Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Customer appreciation


You normally hear about companies when they've screwed up, so I wanted to make sure I recognized a company when I had a good experience.

I have a Plantronics Bluetooth headset, one of the ones with a case that contains an external battery. I lost the case the other day, and contacted Plantronics in the faint hope that I could buy one as a replacement, despite it not showing on their website for purchase separately.

The response I got was that, as a one-time deal, they would ship me a replacement free of charge, but if I lost this one I would have to pay for further replacement.

Thank you, Plantronics, for excellent customer service.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cognitive dissonance

The big news today was apparently the Newt Flat Tax Scheme; and that it would “benefit the rich” because their tax rates would drop from 35% to 15%. This is a bogus argument – the rich don’t pay 35% on their income. For one thing, that’s a marginal rate, not an effective rate – they pay that rate on their income over a certain threshold; look at a tax table sometime. And weren’t we all complaining that Warren Buffet (say) pays an effective rate less than his secretary? If Warren Buffet’s tax rate is lower than his secretary’s, he benefits less from a 15% flat tax than his secretary. It’s likely that he would prefer to stay off the flat tax due to the lack of deductions outside the personal one.

A flat tax with only a personal deduction will not benefit the ultra-rich, because they have enough money to be able to afford decent tax planning. It will notably benefit the middle class, who have enough money to worry about their tax rate, but not enough to be able to afford a shelter. It neither helps nor harms the poor, as in either situation they don’t pay enough income taxes to matter (the payroll taxes are another matter, but those are notably regressive for other reasons).

And I thought we all wanted to support the middle class?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Youtube is freedom

Instapundit linked to an interesting /. article about how TSA is “facing death by a thousand cuts.” One of the commenters hit on something else interesting, that has ramifications outside of the airport

As for the TSA what is killing their asses is the YouTube. Being giant douchebags really isn't easy when everyone and their dog and their dog's squeaky toy have a camera in their phone, and its kinda hard for a congress critter to stand up for the TSA when all of their constituents have been passing around links to the latest TSA goon attack, like the screaming 3 year old or the 96 year old they went after for having a soggy nappy.

It’s been said that the US lost the war in Viet Nam in the living rooms of the US. 40 years ago it took major time, effort, and money to bring graphic images into the lives of ordinary americans. Today, all it takes is a cheap video camera and a Youtube account. And the trite wisdom of two of my favorite movies comes into play: “You can’t stop the signal,” and “The more you tighten your grip, the more [people] will slip through your fingers.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Convenient

The Transformer dock includes a couple of USB ports. They generate enough power to charge my thunderbolt, which as any Tbolt owner knows is very important…

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tech toys

The big brown truck of happiness brought me my latest gadget toy today, the keyboard dock for my ASUS Transformer. This allows the tablet to be converted to an Android-powered netbook, adding 2 USB ports, a full-size SD card slot in addition to the tablet’s micro-SD slot, and roughly doubling the battery capacity while attached. The hinge mount allows the combination to clamshell closed, an when open functions as an ergonomic wedge to angle the keyboard slightly when it is on a desk or tabletop.

The main negatives are a sub-size (they claim 90-odd percent) keyboard making tying cramped, and a very sensitive touchpad pointing device. Since the keyboard is still better than an on-screen kb and the touchpad has a hard key to quickly disable and re-enable, I can live with this.

The best part is that Amazon had it for 2/3 of list for Black Friday, and I have Amazon Prime.

The day Freedom was axed

I (virtually) hang out in a lot of places where the concept that the America of the Founding Fathers is, if not dead, close to it. The more optimistic holders of this opinion try and rally support to fight back; and I’m not going to say they’re wrong. The fight is not lost. Anyway, one of the perennial topics of discussion is where the line is, was, or will be when Freedom was compromised.

IMHO, Carrie Nation did it – when it became acceptable for the power of the Federal Government to bind by law the options of We The People to control our own bodies (by them restricting what we can consume recreationally). The rest of the lost freedoms follow – the privacy abuses of the War on Terror™ follow from the War on Drugs™, which descends from that axe-wielding heroine of the progressives.

Once again, the enemies of freedom have had nearly a century to work, and the forces of freedom are just now counterattacking. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will the Constitution be restored in our lifetimes. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. For that matter, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t living in a time of unprecedented freedom – for all that we’ve lost since 1787, we’ve gained plenty more, especially if you’re not a rich white hetero male…

Well, isn’t that interesting

For all y’all who think HR822 is DOA in the Senate:

[Brian] Miller sees a real possibility that the Democratic-controlled Senate will approve the bill, possibly as an attachment to a piece of essential legislation, such as authorization for Defense Department appropriations. “My understanding is that our side is two votes short of enough votes to keep that from happening,” he said. “But there are a number of undeclared senators, including (Pennsylvania’s) Bob Casey, who advertises himself as a moderate-to-liberal Democrat but is pro-gun.

That’s remarkably pessimistic, even for a man who makes his living by scaring people. I personally think it would be highly appropriate to attach to the Defense Dept appropriation…

Also note the flat-out lie about felons being able to obtain permits.

Finally, good on the NJ Republican delegation for voting en masse for HR822.

H/T Cemetery

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank you Rep Leonard Lance

Representative Leonard Lance voted for HR 822. Thank you for choosing freedom, Rep Lance.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blogging is like sleep

It will be going from light to non-existent for a bit. I have a son!

 

If you want pics, find any random newborn pic and visualize a receiving blanket with baby footprint motif and a pink-and-blue striped watchcap. When you’re measuring age in days and they’re swaddled up in blanket and cap, one newborn face looks much like another to the unrelated. To the related, of course, they are the most special unique thing in the universe, and the Kitten Argent is no exception.

 

Back to making googly eyes at my boy, See you in a bit.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cargo Cult Protests

Five words that encapsulate OWS. ''OWS is a cargo cult.''

To expand on this, “we saw the Tea Party/civil rights movements be successful with public demonstrations, so we will have public demonstrations and be successful.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The harried middle class

This post by Megan McArdle has really caused my feelings on the OWS folks to precipitate (in the chemical sense). I’ve been wondering why the protestors are so angry. In some ways, the OWS folks are where I was 10 years ago. Except I never considered raging, and neither did most of my peers. Maybe that’s due to being a different time, in a different part of the economic cycle. Maybe it was being allowed to lose when I grew up. I don’t know. Maybe “there but for the grace of God go I” – I’ve gotten lucky in life after making some truly wretched decisions, some of which I am still literally paying for. I spent over 5 years in college to learn that liking computers doesn’t mean I like to write code, to emerge with an annoyingly large student debt and no degree. But the cachet of my school is such that having spent time there is a Big Deal; having gone there seems to count as much in some people’s minds as having graduated from some other schools.

Plus, I’ve got skills and talent, though I am neither the most skilled or most talented person I’ve worked with (which I’m also grateful for, it means I have had people I can learn from in my career). I wasn’t told this by my parents, but by people whose job it would be to turf me out if this wasn’t the case. Since I’m embarking on the great adventure of parenthood, I’ve found myself reflecting on the kind of parent I want to be, and realizing I don’t want my kid to “get a trophy for participation.” I want him to go out, kick ass, take names, and be a gracious winner afterwards; all while staying in the rules, written and unwritten. And children are really good at picking up on hypocrisy, so I’d better follow that philosophy as well.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Messages in stone

Had a thought the other day about a “Starman Jones” movie, and wondered (along with the necessary changes to the maguffin in these days of microprocessors and thumb drives) whether Hollywood would still leave in message of “he et what was set in front of him.” Seems to me we could use a bit more of that some days, as specifically differentiated from “he played the hand he was dealt/” (See the book for the difference)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Muller vs Maenza update

Oral arguments for the case scheduled Thursday, October 27, at 9:30 a.m. at the Newark federal courthouse!!! http://www.njd.uscourts.gov/ If anyone wants to attend...please dress appropriately for a federal court, and don’t bring anything “political” (e.g. big buttons, etc.). Please also remember to arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for time to get through security. The courthouse is located at:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse
50 Walnut Street
Newark, NJ 07101
Phone : 973-645-3730

 

via NJGun Forums

Friday, October 14, 2011

Too Many Magazines

I think someone has managed to discover how many magazines are too many…

image

Picture is courtesy of No on California SB 798

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Schrodinger’s Carry

Whenever the topic of “open vs. concealed” carry comes up, I sit on the sidelines, eat popcorn, and watch fireworks. For all the sound and fury the topic can drag out, I think the issue minor. It’s a bit of an illusion, IMHO.

