Saturday, December 13, 2014

What Next, A Delivery By Tom Hanks?

I live at the rear of the apartment complex I have called "home" for the last 13 years.  Fed Ex and UPS delivery vans are a normal weekday occurrence.  I just saw the second Fed Ex van make a drop-off at this end of the complex today - and Saturday delivery isn't all that regular an event normally.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Mail's In"

So, I ordered a product from an on-line vendor.  As you do.

I paid for my purchase via Pay Pal.  As you do.

I received a shipping notification from the vendor with a tracking number.  As you do.

In this case, the shipping/tracking number was through the USPS.  I checked on the status of my package three days after I was told to expect arrival (the expected delivery date being a Saturday, not getting too concerned until after the subsequent Tuesday's mail delivery didn't seem an unreasonable imposition).  As you do.

Checking in with the USPS official website I cut-n-paste the tracking number I was provided into the provided search box and, lo and behold, my package was apparently delivered "in or at the mailbox at 2:07 pm on December 8, 2014".  Now, I did indeed receive the expected monthly cable bill on that date, so I'm confident a postal delivery was actually made on the day in question.  Just not the package I was anticipating.

Already being on the USPS website, I attempted to use the contact link for the Postal Inspectors to report on my waylaid, or at least undelivered to me, package.  After the usual cut-n-paste entry of the identical tracking number I had just entered via the same manner into the "track your package" search box, the Postal Inspectors reporting page informs me that this is an invalid tracking number, or at least now possesses an excess of spaces between the digits.  Needless to say, removing the spaces from between said digits resulted in the same error message.  Repeatedly.

The expression "Going Postal" begins to take on added piquancy.

There is a provided 1-800 number; once my blood pressure medication (which I will have to have my doctor prescribe me very soon now, I fear) and my soporific-of-choice has an opportunity to take effect, I really must give due consideration to attempting that avenue of communication.

My next venture into 21st Century mercantilism will be to inquire with the on-line vendor referenced above to see if he wants more of my money, and what amount will additionally be required to purchase insurance and make my next delivery be "return receipt requested".  Since the product is something of a limited offering, I'm not feeling confident.

At least our benevolent government doesn't issue guns and clubs to postal carriers yet, so their assault on us isn't quite as direct as it might be (insert link to your preferred example of police brutality here), but we can still live in hope.  As you do.

Update 12/18:  Screw you, Post Office thieves.  UPS for the rebound and the win!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So That Was A Surprise For Who Exactly?

I expect the topic de jour (and for a few more days, likely) will be events in - or possibly inspired by - Ferguson MO, so here's my observation so far.

First, I want to commend the young lady identifying herself as @MissJupiter1957.  Perhaps Matt Drudge will explain how he came to link to her live stream reporting, but thanks to his doing so I and tens of thousands of others were able to gather an immediate, first-person impression of the chaotic nature of events last night.  If I may Young Miss, would you please make a more consistent effort to keep we viewers better informed of your location within the city and a general sense of direction your camera is pointing.  You editorializing as you record events is an expected aspect of blogging, with or without video, but if you could attempt to add greater context to events and about the locale you are in, we viewers would have a better understanding of things.  Other than that, really well done; thank you.

Second, at about 9:30 pm local time, Ferguson police reported the presence of a vehicle outside the Toys-R-Us store (I believe this was the store located at Festival Dr. and Pershall Rd.) and 1 or more individuals attempting to break in (one of my colleagues had the on-line addy for the Ferguson PD radio traffic) (there's also this FB page).  Perhaps 5 - 8 minutes later, a police supervisor reported over the police radio that "20 to 30 cars are in the parking lot" and asked for additional units to respond to the "crime scene".  My memory is that not much more than 10 minutes later the on-scene supervisor reported the presence of "100+ cars in the Toys-R-Us parking lot".  By 10:00 pm the police communications center had broadcast a general order for all responding units to the Toys-R-Us to retreat from the crime scene.  I suggest this is an example of a Flash Mob robbery successfully deployed to deliberately exceed the police capacity to respond.  I further doubt I was the only one to recognize the lesson being acted out in real-time, live and unrehearsed, or that we will lack for further - possibly more extreme - examples in the near future.

I well remember the 1992 riots in the greater-Los Angeles area.  The technology didn't exist for flash mobs then, so the pre-planning was far more complex, but there was an obvious pattern of distraction fires being set followed by armed robbery and arson of area grocery stores and other businesses.  Not of their merchandise, though that was certainly common enough, but of the business cash specifically.  We'll have to see if this pattern re-occurs in-and-around Ferguson (or elsewhere in the country) in the coming days.

Islamists and academics aren't the only people able to recognize changed circumstance, ponder the varieties of possibility such opens up to them, and adapt their tactics to adopt the advantages that technology permits them in the face of static and predictable opposition to their achieving their desires.  People read the phrase 4GW Warfare and glide right over considering just what types of behavior - and by whom - that entails, especially when the military isn't directly involved.  Which is largely the point behind the whole 4GW exercise; distract your opponent with obvious but discrediting targets to his advantage, while you attack his points of dis-advantage to his deliberately public dis-credit.  It's already happened here, can you really think we are somehow immune?

Here's a consideration; how long before it becomes accepted thinking for criminals to consider the follow-up arrest to be an anticipated opportunity for them to even further overwhelm police efforts against them, and in just as organized a fashion as the crimes they "spontaneously" perpetrate?  Alternatively, SWAT-ing someone so as to be positioned to attack the responding cops in an interlocking series of re-enforcing ambushes maybe?  As cover for a robbery elsewhere perhaps, fires not generally being a police responsibility.  It doesn't take a brainiac to learn this stuff and you definitely want a ready supply of  - how shall I put this? - low information thinkers within your ranks; the primary requirement is a willingness to destroy the society/culture you live in.  Give a listen to @MissJupiter1957 again and pay attention to the voices she records.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'll Go There

In the on-going saga of who has the worse approach to discussion of racial topics on TV, the serially interchangeable title holders Plump and Plumper from The View apparently bounced their different View-points off each other off-camera recently.

Pity.  Three distinct responses to the two points-of-view expressed.  Typical progressive "thinking", sadly not on display for our View-related pleasure.  Here's a suggestion for the rest of The View backstage staff: Go Pro.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

To All Those Veterans Day Thank You's

Your Welcome; but, really, it was just the sort of thing one does.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oh Goody!

Just got off the phone with the Holster Maker For The Stars and my two (count 'em, 2) new croc-a-gator skin Valkyrie holsters will be on there way to me towards the end of next week.

It's birthday and christmas all wrapped up in one.  Literally.

I am gonna be soooo stylin'!

Friday, October 24, 2014

So, 61

I don't really have a lot to say about the occasion, or I do and don't want to get into all that just now.

Mostly both, I suspect.

I have been having some initial success writing original fiction at Amazon Studios these recent months, and I do intend to write more on that come the day.  Right after I hit the "Submit" button.

Much like writing fiction that isn't painfully derivative, my sixth decade is proving harder to make headway in than has been my previous experience.  Yes, I know, nothing surprising there; it's discovering the distinction between the knowing and the doing that's the challenge I suppose, the realization that tried and true no longer gets you where it always has.  Finding new ways to do old things will be a feature of the coming decade I fear.

I don't really have a song this year, so something fun and motivational* (sorry about the ad and it will probably auto-start).

*It's my perspective; deal with it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bear Baiting And Other Online Sport

The problem with corresponding with old professors, even (or possibly most especially) one's who now make up their own stories rather than contenting themselves with relaying the classics, is that they will insist on illustrating their lesson du jour with a homework assignment for the further edification of the correspondent.

