Vicious Circle

I listened to all (I only had time for half of #7 which I had previously heard) the Vicious Circle podcasts on my way to/from Idaho this weekend. The most common topic is guns with some porn and technology discussions thrown in. My kind of stuff!

With very little structure, mediocre production quality, and a fair amount of rambling it’s never going to win any awards. But I enjoyed it. It certainly was much better than merely listening to road noise.

In some episodes (especially #8, We be hating) it sort of reminded me of gossipy Jr. High girls whispering to each other about someone else behind their back. And then there was another than made perhaps a few too many “short jokes” for me to be entirely comfortable with it (and I’m not short). But there wasn’t really anything I hadn’t said in private conversations before. But I wouldn’t make those sort of conversations public.

I’ll be adding more to my Zune as they come out for further entertainment while on the road.

Full disclosure:

#7, Boomershoot 2009, was very favorable about Boomershoot. Late in #5 a favorable mention of somethings I have said appears to be at least partial inspiration for episode #6. I think there was another favorable mention or two of me in some of the episodes as well.

I don’t believe these significantly affected my opinion of the podcasts but I thought you should know they might have.

Is that all it takes?

My jaw dropped after reading this:

What started out as a report of a man drunk and passed out in his car at a Franklin restaurant early Saturday morning led to federal agents searching a storage facility.

Officers received a call at 4 a.m. of a man passed out at the Steak n Shake on Carothers Parkway. Police arrested the man, Timothy Tyndall, and found a gun, ammunition and marijuana in his car.

While he was being questioned by authorities, Tyndall said he had chemicals stored at a facility that were capable of making hydrogen gas, a highly flammable substance.

Officers raided Tyndall’s storage unit in Cool Springs and found half a dozen containers of chemicals. Agents with the ATF and FBI examined the chemicals and found they were not capable of exploding.

Having the chemicals capable of making hydrogen gas is that all it takes to get “raided”?

If your home has water and electricity then you too have the capability of making hydrogen gas.

When you can get a judge to sign off on a search warrant when given evidence someone has the capability of making hydrogen gas the 4th Amendment is completely, totally, without meaning–as opposed to the minor speed bump that is now.

Trying to get ignored again

James Kelly is at it again with this:

Another tragedy? Not to worry.
An absolutely heartbreaking story on CNN about a three-year-old girl who accidentally shot her two-year-old brother. In the past, I would have instantly jumped to naive and inappropriate conclusions about this event, viewing it as a fairly clear-cut example of a totally avoidable death that could not possibly have occurred without the lax gun laws in America. However, thanks to my recent long-overdue education on these matters, I now realise that having lots and lots of deadly weapons around doesn’t cost lives, it saves them. If you feel that this story appears to contradict that statistically proven fact, you need to bear in mind the following factors –
1) Guns are mere tools, and are no more dangerous than any other inanimate object. If the girl had not accidentally killed her brother with a gun, she would simply have done so with any other tool that happened to be to hand.
2) Legal gun owners have no problem keeping their weapons safe and secure, and out of the hands of children or other vulnerable or dangerous people. This is something that ignorant European liberals simply do not understand. Therefore, this tragic incident is either a figment of your imagination or not statistically significant.
3) You are either far too stupid, or far too stubborn, to understand the arguments. There is overwhelming statistical evidence to prove this is the case. It’s too complex to go into in detail here, but suffice to say it has something to do with the Tottenham Outrage of 1909, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and some chap you’ve never heard of called Colin Greenwood.
Enlightenment is a wonderful thing.


I responded with a comment that apparently is being blocked. When I pressed the “Post Comment” button I received a message of “Your request could not be processed. Please try again.” I tried changing some of the HTML but it still wouldn’t post.

Oh well, I’ll post it here where it will get more views anyway:

If one wants to ignore the specific enumerated right guaranteed by our constitution for the moment and look merely at the cost/benefit ratio I’m willing to do that.
James, you need to look at the actual numbers of lives saved versus lives lost because of the “mass legal gun ownership”. You do a fine job of expressing your opinion but not backing them up with facts. Which is the entire point of Just One Question. Which you still have not answered. You have come up with plausible hypotheses as to why it might be that firearms restrictions in the U.K. have not improved public safety but you have no numbers which show that it has improved public safety.
Until you can give us numbers you have nothing but opinions. And until you have numbers to back them up you are no different than someone ranting about how terrible it is that Jews, blacks, or homosexuals are “spoiling the neighborhood”.

