we get to shoot in a shoothouse.

This trip is made of awesome.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Part VI of excerpts from the chapter entitled "The Road to Nowhere" from David Horowitz's The Politics of Bad Faith. Another long one:
By 1917, Russia was already the 4th industrial power in the world. Its rail networks had tripled since 1890, and its industrial output had increased by three-quarters since the century began. Over half of all Russian children between eight and eleven years of age were enrolled in schools, while 68% of all military conscripts had been tested literate. A cultural renaissance was underway in dance, painting, literature and music, the names Blok, Kandinsky, Mayakovsky, Pasternak, Diaghelev, Stravinsky were already figures of world renown. In 1905 a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament had been created, in which freedom of the press, assembly and association were guaranteed, if not always observed. By 1917, legislation to create a welfare state, including the right to strike and provisions for workers' insurance was already in force and -- before it was dissolved by Lenin's Bolsheviks -- Russia's first truly democratic democratic parliament had been convened.

The Marxist Revolution destroyed all this, tearing the Russian people out of history's womb and robbing whole generations of their minimal birthright, the opportunity to struggle for a decent life. Yet even as this political abortion was being completed and the nation was plunging into its deepest abyss, the very logic of revolution forced its leaders to expand their Lie: to insist that the very nightmare they had created was indeed the kingdom of freedom and justice the revolution had promised.

It is in this bottomless chasm between reality and promise that our own argument is finally joined. You seek to separate the terror-filled actualities of the Soviet experience from the magnificent harmonies of the socialist dream. But it is the dream itself that begets the reality, and requires the terror. This is the revolutionary paradox you want to ignore.

Isaac Deutscher had actually appreciated this revolutionary equation, but without ever comprehending its terrible finality. The second volume of his biography of Trotsky opens with a chapter he called “The Power and The Dream.” In it, he described how the Bolsheviks confronted the situation they had created: “When victory was theirs at last, they found that revolutionary Russia had overreached herself and was hurled down to the bottom of a horrible pit.” Seeing that the revolution had only increased their misery, the Russian people began asking: "Is this...the realm of freedom? Is this where the great leap has taken us?" The leaders of the Revolution could not answer. "[While] they at first sought merely to conceal the chasm between dream and reality [they] soon insisted that the realm of freedom had already been reached -- and that it lay there at the bottom of the pit. ‘If people refused to believe, they had to be made to believe by force.' "

So long as the revolutionaries continued to rule, they could not admit that they had made a mistake. Though they had cast an entire nation into a living hell, they had to maintain the liberating truth of the socialist idea. And because the idea was no longer believable, they had to make the people believe by force. It was the socialist idea that created the terror.

Because of the nature of its political mission, this terror was immeasurably greater than the repression it replaced. Whereas the Czarist police had several hundred agents at its height; the Bolshevik Cheka began its career with several hundred thousand. Whereas the Czarist secret police had operated within the framework of a rule of law, the Cheka (and its successors) did not. The Czarist police repressed extra-legal opponents of the political regime. To create the socialist future, the Cheka targeted whole social categories -- regardless of individual behavior or attitude -- for liquidation.

The results were predictable. “Up until 1905,” wrote Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, in his monumental record of the Soviet gulag, “the death penalty was an exceptional measure in Russia.” From 1876 to 1904, 486 people were executed or seventeen people a year for the whole country (a figure which included the executions of non-political criminals). During the years of the 1905 revolution and its suppression, "the number of executions rocketed upward, astounding Russian imaginations, calling forth tears from Tolstoy and...many others; from 1905 through 1908 about 2,200 persons were executed---forty-five a month. This, as Tagantsev said, was an epidemic of executions. It came to an abrupt end."

But then came the Bolshevik seizure of power: "In a period of sixteen months (June 1918 to October 1919) more than sixteen thousand persons were shot, which is to say more than one thousand a month." These executions, carried out by the Cheka without trial and by revolutionary tribunals without due process, were executions of people exclusively accused of political crimes. And this was only a drop in the sea of executions to come. The true figures will never be known, but in the two years 1937 and 1938, according to the executioners themselves, half a million 'political prisoners' were shot, or 20,000 a month.