I've had worse.

Hi Jerry,
Read your most recent View entry (August 27) and wished to respond to your off-the-cuff aside about "eternal youth".
First, yes, it was only an aside and you made no attempt to delve into the topic. Second, I’m quite certain you have much greater online research expertise then I, but here’s my amateur contribution to that nonetheless.
Scientists turn skin cells directly into blood
Making pluripotent stem cells from a drop of blood
Young blood makes old mice more youthful
Thirdly, I suppose, while none of this is news to you I’m sure, I suggest the stories above combine into a potential (if only partial) answer to your question(s) regarding the end of work (insert bass, vibrato and echo to taste).
While much research remains, particularly into possible human applications, there seems to me to be a possible social model of – I don’t know, basic stipend? – that could be developed from this. People contributing a regular sample of their blood in order to remain eligible for receipt of their regular stipend payment.
Such a system would accommodate the transition of historic "work" to automated systems while subsidizing the healthy maintenance of humanity and human societal structures. In addition, I presume that you will agree there will always be circumstances where a spontaneously adaptable human could better resolve a short-term or otherwise unusual situation for which a device hasn’t been manufactured and thereby earn added credit to a qualified volunteer’s account.
Not a perfect solution, I know, but the juxtaposition of the two View items seemed worth noting.
Best regards,
Will Brown
I don’t purport to “have a solution” to the problem of preserving a Republic in these times. I do agree that humanity isn’t finished: robots and artificial intelligence will not be our final invention as a recent book put it. But that at the moment is more faith than analysis.
If you are interested in this subject and have not been following Freefall you probably should be. There is a problem. Freefall is incomprehensible if you go directly to the current page. It is a graphic novel with three new panels every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and it has been going on since 1998. To understand it you must go to the story start and read up to the current page before trying to follow it, and that will take an hour or so a day for a week. It is worth the time investment. This began more as a humorous comic, surely with the intention of examining problems of practical implementation of robots and AI, but over time began to look at the problem in a more serious way. It is quite thought provoking. It is also hilarious, so this is not a painful assignment. It will help if you understand that Sam is not the main character although he is an important part of the narrative; and Sam is neither human nor humanoid under that environment suit.

In his View entry for 8/27, Jerry Pournelle (just in case anyone hasn't sussed out which Jerry is "beneficiary" of my insights) commented on the changing nature of work and the economy, during which he noted the potential life extension had for making any solution that much more complex some day in the future.  I sent him three news links about how "young blood" can be made from a sample of your own blood, from that how pluripotent stem cells can be further made and how both these existing technologies seem far more likely to be near-term complexities than commonly thought.

The suggestion that some system of regulating a basic economic stipend payment around conscientiously participating in a health maintenance regimen isn't one I've seen considered-to-death as of yet.  I also don't see any obvious conflict with such a system incorporating a highly automated/robotized/AI development in effecting such a health care process.  It doesn't seem to me that this idea necessarily conflicts with the fundamental structure of the Republic as Franklin, Jefferson and the rest originally envisioned the US federal government and economic model (though I acknowledge how easily it could be made to).

So, homework ... I'm a reasonably practiced reader, but I do read online for a couple hours a day already.  Let's say an added hour a week on average; I'll be 61 late next month, maybe I'll be up-to-date on my Freefall assignment by then.  As to Sam's non-humanoid nature, I've been a variably-complex-tool user and SF reader for over 50 years now; if I'm not minimally functionally past any humanocentric interface biases (that don't involve sex objects - I do have some standards) by now, then the jokes on me, isn't it?

Thanks for responding, Doc.

PS:  For any reader who also might not have heard of Freefall before this, I suggest going to the linked site quoted above and bookmarking the "Index" page.  Give yourself a digital version of dog-earing the page to mark your spot, as it were.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Caliber For Brickbat?

Weer'd Beard has this whole "Gun Death" meme going in which he illustrates just how hypocritical anti-2A people can be in their political posturing.  In this example, Weer'd notes a common cause of death and injury from people throwing heavy items into highway traffic from overpasses.

This one resonated with me a bit more than usual:
Happened to my Mom ~35 years ago now, driving home from work on an LA area freeway. She was lucky really; she remembered seeing two middle- or high-school boys standing on the overpass as they tossed a concrete block into oncoming traffic – her, as it worked out. They tossed the block just early enough that it hit the hood of Mom’s car (breaking it into chunks) and then the windshield on the rebound, as it were. She lived, but the insurance ended up replacing the car.
The cops were sympathetic enough, and were honest enough to explain just how unable they were to identify which two boys on bicycles might be the one’s actually leaving the scene of the crime. Of course no one was responsible for adding some kind of fencing to the overpass to make this sort of act more difficult – until it happened to someone with the political clout to make it otherwise a couple years later. And then only to some of the overpasses that similar attacks had occurred from.
If terrorists were smarter than bored middle-schoolers, they would organize an attack campaign based upon this precise type of incident in any country they wanted to attack and then use social media to subtly influence people to rage at the “ineffective police protection” and “failed politicians” and the like. Fairly heavy trash items are free for the taking virtually everywhere. Turning empty bottles into fire bombs are only one of many easy, cheap possible embellishments.
Who knew egotistical psychopath YouTube posers would be the preferred enemy?
As Weer'd says, not a gun death so doesn't matter, right?  And of course, none of the examples of this type of attack to date are known to be the result of "terrorism".

OTOH I vaguely remember news stories from the early 80's of "union thugs" tossing bricks in just this fashion into 18 wheelers driving down the interstate for not respecting their declared strike; I'm sure I heard/read stories of drivers shooting at people in retaliation, so my titular question doesn't seem all that far out of the realm of possibility to me.

Doesn't have to be the religiously motivated of course, but at some point I think it pretty likely that someone with an existential grudge is going to decide that being effective is better than being famous, and then we really will be in for it, won't we?  When the daily commute routinely includes brickbats through the windshield, I'm going to go with "whatever caliber is immediately available" being the most common answer proffered in reply myself.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is There A (Black)Light At The End Of Our Power Tunnel?

Recently in the news again is Blacklight Power with reports of their novel theory on atomic structure having been independently verified and clearly explained for the less-technically inclined (which definitely includes me).  Assuming Randall Mills and the Blacklight gang really have developed a commercially scale-able invention (not to mention a new page in the theory of physics), it seems worth a little time to think about some of the potential opportunities this permits to the rest of us.

If we take as a given that the Blacklight power supply itself is about 1 cubic foot in dimension, it seems reasonable to further stipulate that a sealed electrical generator (one that is isolated from external environmental conditions) also of about 1 cubic foot in external dimension could be fitted to pretty much any vehicle's differential gearbox.  Whether that be a vehicle like this one, or something more substantial, or even something along more classic lines, transportation will transition out of the historic model assumptions that have accrued over the centuries.  A vehicle that can also be made to supply its own fuel requirements can only further alter those assumptions.  RV owners (and wannabes like me) will be understandably excited over the reduced operating costs, so imagine if you will what the CFO's of FedEx and UPS are in for?

Now, apply that same line of thought to the house you live in.  In the space of a small closet (say 25 cubic feet, 2' x 3' x 8' roughly) you could install a Blacklight SunCell - let's further assume a very downscale 100kw version, an atmospheric water generator and a central air heating and cooling system suitable for pretty much any structure up to ~4000 sq ft. and a family of 5 plus guest(s).  Extending that model to other structural applications, you gradually leave behind the current model of "grid power distribution" while creating a business opportunity for individuals and businesses during the transition.  I wonder how many people in Oakland, CA, just for instance, would be interested in dehumidifying the Bay area for distribution into the state's aqueduct system as a "home business water utility"?  You think the people and businesses in the southern half of the state (where the vast majority of the voters live and work) might have something to say in support of such a concept?