Here’s the reason: If I drop one of these into a pocket of one of these, am I carrying open or concealed? How about if I put a Ruger iron-on patch on the pocket in question?

If that is concealed, how about a 1911 in a holster that fully and completely covers the weapon such that it is not in view? (Variant of this, with a panel to cover the magazine well from view as well, say.)

Alternatively, say I’ve got my Glock 17L in the Fobus paddle holster that I bought a while back, and I wear my Scott eVest over it.The gun itself is long enough to put about an inch of slide out from under the hem of the vest. Concealed, or not? How about if I paint the slide flourescent green?

If the answer to any of these is “let the judge sort it out,” we have a problem.

For that matter, while it’s relatively trivial for a male dressed in everyday clothing to carry openly or concealed, given the wide variety of choice afforded by pants, belt, and cover garment (in moderate weather conditions, anyway, and assuming you don’t live the Robb Allen lifestyle); doing so as a female restricts the choices of garments, if indeed their body shape allows.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Monkeywrenching the NFA

Someone went and actually drove the truck through a loophole in the NFA. This toy is neither a rifle, nor pistol, nor AOW, and they have a letter from the ATF that says so. (Unless you actually conceal it on your person. That’s an astonishing statement).

I talk about monkeywrenching the NFA, but they went and did it!

 

(H/T TTAG via njgunforums)

Self Defense

Saw the following tweet from an EMT helping out at the Occupy Boston protests: "If you're bringing medical supply donations, #OccupyBoston thanks you and we could really use glucose gel/tablets and diabetic supplies."

Really? You want donations of maintenance medical supplies and other supplies that are primarily needed if someone doesn't take care of themselves? At a planned event? Really?

I am not going to blame the victims of diabetes for being diabetic, that's not my place. I <i>am</i> going to blame anyone who is diabetic for going to one of these events without taking appropriate precautions. Why should anyone listen to the demands of someone who can't organize their own life to protect against the ravages of a known threat that has well-known defensive measures?

(If the request for supplies is primarily to be able to minister to the commuters who are unexpectedly unable to get home in time for dinner because the protestors have snarled traffic, and I withdraw my complaints, but I doubt that's the case.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Economist on violence

Author Steven Pinker Answers Your Questions « Freakonomics

" My own guess is that Americans (particularly in the south and west) never really signed on to a social contract that gave government a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, as Europe did. Americans not only retain the right to bear arms but believe it is their responsibility, not the government’s, to deter harm-doers. With private citizens, flush with self-serving biases, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, body counts can pile up as trigger-happy vigilantes mete out rough justice. This may be a legacy of the long periods of anarchy in the mountainous south and frontier west, and of the historical failure of the police and courts to serve African American communities."

[Citation Needed] - if the violence really was vigilantism, he's be able to site that, not just "guess."
However, he also points out that it's not "the guns," and removing firearms violence doesn't affect the numbers notably.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Privilege of office amendment

Proposed:
That no government official enjoy any privileges or immunities of office that are not allowed to the people.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No MGs in Fairfax

According to an email response from range management, the NRA Range only permits full-auto after hours and by pre-arrangement.

Since I have said otherwise based on a handout I got once, I am retracting that.

Freedom and enemies

I use a term here, "enemies of freedom," often fairly perjoratively. Because I am a self-professed conservative, and tend to blog towards conservative issues when I am not blogging firearm issues, I might appear to be using this as a synonym for liberal.
There are, of course, enemies of freedom within the conservative movement. Having heard him speak, I am forced to include Gov. Huckabee in this grouping. He is a great speaker, and I like some of what he says. But he is a religious man who wishes to impose the dictates of his religion as public policy. As I said on Twitter when he proudly proclaimed he clung to God and Guns, "Sorry, Governor Huckabee, one of the fundamental freedoms of America is that someone can cling to a different God than you."
Likewise, I wouldn't call every self-proclaimed liberal an enemy of freedom. The ACLU is a prime example of an organization that is viewed a "liberal" that is anything but an enemy of freedom.
Finally, when I use the term, I mean to describe the politicians and political organizations that are instigating anti-freedom policies, not the supporters who vote. Nor am I attacking them as people; but target their politics and policies.
This is sort of like Megan's prediction that healthcare would not, could not, would never, no way, pass. Because it was political suicide. Which was, in retrospect, exactly like those predictions from 1910 that there could never be another Europe wide war, because it would be economic and demographic suicide for the British Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Tsar of Russia, the German Empire etc. The analysis may be correct, but the prediction is wrong.

A knife is a tool

Since all the Cool Kids are doing it, I've posted a pic of the chunk of steel that rides in my pocket at all times. Not shown, the ballistic nylon pouch containing a vast selection of screwdriver bits to slot in.
Also, not shown, the pair of flashlights that came in the package I got, one of which survived a trip through the washer and drier. (The Monarch 300, a single-AAA-powered LED flashlight with the activation control on the butt cap.)

 The black tube behind the bottle opener is a capacitive stylus used to prop the thing up for Cecil B DeMille.







Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Class Warfare

Seen on Twitter: “The Chairman of Merck took home $17.9 million last year. This year Merck announces plans to boot 13,000 workers. Any questions?”

To which my question is “long division, can you do it?” Even were the chairman of Merck to take not a penny in compensation, the money saved by Merck would not pay for a tithe of those jobs. This is straight-up jealousy and rabble-rousing. (Each of the laid-off workers gets approximately $1400 from the Chairman forgoing his annual salary completely. A tithe (10%) gets $14,000 which is less than $10/hr in annual wages).

Sure, he makes more in a year than I’ve made in my life to date. I’m unlikely to see a tenth as much in annual income at any point in my life. Who cares? I don’t – the amount of money he makes has a vanishingly small impact on the amount of money I can make. Yes, in one sense that pie is finite – but it is so very large that it is effectively infinite. You have to express in scientific notation the fraction of the US economy that went to this guy’s bank account last year. And it’s not like it vanishes into a black hole when he’s paid it. Money moves on, from his back account to other bank accounts. It’s entirely likely that a fraction of my paycheck comes out of the money that Merck paid him last year due to him paying my employer. If he didn’t directly, the money he spent on other good and services went by various and diverse trails into my employers coffers and indirectly into mine, just as I put the vast majority of the money that comes into my coffers into someone else’s; gaining positive energy as it goes by.

If you’re that concerned about the workers of Merck, don’t order your drugs from foreign pharmacies – that’ll be more effective than whining about them what has money.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why A Glock 18?

I DVR Top Shot and watch it later so I can skip commercials. (But not the Llama – I enjoy the Llama). The elimination weapon this week was a Cornershot fitted with a Glock 18. The challenge didn’t involve any automatic fire, and the extended magazine will work in any 9x19 Glock, and Colby didn’t say anything about the Glock itself being unusual in any way. I was left scratching my head as to why they bothered with the G-18 when they’ve got any number of Glock 17s lying around, based on previous challenges.