To measure these deaths on an historical scale, Solzhenitsyn also compared them to the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, which during the 80 year peak of its existence, condemned an average of 10 heretics a month. The difference was this: The Inquisition only forced unbelievers to believe in a world unseen; Socialism demanded that they believe in the very Lie that the revolution had condemned them to live.
I am reminded here again of Eric Hoffer's observation to Eric Sevareid during an interview:
I have no grievance against intellectuals. All that I know about them is what I read in history books and what I've observed in our time. I'm convinced that the intellectuals as a type, as a group, are more corrupted by power than any other human type. It's disconcerting to realize that businessmen, generals, soldiers, men of action are less corrupted by power than intellectuals.

In my new book I elaborate on this and I offer an explanation why. You take a conventional man of action, and he's satisfied if you obey, eh? But not the intellectual. He doesn't want you just to obey. He wants you to get down on your knees and praise the one who makes you love what you hate and hate what you love. In other words, whenever the intellectuals are in power, there's soul-raping going on.
The author of our century's tragedy is not Stalin, nor even Lenin. Its author is the political Left that we belonged to, that was launched at the time of Gracchus Babeuf and the Conspiracy of the Equals, and that has continued its assault on bourgeois order ever since. The reign of socialist terror is the responsibility of all those who have promoted the Socialist idea, which required so much blood to implement, and then did not work in the end.

But if socialism was a mistake, it was never merely innocent in the sense that its consequences could not have been foreseen. From the very beginning, before the first drop of blood had ever been spilled, the critics of socialism had warned that it would end in tyranny and that economically it would not work. In 1844, Marx's collaborator Arnold Ruge warned that Marx's dream would result in "a police and slave state." And in 1872, Marx's arch rival in the First International, the anarchist Bakunin, described with penetrating acumen the political life of the future that Marx had in mind:
This government will not content itself with administering and governing the masses politically, as all governments do today. It will also administer the masses economically, concentrating in the hands of the State the production and division of wealth, the cultivation of land,...All that will demand...the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant, and elitist of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy...the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense ignorant majority. And then, woe unto the mass of ignorant ones!
If a leading voice in Marx's own International could see with such clarity the oppressive implications of his revolutionary idea, there was no excuse for the generations of Marxists who promoted the idea even after it had been put into practice and the blood began to flow. But the idea was so seductive that even Marxists who opposed Soviet Communism, continued to support it, saying this was not the actual socialism that Marx had in mind, even though Bakunin had seen that it was.
Time once again for this image:

And still, the lie is embraced by people who style themselves "Idealists without illusions."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Report from Blackwater

I could tell you what's going on here, but then I'd have to kill you. . .

No, really. This morning at about 0900 we were picked up by the Blackhawk bus

and taken to their Norfolk facility for a show-n-tell.

These guys are the suppliers to the low-drag/high-speed set. The corporate philosophy is "do it right, then charge what it costs plus enough to make a living." This is American capitalism at its best, from my point of view. They gave each of us a box of swag worth enough to surprise the hell out of me. For example, we each got a gun belt, two holsters, two mag pouches, and shooting gloves. And there was more. I very much like the SERPA holster for the 1911. Positive retention, belt slide or paddle. A lot of thought obviously went into the design. Very, very cool.

Blackhawk carries clothing, literally from helmets to socks and everything in between, knives, breaching tools, and every kind of accessory you can think of. For example, these:

are not knives. No, according to Tam, these are "Klingon marital aids."

These guys carry EVERYTHING!

After the Blackhawk visit, we traveled to "Moyockistan" to Blackwater's facility, and were given the air-conditioned bus tour of the 8,000 acre facility. (Well, not all of it, but I've never seen so many shooting ranges and shoot houses in one place in my life!) It is Disneyworld for gun nuts. We got to see the interior of a shoot house, and got a glimpse of Blackwater's armory.

Yes, that's a gatling.

No, we didn't get to shoot it.


After lunch we had our introduction to the other sponsors of this bash, Para-USA, Crimson Trace, and International Cartridge Corp. We also got introduced to our guns. I'm shooting the Para PXT LDA Tac-S, a Commander-sized 1911 equipped with Para's Light Double Action trigger, but much more than that. This pistol is also equipped with a fiber-optic front sight, adjustable rear sight, and Crimson Trace lasergrips! Overall, it's finished in "Coyote Brown" duracoat, and looks very nice. But on top of that, the pistols we are shooting for this event were custom finished for us:

To be honest with you, I was not all that enamored with the idea of the Light Double Action trigger. I normally shoot a Kimber Classic Stainless full-sized Government model 1911, and it has, IMHO, the finest factory trigger I have ever pulled. The idea of a long trigger pull before a 1911 went "BANG!" just didn't do it for me.