Now pause to consider this general model applied to water craft (of any description).

If the powers-that-be were to create a fee-exempt class of boat permit for any houseboat on Lake Powell and Lake Mead that generated an additional 100 gallons of fresh water per 24 hour day deposited into the lake, I have to believe the population of houseboats on both lakes would increase substantially.  While this wouldn't "solve" the water shortage problem in either lake, it would be a contributing factor to such a solution that imposed no added public expense.  Extending this concept to the permitting and construction of privately owned lake shore properties on both lakes that generated 1000 gallons of fresh water per day would seem an equally useful idea.

Taking this thought even further; if the governments of Denver, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston (to name only 5 possible examples, as at least 4 of them pump from the same aquifer) were to stipulate a property tax abatement on buildings that consumed no water from ground sources, I have to think there would be a remarkable easing of the demand on the existing water sources supplying those cities.  Now, add water desalination and pipelines from coastal areas that were powered by Blacklight technology to feed water into the existing water impoundment system in the US and much of the present day concern about the availability of fresh water is alleviated.

Commercial shipping - to include large yachts, I expect - is already an explicit target market at Blacklight Power.  I'm not convinced they've fully thought through the whole "commercial airliner" aspect, but neither have I, so I remain open to being convinced.

And that's just in the USA; with all of its coastline (and population density there-on), what do you think China will make of this development?  You think Germany (all of Europe actually) won't give serious consideration to this technology instead of Russian oil?

Opportunity always creates (or, at the least, increases already existing) dangers; Randall Mills' discovery is no different.  From Saudi oil oligarchs, to back street used car salesmen, to government tax and utility entities world-wide, there is a galaxy of entrenched interests set to suffer economic disruption, if not out-right financial destruction, from this development.  It is only to be expected there will be equally widespread and determined opposition to any such change as this offers.  The transition process will be an expensive one without any objections being raised; indeed, the sheer cost of individual transition will be one of the first screams of outrage to be widely expressed.  Judging by the reactions from just the establishment science and engineering types so far, we can expect little less than near-civil war levels of resistance from those who are simply lethargic, who don't want to make their lives better if it means they have to change something they're comfortable doing and think they understand already. Imagine the reactions from those who actually stand to lose something as a result ...

On the other hand, peace in the middle-east and northern Africa might prove to consist of muslims tending Israeli-designed green houses with water distilled from ocean breezes hundreds of miles away.

I have no idea if the Blacklight technology will pan out as a commercial product or not.  It simply seems prudent to try to think through the potential disruption that opportunity of any description always consists of. Doing so in a fairly limited context (even one as fundamentally disruptive as this example) helps develop the mindset necessary to deal with any disruptive circumstance in a more positive and successful fashion.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Before It Gets Too Crowded Up On The Rooftop ...


Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

Now, of course, we all get to find out how long "permanently enjoined" lasts in actual practice.

I give it 'till noon Monday EDT at the latest myself.

Send a few bucks to the Second Amendment Foundation if you can; Alan and the boys (and girls! :)) are almost certainly already gearing up for the appeal.

Thank you, Alan Gura and the SAF for your outstanding work on all our behalf (and you can read the whole glorious thing here).

h/t to Joe Huffman - and yes, I pinched his title; it's just that good and I don't think he'll mind.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Germany 1 - Argentina 0

Now that the World Cup has finally run dry, can we get back to the Baseball?

Thanks to Borepatch for this one though.  I'm not quite convinced this is how FIFA wants the tourney to be remembered, but Whoops ... there it is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Number Of The ... errr, Something

Just received official notice from the good folks at Elio Motors that I am number 4577 in line for my new car motorcycle vehicle.


No idea when that becomes a delivery date next year, but notification of that will come as an inquiry into my desired styling and optional features a few weeks before my new auto-cycle (you pick a better description) goes down the assembly line.  I know I want a touring trailer towing package and, based on Tam's recent experience, I'm thinking a rear-view camera option too (the "luggage hatch" doesn't feature glass and, however narrow the fuselage, the rear-view mirrors still won't "see" around corners).  I'll have to see what the tunes and travelogue features offered will cost come the day, it already comes with a pretty decent sound system as part of the base vehicle package (along with ac/heat, power windows and the more usual modern vehicle creature features).

I'm excited.

I only live an hour-and-a-half from the assembly plant in Shreveport, LA; I wonder if the company would let me pick mine up from the factory?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Tea Party

... More resilient than Jesus.

Just ask House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
Tea Party candidate soundly defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday, sending shockwaves through the Republican establishment and the Democratic Party.
And Dave Brat, the 52-year-old chairman of the Randolph-Macon College Department of Economics and Business in Ashland, Va., staged the huge upset without any help from major Tea Party organizations.
The expression "Quantity has a quality all its own" comes to mind here; grass roots everywhere isn't a "major group", but it's still everywhere.  Good luck in your future endeavors Eric, but keep in mind that your hand still doesn't belong in anybody else's pocket.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

For A Given Value Of "Gun School"

Most people who carry a firearm have made some effort to resolve the question of Why to shoot. There are a number of widely respected instructors on How to shoot.  What I don't think we see often enough are classes on When to shoot.   This coming Thursday, I'm going to get to check my home study of the laws governing firearm usage in Texas with the pros.

You know how you can feel pretty confident you have a good grasp on the issues and facts?  We'll see.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Of My Best Work ...

... shows up on other people's blog; this time Say Uncle bears the burden:
the ACT-UP crowd actually put the gay rights agenda BEHIND.Which so neatly explains why ACT-UP basically owns San Francisco politics now – and thinks the rest of the country recognizing gays as “different, but normal” is a huge loss for gay rights.
Which will work as a metaphor for what follows.
As I understand things, OCT was started with the specific intention of influencing Texas politics toward legalizing open carry of handguns in the state, and deliberately chose to illustrate the logical consistency of that position by demonstrating the already legal public open carry of rifles and shotguns by Texans.
Subsequently, it appears that at least some of the affiliate groups (specifically the one in Tarrant Co. – much of Dallas, essentially – and Austin) have been taken control of by individuals who deliberately conflate state political activism with federal 2A activism, and manage to consistently achieve a completely predictable mess of both as a result.
Holding public rallies featuring citizens carrying their “long guns” in public in support of a desired state legislative change is (and has been) well received by most citizens in the state. Texas law prohibits the carrying of “modern” sidearms (defined in this case as being manufactured after 1899) on your body outside of a very few specific activities, but a sizable percentage of state citizens are licensed to carry them concealed. Making the point that the same people can carry all (Ok, a couple of :)) their guns at the same time, but some of them have to be kept out of plain sight, makes a legitimate political point.
And, if that was the message actually being sent consistently, most gun owners in other states probably wouldn’t get too excited.
By expanding the OCT effort to also challenge federal law regarding 2A exercise, the basic OCT message is obscured and activists from other states are understandably enough more than a little annoyed that their efforts on the national level are being inhibited by these people badly making an argument in support of a strictly state-level issue (no matter how many different states have a similar effort underway).
The part I find most annoying is that, mostly as a result of college football rivalry, the Texas legislature will probably go ahead and vote to approve OC of handguns (probably only to those who have a CHL) next session, because Oklahoma just passed their version of OC earlier this year. Which means that these dillweeds in Dallas and Austin will no doubt be loudly claiming credit for how effective their efforts were and what A-holes the rest of us were, etc.
At least I could go back to wearing T-shirts that fit next year (or the following, depending).
I’ve tried to make the point about this before, but the OCTers involved have a well-practiced routine of arguing the other point whenever challenged and dismissing any naysayer as being anti-2A and so unworthy of offering criticism (and mostly won’t even acknowledge what I say anyway) (not that I’m anybody special). Fortunately, the out-session committee work is being largely done over the course of this week (6/2 thru 6/6), so much of the urgency these people are currently feeling will recede shortly.
Hopefully OCT as a state-wide group will get a better grip on their group message discipline before next year’s legislative session. Also, anyone working in their own state (or on the federal level) can find plenty of lesson material for their efforts from all this – some of it even good (ask yourselves, how many of the other local Texas political demonstrations [using the same basic format] on this issue have you heard mention of?).
I should point out that I'm actually sort of sympathetic to the argument that the Second Amendment's "shall not be infringed" clause ought to take precedence in laws directed at firearms ownership, but this is a distinct issue from that of the strategy of political activism and the disturbing failure recent Open Carry Texas efforts have demonstrated in trying to achieve that change to Texas legislation.  Successful political activists focus all discussion on their one message; these guys are deliberately muddying their message while also giving support to their opposition.

