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

Friday, January 01, 2010

TSM: 2009 In Review

Time once again for the annual blogging retrospective. It has been an odd year, I'll give it that. I spent the first three months finishing up a project that was supposed to take six weeks, living out of town five nights out of seven and working 65+ hours a week. That ate into my free time pretty heavily, but the pay was good. Consequently, my blogging was a bit lighter than usual - more linky, less thinky. No Überpost for January. I spent some of that overtime on firearms, though. My Boomershoot pistol, for one, and my first pistol chambered in 9mm Europellet, an original early 70's Browning Hi Power.

February started off interestingly. I got to be the guest of a local radio talk show to discuss my blog and gunblogging in general, and was pleased that a reader from the UK, Phil R., called in. He was listening in Oxford, England to a radio station in Tucson, Arizona through the miracle of the internet. I got to meet Phil later in the year.

I did manage an Überpost in February - Confidence, Part III, a decidedly pessimistic look at the future of our nation. Upon re-reading it, I don't believe I'd retract a word. Perhaps as compensation for my pessimism I began the fairly regular posting of "Moment of Zen" images in February, as well.

In March, I reprinted a slightly altered version of Orlando Sentinel columnist Charley Reese's timeless piece, The 545 People Responsible for All of America's Woes. It's titled Rope, Trees, Some Assembly Required. Worth a re-read. I also got an Instalanche - once again for somebody else's work: The Debt Star.

March was also the month that our .gov tried to make once-fired milsurp brass unavailable to reloaders. An immediate, vociferous campaign got that idea quashed.

It was in March that the idea was floated to "invest" .gov money into the Big Three auto makers to bail them out of the hole they'd dug themselves. Now that GM stands for "Government Motors," a letter from Gregory Knox, President of Knox Machinery Co. and a supplier to GM on the subject of that "bailout" is good for another read as well.

In April we were introduced to "Scotgo" - Mr. James Kelly of Scotland who is wholly in favor of gun and knife bans in order to feel safer. I spent some time debunking him.

On a lighter note, I printed a series of cartoons that rag on engineers that month, too.

Tucson had its April 15th TEA Party, and I got some time to attend and take some pictures. Pretty good crowd!

Also, in an event almost as misguided as the Rachel Corrie Memorial Pancake Breakfast, family members of the Virginia Tech massacre victims held a memorial run. Not the message I think they really wanted to promote.

In other news, we got to see the first "rightwing extremist" picked up and questioned: a Texan grandmother. Her crime? Sending the President and congresscritters the tabs from teabags.

In surprise of epic proportions, the NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS found in favor of INCORPORATING THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHT TO ARMS UNDER THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT. I still have a hard time with that concept. The point is pretty much moot given that the Supreme Court will be taking up that question this year, but still, that was a shocker. Fifth Circuit, yes. Ninth Circuit? Who knew that you could get three intellectually honest judges on the same court at the same time?

Finally, Boomershoot was in April. My shooting partner and I drove up (two days each way) and had a helluva good time. All I have to say is: four four-inch square targets in a row at a laser-measured 640 yards.

May brought me more evidence (as if I needed it) that our public education system has pretty much entirely collapsed with Ballistic Deanimation's Dumbing Down.

Bill Whittle advocated for pitchforks and torches for the first time. In response, I wrote an open letter to Bill asking him to pen the current equivalent of Common Sense. He actually responded in comments.

I did manage an Überpost that month, on gun control no less! Entitled Cultures: Compare and Contrast, it was the concluding piece of my exchanges with Mr. James Kelly (first introduced in April).

TSM turned six on the opening day of the NRA convention, held this year just a couple of hours up the road in Phoenix. Much fun was had by all! I was introduced to Para USA's new GI Expert, a very slightly modified 1911 model, and arranged through Kerby Smith to get one as a raffle prize for the forth annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous. The opening teaser was announced in May.

The Überpost of the month was a fisking of a New England Journal of Medicine piece by a couple of lawyers - Ah, Yes, the "Guns as Disease Vector" Meme! In a fit of confession, I admit that Phil's link to the piece from Random Nuclear Strikes was an amusing ego boost.

June brought us solid evidence of Obama's promise that the Stimulus Bill would help keep unemployment down was like all political promises - bullshit. Now that I count myself among the unemployed, it has particular piquance.