Now that I've shot it, I've got to say I like it. A lot. I might not use it as a competition pistol, but it has definite attraction as a carry piece. They tell us that these guns will be offered to us for purchase, but they haven't told us for how much yet.

I'm wondering how I'm going to explain this purchase to my wife . . .

We finally got on the range about 4:00, and I personally was able to put about 120 rounds downrange before we knocked off about 6:00. Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty much all shooting. I think I'm going to find out how well shooting gloves work at preventing sores and blisters.

I'll have more information to post on the ammo we're using tomorrow. We're shooting "green" frangible ammo - sintered copper and tin, 155 grain flatpoints at an advertised 1,150 fps. They hit where the sights are set, I'll give them that. And they do disintegrate on impact with steel!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go back upstairs and rejoin the conversation still going on.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Part V of excerpts from the chapter entitled "The Road to Nowhere" from David Horowitz's The Politics of Bad Faith. A long one this time:
Straitjacketed by its central plan, the socialist world was unable to enter the "second industrial revolution" that began to unfold in countries outside the Soviet bloc after 1945. By the beginning of the 1980s the Japanese already had 13 times the number of large computers per capita as the Soviets and nearly 60 times the number of industrial robots (the U.S. had three times the computer power of the Japanese themselves). "We were among the last to understand that in the age of information sciences the most valuable asset is knowledge, springing from human imagination and creativity," complained Soviet President Gorbachev in 1989. "We will be paying for our mistake for many years to come." While capitalist nations (including recent "third world" economies like South Korea) were soaring into the technological future, Russia and its satellites, caught in the contradictions of an archaic mode of production, were stagnating into a decade of zero growth, becoming economic anachronisms or what one analyst described as "a gigantic Soviet socialist rust belt." In the 1980s the Soviet Union had become a military super-power, but this achievement bankrupted its already impoverished society in the process.

Nothing illustrated this bankruptcy with more poignancy than the opening of a McDonald's fast-food outlet in Moscow about the time the East Germans were pulling down the Berlin Wall. In fact, the semiotics of the two were inseparable. During the last decades of the Cold War, the Wall had come to symbolize the borders of the socialist world, the Iron Curtain that held its populations captive against the irrepressible fact of the superiority of the capitalist societies in the West. When the Wall was breached, the terror was over, and with it the only authority ever really commanded by the socialist world.

The appearance of the Moscow McDonald's revealed the prosaic truth that lay behind the creation of the Wall and the bloody epoch that it had come to symbolize. Its Soviet customers gathered in lines whose length exceeded those waiting outside Lenin's tomb, the altar of the revolution itself. Here, the capitalist genius for catering to the ordinary desires of ordinary people was spectacularly displayed, along with socialism's relentless unconcern for the needs of common humanity. McDonald's executives even found it necessary to purchase and manage their own special farm in Russia, because Soviet potatoes -- the very staple of the people's diet -- were too poor in quality and unreliable in supply. On the other hand, the wages of the Soviet customers were so depressed that a hamburger and fries was equivalent in rubles to half a day's pay. And yet this most ordinary of pleasures -- the bottom of the food chain in the capitalist West -- was still such a luxury for Soviet consumers that to them it was worth a four hour wait and a four hour wage.
I could stop here, but no. The next paragraphs are just too good:
Of all the symbols of the epoch-making year, this was perhaps the most resonant for leftists of our generation. Impervious to the way the unobstructed market democratizes wealth, the New Left had focused its social scorn precisely on those plebeian achievements of consumer capitalism, that brought services and goods efficiently and cheaply to ordinary people. Perhaps the main theoretical contribution of our generation of New Left Marxists was an elaborate literature of cultural criticism made up of sneering commentaries on the "commodity fetishism" of bourgeois cultures and the “one-dimensional" humanity that commerce produced. The function of such critiques was to make its authors superior to the ordinary liberations of societies governed by the principles of consumer sovereignty and market economy. For New Leftists, the leviathans of post-industrial alienation and oppression were precisely these "consumption-oriented" industries, like McDonald's, that offered inexpensive services and goods to the working masses -- some, like the "Sizzler" restaurants, in the form of "all you can eat" menus that embraced a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits and pastries virtually unknown in the Soviet bloc.

