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28 February 2011

Retro 6.8?

SInce my attempts to sell the left-over Ko-Tonics 6.8 barrel have come to naught...

I have much of an upper that I could make into a 6.8.

I have an R604 upper receiver.  I have a 16" middy barrel.  I have a FSB that I could mount.  I have a slip ring, spring and barrel nut.

I need a flash-hider, a triangle handguard cap, gas tube, handguards and a bolt carrier group.

I'll need to carve M4 feed ramps into the upper, but that's not a big problem.

27 February 2011

Guns from other states...

It suddenly occurs to me with Alphecca mentioning that Massachusetts is blaming other state's gun laws for their gun crime problem that the question we should asking is, "What is it about YOUR state that makes criminals import firearms from other states to commit crimes with them?"

Why aren't those guns being used like that where they are sold?

Why don't Maine and Vermont have the same crime problem as Massachusetts if that's where all the guns coming from?

Why does Washington DC have a much higher rate of gun crime than Virginia?  Or even Arlington or Alexandria?

The reason is related to why crime rates go down when conceal carry is made non-descretionary.

But that doesn't fit the narrative, does it?

26 February 2011

Abomination.

Doubly so since you can't have chili con carne if there's no damn carne!  By frakkin definition!

Con carne means "with meat!"

This should be chile sin la carne!

Hat tip: Jennifer.

25 February 2011

E85

E85 is not a good idea.  These are some points from a "defend your position" 400 level economics course.  The original paper is lost and I will not waste time recreating all the citations.  Do your own research!

1. It's burning food. We're going to need that food someday and having it committed to be burnt is foolish at best.  The recent riots in northern Africa are related to the costs of grain.

2. It's not economical. Without massive subsidies it would not be made or sold. It costs more than regular gas to make, ship and store. You might see a lower price at the pump, but that's only because taxes from other places have paid the portion you are not at the moment.

3. It's not economical. Ethyl alcohol is less energy dense than gasoline. To get the same energy out, you must burn more of it. This means you cannot go as far on a tank of fuel and need to fill up more often. This effect is noticeable with even E15 and E10.

4. There's an illusion of "more pep" because it's got a higher octane rating than normal gas. This allows the timing to be run more advanced. This makes things happen sooner, but unlike most other fuels with higher octane; it has a lower energy content. What you are getting is things happening sooner, but actually slower. Put a clock on it. 0-60 is slower. 1/4 mile is slower.

5. The entire reason it exists is based on an enormous fraud! Global warming; or rather Anthropogenic Global Climate Change. We don't have a large effect on the climate and because of that, burning food will not have a positive effect. See the big glowing ball of fusion in the sky that's there ALL DAMN DAY?? There's your climate change engine.

6. It's not doing what you think it's doing. CO2 emissions are essentially identical to normal gasoline combustion. Remember how it takes more E85 to get the same work done? That means that E85 emits more CO2 for the same work as gas. But wait! It gets better! Gas doesn't have the CO2 emissions from tractors planting, tending and harvesting grain. Gas doesn't have CO2 emissions from the distilling process of turning food into alcohol.

In short, alcohol based fuels are stupid. Crowing the advantages of them makes you look stupid. If this hurts your feelings, I am sorry. Pointing out stuff like this costs me friends. I can't help but think that people wish to be ignorant of how things work deliberately.

The terms "economical" and "sustainable" are used in rebuttal to claims made by boosters of E85. No source of energy is sustainable if you run the time table out far enough. Economical is used where "cheaper" should be, and E85 is not cheaper. If it truly was, then the developers would just put it out there for the market to buy; and a truly cheaper option would sell.

Burning food is really burning the food that food eats since it is made from field corn for the most part. The prices of beef at the supermarket are 50% higher than before the mandate. If that's not true at your local market, check to see if your state has a beef subsidy (Iowa and Texas reportedly do, but I have not confirmed that).

The lack of arable land will eventually matter. The world population is growing and someday we will have to decide between food or fuel on a field that's growing feedstock for alcohol. It's inevitable. It's just as true that we'll eventually have a large enough population that even growing food any place it's possible, there will be famine. Why rush it for nothing?

"True Cost" is exactly that. It's what something costs with all things considered. Cost at the pump is not the true cost, that's the adjusted cost. Price at the pump for E85 is less the per gallon subsidy paid to the retailer, less the subsidy paid to the manufacturer, less the subsidy paid to the corn farmer. True cost would be the price at the pump PLUS all the subsidies. Which is a lot more than the price of an unsubsidized gallon of gasoline, even premium.


If you feel you must post chemical reactions, you should use real world data and not theoretical. Don't post the reactions for standard temperature and pressure in a pure oxygen environment! Those equations are not correct in an engine combustion chamber. Nitrogen is liberated from the air and sulfur from impurities in the gasoline and oil. No fuel is as pure as that theoretical reaction. You need to crack some college level dynamic forces engineering and do some calculus to get the conditions that you then apply to your chemistry equations. It's messy.

LMAO!

Clicky for picture.

Ninety Five Years!

My SMLE Mk III* or Rifle No. 1 Mk.  3* is 95 this year.

That means we're very near to WW1 being 100 years ago.

I knew and was friends with a couple of WW1 vets.  The rifle can still shoot (and well).  My friends were sadly not so immortal.