I’m probably just going to get ignored by him again. But as Kevin says, it’s not because I hope to convince him. It’s because it might convince someone else.

Update: I apparently successfully added the following comment to his moderation queue:

I find it very telling that you are proud of your “gun death” rate but make no mention of your murder or violent crime rate.

Again, you avoid answering Just One Question.

When guns are banned

If bans actually worked and guns were not available you would see more of this (warning–it’s very graphic!).

How fast can you draw and fire a shot? How much distance can an attacker cover in the same amount of time?

In answer to the first question 1.5 seconds is a reasonable estimate for most people. 21 feet is the answer to the second. Draw your conclusions and modify your behaviors appropriately.

Quote of the day–ErnestThing

Boomershoot ended as quickly as it began. It only felt like a few hours, but it was most of the day. I guess time flies when you’re blowing shit up.

May 11, 2009
Boomershoot 2009
[Yeah, time does seem to fly during Boomershoot. I sometimes worry that people aren’t getting their money’s worth out of the event because it’s all over so fast. But people start leaving before I call the final ceasefire so I can’t be that much of a spoil sport.–Joe]

Waking up to reality

Just a few months ago Fred LeBrun was saying things like this (see also my QOTD by him):

For the first time since 1935, with an all-Democratic national government, we are in a position to finally institute some meaningful and sensible gun control measures that will help mightily in regaining our cities from gun terror, street by street. Gun control doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

The centerpiece has to be a national identification system for handguns. A computerized system that would be accessible to all law enforcement agencies, and that would standardize the requirements for handgun ownership coast to coast. I am not suggesting anything radical in the slightest. In essence, it would be the system we have here in New York taken nationally, only with less waiting time for handgun permits.

Keep in mind that that “the system we have here in New York” is one of registration. And now he is saying:

The latest case in point is the absurd attempt by a few members of the Albany County Legislature to pass a local law requiring the registration of all ammunition sold in the county, and the recording of all the guns using the ammunition. Not just ammunition for handguns, which is already controlled by existing state law, but all ammunition for shotguns and rifles. This would be a radical departure for Albany County, and New York in general, which do not register or require a permit for these long guns.

Justifiably, this was seen as an awkward local attempt at backdoor gun registration, a hot button issue for gun rights advocates. They rallied fiercely against it, and vowed to work against the re-election of those who support it.

The proposed law itself was an ill-considered attempt that did more harm than good. It was deeply flawed from the onset and only managed to irritate a lot of people who would probably have gone along with public safety measures aimed at street crime.

Perhaps he is waking up to the reality of the RKBA as a specific enumerated right. The government can no more be trusted with a registration list of guns and/or gun owners than they can with a registration list of blacks, Jews, or homosexuals.


Full disclosure: I work for Microsoft but not in Search.

I know MS has been spending a lot of money attempting to catch up to Google as a search tool. A year or so ago I attended a few internal meetings and saw data that showed objective tests placing search results above Yahoo! and nearly as good as Google. I expect the results are at least on par with Google by now, but still MS wasn’t getting the traffic anywhere close to that of Google.

It appears MS has decided that search quality wasn’t a deciding factor. Yes, the branding of “Live Search” sucked. “Bing”, to this non-marketing expert, appears to be much better. And I hope that will help. But what they are doing is much, much more than just rebranding it. Check out this video. It’s a decision engine, not just a search engine.

Coming soon: Bing.

Quote of the day–Evelyn Logan

ALWAYS take at least one knife to a gunfight, just in case you run out of spare mags.

Evelyn Logan
From the email list NRAInstructorsRKBA.
[Good point. You don’t have to reload a knife. But as I heard Greg Hamilton once say, “If I run out of ammo there will be lots of unused guns and ammo on the ground for me to pick up.”–Joe]

Seattle Library rules on firearms

I received this just today which is too late for attending their hearing or sending in comments but via an email from Mike B. we have this:

Category A (Library Specific Violation)

Possession, except by law enforcement officers, of a firearm on Library property (with a valid permit),

Category E (Serious Violation Toward Person(s) or Property)

Possession, except by law enforcement officers, of a firearm on Library property (no valid permit).

So what they are saying is that even though the State has said local governments may not regulate firearm possession the city library is going to do it anyway. They recognize the existence of carry permits but will not honor them.