These mundane symbols of consumer capitalism revealed the real secret of the era that was now ending, the reason why the Iron Curtain and its Berlin Walls were necessary, why the Cold War itself was an inevitable by-product of socialist rule: In 1989, for two hour's labor at the minimum wage, an American worker could obtain, at a corner "Sizzler," a feast more opulent, more nutritionally rich and gastronomically diverse than anything available to almost all the citizens of the socialist world (including the elite) at almost any price.

In the counter-revolutionary year 1989, on the anniversary of the Revolution, a group of protesters raised a banner in Red Square that summed up an epoch: Seventy Years On The Road To Nowhere. They had lived the socialist future and it didn't work.
Don't miss tomorrow's QotD!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Made It!

Made It!

I'm in Norfolk. The Delta ticket agent did not freak when I checked my bag with a pistol in it, the flights were pretty much on time, and I was met at the Norfolk airport by JR, Sailorcurt, Caleb and Rob. I managed to break the bug deflector on a pickup in a parking lot getting out of Curt's van. (I figure that'll cost me a couple hundred bucks.) Had dinner with the guys at a steakhouse, and Rob was his normal hysterical self.
My dad refers to my mother as "The Defendant." They're not married anymore. After picking me up from my mom's, he'd ask, "So, how's The Defendant?"
Now I'm checked into the hotel, got my internet fix for the day, and I'm going across the street to the Hilton to meet the crowd at the Hilton's bar. SayUncle has arrived, and I'm not sure who else is here besides Sebastian. Should be fun! Later.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Part IV of excerpts from the chapter entitled "The Road to Nowhere" from David Horowitz's The Politics of Bad Faith:
The lineage of these ideas could be traced back to our original complex noun, Trotsky: the legend of the revolution who had defied Stalin’s tyranny in the name of the revolution. While the Father of the Peoples slaughtered millions in the 1930s, Trotsky waited in his Mexican exile for Russia’s proletariat to rise up and restore the revolution to its rightful path. But as the waves of the Opposition disappeared into the gulag, and this prospect became impossibly remote, even Trotsky began to waver in his faith. By the eve of the Second World War, Trotsky’s despair had grown to such insupportable dimensions, that he made a final wager with himself. The conflict the world had just entered would be a test for the socialist faith. If the great war did not lead to a new revolution, socialists would be compelled, finally, to concede their defeat -- to admit that “the present USSR was the precursor of a new and universal system of exploitation,” and that the socialist program had “petered out as a Utopia." Trotsky did not survive to see the Cold War and the unraveling of his Marxist dreams. In 1940, his dilemma was resolved when one of Stalin’s agents gained entrance to the fortress of his exile in Mexico, and buried an ice pick in his head.

But the fantasy survived.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey! I'm Off the List!

Hey! I'm Off the List!

I was actually able to print my boarding passes online!

The wheels of .gov grind exceedingly slowly, it appears.

Ah Well, Gotta Be PC

I'm gonna be on TV! Can't wear my Proud Member of the Triangle of Death t-shirt. Or my 72 Virgins Dating Service t-shirt. Or my Achmed the Dead Terrorist t-shirt. Probably shouldn't wear my Some Days it's Not Even Worth Chewing Through the Restraints t-shirt, but I am wearing that one on the plane tomorrow. We're going to a steakhouse Thursday night, so I'd love to wear my Meat is Murder shirt, but there'll be no time for me to change even if my flight(s) are not delayed.

I will, however, be taking my Heller Kitty shirt, and my Celebrate Diversity shirt. I expect to pick up a couple of new ones while I'm out of town this weekend, too!

When the "Meat is Murder" shirt arrived, my wife asked me, "Do you own any shirts that won't offend someone?" I replied, "Where's the fun in that?"

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

(Via email):
Son battled officers; now mom fights suit

Year after Shingle Springs shootout, deputies seek $8 million from widow

By Dorothy Korber -

Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, August 10, 2008
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A1

A carved post and a boulder mark the place where Eddie Mies gunned down his dad last year on the family's rustic homestead in Shingle Springs.

Up the hill a little farther, among the dusty pines and chaparral, stands another wooden post and a cairn of smaller rocks. This is where Mies, who was 34, died of bullet wounds from the ensuing gunbattle with El Dorado County deputies.

Three deputies and a police dog also were hit in the firefight that morning; all survived.