Then it hit me – the Glock 18 is a Machine Gun; and therefore doesn’t need a SBR tax stamp when it’s placed into the Cornershot…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rocks and Bows–followup

This story has a few more details – including that the occupants of the car were likewise teenagers. (Who left the scene and are being sought by police.)
Poking at various instances of the original AP story, most of the comments seem to agree the rock-thrower at least had it coming and generally that the thrower was lucky he wasn’t dead in a justified self-defense incident… There does seem to be a certain strain of “he’s just a child,” though. Look, the thrower was 16 and committing assault, probably assault with a deadly weapon, in his late teenage years. 16 is considered old enough (most places) to have the judgment to safely control a deadly weapon (to wit, a car) under most circumstances. He’s not “just a kid.”
(More info here – but apparently their ‘bots got tangled up with a carj-acking story – as far as I can tell the two events are not related)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Because no-one ever needs to defend themselves in the home

Surgeon accused of attacking teen, threatening to kill him in Scotch Plains

Scotch Plains isn’t exactly a dangerous town (though it is next door to a not-so-nice couple of towns). This ended well enough, and it looks like the suspect is being charged with some serious crimes. But it could have gone much worse.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get medieval

The AP reports on an antisocial individual whose property-damaging and reckless endangerment ways were chastised with a cross bow

Monday, August 29, 2011

Congruent storytelling

Fans of NuWho (particularly David Tennant) ought to read the Belgariad, and vice versa. Discuss

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stormageddon

Irene is here, and, as of now, so am I. The pumps are pumping intermittently (save for the one I dropped into the crawlspace that has close to 4 foot of water in it – that one’s running continuously), despite me needing both hands to keep track of the number of distinct places the water is coming into the basement in faucet volume (not to mention all the seepage). Power has been up save for one drop of less than a minute.


Which reminds me – I rigged up my Android to sound an alarm in case of power loss; this prevented me and Allura from having to stand watch-and-watch last night in case of a power outage

Using Tasker, create the following profile

Context: Not Power Any

Task Alarm:

  1. Media Volume: 15
  2. Music Play Directory – select an appropriate set of music. You could use playlist, &c. I happen to have had a defined alarm task that I could recycle
  3. Popup Task Names (text Alarm, Task SnoozeAlarm, Task CancelAlarm)
    1. Task SnoozeAlarm:
      1. Music Stop, clear directory Off
      2. Notify, Title Alarm Snoozed
      3. Notify Cancel, Title Alarm Snoozed
      4. Wait, 20 minutes
      5. Perform Task Alarm
    2. Task CancelAlarm
      1. Music Stop, Clear Dir off
      2. Notify, Title Alarm Off
      3. Notify Cancel, Title Alarm Off

The Alarm Task is modified from one at lifehacker.

When the device is removed from charging power (USB or AC) it will immediately start playing the chosen music. For obvious reasons, cloud music wasn’t an option (Pandora, Google Music, &c).


That having been said, there are plenty of folks without power, or even worse off, in NJ; my prayers are with them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On mobs and violence

We've treated recently to reports of limited mob violence in various parts of the US recently, and then this weekend we have reports of widespread rioting and looting in England in the London vincinity. At this point I really don't care about the causes of riots, root or immediate. The violence is not being directed against anything that could be described as a legitimate target of force. If mob violence can ever be justified, it is only against representatives of an unjust and oppressive government, not against fellow citizens. Likewise, looting can only be justified if it is directed against the resources of such a government and limited to the materiel necessary to maintain opposition to that government. Libyan rebels looting government armories is OK; London yobs carrying flat screens out of Marks and Sparks is not. Morality lecture over.

The best defense against a mob is not to be there, of course, and if you are caught up near one to leave the area. Sometimes this isn't possible; you're on Sun Tzu's deadly ground, or forced to defend a position such as your home or livelihood. In these cases, you might want something a little different than your sidearm. Classically, this is the shotgun's role. Not for nothing is a shotgun often referred to as a mob gun or a riot gun. The big problem in using deadly force on a mob is getting the survivors to realize that you are shooting at them. I would expect that a 12-gauge's muzzle blast alone is going to make an impression, and a blast of pellets may take down several rioters, something a single pistol bullet is unlikely to do.

This may be the role that the Kel-tec KSG would excel at. 14+1 rounds of 12-gauge ammo is a lot of mayhem, and the whole package is relatively compact, making it handier in closenquarters. Of course, as a tube-magazine weapon, reloading after that 15th shot is going to be tedious, and compared to any handgun it's unwieldy and heavy to transport. But I can't think of a much better choice for a riot gun among non-Short-Barreled-Shotguns.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Home gunsmithing

Elmo points to a story about a man who prints out a stainless steel stroller part, and wonders when this technology will come to the home. Me, I wonder who will count as the manufacturer if I provide the cad/cam file, materials, & c, and just rent time on the printer, today?

How about if I have the frame "printed" in two halves and then weld them together at home?

Note: this is all for personal consumption, not for resale. Federal law permits manufacture of a firearm by a non-ffl for personal use, I understand.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Swype woes

Due to a change in android 3.2, Swype will not work on my Transformer. A fix is in the works.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ultimate NFA Monkeywrench

Something to do if I ever get the big bucks. Find a good firearms lawyer, and get him to set it up so I can walk into federal court and ask the judge to tell me which one of the 7 items pictured below matches each of the 7 categories of:

  1. A Rifle
  2. A Pistol
  3. A Shotgun
  4. Any Other Weapon
  5. A Short-Barreled Rifle
  6. A Short-Barreled Shotgun
  7. A Machine Gun

ar15 stripped lowerar15 stripped lowerar15 stripped lowerar15 stripped lowerar15 stripped lowerar15 stripped lowerar15 stripped lower

So that I know where I can buy one, from whom, and what taxes I have to pay on each item.

 

(Yes, a shotgun or short-barreled shotgun. With a side-order of machine gun if that’s what rocks your cradle)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another way to commit a felony in NJ

Cemetery posts this info to twitter: "In Jersey City: Cash for Clunkers - Times, Locations, and Rebate amounts > http://bit.ly/oFQoqW"

The locations given are all churches or community centers, which are not permitted locations for transport to/from in the exemptions to the bans on firearms possession...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Test post - graffiti edition

I'm trying out the Graffiti "keyboard" I just downloaded, and it just works for me. Admittedly, I am using a capacitive stylus, and I have the muscle memory for this left over from many years of using a Palm Vx and then the "block recognizer" of windows mobile...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pointless laws

Assume, for the purposes of this exercise I have a permit recognized in PA. I get up in the morning, place my unloaded handgun in a securely-tied package, and place that and some ammunition in the trunk of my car. I drive from my house to a friend's house in a bad neighborhood in PA, stopping once I have crossed the delaware river to load and holster the handgun. I spend the day in PA, ending up in Bristol, where I purchase a box of hollowpoint ammo before securing my unloaded handgun in a tied package and heading home. In NJ I am pulled over for a minor traffic infraction (my headlight is out or something equally minor) and the police officer observes the box of hollowpoints which I left visible on the seat.
At this point I am pretty sure I am hosed, legally speaking. The hollowpoints are grounds for arrest in NJ, and search incident to arrest gets the gun. Even if I had stopped to shoot at the range where I bought the ammo, my travels in NJ are not direct to and from the range, making possession of the gun and ammo at least potentially illegal. At best I have an expensive court case to clear my name, and at worst, I'm the next Brian Aitken.
Did my hypothetical arrest make anyone safer? It certainly doesn't stop criminals from obtaining, carrying, and using firearms in a criminal fashion. In that I had to handle a loaded firearm, it increases the (miniscule) chance of an accidental or negligent discharge.

A village tale

African Village Uses Tech to Fight Off Rape Cult | Danger Room | Wired.com

There's a couple of interesting ths about this article. Many people have noted that the villagers are using home-made
firearms, an indication of how easy useful firearms are to make and how futile firearms bans are, so I won't retread that ground.
A weapon system is only as good  as its targeting, and it is the application of intelligence in the military sense that makes these home-made weapons effective against the raiders. The villagers have a scout force and a communication net that allows them to have the civilians retreat to safety and the militia to concentrate at the point of threat in a dual-purpose fm transmitter. That's the titular "tech" of the article, not the shotguns, for the author distrusts the use of weaponry by civilians "outside the control of the government," and worried that the villagers have "written off any hope of aid" from that government.
Of course, the radios the villagers are using come from private effort, not the government, as does everything else that allows the village to stay safe. They had no hope of help from the government before, so I don't see why they should care what a westerner things, our even what their own nominal government thinks. What this village needs from the government they are unlikely to get from their central government: a rapid reaction force that will respond to calls for aid with speed and precision, and not oppress the villagers in their turn. Damn few governments in history were ever capable of providing that; outside of a handful of modern nations. In years gone by, personal weaponry required a  dedication to training that no one could afford to maintain if it wasn't his sole profession to be effective, and also required a certain amount of conditioning and strength to use in combat. So some kind of professional fighting force wa a necessary. It didn't have to be full time professional, the english did well enough co-opting their subjects' free time for training. But with the invention of the cartridge-fed repeating firearm, though, a part-time, relatively unpracticed civilian militia can be effective in defensive situations.