It sounds to me like it is time for a lawsuit. Email to appropriate people is in the works.

Quote of the day–Fred Woodworth

If human beings are fundamentally good, no government is necessary; if they are fundamentally bad, any government, being composed of human beings, would be bad also.

Fred Woodworth
[I think Woodworth overlooks some fundamental issues with things like his opposition to profit in economic relationships and ownership to raw land but I think he makes some valid points about the non-utility of government.–Joe]

Another Czar–bzar

I thought we appropriately articulated our opinion of czars in America on April 19, 1775. And the last Czar and his family were permanently removed from power with extreme prejudice on July 17, 1918. So why is it that our government is creating new czars? I would think we have had enough of them in this world. But apparently our government doesn’t see it that way because tomorrow President Obama is expected to announce still another czar:

President Obama is expected to announce Friday the creation of the position of cyber czar, a person who will coordinate the nation’s efforts to protect government and private computer systems from hackers, criminal gangs, terrorists and spies, people familiar with the plan said Thursday.

The czar will report to both the national security adviser and the head of the National Economic Council, the sources said.

Obama will not name anyone Friday to the post because the selection process is ongoing, they said.

In addition, the White House will release a 40-page report that sets broad goals for combating cyber intrusions, but does not spell out in detail how to do so, said the sources, who would not agree to be identified because the report has not been released.

Several years ago I was asked to comment on some preliminary Homeland Security plans for the Feds to “protect the Internet”. As one might imagine they were just the opposite of what I thought should be done. I gave them my feedback as politely as I could while still making my points and my boss said he passed it on up the chain with his blessing.

I don’t know if they have come up with something having better alignment with reality by now. We will have to see what the “40-page report” says. But just the fact that the Feds want to extend their reach into still another area where they don’t have any Constitutionally granted powers when they are so deeply in debt they can’t pay for all the stuff they already messing up does not bode well.

Update: The document is now available. A quick scan doesn’t reveal any of the stuff I disapproved of a few years back. But it is a very high level document without many details that can be addressed. And, of course, frequently “the devil is in the details”. What I did find a little odd was the frequent use of the phrase “State, local, and tribal governments” (emphasis added). There were 12 instances of the use of “tribal”. Is it usual to include tribal governments in such documents? And it makes me wonder…could I set up my own tribe and tribal government? I need to look into that sometime. I own land that is on an indian reservation (Boomershoot is held on indian reservation land as well).

Hello Josh!

It always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when one of my enemies stops by and sees what I have to say about them. I looked up the IP address from the Sitemeter visit description below and it resolved as being from Washington D.C. That combined with the search words “coalition to stop gun violence” leads me to believe it was the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence looking to see what I had to say about Josh Horwitz:


Domain Name   (Unknown) 
IP Address   173.8.20.# (Unknown Organization)
ISP   Unknown ISP

Continent  :  Unknown
Country  :  Unknown
Lat/Long  :  unknown
Language   English (U.S.)
Operating System   Microsoft WinNT
Browser   Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/2009042316 Firefox/3.0.10
Javascript   version 1.5

Resolution  :  1024 x 768
Color Depth  :  32 bits
Time of Visit   May 28 2009 1:41:47 pm
Last Page View   May 28 2009 1:41:47 pm
Visit Length   0 seconds
Page Views   1
Referring URL http://blogsearch.go…ce&btnG=Search Blogs
Search Engine
Search Words coalition to stop gun violence
Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click    
Time Zone   UTC-5:00
Visitor’s Time   May 28 2009 4:41:47 pm
Visit Number   514,094

Bigotry knows no boundaries

Most of the time I’m not particularly surprised when I hear about bigotry against gun-owners. It’s pervasive, common, and often inadvertent. It is so common that people engage in it without realizing it because it is sort of a “conventional wisdom”. But this surprised me:

CCAC also told Brashier that the college must pre-approve any distribution of literature to fellow students, and that pamphlets like hers would not be approved, even insisting that Brashier destroy all copies of her pamphlet.

Brashier reports that she was also interrogated about why she was distributing the pamphlets, whether she owned a licensed firearm and had ever brought it to campus (she has not), whether she carries a concealed firearm off campus, and whether she disagrees with the existing college policy banning concealed weapons on campus.