The bloody date was June 5, 2007. Karen Mies, staggering under the news that her son had murdered her husband, told a family friend she was grateful for one thing: The wounded deputies were alive.

One year later to the day, two of the deputies filed a civil lawsuit against the widow and the estate of her deceased husband, Arthur, and her son. Officers Jon Yaws and Greg Murphy – both recovered and back at work – each is suing the Mies family for $4 million for emotional distress, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and punitive damages.

Given her modest circumstances, the 66-year-old hospice nurse says their $8 million claim would be laughable – if the whole situation were not so heartbreaking.

"June 5 was a tragic day for me and my family, and it was a tragic day for the deputies who were injured," Karen Mies said. "We were all victims that day. But this lawsuit is victimizing our family again. What do they want? My husband's dead, my son's dead. Do they want my house and my 10-year-old car?"

In their lawsuit, Yaws and Murphy allege the Mies family was negligent in failing to control their troubled son Eddie, behavior that led to the gunbattle and their injuries. Yaws was wounded in the arm, chest and leg; Murphy was struck once in the leg.

In addition to their physical injuries, the suit alleges the deputies suffered anxiety and humiliation.

Such lawsuits by police officers are highly unusual – and hard to win, according to several experts in tort law. They point to a long-standing legal tenet called "the firefighter's rule," which generally precludes emergency workers injured in the line of duty from suing citizens.

"With the firefighter's rule, the reasoning is that they voluntarily agreed to undertake these risks – they know going in that fighting crime or fighting fires is dangerous," said Julie Davies, a professor at McGeorge School of Law. "Additionally, they are paid well to encounter the risks. They're given a whole packet of benefits to compensate them if they're injured, so allowing them to sue citizens would almost be like double taxation."

Davies said there's another consideration, as well: "If people worry that they might be sued by police officers or firefighters, they might hesitate to call on them for help. And that would be bad public policy."
Gee, ya THINK?

Read the whole article. I especially liked this embellishment:
The suit, which claims the deputies were the victims of a well-planned ambush, contains this depiction of the shootout's aftermath: "Eddie Mies was found dead in a bunker with a cache of weapons and ammunition, as well as a change of clothes. A survey of the property revealed an elaborate system of bunkers and tunnels."

This description leaves Karen Mies shaking her head. Her responses: The two weapons he used – a shotgun and a revolver – were guns he owned legally as an adult. The ammunition cache was an old toolbox holding bullets, birdshot and other odds and ends. The change of clothes was a jacket.

As for the bunkers and tunnels, Karen Mies led a walking tour of her 2 1/2 acres. She and Arthur raised their six children here; Eddie, the second youngest, was 2 when they moved in.

It's a typical foothills property – a small blue house on Shingle Road, a garden, several pickup trucks in various states of repair, quiet except for wind chimes and the bark of a distant dog. A neighboring property of similar size recently sold for $250,000.

American flags and patriotic ribbons decorate the fence in support of U.S. troops – Art Mies, who was 71 when he died, was a proud Air Force veteran.

Karen Mies walked past the memorial to her husband at the spot where he was sawing firewood when Eddie shot him in the back. She led the way up the hill, through dead corn that Eddie had planted near the small travel trailer where he was living the last year of his life.

She stopped at a wire fence on her property line and pointed to a shallow depression in the ground.

"There were a couple of holes up here where the kids used to play – they've been here for years," she said. She nodded toward a trail that wound away through the brush. "There are trails like that through the grass. When I read 'tunnels' and 'bunkers' in the lawsuit, I couldn't believe it."
Sweet bleeding jeebus.

Who Says Bloggers Don't Do Investigative Reporting?

Who Says Bloggers Don't Do Investigative Reporting?

(Via Uncle) Rich Hailey at Shots Across the Bow puts on his investigative journalist's fedora and digs into those "You may have won a CAR!" promotional mailings that car dealers mail out. My favorite excerpt:
I met Harold Posey, an older gentleman who referred me to Jeff Hill, brother of the owner. I told Jeff about what I'd found out, and asked him if he was comfortable using these deceptive kinds of tactics to get people onto his lot. He stared at me for a couple of minutes, and started to talk about understanding that I was upset that I hadn't won the grand prize. I told him that I'd come into the dealership knowing that I wouldn't win the prize, but was there primarily to find out whether he thought the promotion was in keeping with the ideals of the company.

