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30 September 2010

Kill NASA.

This CNET article really shows why we need to kill NASA, even though I am sure that's not the author's intent.

More than once the article mentions the need to develop a new heavy lift booster.

What the fuck, over?

We have a fully developed and FLOWN heavy lifter.  Delta IV Heavy.  How about we fund the building of a proven system for a change instead of tossing it and making up a whole new one?  Speaking of proven designs, what about the Titan IV?  Yes, we don't get them on the cheap by recycling ICBM's anymore but we damn sure know they work.

This is all a side issue to the real solution to our earth to orbit needs.  Please show me the government agency in charge of funding new commercial aircraft development.  Hell, show my the government agency funding the development of new trains or buses.  While there is some incentive funding, Congress is not making live or die decisions on CSX's new rolling stock.

I am positive that if we got NASA out of the way then Boeing would be more than capable of making, selling and launching as many Deltas as there are customers for.  Without NASA, Boeing has real incentives to make their product better and cheaper.

I remember talking to some people who were involved with the design of the Shuttle.  The insanely low prices that were quoted for payloads were possible, they insisted.  What they, engineers, didn't know at the time is that NASA is a jobs program and their design would constantly and consistently be compromised to make sure that those jobs would have to be used to operate the system.

NASA, in 1963 is a great example of how some things just won't get started without nation-state funding levels to start the infrastructure; it's also a prime example of how government routinely fails to make way for the real users once the infrastructure is established.

I have grossly oversimplified and exaggerated things here, so if you have a comment, fill in details and provide support.  If I am completely wrong, show me (be nice, be polite).

27 September 2010

Interesting find in my parts bin...

In the course of aquiring parts for Sabrina, my XM177E2 clone, I ended up buying two complete carbine stock sets.  One to get the correct aluminum sliding portion, one to get an undamaged receiver extension.

Both sets came with a spring and buffer.

I was reading the Vuurwapen Blog comparison of the H, H2 and H3 buffers for carbines and got to thinking that since my SBR has an over-sized gas port that I should use a heavier buffer.  I knew I had an H buffer in the bin, so I went digging to swap it out; that's when I noticed on of the buffers in the bin looked different.  Turns out I have a Colt 9mm buffer that came with one of my stock purchases.  I thought that I would give that one a try for a while and see what affect it has.

Vuurwapen has a comparison showing a standard, H and 9mm too.  The H does better for the bounce there; so I will run the H and see.

A standard buffer is 3 oz.  H is 3.8 oz, H2 is 4.6 oz, H3 is 5.4 oz.  A standard 9mm buffer is 5.5 oz.

Left to right:
9mm, H, Standard.

26 September 2010

No more NFA for SBR?

I hear there's going to be an attempt to get short barrel rifles and short barrel shotguns removed from the National Firearms Act registration.  Maybe silencers too.

Huzzah! I says.

I'll take my SBR stamp for my XM177E2 clone and frame it as a curiosity.

Then I'll have Kaylee and Cheyenne lopped to 14.5" and Kevina taken down to 11.5".  That would rock!

If the silencer thing happens, I would prolly not get one, they are expensive in and of themselves.

If we're really lucky, they'll get the Hughes amendment removed and let people register machine guns again.  If that happens, I am going to be doing some Form 1's!

Revolver question:

When I carry my J-Frame, I carry two speed loaders.  I've been doing some small practice with my left hand with the assumption that my right has been injured and no longer functional.

Single handed reloads with a speed loader are much harder than loose rounds.  Who knew?

The "gay" thing.

I was once borderline homophobic.  Then I discovered that two very close friends were gay.  One went to his grave without telling me, I found out from his sister at the funeral.  The other was outed by his girlfriend (he's bi in case you can't figure it out).

I had to come to grips with the fact that my friends weren't evil.  I gather I took it pretty well compared to some.

I grew up in central Iowa, Ames in fact.  It's one of the liberal enclaves in an otherwise pretty conservative state.  Being OK with the gay people meant that I could also go to the bars that played the music I preferred (punk/ska/metal) because most places were Top 40 or C&W.

Very seldom was I hit on even when I was the straight guy in the gay bar.  Only once or twice was I hit on and my "suitor" didn't accept the "sorry, I'm straight, just here for the music".  I can't say I've seen girls be able to get rid of unwelcome attention as easily when I've been to "normal" bars.

A disconnect between me and a decent sized chunk of my gay friends has been the gun thing.  That interfered with and ended more than one friendship.  Somehow they couldn't internalize the lesson that the straight gun owner had not even once threatened to shoot them for being gay.