I posted a comment by LabRat in its entirety as Quote-of-the-Day because of the sheer beauty and skill she brought to the use of the Clue-by-Four.

Something really weird happened in Italy that involved apparently counterfeit U.S. Bearer Bonds in the sum of $134.5 billion. There was some follow-up on the story, but all the questions have not been answered to my satisfaction.

I added another firearm to my collection, an EAA Witness Match in .38 Super.

Video of the first new Government Motors production automobile was released.

Arizona resident Janet Contreras sent a declaration to Glenn Beck. I don't think it represents the thinking of a majority of Americans, but it would be nice if a significant minority of us all shared her views. No Überpost this month.

In July Al Franken was finally sworn in as Minnesota's junior senator. Instapundit had the snark.

In a bit of follow-on to my exchange with James Kelly, the UK's Daily Mail reported in July that Britain is the most violent country in Europe. How's that gun- and knife-control working out for you?

We were also reminded that Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is once again selling like hotcakes. A lot of things she warned against in that novel are apparently coming to pass. Much mirth in the comments, though. Later in the month, someone came up with a graphic that was worth repeating.

Raffle ticket sales for the Para USA GI Expert opened, proceeds going to benefit Project Valour IT. Things would get bumpy, quickly. PayPal shut down all contributions to Soldier's Angels because of the raffle shortly after it began. I was not amused.

I issued yet another debate invitation to one Marc Rubin, an Examiner columnist who believes that the Second Amendment "has nothing to do with an individual right to own a gun." He emailed me a reply. My response was Überpost of the Month.

August brought us a piece of artwork that had the Left in a full-blown tizzy.

Thanks to new Rendezvous sponsor, ticket sales for the GI Expert raffle resumed.

I joined the EeePCArmy.

Ted Kennedy died. Brewers and distillers worldwide had massive layoffs in mourning.

I wrote Restoring the Lost Constitution. (Brief, for me, but still pessimistic!)

There was some response to that post which prompted the first post of September - Entropy Happens. Then I drove up to Reno for Gun Blogger Rendezvous IV. Damn, what a good time! Reader Phil R. from Oxford, England (remember, he called in when I was on the radio in February) traveled all the way to Reno to meet a bunch of gunbloggers and do some shooting. Alan Gura attended, and gave about a one-hour presentation. We raised $8,243.80 for Project Valour IT - about four times what we raised the previous year. Yea us!

September also brought us the ACORN scandal. Even Jon Stewart was embarrassed by the media's lack of coverage of this story. Someone else illustrated the media flow-chart used in determining how to classify opposition to President Obama.

I bought another Mustang. It's not a '67 big-block fastback, but it runs and I'm not afraid to drive it. I wreck this one, and I'm only out a couple grand.

I tried recipe blogging for the first time. People liked it! And the Supreme Court granted cert. on McDonald v. Chicago. Alan Gura will once again be arguing in front of the Supreme Court for our right to arms. Go Alan!

October brought us further evidence that Dan Rather has lost his mind.

I recommended that the sane members of British society run like hell.

The Überpost of the Month was on the topic of whether health care is a right or not. (Hint: It's not.)

In sadder news, Melanie Hain, outspoken advocate for open carry, was killed by her husband in a murder-suicide. Gun ban proponents hailed Mr. Hain's actions, but it was just one more example of "how dare you leave me!" Mr. Hain was an "only one." "Gun control" would not have kept him from possessing a firearm.

Obama "won" the Nobel Peace Prize. The world's general reaction: "For WHAT?" In related news, a former speechwriter for Edwards, Clinton and Obama moves to Massachusetts - a state with mandated Universal Health Care - and finds that she can't afford it.

Further evidence is found that the bias of the New York Times goes back to at least 1898.

Reader Phil B., a UK expat now living in New Zealand (not to be confused with Phil R., a doctorate student studying in Oxford), wrote a helluva comment on the decline of (formerly) Great Britain that I had to make a post of its own.

I went to the 5th Annual Big Sandy Machine Gun Shoot up near Wikieup, AZ. Just damn!

In the Überpost for October, I recommend that we nuke our education system and start over. It's too far gone to save. Unfortunately, we have the same problem there we have with our political system - nothing and no one to replace it with. The edumacation system has over the last 100 years or so ensured that we no longer have a population sufficiently well educated and moral to do the job.