As has been said before; stop helping.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hey Morons; It Ain't About You

In yet another display of You're Doing It Wrong,  more would-be political activists who apparently claim affiliation with Open Carry Texas have made a public nuisance of themselves in support of our civil rights.  Again.  
When members of Open Carry Texas visited a Sonic location, they were once again asked to leave or leave their weapons behind before returning.
“Man, we can’t do nothing!” one of the protesters says in the video. “I feel like I’m a kid again, my mom won’t let me do anything.”
Not true, Nimrod, she obviously lets you go out in public without appropriate adult supervision, and is pissing off the rest of Texas as a result.  Not to mention every other gun owner in the country.  Yes, openly carrying a firearm ought to be an ordinary and commonplace activity; the need to demonstrate for political change in that regard ought to make it glaringly obvious that doing so now outside of an obvious political demonstration setting makes getting to that point less likely, which would be the opposite of what you claim to want (because this apparently really does need to be pointed out to you).

Demonstrating in support of civil rights is a storied tradition in the US, one that is fraught with opportunity to play into the hands of those who wish to deny us all the opportunity to exercise our rights.  If you aren't willing to make the effort to find out the right way to go about doing that sort of activity, how about you just leave the guns out of the activity all together, huh?

The idea here is to positively influence those in a position to increase the opportunity all of us should have to exercise our 2A rights and nothing about you at all.  If you can't do it that way, stop doing it at all; you're only making things worse for all Texans by your insistent displays of childish tantrums because you "can't do nothing".  It's entirely about all of our civil rights, not whatever stupidity you want to get up to today.

Update:  Not quite sure what I did wrong in the original.  The links all work now and the text says what I intended.  I've got to start using the "Preview" function before putting stuff up for scheduled publication.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Something So Right Can Still Be Done So Wrong

On Tuesday morning (that would be this morning - this was supposed to post on Wednesday), I noticed an article published at which noted the Chipotle restaurant chain response to two apparent Open Carry Texas supporters - I have no idea if they were actual members or not - carrying their rifles into one of the chains restaurants in Texas the previous Saturday.  The article noted:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said they petitioned the company as a reaction to open-carry gun activists at a Dallas-area Chipotle restaurant over the weekend.
Without bothering to look into the matter more deeply than that, I commented (which comment was copied to my Facebook page as well):
All Chipotle management has to do is post the legislatively approved signage at the front door and the presence of guns in their establishments will no longer be a problem for them or their remaining customers. People like to eat out where they are welcomed; I suspect Chipotle management knows this too. Mothers Demanding Obedience, not so much.
I then proceeded to go about my day, entirely missing out on all the sturm und drang that swept through the gun blogging part of these inter-connected series of tubes Al Gore graced us with.

Just to reiterate; I stand by my statement at  Texas gun laws expressly permit the public carrying of "long guns" (rifles and shotguns, basically) in public places, but also designates the specific signage requirements to forbid people doing so, commonly called 30.06 signs from the section of the Texas Penal Code in which they are described in minute detail (TPC 30.06).  While 30.06 signs are intended for concealed carry exclusion, they equally apply to any other manner of firearm carriage too.  If Chipotle (or Starbucks) or any other business or privately owned property wishes to exclude the carrying of firearms by non-cops on their property, there's your sign.  Put one up and let's all get on with our day.

That all said, there very definitely is a wrong way to go about abiding by the law you seek to have changed, and these two chappies have basically hit all the high points of doing so all in one go.  More than that, I think there is a reasonable case to be made that both men deliberately set about to "cause alarm" and the particular Chipotle restaurant manager would be well within his own rights to file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement office against the two men for Disorderly Conduct.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Texas State Open Carry organization didn't offer their own supporting evidence as well.

Beyond all that, I also think we Texans who don't appreciate this type behavior ought to make a reasonable effort to positively identify our men in Dallas and make good and sure that all the rest of the state's citizens are thoroughly well aware of just how ignorantly some of us are capable of acting in public.  As long as groups like Moms Demand Obedience Action are going to so vehemently heap shame and approbation our way, we would do well to make plain exactly where it should be most vigorously applied.  Making a habit of putting the name to public displays of Egregious Stupid probably won't stamp out the practice entirely, but it might make future such buffoonery a bit more obviously so even to the politically opportunistic.

Having lived in Texas for over 20 summers now I am all in favor of allowing Open Carry of firearms, but let's all make the effort to do so like we've done so all along.  Making a big show of how you're dressed just draws attention to how insecure you are with your wardrobe.  It's like scoring a touchdown in the big football game; when you find yourself in the end zone, at least make it look like you've been there before.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog-type Squee

Took the opportunity that being sick permitted and called in to tonight's edition of The Squirrel Report and got to talk to Kevin Baker who can wax lyrical about philosophy and rights, but apparently doesn't dance while still liking bacon.

All kidding aside, I managed to hold the enthusiasm to a mostly coherent level (I think) and conversing with the man I've been reading and citing as a reference in my personal education on these and other matters for so many years was a completely unexpected honor.  That I spent the better part of an hour and a half nerving myself up to.  You just don't want to choke, comes the moment, you know?  :)

There's just no way I'm going to make Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno, Nevada this year, but maybe I can put something together for '15.  Have to start rounding up suitable autograph swag ...  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Someone Is Wrong On The Internet (Maybe)

First place I saw it was at Weer'd Beard's and the consensus was that murder had been committed.  Then I read about it at Say Uncle, who thinks there is no "castle doctrine" or maybe "stand your ground" claim involved.  And finally I read it again at Pagun Blog (properly titled Shall Not Be Questioned) Another "Castle Doctrine" Case That Isn't.