He invited me back to his office and when we sat down, he began to grill me. Who was I? Where did I work? What kind of job did I do? Then he asked me the big question.

"What gives you the right to come in here and question how I do business?"

"I'm a potential customer and you invited me in when you sent out that direct mailing flyer."

And he has the right to go home and blog about it.


Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Part III of excerpts from the chapter entitled "The Road to Nowhere" from David Horowitz's The Politics of Bad Faith:
Stalinism is not just a possible interpretation of Marxism. In the annals of revolutionary movements it is without question the prevailing one. Of all the interpretations of Marx's doctrine since the Communist Manifesto, it is overwhelmingly the one adhered to by the most progressives for the longest time. Maoism, Castroism, Vietnamese Communism, the ideologies of the actually existing Marxist states -- these Stalinisms are the Marxisms that shaped the history of the epoch just past. This is the truth that leftist intellectuals like you are determined to avoid: the record of the real lives of real human beings, whose task is not just to interpret texts but to move masses and govern them. When Marxism has been put into practice by real historical actors, it has invariably taken a Stalinist form, producing the worst tyrannies and oppressions that mankind has ever known. Is there a reason for this? Given the weight of this history, you should ask rather: How could there not be?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Theater Major

A Theater Major!

The story I linked to below in I Have Power! I Have Power! just gets better. First, one of the firemen from the town of Marlboro responds in the comment thread at Make with basically what one would expect from someone in his position:
Posted by RPA August 13, 2008, at 7:40PM:

I love the fact that people from all over the country are blogging about this without the facts. Please, by all means, don't let the facts get in the way of a good story or conspiracy theory! (insert rolleyes smiley icon here).

For your information, unlike everyone else who posted here, I was there. I am an officer in the Marlborough Fire Department. I have worked with Pam on many fire code issues and have known her for over 27 years. She used to work for the Fire Marshal, she does know her job.

The facts:

There was a fire at Mr. Deeb's home. A firefighter was tasked with the assignment going into the basement, where the home's electrical panel was to shut off the power to the second floor bedroom area so firefighters would not get electrocuted during overhaul operations (opening up walls and ceiling to search for hidden fire).

What the firefighter found were containers of all sizes and types, including boxes, vials, carboys, drums, pails, and unmarked mason jars full of various chemicals, including flammable liquids, acids and bases.

One of the Lieutenants who responded to the fire is a member of the State Hazmat team, he requested the Tier 3 haz mat response. A Tier 3 response is a full team activation with a mobile command post that contains all kinds of metering and sampling equipment, computer databases, guidebooks and such as well as the equipment trucks. A Tier 3 response is considered to be long term and/or an immediate life safety risk. Along with the Tier 3 activation came the Massachusetts Department of Environmental protection, The State Fire Marshal/Department of Fire Services, the State Police's hazardous devices unit as well as the arson unit and representatives from the Building Department, Code Enforcement, the Board of Health and the Marlborough Police Department and Emergency Management.

Not knowing the full extent of the types of chemicals or the amounts (the basement was full, with containers on shelves, on the floor, under workbenches, etc), the hazmat team entered wearing level A protection.

It took 3 days to catalog, type and remove what was in Mr. Deeb's basement. The operation was conducted by an independent hazmat cleanup company working under the auspices of the DEP, the Fire Department maintained a 24/7 presence there to maintain control of the incident.

In the real world, a "lab" of this type would require blow out walls, flame detection, smoke detection and a deluge sprinkler system. A lab of this magnitude would also be located in an industrial area and have the proper permitting for the storage of these chemicals.

Mr. Deeb's home is a 2 and half story Colonial wood frame with an attached garage in a residential neighborhood. He didn't have permits, and the fact that many of the containers found were not approved for chemical storage is in violation of the protocols, rules and regulations for the handling and storage promulgated by the EPA, OSHA, NIOSH as well as the Chemical Safety Board.

Within an 1/8th mile radius of Mr. Deeb's home is a playground, UMass Memorial/Marlborough Hospital, the Fremont Medical Center (doctor's offices), a daycare center and the Marlborough Boys and Girls club, as well as the surrounding residential neighborhood.

That wasn't in the news story, was it? Now you know.

Imagine if the fire was in the basement...

Could there have been another Bhopal?

How long would it take to evacuate everyone within a mile radius?

How many people could have died or be permanently disabled from exposure to chemicals?