When Brashier stated that she wanted to be able to discuss this policy freely on campus, she was told to stop doing so without the permission of the CCAC administration. Dean Burns reportedly said, “You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us.” Brashier was then told to cease all activities related to her involvement with SCCC at CCAC and that such “academic misconduct” would not be tolerated.

I thought maybe the poor woman threatened with retaliation for attempting to exercise her first amendment rights had got a little carried away with the pamphlets the college demanded she destroy. But after reading one I was shocked. There is nothing in it that is even a little bit threatening or “over the top”.

H/T to Say Uncle and Sebastian.

One mile range proposal

Via email from Jason comes this link to a proposal for a one mile range in central Washington State.

It sounds like they are talking greater than .30 caliber. My hottest loads with the highest BC bullets in my .300 Win Mag won’t meet the requirement of being supersonic at the target.

For those of you that want to run the numbers yourself assume range conditions of 400 feet above sea level and 75F.

Quote of the day–Josh Horwitz

It’s time for all advocates of gun violence prevention to stand together and demand principled action from our elected officials. Capitol Hill needs to receive a clear message—they cannot continue to ignore a majority of Americans in order to do the gun lobby’s bidding without paying a price at the ballot box.

Josh Horwitz
Email newsletter
May 26, 2009
Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
[Poor Josh, he’s such a Sad Panda. No one is listening to him anymore.

I’ve always wondered what “principles” they adhere to. It’s not some sort of advocacy of safety as they hint at on their web site. If it were then they would be able to answer Just One Question. It’s certainly not constitutional principles or freedom/liberty. As near as I can tell it’s some modern day equivalent of “We don’t want no damn n**gers around here.” It’s no wonder people don’t pay attention. Bigotry is such an ugly thing.–Joe]

I must be getting old

Barb, Kim, son-in-law Caleb, and I went boat camping over the weekend. We left Friday morning and got back yesterday.

After setting up camp on Friday we noticed some rocks up on the opposite side of the lake that we thought would be a nice place to hike and take some pictures. Here is an aerial view. In the picture below, on the upper right, you can see the rocks:

View from our campsite.

On Saturday morning we packed up our cameras, some water, and walkie-talkies. Barb said it looked like too tough of a climb and stayed with our old dogs who would have to been carried (little lap sitters, they are more like cats than dogs anyway). We took the boat across the lake and found a sandy beach to tie the boat up to:

Kim ready to hop off the boat for our hike up the hill.

On the way up the hill we found at least two sets of bones from deer that had been considered food by some other animals (photos by Kim):

It was steep, there was no trail except for occasional game trails, and I had to stop, rest, and drink some water a few times. But it was a nice view when we got to the top (photo by Kim): 

Caleb inspects the edge.

View from the top.

We called back to camp and told Barb we had made it and asked that she come out of the trees near the tents to where we could see her. It was about a half mile away but I used a telephoto lens (300 mm) and took her picture:

Barb (upper left quadrant in blue) near our campsite from 1/2 mile away.

That was all nice and good, but then there was this bird that started circling us:

It was a Turkey Vulture. None of us had ever heard of vultures in Idaho and certainly not this far north in Idaho. But there it was. Circling and getting pretty darned close.

We took some more pictures of the view:

Elk Creek on Dworshak reservoir.

Kim and Caleb from the top of the Rocky Cliff.

We then noticed there were five vultures circling us. I could only get four in the frame at once. It was all a bit surreal–almost like in the cartoons except we weren’t in the desert and we didn’t feel like we were near death:

Vultures circling us.

Reading about them on Wikipedia, I discovered they are one of the few birds that forage for food by smell. We were probably more than a little smelly from the climb up the hill but I don’t think we smelled dead so I have to conclude Xenia has the better hypothesis. I must be getting old.

Quote of the day–Richard K. Willard

The link between handgun legality and aggregate crime levels has little constitutional significance. The purpose of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is to allow individuals to privately protect themselves, not to reduce overall crime rates or curb gun-related accidents. … The framers knew that an individual right to keep and bear arms would carry with it the risks of crime and accidents, just as an individual right to speak freely carries with it the risk of libel. Faced with these trade-offs, the framers deliberately chose a form of government that can accept such risks as the price for protecting individual liberties.

Richard K. Willard
February 11, 2008
D.C. versus Heller
Brief Amicus Curiae Of The Heartland Institute in support of respondent
[This one is for Lyle. Who, rightly so, says safety is irrelevant to the constitutionality issue.–Joe]