More recently I am discovering, mainly through my wife, that a sizable chunk of gay men are pretty damned conservative.  I've even taught a few to shoot.

Talking to them I gather they are just as frustrated as I am about the political party's division of issues.  I still wonder why being gay and owning a gun are on opposite sides of the political fence; or that they need to be on one side only.

On the advice of Roberta X

Roberta X says we should not debate the antis because that gives them practice debating, thus improving their debating skills.

Instead, she suggests we cut them off at the knees and ask Joe Huffman's "One Question."

"Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?"


I will do so from now on.  Joe is also the originator of the "Jews in the Attic" test.

25 September 2010

Extending the tax cuts?

The very language of this is bothers me.

By calling it an extension it sounds as if the higher level of taxation is the permanent situation and the current rates are a temporary respite from them.  Many pundits are making it sound as if this respite is also ruinous.

Calling the current tax rate "the Bush tax cut" is also disingenuous.  The president merely signs the bill that congress presents him.  Time to start giving credit and blame to congress for their role in the process.

24 September 2010

Fear




One nice thing about getting old is knowing the measure of ones fear.  I could make that climb.  Mentally.  The other thing about getting old is knowing your limits.  I am not in near good enough shape to make that climb.  That's something I should try to change.

One odd thing about this vid is that while I think I would have no problem being out there on that tower, I don't like to watch it.

Auto vs Revolver?

Auto, because John Moses Browning (pbuh) never made a revolver.

23 September 2010

I now know a bit more about the gubernatorial race.

Candidate Sink is missing something crucial in her appeals to people like myself.

I want the government to get out of my way so that I can do business and make money.  She seems to think that it's her job to control the environment where I will do business and that control will make it all possible.

Nope.

I know it's hackneyed, but the buggy whip thing keeps coming to mind.  I don't need a mandate to make whips, I need the freedom to make what people wanna buy.

I will likely not answer as well, but...

Go here and here for possibly better answers to her questions.  Go here for some better background on where these questions originated.


1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?

Absolutely!  Because I believe that if they are out here in general society with us, they should be here as full members.  If I cannot trust them with a gun, I cannot trust them with rat poison, gasoline, kitchen knives, baseball bats or heavy blunt instruments.

2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?

Lock them up; keep them locked up until no longer a danger to society.  Deciding who is "dangerously mentally ill" is a tough row to hoe though.

3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to “keep and bear arms”?

Yes; especially since I have to undergo such a check every single time I purchase a firearm.  I have proven I have a clean record the first time and nothing has changed since then, why do the full check every time?

4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?

I most certainly do believe it!  I believe it because the people you work with have said so!  Granted, they have changed the name of the company twice since then, but it's a matter of record.  Couple those statements with how they fight to keep infringements on the right to keep and bear arms I should ask, "How can you not believe it?"

5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?

I think we really need only look at where it has already happened.  New Jersey, California, New Orleans, Chicago...  Bob had a good list of the steps in his answers to these very questions.

6. What do you think are the “second amendment remedies” that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?

The "second amendment remedies" are "shoot the bastards!"  Sounds very harsh, doesn't it?  It's the real intent of having the 2nd amendment; but it's like an ejection handle.  You use the handle and you won't be using the plane again; so you do everything you can before yanking it.  It would help immensely if people would stop routing us through thunderstorms and throwing frozen turkeys into the intakes!

7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don’t like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?

Not as such.  As I indicated, the 2nd amendment remedies are last resort, start over from scratch, actions.  We are a long ways from needing to use them; however we have been moving in that direction.  It would be better for all concerned to stop moving towards a situation where the only solution is to shoot the bastards.  A useful tip here, it's not mainly about guns that have lots of people thinking we need an armed insurrection to "fix things".

8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?

Is it OK to call an untruthful prostitute a "lying whore"?  If someone is lying, it's OK to call them a liar.  If someone is being hypocritical, then it's OK to call them a hypocrite.  If someone is taking money in exchange for sexual favors, it's OK to call them a whore.  It's impolite to call someone those things if they are not, but it's legal.

9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person’s face?

Not only would I, I will do it again!

10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?

Do you mean 'any' as in 'every' or that it's possible to make a law that's unconstitutional?  I don't think every gun law is unconstitutional, just most of them.  I don't really mind the background check laws, I just worry that more and more things will become felonies until it's impossible to live in the USA without breaking one of those laws.

11. Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.