Legacy of a misspent youth

There's a short snippet from the Battle of Yavin music that will, without fail, cause me to check power and shield levels and start looking for inbound TIEs. Every time, even in the car. Thank you X-Wing series and John Williams.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A case where a permit is a ban

Seen on NJ Gun Forums:

Thought I'd post this little story I heard while handing in my permits on Wednesday. The officer said they don't have any more cards and permits to give out! They've contacted the state police to re-order a few times but to no avail. Way to go state police and Bayonne PD!

The “cards” in this case would be the NJ FID (required to purchase long-arms and pistol ammo in-state) and the “permits” would be the NJ Permit to Purchase a Handgun.

If true, there is no way for a resident of Bayonne to legally purchase a handgun, and unless they already had a FID, they cannot purchase a longarm or pistol ammo. Which is a pretty slick deal for the anti-freedom forces. New Jersey is, after all, in a budget crisis. While the FID is a double-sided cardstock card, un-laminated, the Permit to Purchase is a multipart carbon form of at least 3 copies (one goes to the state, one is retained by the seller, and one is retained by the buyer). This can’t be all that cheap for the state to order, relatively speaking. It wouldn't surprise me at all that the supply of forms was run out early by the increase in firearms purchases subsequent to 2008 that is still going on. If they didn’t budget for this (and why should they – in NJ the ability to purchase firearms is a privilege) I can well believe that there are no more available, and that there won’t be until the next fiscal year.

So what are the options for relief for NJ if this is the case? The NJ Court system is stacked against the gun owner ("When dealing in guns, the citizen acts at his peril." – NJ Superior court decision declaring a Marlin Model 60 a banned assault weapon); and NJ Court system has already held that the statutory requirement for issue within a set timeframe is a suggestion more than a reality. But a suit for federal relief would be breaking new ground in 2A jurisprudence, and would be on a generally longer schedule…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scattershots at the NFA

Tam calls our attention to some news from the State of Nevada – where the distraught family of a teenager killed by a deranged individual are attempting to assuage their grief by lashing out at (essentially) a bystander. The claim is that a Federal Firearms Licensee should not have sold a pistol-gripped shotgun to an 18-year-old because it was a handgun under federal law; and by doing so the FFL shares liability in the teenager’s death.

That’s an interesting claim. Tam (who has been paid to sling weapons across glass) reads the law as follows: “[A]n FFL can't sell a PGO shotgun to a customer under 21, but shotgun regs in general are a pretty arcane corner of firearms law…” I don’t doubt that’s the prevailing view in the FFL community, but I kind of wonder about that.

(References are from the “Federal Firearms laws” page as maintained by the NRA)

Title18, U.S. Code, Title I, Section 921(a)(3)
(5) The term "shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.

(29) The term "handgun" means - ;

(A) a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand…

Any Other Weapon (Title II, Sec 5845)

(e) Any other weapon.:The term "any other weapon" means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, …

Sec 922(a)((b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver:

(1) any firearm or ammunition to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than eighteen years of age, and, if the firearm, or ammunition is other than a shotgun or rifle, or ammunition for a shotgun or rifle, to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than twenty-one years of age;

That sets the ground rules about what a shotgun, a handgun, and Any Other Weapon are, and that it shall be unlawful to transfer firearms or ammo to someone under 21 unless the firearm is a rifle or shotgun.

The above, plus the general “conventional wisdom” (backed up by ATF “opinion letters” and other bullying) that the Taurus Judge and other members of that grouping of firearms designs would be AoW if they had (or have, in some cases) smoothbores rather than rifled barrels, leads me to the following thoughts. You could make the argument that a Pistol-Gripped Shotgun (PGW) is not a “shotgun” by federal definition; it’s not “intended to be fired from the shoulder.” If that’s the case, though, I can’t see how it’s a “handgun” either. It’s not “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” That makes it Any Other Weapon. Which, if it is, means the FFL shouldn’t have sold it to an 18-year-old, true. But it also means that they should have done the entire AoW dance including $5 tax stamp and transfer paperwork. This is where my unfamiliarity with firearms arcana gets me – is it usual to transfer a PGW as an AoW? And what happens if you attach a folding stock to the firearm? This is dangerous ground for the NFA classifications – because we’re into “arcane corner of firearms law.”Like “void for vagueness” grounds. And if I can figure that out as a not very knowledgeable random gun blogger…

Every time I go and look and think about the NFA classifications of non-select-fire firearms, I realize that the whole thing is built on very thin ice; and it gets thinner every day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Someone break out the smelling salts, I think Ladd Everrett just fainted

rednech%20technical%202%20900%20copy

(Click for original)

I almost titled the post “Redneck Technical” before I found the source…

Found at That Will Buff Out originally; thanks to commentor Reuben for the source.

Winner of the comments at TWBO is Keith – with “Overcompensating wound be a GAU-8. Because with that you really need a 2 1/2 truck at minimum.”

(Side note: The store advertises their Zombie Defense solutions)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The insecurity of petty functionaries

The Miller posts that he renewed his Totin’ Ticket graciously granted to him by the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are days I wish I was still a resident of VA, and today is one of them. (However, if I hadn’t come to NJ, I would never have met my wife, and if I left, I’d have to leave a job that is both enjoyable and fulfilling). But, that’s not why I’m writing this article.

He made a note that he had to leave his cell phone in the car under a policy that prevents “cameras or audio recording devices,” due to it having a camera and a recording function. One of the commenters mentions that in Fairfax County the jury pool rooms have WiFi, and laptops without cameras are allowed. This tells me that they are profoundly unserious about this policy, and furthermore, that it is essentially unenforceable. Every modern laptop is, inescapably, an audio recording device since it will have a line-in jack; and any random earphone is also a microphone. Most, in fact, have on-board microphones. And any cellphone, regardless of era, is at the least a field-expedient audio recording device. They may as well shut down the public WiFi at these courthouses. And I’m faintly surprised the bar association hasn’t risen en masse over having to give up their cellphones at the perimeter; as iPhones and Androids replace Blackberries, perhaps they will. If this results in lawyers having yet more privileges over layfolk, though, I will be unamused.

This is yet another example of placing the blame for the malicious action on the tool rather than the malicious actor. Presumably the rationale for this is to prevent information leakage in the form of pictures and audio. As far as audio goes, that battle was lost the day stenography was invented, as long as they allow paper and writing instrument. Photography is a little more objectionable, but it’s also more noticeable, and almost as easy to bypass by a trained person. It’s not that hard to remember a face, especially if you can pick it out afterwards from pictures or people. This rule is pure laziness and an exercise of petty power by petty bureaucrats.

I find it mildly amusing that there are ways in which NJ is more free than other states. I’ve done jury duty twice, and the only bans of carriage of electronic devices have to do with (essentially) contempt of court. I brought in both a modern PDA and a laptop with camera capability last time I served, and was able to use them everywhere but the court room during voire dire and the jury box, and during final deliberations in the jury deliberation room (in which we had to give up all distractions including magazines, books, and all personal electronics).

It is getting rather difficult to procure a laptop without a camera, and is essentially impossible to obtain a tablet without one. It is already effectively impossible to obtain a cellphone that is not a camera. The laptop is being replaced by tablets or PDAs. Private businesses are already adapting to this. My first PDA, I deliberately purchased the Without Camera model as I still had an idea that I would return to Pharma IT at the time, and in those days, the “no cameras or recording devices” perimeter was the boundary fence. Today, it’s only the secure areas that have such policies, or security office issues camera plugs if they really feel uptight. This is because other people wouldn’t do business with them if they couldn’t bring their phones along to meetings. Government, not being subject to competition, doesn’t have these pressures, and will be longer to adapt. Perhaps they won’t, but see my note above about the bar association…

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt in Bergen County

North Bergen man found with two illegal soft-air BB guns: cops

This is the kind of thing we have to deal with in NJ, which nicely sums up the issues with NJ. As noted in the comments by BigHayden, “NJ firearms laws are the stuff of legends. Even the police don't know what is legal and what isn't.”