How many firefighters could have been killed?
Mr. Deeb responds:
Posted by: Victor M. Deeb on August 19, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Please read what I have chronicled below and advise if my civil rights have been violated,

On Aug. 5 about 11 AM Officer Pacific of the Marlborough, Ma. police Dep. while riding his motorcycle on Fremont St. Marlborough Ma. noticed that smoke was coming out of a window air conditioner in my wife's bedroom, he phoned the fire Dep. and got me out of the house, in a pajama bottom, T shirt and no shoes, The fire Dep. put out the fire within minutes of their arrival, and in their effort to eliminate the possibility that the electrical fire started in the basement, the firemen entered my basement and found my lab. With (Labeled) samples, all over, on shelves, on tables and some on the floor, some Jars, quart cans and vials, marked but not labeled, that I carried my experiments in, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Technical Data Sheets (TDS) and spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties.
The fire department not knowing what the samples represented, and fearing the worst, contacted the code enforcement office of The City of Marlborough, Ma. (Ms Pamela Wilderman) a code enforcement officer who is a theater major, with no science training at all.
It is claimed that I may have violated zoning laws, which is contrary to;
How did Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs get started? Is it not in their basement / garages? Why am I being singled out crucified and have 20 years of my life / work and efforts to help others down the drain?
I met with Ms Wilderman and her associate (Deirdre O'Connor M.S.) In my hotel room and I explained that there was no more toxic, hazardous, or flammable material, in my lab. than found in any home.
Materials found in ANY home, such as Bleach, solvents in surface cleaner, window glass cleaners, rubbing alcohol, finger nail polish and finger nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide, paints and drain cleaners, are more volatile, hazardous, and flammable than anything found in my lab.
The state police office of the state fire marshal of which Trooper Sean P. Sullivan interviewed me and asked me to sign a document giving the state permission to renter my home at any time, which I refused to sign, Trooper Sullivan remained around for the following three days, constantly in and out of my house, without a court order or my permission.
The emergency response of Ma. Dep. Of environment protection waste site clean up, of whom Mr. Nicholas J. Child (Section Chief) and William J. Phillips (Branch chief), visited me in my hotel room, and I explained to them what I was working on in details, at which time Mr. Child asked me if I was in a position to afford removing all items from my lab, and I said NO!, filled out a form handed to me and left. Apparently Mr. Child contracted with New England Disposal Technology, Inc. of which Mr. Michael F. Sabo who is its field operation manager, without a court order.
Is it not illegal for the state to enter and dismantle my lab and remove my samples and 20 years of my life without a court order, in the presence of a lawyer representing my interest?
If this could happen to me, what about ANY creative inventor with the desire to create
Unfortunately I do not have the resources at this time to pursue a legal way to recover my last 20 years, unless some attorney agree to take this on contingency

On Aug. 8, I was informed by the City of Marlborough Fire Chief David Adams, that I was permitted to return to my home. Upon my return to my home, I realized that my work for the last 20 years has been dismantled, destroyed and removed including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Technical Data Sheets (TDS) and spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties, upon my contacting Mr. Child of the emergency response section chief, some of the MSDS and TDS were returned to me by Mr. Child but NO! Spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties, and said that they may be in the FBI’s possession.
Chief Adams of the Marlborough, Dep. was kind enough to send the assistant fire chief to help me locate spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties, NON were found in the basement / lab. nor the garage.

My desire to help the environment led to my interest in the recycling of used Rubber tires, by reclaiming / recycling, instead of burning for fuel which generates toxic hazardous fumes. Samples of ground rubber tire were among the samples removed from my lab.
Currently there are 3 ways to recycled rubber tire:
1) Brute force, by passing chopped rubber tire between 2 counter rotating cylinders driven by very high horsepower motors, which produces particle of 40 Mesh at best, the higher the mesh the smaller the particle size, the more acceptable it is for recycling into virgin tires or as asphalt modifier.
2) The Cryogenic process which uses liquid nitrogen to cool the rubber and upon impact particles as small as 300 mesh could be produced, the weight of liquid nitrogen per weight of rubber required, makes the Cryogenic process economically prohibitive.
3) The wet process implemented by The Rouse Rubber Co. Of Mississippi, which utilizes a way to grind chips from used tires under water, to as low as 200 Mesh economically.
My interest in the wet process led to my association with The Rouse Rubber Co. as a consultant and eventually to the formation of a partnership under the name of R. & D. Technology Inc. (Rouse & Deeb) and:
PAT. NO.Title
1 6,815,510 Elastomer reclaiming composition and method
2 6,743,836 Method for predispersing compounding ingredients
3 6,680,110 Particle size reduction using supercritical materials
4 6,663,954 Method of reducing material size
5 6,426,136 Method of reducing material size
6 6,333,373 Ground elastomer and method
7 6,238,448 Grinding stones