I do not believe that the current gun laws are doing anything but aggravate the law abiding and that they do nothing to impede criminals from obtaining and using guns illegally.  Classic example: straw purchase.  The way it is defined if I wish to buy a gun as a gift I have made an illegal straw purchase.  I cannot even pay for the gun while the recipient (or both of us) undergoes the background check.  Criminals just lie or have someone else lie, if I tell the truth, I break the law.

12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?

I believe that law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns.  I don't think that they would never shoot anybody, especially since anyone who's bought a gun for self defense is pretty much stating they will shoot someone under a specific set of circumstances.  I think this question is an attempt to be disingenuous.

13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?

Only if they use a gun and only if suicides are in a separate category from murders and legal homicides.

14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should “count” in the total numbers?

Certainly!  Especially since these numbers support my position and undermine the Brady Campaign's.  Accidental gun deaths are declining!

15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?

Yes.  There are several examples where a gun can be made to fire without pulling the trigger and virtually all of them would fall under criminal negligence if someone were to be harmed while doing so.  Look, criminal negligence is criminal without even making it specific to firearms; guess we don't need a new law to make it illegaler, huh?

16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?

Do you believe it's too few?

17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?

By carrying a firearm where ever I may and killing anyone who tries to hurt me physically.  Dead criminals have 0% recidivism rate and far too many violent criminals are multiple violent offenders.  Oh, wait, you didn't ask how will I prevent illegal shootings!  I guess I am not going to do anything to stop more shootings, oh well.

18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?

I am not saying you are lying.  But your methodology is familiar.  Has there ever been a greedy Jew?  Has there ever been a lazy black man?  Has a black man ever fathered an illegitimate child?  Has an Irishman ever gotten drunk?  Once drunk has that Irishman ever been belligerent?  It not that these things never happen, it's that not every member of a group is alike or guilty of the things you claim.  It's called bigotry and we recognize it and don't care to be painted with your overly wide brush.

19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).

All of my dealings with the BATFE have been polite, cordial and professional.  That does not mean I support their overall methods of doing business.  When asked simple questions concerning the law or regulation they become vague and answer without answering.  Questions like, "Can I own more than one short barreled upper receiver for a single, registered, short barreled AR-15 while also owning one or more unregistered Title 1 AR-15's?"

20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?

This is an exercise in futility because your side will not participate in a reasonable discussion in the first place so there cannot be a continuation of such.


Update:


I must say that Joe Huffman has the absolute best response to her questions.

22 September 2010

A note to motorcyclists.

Once upon a time I was a biker.  I sold my scoot when I became convinced that the four wheel traffic was actively trying to run me down.

I now think I was right; and I understand why now.

There's a minority of people on motorcycles who have their heads so completely up their asses, they have hemorrhoids on their tongues.  Ten under the limit, braking hard too soon, weaving in and out of traffic, you name it.  All of them looking like refugees from some Hard Corps Biker™ mag.

Two things my dad taught me when I was learning to ride were, "you are invisible to 80% of drivers," and "the other 20% can see you and are TRYING to hit you."  These idiots are riding like everyone can see them and that the traffic laws (or even basic courtesy) doesn't apply.

I look out for bikes, but you have to be predictable for me to avoid you.  Remember also, your 500 lbs of bike and 250 lbs of you can certainly stop in less distance than my 3,300 lbs of car and 250 lbs of me.  If you get to zero and all I can do is get down to 20 before hitting you, you're going to be going like 15 again.  Neither of us wants that to happen, so be a bit more gentle with the brakes, OK?

21 September 2010

My Negligent Discharge

First off, the four rules (as I learned them) of firearm safety:
1. The firearm is always loaded.
2. Don't point it at anything you want to keep.
3. Don't put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4. If what you are pointing it at can't stop a bullet, make sure you don't care about what's behind it.

Those are paraphrasing the "official" four rules; but the meaning is essentially the same.  Basically, if you break two rules and it goes off, you won't hurt anyone.  This is a bonus feature, not the actual intent of the rules.

My negligent discharge was with a 2nd Gen Glock 21.  I had just purchased a Springfield 1911 GI and wanted to take some pictures comparing the barrels; so I was taking the Glock apart.  To take a Glock apart, you must pull the trigger.  Foolishly, I was also talking on the phone while doing this.

I had the gun pointed at the wall to my left, dropped the mag (loaded since this was my carry gun at the time), forgot to rack the slide because I was talking on the phone, and pulled the trigger.  BANG!  Hole in the wall.  Good thing I was following 2 and 4!