The article quoted a police officer who was fairly clearly making it up as he went along. NJ law does not distinguish between gas-driven and spring-driven weapons - 2C:39-1 f. emphasis mine

"Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.

If a gas-propelled airsoft is a firearm, so is a spring-powered one (and under the “similar nature clause, an electric-drive one, I guess). They all seem to throw a plastic pellet at around 300 fps

Secondly, you can buy gas-propelled airsoft as well as spring-powered or electric over the counter without dealing with an FFL – I bought one at a sporting goods store that had spun off their FFL into a separate business; and I can go over to a paintball supply house on US 22 and buy as many gas-powered airsoft as I like (and, incidentally, some SERPA holsters to go with, right off a Blackhawk!-branded rack…)

So, a young man’s life is damaged (possibly ruined if they can get the charge to stick) over a pair of toys and a misinterpretation of the law.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Free Ice Cream Machine frozen up

Apologies for the recent lack of content. I have a bunch of interesting stuff sitting in my virtual clippings … and no time to expand on it. Between entering the busy season at work and the excitement of home ownership maintenance (they come with jackhammers Monday to tear up the basement in the name of waterproofing; and that’s where I keep I keep my stuff), I’ve been off of my computer.

Almost famous

My post Where’s the crime? (SBR, SBS, AOW Part 2) is the #2 hit on google for “SBR restriction crime and punishment” behind the Wikipedia article on the NFA.

Though I can’t imagine that’s a very common query.

Imagine the possibilities

So, the Second Amendment has been incorporated via the Fourteenth Amendment, which means “The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” Therefore, it would be within the power of Congress to pass a law similar to the following:

The US Government and any state government or subordinate entity that requires persons to obtain license, permit, or similar to exercise the right to bear arms must recognize that defense of self as determined by an individual be sufficient, good, or necessary cause to obtain a license, permit or similar to purchase, possess and/or carry a weapon in public by that individual; and that any person who is not prohibited under federal law from purchasing or possessing a firearm must be considered to be “of good character” for the purpose of obtaining any such permit, license or similar.

In short, Congress can and ought to force shall-issue to anyone permitted to possess a firearm; without issuing a nationwide carry permit; similar to the way they have already forced states to issue permits to retired law enforcement.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why I use Trillian

Inspired by @AlanAndrews and @FalnFenix saying that they didn’t like Trillian, I was inspired to write up a bit about why I do like it :)

To be fair to both of them, prior to Trillian Astra (Version 4) it was really rather sub-par past about 2005-6, and Trillian Astra took forever to come out. I know, I was one of the closed-beta testers, and for at least 3 years people would ask me about the chat program I was using and I would have to tell them “you can’t have it.” Finally, they released Astra (Trillian 4), and relatively rapidly followed it up with v5.

Version 5 has one of the “killer apps” of IM, something that I didn’t know I couldn’t live without until I had it – what they call “continuous client.” Seamless integration across multiple client sessions or multiple host devices; with associated chat history sync &c. Yes, this does mean their servers can conceivably sniff your traffic – the options can be turned off. OTOH, it means you can keep chat history without storing it locally, which is a nice feature if you don’t fully control the machine (such as a work-owned machine. Check your IT policies concerning third-party programs and web services before using such).

Now, since Alan mentioned he used Adium, I’m going to deduce he’s a Macophile :) I don’t have any direct experience with either the OSX or iOS versions, but if they are anything like the Windows and Android versions, they’re pretty good.

Check it out – the basic version is free (ad-supported) and has all the features but cloud storage of chat history.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sentimental Anthropomorphism

 

Don’t knock it. Upon hearing this news all I could think of was this xkcd strip.

Here’s to the little robot that could.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shallow sexism, or insightful commentary?

Not far from stone tablets | Philadelphia Inquirer | 05/29/2011

Something about this article just bugs me.  It just seems to be a smug restatement of sexual stereotypes "reinforced" by dubious statistics.

Mark Zuckerberg's food challenge

Postcards blog posts about Mark Zuckerberg's (the Facebook Wunderkind) latest personal challenge: eating only that which he has killed. It helps to be rich, doing it the way he is, as well as living in CA, though it's not impossible to do elsewhere, on a more reasonale lifestyle. It's not something I am likely to do myself totally anytime soon, but I have killed my own dinner (chicken) before, and if I ever took up hunting, I would absolutely eat what I hunted.
Meat comes wrapped in plastic, laid on styrofoam for me these days, but that hasn't always been the case. I enjoy the convenience, but remember that someone had to do the work to put it there.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mueller gets his gun

Morristown judge allows kidnapped Sussex County merchant to carry a handgun | NJ.com
So the powers that be in New Jersey have finally deigned to allowMr.Mueller the"privilege" of effective self-defense outside the home. After approval from the State Police, the couny prosecutor, two denials by judges, and a federal case. Not to mention several months of time, and however much money and hassle the two lawsuits took and are still taking.
And after all of this, he will have to apply to renew in a year or two, through the same process, still requiring "justifiable need."

Hi to all of you coming over from No Lawyer, Only Guns and Money. Stick around for more articles about the silliness of NJ guns laws.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ridiculously complicated

But I now have a halfway decent way to blog from Android. See, the Asus Transformer comes with a copy of Splashpad built into the cloud services program. Which I can use to remote to my desktop machine and write a post in Windows Live Writer. Which is amazingly cool.
Now that I have proof of concept, I should figure out how to do it from someplace other than my computer desk chair…

Update: and so I have. While internet access with Splashtop is an iOS- only feaure right now, my desktop has a built-in vpn server and the tablet has a built-in client and my router supports a dynamic dns service. The lash-up requires the use of my phone's connection-sharing capability; and I suspect that 3G will be a tad slow. But ... it lives!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ranging Shots

Made it out to Union County Pistol Range today. Shot off 170 rounds of 9x19 from the Glock and approximately 75 rounds of .22lr from the Marlin. Called it a day when I started doing worse at 10 yds than I had been doing at 20.

First thing I noticed when I got home was that I had an empty case in my shirt pocket. The Glock throws brass with wild abandon all over the place, including my forehead and upper chest (I always wear a hat for this reason.) Good thing I wasn't passing through Massachusetts later, eh?

Of the roughly 15 or so targets I shot, you get to see 3. None of them are from the Marlin, whose iron sights I am completely unable to use with any degree of accuracy, though I do get a fair amount of precision. Some kind of optic is on my wishlist for that gun.

All were shot at 20 yards.

The first one was my warmup at 20 yards.

the second, I had about dialed it in.

The third I ascribe partially to luck - though I also shorted the magazine by one round. Nonetheless, there are at least 4 rounds through the ragged hole in the center, and likely a fifth unless I completely missed the target with one round. Now I just have to be able to do that consistently.




Saturday, May 14, 2011

Test Post

This is a test to see if I can blog from my new tablet. It would appear so.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Comic for April 27, 2011

 

If Dilbert suddenly starts appearing on cubicles, might I suggest a change in management style? (If it’s always been there, you’re probably OK)

Comic for April 27, 2011
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 05:00:00 GMT

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Theory and practice

Instapundit » Blog Archive » FACEBOOK CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE WEEK: “What would you say if someone credible told you that Osama…

I would tell them to lay off the Clancy novels. Too many people involved to pull it off. All it takes is one enlisted sailor on the carrier to see the wrong thing and talk in the wrong bar; so it would never be authorized, and no one in the fields would do it on their own authority.
Good background for an airport novel, though

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another light goes out

Doug Chaffee: Passing of an Artist, of a Friend « Catalyst Game Labs
Battletech has been a part of my gaming life for almost as long as I have been gaming. Doug Chaffee has been responsible for the iconic imagery that was part of the reason I was drawn to the game. He will be missed.