British police announce that for the first time there would be armed foot patrols in certain sections of London. Not only would the officers be armed, they'd be carrying submachineguns. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The proposal was later rescinded, and denials that this was ever actually proposed were loudly made.

I did a little pro-CCW activism, and decried the number of people who decline my invitation to debate the topic of gun control.

In November, a jury decided that although the bat in question was not defective, the death of a young baseball pitcher might have been avoided had the manufacturer put a warning label on the bat and in compensation awarded the family of the deceased $792k. See what I mean about 100 years of our education system?

Reader Phil B. emailed me another piece too good not to publish, A Brilliant Bit of Analysis, which chronicles in greater detail the path the UK has been taking towards soft despotism.

Another case of right-wing extremism, er, terrorism, um man-made disaster occurred in November - the massacre of 12 and wounding of 31 people at Ft. Hood, Texas by an Army Psychiatrist and jihadi. But it wasn't an act of terrorism!. Even though the shooter had attempted to contact Al Qaeda.

The House under dominatrix Pelosi passed its version of "Health Care Reform" legislation, about 2,000 pages of unread text. And it was a bipartisan effort because ONE (1) Republican crossed the aisle and voted in favor. In related news, Rep. Eric Massa informed the public that they were stupid and he knew best. So much for being a representative.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright resurfaced at a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the socialist magazine Monthly Review, saying nothing all that surprising. Infuriating, yes. Surprising, no.

We got a rare look into the contents of an actual Can-o-Whoopass.

Obama's Justice Department announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspected terrorists would be tried in New York in civil court. I had something brief to say about that.

Der Spiegel magazine published an article stating that "average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years" and discussed how this fact is affecting the public's perception of Global Warming as a problem. Shortly after that, someone posted a sh!tload of emails, data files and programs from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England - home of one of the centers for the promotion of the religion of Anthropogenic Global Warming. That information was not supportive of the faith. The fur began to fly - but only in the new media. The AP published a story just a few days later informing the public that "since 1997 . . . climate change has worsened and accelerated - beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then." Things have continued to unravel since.

I got to have dinner with Monster Hunter International author Larry Correia and Servant of a Dark God author John Brown.

TSM was named #102 in a list of the Top 133 Conservative Blogs. It's not a Nobel Peace Prize, but . . .

And, finally, the Supreme Court announced that oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago would be heard on March 2, 2010. Go Alan!

That brings us to December. It wasn't an Instalanche, but I got hits from a number of Climate Skeptic sites for another piece of artwork not my own. Traffic was heavy for weeks.

I finally received notification that the LRB M25 rear-lugged receiver for the rifle I ordered last November had arrived. Apparently I'll have a super-accurate M14 rifle sometime in March or April.

A movie came out that I actually want to see, but apparently it's not being distributed in the US.

While there aren't enough of them, apparently there are still some people out there I'd be willing to vote for rather than against. Lieutenant Col. Allen West is one.

I picked up my last new firearm of the year. I traded in my (almost new) Taurus 605 paperweight on a Kel Tec PF9.

On December 7 I was notified that, due to lack of billable work, my services were no longer needed. I joined the ranks of the unemployed. Regardless, I went ahead with a little blogging/shooting get-together in central Arizona on the 12th. We had a good time. I started looking for another job.

A bunch of people flew in private jets to Copenhagen to discuss how to keep the proles down control Global Warming. Lord Monckton illustrated the entire problem in ten minutes and thirty-eight seconds.

The Senate passed its version of "Health Care Reform" though it had to buy off a number of Democrats to do so. Voting was entirely along Party lines. Now the two bodies have to merge the two bills into one compromise version before buggering us with it. There's still hope to kill this thing, but not much.

No Überpost this month either. I've still got one in queue, I just can't work up the enthusiasm to finish it.

Here's to 2010, a year that by all appearances will be even more interesting than 2009. As Wash replied when Capt. Reynolds asked him to define "interesting" - "Oh God, oh God we're all gonna die?" Perhaps not, but I suggest you tighten your seat belt, put your seat back and tray table in their upright and locked position, and brace yourselves. We're in for a bumpy ride, and one or more passengers may be wearing Semtex Underoos. But rest assured, the remaining portions of the Constitution will surely carry us all the way to the scene of the crash.

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