With so much authoritative assertion on display, imagine my reaction when I read the Montana Code Annotated.  Better yet, don't imagine, read for yourself:
Montana statute seems to specifically say it is a “no duty to retreat” case.  
See Montana Code Annotated Sections 45-3-102 Use of force in defense of person, 45-3-102 Use of force in defense of occupied structure, 45-3-110 No duty to summon help or flee.* 
The first statute says in pertinent part, “A person is justified in the use of force … to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” 
The second section says in pertinent part, “A person is justified in the use of force … only if:  
     (a) the entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault on the person or another then in the occupied structure; or  
     (b) the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony in the occupied structure.” 
And thirdly, 45-3-110 reads in pertinent part: “… a person who is lawfully in a place or location and who is threatened with bodily injury or loss of life has no duty to retreat from a threat or summon law enforcement assistence prior to using force.”
Kaarma and Pflegger were in the structure lawfully. Dede (the dead criminal) was apparently in the commission of a home invasion (unlawful entry of an occupied structure, much more dangerous then a B&E) when Kaarma shot him. Kaarma went outside the still-occupied (by Ms.Pflegger) structure and engaged Dede with a firearm, resulting in Dede’s death. 
Montana law would seem to support a legitimate claim of self-defense with the added justification of no duty to retreat from a lawfully occupied “location or place”. I don’t find any requirement in Montana statute that property must be secured in order for the above to have force of law (those arguing that Kaarma and Pflegger “set a trap” must equally believe that cattle ranchers are also guilty because they don’t secure their livestock from tresspassers). 
If that isn’t a reasonable (and actually word-for-word explicit) description of SYG and the so-called “castle doctrine” (verbiage which never appears in any state’s pertinent legal code that I have discovered so far) both, then I think we will just have to agree that we disagree on the definition of “reasonable”. 
As to anyone’s guilt or innocence in this matter, that’s what trials are for, aren’t they? I also have to say that the defense declaring this to be a SYG/CD case seems quite reasonable to me given the statutes that apparently address this type of action in Montana. We’ll see. 
* Source: Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States.*
Quite aside from the widespread reluctance to call the BBC on their bald assertion that Kaarma fired without saying anything (and implying that Dede didn't either) - something not otherwise in evidence, I find the equally widespread ignorance on display by at least three well-respected gun bloggers as to the actual statutory meaning of "stand your ground" and "castle doctrine" in the Montana statutes to be the most disturbing aspect of this whole story.

I don't expect the BBC to get it right - I actually don't expect the BBC to honestly report the facts of this story whether or not they might support the pre-existing bias of that organization.  I do kinda expect at least as much effort to determine the actual facts of the law addressing this case as I made from those who seem willing to accept the mantle of "subject matter expert" that their respective blog reputations provide.  Everybody makes mistakes (and let me just say right now that IANAL and my reading of Montana statute could very easily be completely wrong), but the presumptive bias demonstrated in the reporting of all concerned takes the schaden right out of the freud, doesn't it?

Was this a legitimate case of self-defense or was it murder?  12 Montanans are going to have the duty to make that call, after being presented with all the facts (along with the evidence in support) and with a clear idea of what their states law has to say regarding killing someone in these specific circumstances.  A case to be followed without doubt and I hope we all do so as closely as our personal circumstance allows.

* A book I wholeheartedly recommend any gun owner own a copy of.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Some New Vintage Steven Den Beste

Which is pretty well described as a more concise blending of Vintage Steven Den Beste.  He replies to a correspondent who doesn't understand the nature and necessity of the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution:
Let's rewind back to 1789 when the Bill of Rights was written. It was only 6 years since the Revolution ended. And the early battles of the Revolution were fought by men using their own weapons. (That's what the Patriots used in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, for example.) Those who wrote the Bill of Rights were acutely aware that the only reason the Revolution was possible was because of widespread ownership of guns.

The Revolution was fought because the British government was perceived to have become tyrannical, and the Founders were well aware that the new government they were establishing could in turn become tyrannical. They included lots of checks and limits on the government, but knew that in the end the only sure way to prevent that was if the people had the means to rise in revolution, again.

The Second Amendment is the ultimate check. That's why it was included in the Bill of Rights.

This is what you're not going to like: the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that the citizens of the US are sufficiently well armed to fight a revolution, if a new one is needed. That's what the "militia" referred to in it is about: in that time the word "militia" referred to the kind of thing that happened in Boston at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where all able bodied men grabbed their own guns and fought on behalf of the community.

Which means that issues like hunting or self defense are a distraction. The Second Amendment is about allowing citizens to own weapons which are good enough to permit them to fight against a tyrant's army and win.
Tyrants can be either foreign or domestic in origin (that turn of phrase shows up in the original too), but the essential strength of the USA's fundamental governmental mindset is taken from the largely unspoken understanding that excess oppression can be met with counter excess from almost anyone in the general populace, whenever it appears, whoever the source.

As Steven says, "It isn't a perfect solution, but there aren't any others which have been as successful."  This weekend in particular, it seems appropriate to apply this particular ray of clarity to this specific question.

The Swirl Of Life?

Posted in Friday's New Scientist is an article that describes the recent - and serendipitous - discovery of how life might have formed without the presence of cells in Earth's early oceans.
Ralser's team took early ocean solutions and added substances known to be starting points for modern metabolic pathways, before heating the samples to between 50˚C and 70˚C – the sort of temperatures you might have found near a hydrothermal ventMovie Camera – for 5 hours. Ralser then analysed the solutions to see what molecules were present. 
"In the beginning we had hoped to find one reaction or two maybe, but the results were amazing," says Ralser. "We could reconstruct two metabolic pathways almost entirely." 
The pathways they detected were glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway, "reactions that form the core metabolic backbone of every living cell," Ralser adds. Together these pathways produce some of the most important materials in modern cells, including ATP – the molecule cells use to drive their machinery, the sugars that form DNA and RNA, and the molecules needed to make fats and proteins. 
If these metabolic pathways were occurring in the early oceans, then the first cells could have enveloped them as they developed membranes. 
In all, 29 metabolism-like chemical reactions were spotted, seemingly catalysed by iron and other metals that would have been found in early ocean sediments. The metabolic pathways aren't identical to modern ones; some of the chemicals made by intermediate steps weren't detected. However, "if you compare them side by side it is the same structure and many of the same molecules are formed," Ralser says. These pathways could have been refined and improved once enzymes evolved within cells.
And, quite obviously, have provided the mechanism for the evolutionary development of more complex cellular structures.

Those who argue against the Theory of Evolution like to declare that the theory can't be proven.  Absent a working two-way time machine, this is almost certainly true ... and entirely beside the point behind the theory in dispute as well as Rene Descartes's Scientific Method itself.  It is not the intent to prove how something did happen, only how it could.  The demonstration of possibility is sufficient to justify further experimentation.  At some point, the preponderance of the experimental results will (or will not) demonstrate the reproducibility of the theory - and thereby render a measure of likelihood regarding the outcome.

Faith leaps from assertion to certainty instead.

I like reading these sort of discoveries because they make clear how little we know about what we experience in life.  Claiming to already know the answers, but not being able to "show your work", seems boring and dismissive to me.  Pursuing discovery through doubt and uncertainty seems much more life-like to me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good News

According to this Robert Zubrin article at National Review Online, this years Pacific Salmon catch has quintupled from previous years average numbers. 

Read that again; this years salmon catch is 5 times as large as the average catch over the last decade or so - and environmentalists are up in arms about it too.  So that would be a two-fer, right?  Plenty of inexpensive, really tasty fish this summer and self-marginalized demi-tyrants to point and laugh at.