Peeved

If this image is an example of the thinking of Obama supporters, I am unimpressed.
I congratulate the President on giving the political go-ahead to launch this operation. Whatever else, he signed the buck slip when it hit his desk. But it is absurd to think that the decision to release the birth certificate was in any way affected by the necessity to give the go-ahead for an invasion of a sovereign nation that was giving aid, comfort, and sanctuary to a primary enemy of or nation. Comparing the weight of the two decisions is likewise absurd. The "birther" controversy was from the beginning and has always been a side-show.


Photographic art

At the New York Times -
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/05/02/world/02binladen4_683/02binladen4_683-custom11.jpg


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Practice for the apocalypse

Birchwood Casey has a bunch of zombie targets on display at the NRA Annual Meeting
The line is called Darkotic, and here's a press release on the subject.
http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/story/1303805931jgxafbtfy7r



Saturday, April 30, 2011

Michael Reagan on elections

He makes an interesting point - that conservatives see elections as an end point,  whereas liberals see it as a beginning. It's trite but true, and ties into my earlier post about the view of conservatives and politics. Elections are an event, but they are part of the unending political process.
It is tempting to say, "well,  we did our job, we elected a good congress, or a good president. Our job here is done,  we can go back to our lives, our jobs, because the election is over." I have seen this happen twice in my political life,  once after 1994, and once again, ten years later after 2004. In the second case,  it is quite obvious that the enemies of freedom were allowed to try to change our fundamental national values. But the abandonment of political responsibility after 1994 is less obvious,  but in some ways more insidious
We assumed that because we elected revolutionaries to Congress,  we could leave them in place unsupervised, that they would naturally and only defend freedom and refuse the misuse of power. The honest ones followed their Contract with America and left Congress again, leaving the rest to slowly lose the trust of the American people- to the point that they were willing to sit back and let the Democrats come back to power, despite the 30+ years of evidence that this was a bad idea.
Keeping politicians' noses to the grindstone, and their political morals on the straight and narrow is not a full-time job, but it isn't a job for the high holy days of our political system, either. It's an not even an every day job.But it's something that takes a little bit of time and effort every so often. How much effort does it take to call or write your representatives when they make an incorrect decision? A couple of minutes of time at the keyboard, and a few more to take it to the mailbox. A little bit more time if you choose to call, if that's your thing.
What takes a little more effort is keeping up on the doings of your representatives. I will admit I find politics to be an enjoyable spectator sport; so I spend a fair chunk of extra time on following politics. You don't need to spend as much time as I do. But you need to check up on them from time to time. Look at their websites every so often, maybe sign up for their email lists. If you think they should have a position and don't, let them know.
We often say that our representatives should work for us, not us for them. If so, why are we letting them work unsupervised?

Another reason for the NRA University program

Bitter quoting Instapundit: "As you change the culture in colleges and law schools, you change the culture in judge's chambers in short order." I don't know specifically if he meant that we should get the law students shooting, but it couldn't hurt.

Celebration of American Values - Part 1

Interesting; the first speaker is the Pinal County Sheriff. Talking about the threat of the drug cartels and the need for the local to protect themselves, because his deputies can't be everywhere. A powerful speaker, and one with moving anecdotes. And a powerful challenge to the Washington politicians: come down to the border and spend the night.

History vs the future

Listening to the speakers at the NRA meeting,  I am thankful for living when I do, rather than 30 – 40 years ago. New Jersey's laws and regulations are considered an anachronistic holdover, not the wave of the future.

Micro blogging

If you aren't following me on twitter @ianargent, you are missing a fair amount of my musings.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Meta blogging

The probability of someone doing something on a smartphone at any point during a blogger drink and dinner approaches 1.

NRA University

Had an interesting day so far.Morning was the NRA Grassroots volunteer workshop. The basic goal is to get good, accurate, and interesting information out to gun owners to get them interested and active in politics. It’s the legal and moral way to vote twice (or more!) in an election. The really interesting program they talked about, though, was the NRA university program.

This is a packaged presentation that NRA-ILA describes as a “two-hour training seminar for college students interested in learning more about NRA, the Second Amendment, gun safety, legislative threats to gun rights and the gun control debate. NRA-ILA staff will travel to a college campus and provide seminar attendees with the tools they’ll need to become more effective activists in the fight to protect our freedom, both on and off campus.” This is the kind of thing we need to do, get into colleges and help the young adults who have a desire to fight the collectivist  indoctrination endemic in today’s institutes of higher education. This is a program that needs expanding – the earlier we can get the truth about guns to people, the less effective the lies of the anti-freedom crowd will be.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hale, whole, and sane

For now – despite the best efforts of other drivers and some rain to render it otherwise.
If you’re going to be at the the NRA Annual Meeting, I hope to see you.

What would you do?

For a Klondike Bar?

It begins

About to start the trip to Pittsburgh. Should be *excellent* driving weather...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In future America, smartphone has you – and this is a good thing

Wet behind the ears says

Independent of operator billing, using phones should massively cut
down on credit card fraud. If your credit card is a fully-functional
computer that can verify its owner interactively, then one can use a
different “credit card number” for every transaction… And we’d no
longer be in this silly situation where merely knowing a 16-digit number
(plus a guessable expiration date and zip code) enables people to
impersonate others in purchases

The rub in that is “verify its owner” of course, but that is a problem to which there are already solutions and more in the pipeline. I envision a future where the check folio at a restaurant has an NFC unit and a net link back to the restaurant server; it sends the bill to the smartphone (at this point, just a phone), and the phone return a one-use token that has the authorization for the restaurant to bill x dollars of bill+tip to the diner’s financial institutio; and other such transactions. This, incidentally, protects both sides – the payer’s authentication information never leaves their control, and the payee can immediately verify funds-available. (Yes, this requires that the payee have internet access. It’s the 21st century, folks).

I no longer have to write the article

On why I didn’t understand the birther fascination with the missing birth certificate.

The White House Blog

President Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate

Can we start focusing on the actual issues instead of playing conlaw munchkin our own selves? All may be fair in love and war, but politics is neither.

If we want reasonable and decent politicians, how about treating them reasonably and decently?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NRA Annual Meeting

I’ll be there, though I doubt it’ll be with bells on from open to close. The homestead will be held secure by Allura and our felines; none of whom I would advise messing with.

Drop me a line if you want to meet up – either in comments here, or by emailing my nom de blog at gmail dot com

Random question

Has Obama ever run as an incumbent for the office that he was an incumbent of?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Regular Maintenance

Term limits. Hard money. Making service in government a hardship posting. All these ideas have I heard uttered across the wookiesphere. Government is the enemy, To get involved in it is to be inevitably and irreversibly tainted, and the people involved need to be changed out automatically and rapidly. And I scratch my head.

Government can be a terribly oppressive force, often with the best of intentions; that stuff they pave the road to hell with. But that’s not the be-all and end-all of government. Government, particularly the American system of limited constitutional government is a powerful mechanism for good. FDR, for all the damage that he did to that system (for example) also freed Europe from the Nazis. Lincoln established the primacy of the federal government over the states, and freed the slaves. I could keep going.

The US system of government, as expressed in the Constitution and amendments, is one of the safest forms of government yet invented – which doesn’t mean it’s safe. The original design was flawed, and had to be adjusted almost immediately. Since then we have made a few changes to the fundamental design, some well-thought-out, some not so much. Manyof the original adjustments are safety mechanisms that have been subverted in the name of power or speed, or for “temporary, emergency” reasons, or simple lack of understanding. The successors generally try and correct wrongs or imbalances in the original design.

As an analogy, lets consider another powerful tool of freedom, the automobile*. Constantly evolving since its invention over a century ago, every one is a deadly danger to its operator and any unfortunates in the vicinity. Powered, quite literally, by volatile substances whose explosions are kept in check and redirected by ingenious mechanicals; a modern automobile requires not only clever design and construction, but regular fuelling, inspection, maintenance, and occasional replacement of parts as demanded by circumstances. the environment it’s operated in and the quality of each part should be considered when performing maintenance and part replacement.  there are recommended maintenance schedules, but they ought to be treated as guidelines. Following them slavishly and exclusively (without actually inspecting the vehicle) will result both in spending a lot more money than necessary (particularly if you blindly take the car to the dealer for service or get major repair work done without shopping around, or replace a perfectly good part because someone else tells you it’s due), and result in a dangerous situation if a part fails early and you don’t see it. The same goes for governments – the mechanisms of government need regular lubrication, and the parts need to be changed out when worn, but blindly changing the oil every 3000 miles and calling that “done” is just as bad.