Prior to my association with the wet process, they used a 20% slurry in the grinding process, which was increased to 40% with an additive i identified.
Prior to my association with the wet process, they could not grind Butyl inter tubes or tire molding bladders without an additive I identified Hence the presence of various additives in my lab
In an effort to identify ways to enhance the acceptability / recycling of wet process ground rubber by the host compound such as tire compounds or as a modifier for asphalt, paving or roofing, I investigated many potential binders / additives.
Of the binders / additives investigated certain type of polyurethane chemistry was identified as lending themselves to this application. Water dispersions of such Polyurethane chemistry, were obtained and evaluated as binders for ground rubber tire with success. Fearing that the cost of the specific Polyurethane chemistry dispersion may become an obstacle for adding such polyurethane dispersions to the wet process, I acquired various latexes (Such as Neroprene SBR, acrylic, ect.) and investigated minimum Polyurethane dispersion required to maintain binding capacity of the ground rubber tire, Hence the presence of various Latexes / polymer dispersion in my lab.
My interest in utilizing an alternative way to enhancing various processes of reclaiming scrap tires, I identified certain additives that enhance the effectiveness, a process that utilizes much less energy. a water soluble solvent, and a peroxide (NOT HYDROGEN PEROXIDE FOUND IN MOST HOMES) but peroxide with a 300 to 400 dF decomposition temp. Hence the presence of Dicumyl peroxide, Ter-Butyl perbenzoate and 2,5-Dimethyl-2,5-di(tert-butylperoxy) hexane, and water soluble solvents in my lab. Which are safe enough to be approved for food contact applications by the FDA.

My interested in renewable resources led me to evaluate vegetable oils as a component of modifier for asphalt. Vegetable oil when combined with petroleum derived di-functional monomer and a catalyst, subjected, in a batch or continuous way in a reactor I developed using my enhanced process, will produce syrup, which will finish the polymerization process using asphalt’s melting heat / energy. Hence the presence of various vegetable oils in my lab.

The identification of BisPhenol A, BisPhenol F and Pthalates in baby foods, from coatings, sealants and Dioxin (a potent carcinogen) from the degradation of Poly vinyl chloride (PVC) Plastisol sealant, upon reclaiming the steel from food jar metal closures, has led me to recognize an opportunity to help humanity in general and children in particular, and embarked on a project to develop a NO BisPhenol A, BisPhenol F liquid coating that can be applied using existing methods and converted using existing equipment, temp / time. Utilizing a modified Vegetable oil, oligomers and peroxides complying with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 are under consideration by European and domestic companies.
I have also a NO PVC, NO PHTHALATES closure sealant based on oligomers antioxidant and a catalyst complying with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 ready for sampling. Hence the presence of modified vegetable oil, oligomers and powder antioxidant complying with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 in my lab.

Immediately after that, he posts:
Responding to RPA

I wonder where did Ronald P. Ayotte (RPA) of the Marlborough fire Dep. get his degree in the chemistry, toxicity, hazard of materials, to qualify him to make such remarks. I was able to get an inventory of what was illegally remove from my Basement / Lab without a court order, and will be glad to have Mr Ayotte (RPA) point out to me what he is referring to.
Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)that were removed and eventually returned to me would confirm all I claim.
Escalating to Tier 3, instead of Tier 1(Tier 1 suggested by many of the firemen I have consulted) to justify their lack of experience and their jobs is mind boggling Ms P Wilderman
claimes that I may have violated zoning laws, which is contrary to;

I'm not a chemist, but it sounds like nobody there but Mr. Deeb was, and no one bothered to ask him squat. Nobody bothered to get permission. Nobody bothered to get a warrant, and nobody read anybody their rights.

Yes, I'd say Mr. Deeb has grounds for a lawsuit, and I hope like hell somebody will step up and give the man a hand.

Read the whole thread. And read the one at the Telegram & Gazette on the story. And understand that your neighbors are probably a lot like Mr. Deeb's.