Personally, I'm gonna stick to Soylant for the most part, which means I can afford a good cut of steak along with my salmon fillet for the occasional cookout.

h/t to Rand Simberg

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Question Of Carry

Uncle asks Appendix Carry, What Say You? and I chimed in with my recollective viewpoint:
My personal direct experience with firearms only goes back to the mid-1960′s, but my admittedly hazy memory of this type of carry was that it was for DA revolvers, SA revolvers with an empty chamber under the hammer or small semi-auto pistols carried Condition 3. Which was all a part of the concealed carry concept of a century-or-so ago; a concealed weapon was implicitly assumed to be intended as a surreptitious option for personal defense. No “fast draw” capability was expected, or even considered desirable as a safety measure. If the situation warrented a more pro-active weapons stance, you readied your gun for that circumstance beforehand or cussed yourself for not paying closer attention to your surroundings. 
I haven’t made any sort of historical research effort on this, but this is my memory of what the “old timers” (my grandfather and his age cohort) said when I first started getting seriously interested in guns back when. I personally have occasionally worn my S&W 431PD in a belly holster at 11 o’clock for a r/h draw, but I’m a few kilo’s away from that option being what anyone other than the Texas legislature would call “concealed” today.
 As Uncle and several other of his commenters point out, modern holster and firearms designs expand the possibilities of safe carry well beyond those of a more historical standard.  Also, modern personal training opportunities and standards alter what was historically considered acceptable (the 4 Rules are important, but were never really more than a recommendation) (let's see who is humor deficient).

Personally, appendix carry (inside the waistband, immediately to the right of center-torso) never has been all that comfortable for me, especially when sitting down or bending and twisting at the hips (as you do when lifting items into or out of a vehicle, for instance).  I own shoulder holsters, several IWB and OWB holsters, a belly band holster, pistol pocket guard and even a FAG bag (for when I need to legally conceal a gun but want to create a good bit of uncertainty amongst others as to whether or not I'm actually carrying).  Find the option that suits you best and carry your gun in the most situationally suitable condition you hope not to have to use it in.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Second day back at work yesterday and the seat support thingee I bought didn't help me make it to the end of the shift as well as it seemed to Monday.  Paid vacation for a day or two until I can put together a more effective lower spine support for use on a forklift truck.  Already sent the money to Amazon after I got home from work for attempt No. 2.  A couple different designs of L-spine/abs braces and a small seat pad to alter the angle I sit on the seat.  If this doesn't work I spend the hundred bucks for the pro-model seat back cushion, I guess.

There certainly seems to be real science behind all of this technology design, but I'm not doing any of it.  Vitamin I stacked with codeine will get you through the night though.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Spent much of the day moving out of WinXP.  Well, sort of and mostly - if some casual passerby should happen to point out where/how I can put my established email account (Outlook Express) (don't judge) onto Win7, I could complete my escape and would snivel much less in coming days.  I resorted to the (temporary, damnit!) measure of moving most of my favorites/bookmark list onto the blog, so there's some added content to wade through.  Maybe you'll find something of newish interest.

It was a terrible day to go outside anyway.  Thunderstorm(s), inches of rainfall, the day's high temp was 51F and only got there after the wind dropped.  Can't say I'm actually excited to go back to work Monday, but my banker is looking less nervous and I have to pay for all this new technology I'm likely mis-using. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Went to the 4pm matinee Friday afternoon; the theater was about 80% filled with more adults than kids.  If you are a fan of the Marvel Comics universe of movies, you definitely want to see this one.  The writers deftly weave references to other characters and events into the dialogue, which gives an added sense of substance to the story, and the dramatic events don't interrupt the suspension of disbelief a story of this type absolutely requires.  There are a few moments that won't bear up under the strain of even a casual application of high school science class rigor, but a smooth application of handwavium in the dialogue makes it mostly go down easily enough.  Stan Lee almost slipped his trademark cameo appearance past us too.

One thing I've noticed as the Avengers storyline has developed; with the exception of 7 people (I counted), the audience stayed quietly in their seats through the closing credits.  I expect to see this technique of having an added segment of the movie being tacked onto the end of the credits spread to other production companies than Marvel Studios.  This particular viewing audience reflex/expectation has been well and truly established now.  I wonder how soon the cable film producers will adopt it for their work?

Two thumbs up and several "like" buttons for this one.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Strategy Of Money Redux

On March 4th of this year, Mr. Porretto published The Nature Of Money And Currency.  In that piece, Mr. Porretto relies on an incomplete definition, an outright falsehood and an appeal to authority in crafting an argument in support of his thesis, rather than the more traditional (not to say honest) method of letting the facts demonstrate the conclusion.

Mr. Porretto says:
Being an old fart, my education included a few items that are, let us say, no longer deemed suitable for dissemination to the impressionable young. However, had those young folks been exposed to a few of those items, quite a lot of our current miseries might well have been averted.
Two of those no-longer-chic items were the original definitions of money and currency:
money n: A medium of exchange and a store of value.
currency n: a proxy for money often employed in commercial intercourse.
I submit that a more fulsome (dare I say educational?) definition of money might be: An entirely imaginary medium of exchange providing both a mechanism for determining, and a store of, value (itself an equally hypothetical and transitory measure). 

Which is not to say that money isn't real or that things or ideas can't have real and lasting value.  But back to Mr. Porretto and his repetition of a common falsehood:
Money shares an important characteristic with language: it was a "crowdsourced" development. No one "invented" money ...
 Even a casual glance at human history will make obvious that the earliest of records from ancient human civilizations discovered so far, all center on recording the assets of the government (often in its function as religious authority).  These records make clear that the items themselves (food animals, agricultural produce, worked items, brewed or distilled liquids, raw land, etc) gradually were replaced by the entirely imaginary human concept of "money" instead of (and often in addition to) the quantity of item(s) being recorded.  Not "crowdsourced" by anonymous "no ones", but through a process of deliberate development of accounting mechanisms in support of a hypothesis toward more efficient (or at least more thoroughly documented) government.

And, finally, the appeal to authority:
Many astute and observant things have been said about money. Some of them are even true. For my money (sorry about that), the most piercing statement ever made about money occurred on the floor of the United States Senate, in 1912. The great financier J. P. Morgan had been asked to testify to that august body on monetary matters. This was the very first inquiry put to him:
Senator: Mr. Morgan, what is money?
J. P. Morgan: Gold is money, and nothing else is.
Morgan's understanding of the properties required of money was clear and unshakable.

Not to mention entirely (and no doubt unapologetically) self-serving.  Can we take it as a given that by 1912 J. P. Morgan had amassed a quantity of refined metals (and more specifically, gold) sufficient to make any other answer financially damaging, if not ruinous, for himself and his many business interests? A less partial or more biased source of opinion seems unlikely to me.

I have given attention to the concept of money before now.  One of the aspects of the construct we call "money" that I have yet to see given much consideration is the distributed network effect the concept creates.

Contra Mr. Morgan (and, apparently, Mr. Porretto), gold and other refined metals are currency, not money.  As such, they provide a physical mechanism to achieve the storage characteristic that money allows, along with being one of the physical transactional proxies of money during "commercial intercourse".

Money is a theoretical expression of transactional value.  It is this which removes any physical material from consideration as being itself money.  Accounting is the documentation of the (however spirited or lethargic) transaction process; money is the idea that permits any object or idea to be accounted at a determined value at any point in the exchange process, and currency is the stipulated unit in which value is expressed, stored and exchanged.  It is this complex nature of currency that also permits it (as a proxy of money) to operate as a distributed network between distant, and even actively opposed, peoples.

One of the great failings arising from this early network effect is the widespread conflation of specific forms of currency with money, along with the equally common belief that value has a fixed or permanent component to its nature (I suspect because almost anything has some value almost anywhere at any given moment, causing the illusion of intrinsic value).  Because money is accounted and denominated in currency values, there is a strong and widespread impulse to manipulate those values (even if only to stabilize them beyond the moment).  Indeed, one of the most prominent claims to legitimacy of any government or nation is the stability and value of its currency.  This points out the fallacy of gold as money, as gold must have a denominated and stable value as currency, but doing so severely limits the value of the money the gold currency serves as proxy for (and thereby limits the hypothetical wealth of nations, so to speak).  Currency is a complex concept, but not capable of the stretch that level of complexity demands.