But what do I see in my RSS reader every week, and particularly in the comments? Suggestions on how to automate the process of maintenance. Calls to act that way with government, or worse. The extreme minarchs want a car-of-government that won’t exceed 25 miles per hour,or go slower than 5, has a turning radius measured in acres, and will empty the oil pan at 3000 miles on the nose whether it needs it or not. They don’t want to take the effort needed to take care of it. And then they wonder why it’s falling apart.

Tell me, when was the last time you did something useful in politics, other than bitching about it on the intertoobs. (Voting in the final election of the season doesn’t count – that’s the last part of the maintenance process.) When did donate to a candidate? Volunteer to work for his or her campaign? The choice between lizards on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November is not the be-all and end-all of governmental maintenance. You want a real choice? Start with your town council, and your statehouse. Don’t just complain about a candidate; help his opponent. Volunteer for the campaign. You don’t like the choice of lizards? Where were you in the primary?

Government is not necessarily your enemy – neither are the people who work in it. How many of you want Rand Paul term limited out? (For that matter, how many of you would have preferred that the Republican Class of ‘94 who voluntarily term-limited themselves out as part of the Contract With American remained in charge of the GOP rather than the party hacks?) For all the aspersions cast at the SCOTUS, it was SCOTUS that got Heller and McDonald a chance to own firearms. It’s likely that SCOTUS will force NJ to recognize my right to self-defense not only in my lifetime, but within the next few years.

Sebastian and Bitter (among others) have banged on the drum of working for change before me, and are much more active in politics than I am. There are bloggers who have entered politics directly as candidates. That’s what this country needs, not half-baked radicals who would destroy the system to save it.

(My friend Elmo Iscariot lit the spark of this blog post. Pun intended- see my comment there)

* – did you think I’d refer to the firearm here? A firearm is a marvel of simplicity compared to an automobile and so painfully a unitasker when compared even to my Smart Car that there is no comparison. The single most powerful tool of freedom is the automobile, followed by electric lighting. The firearm simply doesn’t compare.

Regular Maintenance

Term limits. Hard money. Making service in government a hardship posting. All these ideas have I heard uttered across the wookiesphere. Government is the enemy, To get involved in it is to be inevitably and irreversibly tainted, and the people involved need to be changed out automatically and rapidly. And I scratch my head.

Government can be a terribly oppressive force, often with the best of intentions; that stuff they pave the road to hell with. But that’s not the be-all and end-all of government. Government, particularly the American system of limited constitutional government is a powerful mechanism for good. FDR, for all the damage that he did to that system (for example) also freed Europe from the Nazis. Lincoln established the primacy of the federal government over the states, and freed the slaves. I could keep going.

The US system of government, as expressed in the Constitution and amendments, is one of the safest forms of government yet invented – which doesn’t mean it’s safe. The original design was flawed, and had to be adjusted almost immediately. Since then we have made a few changes to the fundamental design, some well-thought-out, some not so much. Manyof the original adjustments are safety mechanisms that have been subverted in the name of power or speed, or for “temporary, emergency” reasons, or simple lack of understanding. The successors generally try and correct wrongs or imbalances in the original design.

As an analogy, lets consider another powerful tool of freedom, the automobile*. Constantly evolving since its invention over a century ago, every one is a deadly danger to its operator and any unfortunates in the vicinity. Powered, quite literally, by volatile substances whose explosions are kept in check and redirected by ingenious mechanicals; a modern automobile requires not only clever design and construction, but regular fuelling, inspection, maintenance, and occasional replacement of parts as demanded by circumstances. the environment it’s operated in and the quality of each part should be considered when performing maintenance and part replacement.  there are recommended maintenance schedules, but they ought to be treated as guidelines. Following them slavishly and exclusively (without actually inspecting the vehicle) will result both in spending a lot more money than necessary (particularly if you blindly take the car to the dealer for service or get major repair work done without shopping around, or replace a perfectly good part because someone else tells you it’s due), and result in a dangerous situation if a part fails early and you don’t see it. The same goes for governments – the mechanisms of government need regular lubrication, and the parts need to be changed out when worn, but blindly changing the oil every 3000 miles and calling that “done” is just as bad.

But what do I see in my RSS reader every week, and particularly in the comments? Suggestions on how to automate the process of maintenance. Calls to act that way with government, or worse. The extreme minarchs want a car-of-government that won’t exceed 25 miles per hour,or go slower than 5, has a turning radius measured in acres, and will empty the oil pan at 3000 miles on the nose whether it needs it or not. They don’t want to take the effort needed to take care of it. And then they wonder why it’s falling apart.

Tell me, when was the last time you did something useful in politics, other than bitching about it on the intertoobs. (Voting in the final election of the season doesn’t count – that’s the last part of the maintenance process.) When did donate to a candidate? Volunteer to work for his or her campaign? The choice between lizards on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November is not the be-all and end-all of governmental maintenance. You want a real choice? Start with your town council, and your statehouse. Don’t just complain about a candidate; help his opponent. Volunteer for the campaign. You don’t like the choice of lizards? Where were you in the primary?

Government is not necessarily your enemy – neither are the people who work in it. How many of you want Rand Paul term limited out? (For that matter, how many of you would have preferred that the Republican Class of ‘94 who voluntarily term-limited themselves out as part of the Contract With American remained in charge of the GOP rather than the party hacks?) For all the aspersions cast at the SCOTUS, it was SCOTUS that got Heller and McDonald a chance to own firearms. It’s likely that SCOTUS will force NJ to recognize my right to self-defense not only in my lifetime, but within the next few years.

Sebastian and Bitter (among others) have banged on the drum of working for change before me, and are much more active in politics than I am. There are bloggers who have entered politics directly as candidates. That’s what this country needs, not half-baked radicals who would destroy the system to save it.

(My friend Elmo Iscariot lit the spark of this blog post. Pun intended- see my comment there)

* – did you think I’d refer to the firearm here? A firearm is a marvel of simplicity compared to an automobile and so painfully a unitasker when compared even to my Smart Car that there is no comparison. The single most powerful tool of freedom is the automobile, followed by electric lighting. The firearm simply doesn’t compare.

Monday, April 4, 2011

You can’t stop the signal

Take these three ideas. Add a small bit of mad science…

We’re all used to firearms being durable goods. Strong, well-made. You can reasonably expect a firearm manufactured a century ago to be entirely usable today with only routine maintenance. If you’re careful, that threshold can go out to the dawn of the smokeless powder era. Consequently, they’re rather expensive.

But, they don’t have to be. What if you only needed to get a magazine or two worth of use out of them, then pitch it? Tam’s idea of sealed, non-reloadable, disposables is a good one, to be sure – but you would still need to go to an FFL to get one (unless there’s a radical change in legalisms in this country). It gets worse in other countries.

What if instead you could “print out” your furniture and most of the rest of your hardware? If the only metal parts you needed to purchase were the barrel and chamber, and the magazine spring? Maybe a trigger group. A tube of heavy-gauge metal and some funny springs and flanges. Then download your plans from the internet, run it off on your printer, et voila.

Each individual “gun” is not very sturdy; sure. Good for a couple of magazines before the plastic melts, or cracks, or what have you. The expensive bits (barrel and FCG) are re-usable. Run off another copy and drop the barrel into it. Tinker with the shape and size – play with your semi-customized grip before you order up a race gun; decide what grip angle fits you best before taking the plunge on a “re-usable.”