This was totally my fault, but it's soured me on Glocks.  I don't like that I have to pull the trigger to take it apart now.  Of the guns in my safe, only the Glock cannot be disassembled with a live round in the chamber (not that doing so would be any smarter).

What did I learn from this?  I learned that I had become complacent about following the basics.  I learned the four rules of safety in the Army; and the first two lines of instruction for disassembly for any weapon are: 1. remove the source of ammunition; 2. clear the chamber; 3+ weapon specific instructions.  I forgot 2.

The result of my discharge has given me new religion about the rules, and soured me on Glock.

20 September 2010

Florida Politics

We have a contentious Senate and Gubernatorial election this time through.

I am far more familiar with what's going on with the Senate election.  The Democrats appear to be running the same cardboard cut-out they ran last time (not the same actual person, but someone who is saying the same things that lost last time.)  The arab-curse interesting part of the campaign is Charlie Christ, our RINO Governor.

Democrat: Kendrick Meek.  His own web page pretty much sums up "why not".  He's against developing our gigantic swamp, against offshore drilling, for raising minimum wages, and against privatizing social security.  He is for a middle class tax cut and against (additional) credit card fees; those are positives.  He says that he's the "only one" who's taking those positions, but Governor Crist has actually spent money on the first thing by buying US Sugar out.  The first two things are environmentalist things that I am sick of hearing.  The next two are part of the current crisis.  By the way, Mr Meek, bragging about winning the debate on Univision is not a selling point to someone who is worried the US is being colonized by people from Spanish speaking nations.

Independent: Charlie Crist.  We know this guy pretty well after four years as governor.  RINO.  I have heard people say more than once, "I thought we voted for a Republican."  Well, I did, but this is who we got instead.  I could, perhaps, forgive the RINOness because Florida is a bit left of center overall, but what makes me hate him is his primary run.  He appointed Sen. LeMieux primarily because LeMieux would not run against him for the election.  Unfortunately for Gov. Crist, there was a primary challenge.  Early on, when it looked like it would be an easy win, Crist stated that he'd accept the will of the voters and support the winner of the primary.  Then Marco Rubio started to pull ahead in the polls.  This is when things get interesting.  Gov. Crist went from "support the winner" to "I'm running as an independent".  I could almost have forgiven him if he'd managed to couch the decision as a principled stand against the direction the party was headed post-2008, but he came across more as, "I wanna keep dangling from the public teat."  His decision to keep money donated to him when he was still a Republican and the only R candidate was unforgivable.  He had a press conference justifying his decision and arrogantly declared the donors gave to "Charlie Crist for Senate" not "The Republican Candidate for Senate."  Probably not, Charlie.  Most donors donate to the party not a candidate; and lots of them were more than happy to say so once you kept the money for yourself; reinforcing the impression that you just wanna keep a job on the public's dime.

Republican: Marco Rubio.  I really don't know as much as I should.  His stated positions are basic conservative boilerplate, but the clincher for me is how much Charlie Crist has been attacking him.  Just about the only accusation that Crist hasn't leveled on him is a revelation that he once didn't wash his hands after going to the bathroom.  His demeanor is simple and to the point, I like that.

I guess we shall see.

What this place is, to me.

This is where I air my thoughts.  I talk about guns, I talk about politics, I talk about religion.  I'm a low-rent philosopher.

These are my opinions, I try to back them up with facts when I can, but this is not a research paper so citations might be very spotty.  I will try to give credit where credit is due.  That applies to blame as well.

Some basic things: I am pro-gun.  I'm a heterosexual who supports gay rights.  I'm an atheist who supports freedom of religion.  I'm a disabled veteran.  I'm a father.  I'm a husband.  I'm a scoundrel.

I believe in liberty and freedom.  I feel that you have to give them to receive them.  I believe that freedom and liberty have warts and unpleasant consequences; and I don't care.  Eliminating freedoms to get the warts is exactly the wrong way to do it.

Liberty and freedom are ideals; unattainable in the real world.  That means there are limits to them.  There are things that are off limits here too.

This is my soap-box, not yours.  If you have so much to say that you are drowning out what I am trying to say; make your own blog.  I do welcome comments, however.  Remember, this is not your place; but mine.

Here I go!

This is me, abandoning my comfortable home on LiveJournal to expose my naked belly to the harsh reality of the world.

It's a bit daunting, since I know that Blogger gets a lot more traffic.

I'm going to have to learn to deal with trolls and idiots.

Hopefully I will not have to use the ban hammer or memory hole too often.

Edit:

All posts prior to this one were imported from my LiveJournal account.