For the reasons Mr. Porretto notes, refined metals are historically the most common form of currency used in value transaction.  From this facility at commercial intercourse, the monetary network effect also measures, transmits, receives, recalculates and re-transmits (wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum) information just as well as it facilitates transaction in physical items.  Not to the standards of speed or specificity of data a modern human would expect, but far more quickly and complexly than any individual of a more ancient era could ever achieve directly. 

What is needed still is a non-currency value of measurable, but reasonably directly equatable, quantity.  I suggest the electrical value: erg.  An erg of electricity can be expressed in watts, which are themselves an established measure of "work".  Any nation's monetary value can be reasonably (and surprisingly accurately) expressed in the electric (or equivalent) capability to perform "work", and thus an international value can be assigned to a country's currency entirely unrelated to the local (or even planetary) availability of any given refined metal, or even necessarily the actual quantity of "work" performed (contemplate the electrical concept "potential" as it might be applied in this context).  Regardless of national origin, money is measured as the work capable of being performed by a stipulated amount of electricity (as measured in ergs), and a country's currency is valued by the total amount of work that nation generates (or controls?) over a stipulated time period.  No one needs to enforce this system, as anyone can perform the required calculations from a compendium of recent historical data for that country (the compiling and certification of which is a potential business opportunity all in itself).  As ideas go, this one undoubtedly needs more work. 

Mr. Porretto writes in support of a particular political ideology that appears to feature as a short term inevitability the violent disruption of his and my country at the very least.  He is certainly not unique in this belief, but his beliefs serve as a preconceived outcome to his essay rather than a truly logical conclusion drawn from the facts he presents.  Given the influence his work has on other writers I admire, this is unfortunate and misleading.  Mr. Porretto has written further on this topic here and here, but I expect they are also examples of his pursuit of an ideological aspiration rather than informed economic essays. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Yee, Hee Hee

I predict that California state Senator Leland Yee will be post facto "discovered" to have been a state undercover agent the whole time, once the Democratic Party masseuses have there way with the "evidence".

You read it here first (I hope), but you know you've been thinking the same thing since you first heard this story.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Away Game

BobS at 3 Boxes of BS has an update to (relatively) recent changes in Texas' CHL legislation.
This removes considerable worry about a shirt riding up or the wind blowing a cover garment up and exposing the firearm.Combine that with the protection of displaying in situations where the use of force or deadly force would be appropriate and the really helps the gun owner.      
Not quite Open Carry but on the way. Even more importantly was the fact this bill wasn’t a stretch, it wasn’t an oddity in an otherwise hostile legislative session; it was 1 of 14 bills that generally improved the rights of the people.

Never one to simply bask in my admittedly very faint share of the glow of satisfaction resulting from all this, it absolutely was not beneath me to poke a stick into the corner of this series of tubes where the determinedly down-spirited portion of the 2A community like to point and pout, and give it a vigorous stir:
This right here is one of the strong arguments against the fatalist position that “we can’t/won’t vote our way out of this”. Over the past 20+ years, Texans have worked within the standard legislative process to indeed vote ourselves out of the restrictive legal environment we owned and carried firearms in. The same is achievable in any other state or Federal District, Possession or Territory within the Union too; it only needs the citizens resident there to not meekly accept the denial of their rights by those who profit from doing so.
3-pers Rejoice! Your model of success is before you! :)
 Running counter to form, I'm not being the least bit tongue-in-cheek there either.  We live in a Republic; the responsibility is ours to each work within that political process to keep the legal and regulatory burden our form of government imposes at a level we collectively find least intolerable.  If you aren't willing to do that, you're as much a part of the problem as those who work to increase the burden to deny exercise of our rights.

And, just for the record, if you're one of those posturing narcissists who claim to anticipate "another American Revolution", I direct your attention to the "...and Domestic" language in the Oath administered to all members of the US armed forces upon entering service.  They follow right after the "Enemies Foreign ..." verbiage.

Americans change our own government without shooting* at each other.  Don't be that other guy.

*Yeah, Yeah ... ACW/War of Somebody's Aggression; look how well that turned out for us.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quick Thinker

If this story doesn't have you laughing around watering eyes, you need to smack both elbows into the concrete very hard to stimulate your funny bone.

Thanks Joe.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

That's Right(s)!

At his blog Alpha Game novelist Vox Day offers commentary on how rights are expressed and offers an interesting conclusion:

Either my observations and Roissy's observations are true or they are not true. That is the sole relevant metric. They cannot be undermined by racial preferences anymore than they are undermined by sports team or ice cream preferences.

My only objection to the above would be the lack of the qualification "personal" in the statement.  "... by personal racial preferences ..." and "personal sports team or ice cream preferences."

Many people (though Vox Day does not number among them by my reading) fail to acknowledge that the American Revolution of 1776 was a political revolution only.  Indeed, considerations other than the strictly political were rather ruthlessly bargained over to keep proceedings as narrowly focused on the political dispute with Britain as possible.  The phrase, "all men are created equal", is an explicit declaration of political condition, and no other.  This has resulted in most of modern America being dominated by attempts to resolve social and ethical perceived injustices by the political process developed as a result of determinedly ignoring those same social and economic inequities.  That the political shoe pinches is only to be expected really.

Arguably the fundamental precept of the United States of America is that everyone has "rights".  Government is the means by which we by-and-large agree to regulate the means and manner in which we each get to express those rights equilaterally.  The Men's Rights Movement is the response to the modern assertion that women have greater claim to government support of expression of their rights than do men.

As can be seen, we can and do quibble and remonstrate with each other over when, how and to what degree we get to exercise our rights.  To the point that we effectively deny expression of rights entirely sometimes as a means of entrenching expression of the rights of some over others.  Government exists for the sole purpose of guaranteeing the expression of rights by the individual through the collective mechanism of partial regulation of the means chosen to express those rights.

The foundational viewpoint that underlies classical strategy is that the concepts are explained hierarchically, but they are exercised as a closed circle of actions that must be balanced in the totality of their individual expression.

Much like human/civil rights in the modern world.

We discuss our rights in a hierarchical fashion because that's just how language works; point A is supported by point B and etc.  Actual expression of those rights is as part of a balanced whole of actions taken.  Individual preferences influence how and with whom we choose to exercise our individual rights, but that fact cannot deny us the exercise of our rights at all, except as we allow it to.  Actively denying someone the ability to express his rights makes you the legitimate target of his efforts to do so anyway.  If you insist upon hanging a target around your own neck, don't cry when the inevitable happens afterward.

"War On Women" indeed.

Pimping My Away Game Stats

Og posts some political insights and, having nothing particularly cogent to offer, I nonetheless observe in comments (#14):

What so many people never seem to realize about politics is that nobody ever wins, the objective is to lose less than everybody else. The strategy of politics is to ensure that no-one is violently unhappy with government policy. The art of politics is to successfully re-define “happiness” every electoral cycle.

The basic point (with which I wholeheartedly agree) is that "incrementalism" isn't a failure to achieve one's objective, it's how one achieves said objective.  The idea isn't to vote ourselves out of this this time, it's to keep voting ourselves just that little bit closer to what we regard as the most desirable political state of being.  That's what "sustainability" really is; the process of sustaining something in a viable state or condition. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear Vox Day

I believe that's why it is called The Theory Of Evolution and not "The Fact ..."

Much like the gentleman you quote, I don't know how the theory works either, but here's a thought.