And, tech marches on. Today the printer Sebastian and Jason are using is $1200 and the finished product is rather rickety. I can remember when a laser printer was twice than that and slow as molasses in January to print; and now I have what amounts to 4 separate laser printers sitting on the table behind me, and I paid a third of that for a SoHo-grade color laser printer with networking. The material science side is the hard part – but CNC machines are already getting pretty cheap, too. If you can mill your own barrel and frame from blanks, and your own furniture from sturdy plastics, and “print” the rest, you’re 90% of the way to competing with Gaston Glock. Just wait for his patents to expire, first. A very quick internet search says that a “desktop” CNC machine can be obtained for “under $10K,” and that you can build them as school projects. That’s much cheaper than I remember the last time I checked – and no reason they couldn’t get cheaper yet.

But wait, there’s more. There’s a reason I linked to Mad Mike’s Manifesto. The AK-47 is out of patent, and a design notoriously tolerant of manufacturing imperfections. Since it’s intended to be made of stamped metal, perhaps it’s not the best choice for a gun intended to be milled out by CNC, of course.

So, what are the enemies of freedom going to do when you can punch out your own personal arsenal in your basement for under a grand in capital costs and under a C-note in materials? Sure, each one may only be good for a thousand rounds or so at first. Until the design is refined…

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just because

I own drive an implausible and uncommon euroweenie car; why shouldn’t I own and shoot an implausible and uncommon euroweenie handgun?

Fire in the Sky

Not ashamed to admit that this song can bring tears to my eyes in the right (or wrong) mood.

Go buy their music.

Incidentally – June 28th, 2011 will mark 30 years and change, and the end, of what may well have been a boodoggle, but still stands as the most successful manned space vehicle to date. Though it’s past time for private industry to take over.

This one is Roberta’s fault, though action is somewhat removed from reaction.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Powers of Congress and the Second Amendment

Given the decisions in Heller and McDonald, and the precedent of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, is there any reason that Congress could not require legislatively require states to permit carriage of firearms by non-prohibited persons?

Friday, March 25, 2011

A partial list of apps I’ve got on the TDR-4G

I've finally gotten my “own” Android (as opposed to a work-issued one) and have been loading it up with apps :) In the spirit of sharing, I've decided to share some of the apps and other stuff I have loaded. Links go to Android Market where appropriate. Since it's long, I put in a break. The list is below the fold


Bleg to the universe

I want a continuous client that will support facebook, twitter, and buzz (at least) on Windows desktop, multibrowser web, Android, and iOs.

Must additionally:

  • Make it easy to do oldest-first viewing from program start (as Tweetdeck Android does)
  • Have full capability in Facebook to like both posts and comments, as well as share content back out to facebook (which tweetdeck android does not, at least not easily).
  • Allow me to see, in one column/timeline, all my incoming feeds

Tweetdeck Android does all of this, except continuous client. The iOs and desktop clients appear to be continuous, but are essentially separate from the Android client in synchronicity and almost appear to be different programs from the android program (and, possibly, the chromedeck program). The ChromeDeck version of TweetDeck appears to be closer to the Android version, but does not appear to sync, and also appears to start at newest (top of column) when started. And it doesn’t have resharing abilities; though at least I can easily go to the relevant facebook page easily.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My new mech

When I get an android whose device info still shows as htc_mecha, and whose marketing name is Thunderbolt, I can't help but call it the TDR-4G Thunderbolt

Saturday, March 19, 2011

MoBleg

To the Android-based bloggers out there: what app for posting to blogspot? I have the Official Blogger app and don’t like it much.

When I was guest-blogging at Snowflakes, I used the WordPress app and was blown away by the functionality compared to what I can find for Blogger/Blogspot.

(I am not at home to suggestions to change platforms, I just got here.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

IstoleIt

As much as I love the recent developments in downloaded music, I feel sorry for Jon Bon Jovi. He didn’t ask for any of this, he probably realizes just how pointless most of his songs are, and every man and his dog now is ignoring his luddite rants.

Aside from some class acts (who are to be found in damn few bands), most of these rock stars have a choice between another line of coke or playing another crappy rehash of the two songs that made them famous.

and seriously, where’s your money coming from when your fans don’t buy your music online!?

 

(Apologies to everyone at the second link)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Six Degrees of Queen Victoria

Saw this is a comment at the Volohk Conspiracy:

“Six Degrees to Queen Victoria,” look up the Wikipedia article on anything at all and try, by clicking links, to get to Queen Victoria within six clicks.

My one Run through started with Passport To Danger and reached VR by 6 clicks exactly.

I’ll give you a hint, it involved Mark Twain, though not his page directly

New Jersey’s response to gun rights: Get Bent

The NJ counter-brief

THIS COURT SHOULD GRANT DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO CROSSDISMISS PLAINTIFFS’ COMPLAINT BECAUSE THE CHALLENGED PROVISIONS OF N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4 ARE CONSTITUTIONAL. . . . . 3
A. The Challenged Provisions Do Not Implicate the Second Amendment Right to Possess a Handgun in One’s Home for Purposes of Self-Defense And the Second Amendment Does Not Encompass a Right to Carry a Handgun Beyond One’s Home.. . . . . . . . . . 4
B. Even If the Challenged Provisions Implicate the Second Amendment, They Pass Constitutional Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1. The Challenged Provisions Are Constitutional Under Any Heightened Scrutiny. . . . . . . . . 11
2. The First Amendment’s Prior Restraint Framework Does Not Apply.. . . . . . . . . . . 15
CONCLUSION .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

The doc then proceeds to elaborate. This is in response to this brief, which stated

POINT I: SAF AND ANJRPC HAVE ORGANIZATIONAL STANDING ..................... 4
POINT II: HELLER HOLDS THAT THE SECOND AMENDMENT PROTECTS THE GENERAL RIGHT TO POSSESS AND CARRY A GUN – AND THE RULING IS NOT “LIMITED” TO THE HOME ................................................. 7
A. The Holdings of a Decision are the Parts Necessary to the Result Reached by the Court – Not Just the Boundaries of Relief Ordered ....................................................................................... 8
B. The Plaintiff in Heller Expressly Sought the Right to Possess and Carry a Handgun ............................................................................ 9
C. Heller Holds that the Right to “Bear Arms” is the Right to Carry Guns .......................................................................................... 12
D. The Heller Court Did Not Limit its Ruling to the Home .................... 15
E. The Dicta in Heller (and McDonald) Recognize a General Right to Carry Guns in Public ............................................................. 18
F. Caselaw Does Not Support the Claim that the Second Amendment Protects Only the Possession of Handguns within the Home ............................................................................................. 24
POINT III: THE “JUSTIFIABLE NEED” REQUIREMENT IS INHERENTLY DISCRETIONARY AND FAILS REVIEW AS A PRIOR RESTRAINT ................ 32
A. There is No Basis to Depart from Marzzarella’s Instruction to Utilize First Amendment Standards of Review .................................. 33
B. The Permit Laws Are Prior Restraints Because they Condition Constitutionally Protected Conduct on an Official Grant of Permission ........................................................................................... 35

C. The Determination of “Justifiable Need” is Plainly and Inherently Discretionary ...................................................................... 39
POINT IV: “JUSTIFIABLE NEED” IS AN IMPERMISSIBLE BURDEN ...................... 42
A. The Supreme Court Explicitly Rejected the Attempt to “Balance Away” the Core Protections of the Second Amendment .................... 43
B. There is No Basis for Applying the Proposed “Reasonable Regulation Test” .................................................................................. 45
C. The “Justifiable Need” Requirement is an Impermissible Burden on the Exercise of Constitutional Rights ................................ 49
CONCLUSION .......................................................................................................... 53

Handy that both of them make such easy reading out of their table of contents.

Anyway, now that everyone has drawn up their forces, it goes to the legal battlefield. This is all posturing anyway, since whatever the court of the first instance decides, it’s likely to be appealed. (Faint possibility, Governor Christie could order the NJ AG to stand down after a loss, but I think that vanishingly improbable).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Um. What was that?

Physics and Technology for Future Presidents: An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know.

By Richard A. Muller

“The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tests wine, gin, whisky, and vodka for radioactivity. If the product does not have sufficient radioactivity, it may not be legally sold in the United States.”

P 108 of the edition that Google has up on their site.

So many places to go with that…