I suggest that a stipulated set of amino acids (and I nominate Dr. Tour as having the last word here) be given a computer code representation, that (a very large number of) the conditions that an (also large number) of that same theoretical collection of amino acids might have been confronted with in both a series and parallel method of exposure, with a series of random (but not inconsistent with modern climatic patterns) selection of physical conditions as well.  Let the computer simulation program run to some reasonable approximation of the geologic time scale of Earth and, I suggest, we might have a first-order approximation of TENS.  Or not.  If nothing else, it's a way to help better decide where to throw away allocate our research funding.  I suspect learning how to develop better computer simulation models from the existing evidence.

Don't look at me to do it though, I have neither the finances nor the mental horsepower to put it all together.

Just to be clear, I remain unconvinced of any proposed theory that purports to explain physical existence - even your apparent first choice.  Personally, I endorse the Fart Theory of Physical Existence; I fart, therefore I am.  The odoriferous evidence is irrefutable I am consistently told.

Also, I have no trouble recreating the effect ad initio either.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How Can A Wrong Be A Right?

I'm working on something having to do with rights and I want to get some added perspective to part of that issue.

I'm not a commenter at Neanderpundit, but I am a semi-regular reader.  Some time back, Og wrote an entry that in passing well captures one of the issues I hope to discuss.  He wrote:  

Beginning with Roe vs Wade, we have institutionalized slaughter of innocents on a scale the likes of which could not be imagined. Something on the order of 57 million abortions have been performed since 1973. More than twenty times the US casualty rates in every war since 1776. More than twice the population of the top 15 cities in America ...  If you have faith in a Creator and you meditate on this it becomes clearer and clearer. The lesson of Abraham and Jesus is clear; Only the Creator is empowered to give and thus take human life.
Stipulated for the sake of discussion, it is a given that it is both wrong to kill another while also legal to do so sometimes.

I want to posit a circumstance for specific discussion (should anyone actually read this - I'm mostly just putting this down in exposition for later adaptation):  since self-defense is an explicit legal concept in US law, to what degree can abortion be justified under that legal construct?  If a man does not contribute to the conception of a child/human fetus, he can still find himself legally and financially responsible for the child for at least the first 18 years of his/her's life.  Is that man ethically exercising his self-defense rights by facilitating (not a euphemism for "forcing") the newly pregnant woman (presumably his legal spouse) to seek out an abortion?  Could this same justification be equally ethically extended to all US taxpayers in the case of an unwed woman becoming pregnant?  Given that "self-defense" requires an imminent threat being present, can it be logically asserted that the certainty of legal and financial obligation being inflicted on the man immediately upon the child becoming a legal person is ethically (and ought arguably be legally) equivalent to imminent threat?

I'm well aware of the moral/religious doctrine on these questions, I'm deliberately confining this to the legal issue.  When is a person ethically justified to assert his/her rights?  What are some of the ethical justifications for denying someone the exercise of those same rights?  Specifically, the right of self-defense.

I deliberately choose an extreme example, but I think it relevant to offer my own belief that abortion is justified in US law because US legislators have taken the position (if only by default) that a "person" is one who exists physiologically independent from any other and is at least theoretically able to exercise a human being's rights and responsibilities (vote, pay taxes, etc either directly or by proxy) independently from any other (which absolutely requires a specific exemption for conjoined twins).  By that logic, an unborn child cannot  meet the legal definition of "person", therefore cannot be subject to the protections the law provides to such.

Again, I'm clear on the moral questions (or clear enough for these purposes); my focus is on the ethical exercise of legal rights and behavior, and the process by which we make these type determinations generally and in particular as regards self-defense.

Update:  I have edited my late-night (and quite garbled) prose to make more clear the lack of biological relationship between the man potentially responsible for the welfare of the non-aborted child in US law.


Finally got my desktop back from the shop.  Man, is it nice being able to use a regular keyboard and 24" screen again!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Srsly W-T-Effin-F

Will somebody (Borepatch, Vox Day, ESR - all of you have written in a knowledgeable-seeming fashion about this) please write a post on what this "Dark Enlightenment" is supposed to be in aid of?  What is it about?  What does it claim to be about?  Is there in fact any "there" there?  In terms of non-internet relevance, where would you rank its claim to moral and human ethical values on a scale between Lord of the Flies and The Alamo?

Yes, I read this Telegraph article; no, I'm still not any better informed than I was before doing so.  Neither, apparently, is Mr. Bartlett, though that doesn't slow his willingness to "explain" things.

A little help here ...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Setting The Olympic Bar As Low As It'll Go

So, it seems Putin-on-the-Olympic Games in So-Shit Russia may be best remembered for the examples of people backing away from taking any of the "glory".

And these are the people we spent 70 years being told were going to bury us.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Circumstantial Problem Of Perspective

One of the instructors at my local Krav Maga school has written an article titled Legal Issues Surrounding Use of Force and Krav Maga which is published on the East Texas Krav Maga school web page.  While generally well written and quite informative, in my judgement the piece suffers from a particularly dangerous failure of perspective as a result of the author's contextual assumptions.

As a former police officer, Paul Landreth-Smith appears to have approached his topic from the perspective of someone who enjoys benefit of the legal notion known as qualified immunity as well as the assumption that individuals interests are best served by providing all the information possible to law enforcement agents following involvement in a violent incident.  While this may in fact be the case for a member of law enforcement (and my reading shows that opinion is not universal), I believe that advice is a particular disservice to the vast majority of non-law enforcement Krav Maga students as well as all people who lawfully carry a firearm in their own right.

The wealth of detail Paul Landreth-Smith offers regarding recording the incident you were involved in is quite comprehensive and useful to your defense counsel.  And here we see how Paul's assumption based on Qualified Immunity misinforms his thesis; Paul is quite correct that all of the data he itemizes is necessary to a proper defense of the Krav Maga student, but the assumption that law enforcement is necessarily concerned with your defense is potentially a tragically mistaken one.

The other error of assumption the author makes is to base the choice of whether or not to engage the skills learned in Krav Maga from any other standpoint than, "Does this act meet the legal standard of self defense?"  Paul Landreth-Smith rightly dismisses the nonsense notion of there being any requirement to declare your martial arts training status (and more generally, that you are armed at all), but he fails to specify the legal requirements for an individuals actions to qualify as self defense.  This, especially combined with the other error cited above, makes his article very problematic.

In brief, a claim of self defense requires that a hypothetical other person would concur that your actions were both reasonable and proper in the circumstances in which they occurred.  In my judgement, every student of Krav Maga (most especially to include anyone who owns or carries a firearm on their person) must base there decision to engage in violence with another on this principle alone.  Unlike law enforcement, as a general rule people do not have any requirement to engage in violence with other people (as I understand it, the requirement for law enforcement to do so is the fundamental justification for Qualified Immunity).  Granted, in most US states people famously have the right to "Stand Your Ground", but all that really means is there is no lawful requirement to retreat from threat.  As Krav students, this means we don't have to try to "run away, run away", but that also doesn't obviate our requirement (just like every other reasonable and law abiding person) to avoid physical conflict whenever circumstance permits.

I commend Paul Landreth-Smith for extending this discussion to specifically include Krav Maga students.  I believe I have illustrated how my fellow students might further benefit from debate about possible refinement or expansion of this discussion as part of our Krav Maga training.  In that vein, I suggest that inclusion of legal experts on this specific topic might be of value.  For now, I encourage my fellow Krav students to adopt the Self Defense legal standard as their own metric by which to weigh their decision whether or not to use their Krav training, in addition to applying as much of Paul Landreth-Smiths advice in supplying their defense council with as much data as possible, should they ever have to choose to fight.