Pics of the rifle.


24 February 2011

Cager

You should think about not using this term.

It's the biker equivalent of not thinking about things like my great grandma used to call black people "niggers".  Not because she disliked blacks, it's just what they were called when she was a little girl.

But cager carries all the hate and venom that a Grand Wizzard has when HE says nigger.

I rode for many, many years.  I know where you are coming from about the clueless idiots who don't notice you until you're practically kicking their door.

However, painting EVERYONE who drives are car with the cager brush?  You'd better not even own a car then.  Because once you plop your butt in the seat, you too are a cager by your own venomous definition.

As someone who used to ride, I resent you painting me with that brush because I take extra time to note the bikes.  I give more following distance because I can't stop as fast.  I look over my shoulder to make sure there's not a narrower than a car vehicle hiding in the blind spot.

I don't call you a shitheel dirtbag biker, kindly don't sling unwarranted insults at me.

23 February 2011

Not Me; Again

Just to get ahead of the press on this one.

It was not me or any of my guns that shot any of the cops who've been killed recently in St Pete.

I will not be punished for the actions of others.

Especially since it would appear that not a single one of the shooters owned the gun they used legally.

The problem is not on my end so there's nothing I can do to fix it.

22 February 2011

Process

I tend to carry a 1911 on a daily basis.  There's just a few months it's too damn hot to do so here in FL.

Why did I choose a 1911 clone?

I met the 1911 in my dad's sock drawer when I was 5 or 6.  I didn't mention finding it because in my child-logic anything hidden like that was a future gift for me and if I told them I'd found it they wouldn't give it to me.  I quickly forgot about it because I was a kid and had Great Works™ to get back to.

I found that same gun ten years later scouring the house for money.  Yes, I was attempting to steal petty cash from my dad.  Dad's sock drawer was commonly open a crack and the change he dumped on the dresser would often fall into those cracks.  Since there wasn't any change on top of the socks, I dug under them.  There was the Remington Rand M1911A1 again.  Again, I left it alone and didn't tell anybody.  I can imagine how telling Dad would have gone, "Dad, I was ransacking the house, violating your privacy, so I could steal your loose change and I found a gun..."

Despite my larcenous intent towards change, I didn't even consider taking the gun and selling it.  A couple bucks in dimes would not be missed.  A gun would definitely be.

A couple years later I was in the Army.  I joined at an interesting time.  In 1987 many of the old pieces of equipment were still around and their replacements had just started to trickle into the supply chain.  What that meant is I trained on both the M1911A1 and M9 pistols.  The M9 was easier to shoot, strip and clean.  I hated it; it just didn't fit my hand.  Oddly, I never had a problem with the caliber.  Because of my gamer background I KNEW that a 9x19mm would kill just as effectively as .45 ACP.  The gamer in me also liked how the M9 held 15+1 rounds.

The 1911 was more of a chinese puzzle for field stripping.  The extra parts just provided more places for a drill sergeant to find dirt.  But it fit.  Because it fit I took to it and I was a far better shot than virtually all of the people in my unit.  I shot expert with both, but most people only got marksman with the 1911 even if they got expert with the M9.

After the Army I got a Glock 17.  I liked the Glock the first time I'd heard about it, in gaming of course.  17+1 rounds?  Sign me up!  It fit my hand, OK but better than a Beretta.  I shot it well.

Then my dad made me an offer I couldn't refuse, "Come for a visit and you can have my old .45."  So I spent spring break with the old man.  This reminded me that I liked the 1911.

But I didn't hang on to it long.  The 1911 reminded me I liked the .45 ACP round and Glock had just introduced the model 21; so I traded a mint Remington-Rand M1911A1 for a new Glock 21.  I am a fucking moron.  I still have that Glock.

When I first got my carry permit, I carried that Glock.  I got a Galco summer comfort IWB holster for it and learned that a full size double stack .45 was hard to conceal that way.

A friend has a Colt series 80.  I looked at his and remembered that the 1911 is much narrower.  The different grip angle puts the gun against my body in a more comfortable way.

So I bought a Springfield Armory M1911-A1 GI.  Then I bought a lot of holsters learning the lesson of "holster box".

Now it's in a Galco Miami Classic II.  This is ideal for me.  I'm on the large size.  In my Vette, an IWB holster doesn't work well.  Belt holsters are hard to conceal.  Something that a shoulder holster gives is much easier access while sitting in the car.  My two main cars are flashy, with the Biscayne being popular with a "certain" segment of society.  I worry about being car-jacked so easy access while driving is important.  The shoulder holster also has a place for spare magazines.

Galco makes this exact holster for the Glock too.  The width of the Glock and its mags would not be comfortable, I don't think.

It all boils down to this:  I shoot the 1911 well.  I know how to fix most any stoppage nearly instinctively.  .45 is enough gun.  I am confident in it and my ability to use it; meaning I will not waste valuable time on doubt.

20 February 2011

Another Reason This Teacher Thing Isn't Getting The Expected Sympathy...

For years we've been hearing that if the teachers got more pay and if class sizes were smaller then we'd attract better teachers who would then be more effective.  This would cause test scores to climb and our children would be better prepared for their future.

Except we tried that.  Teachers are making at least as much as the rest of us.  Class sizes are smaller than they've been since schools got second rooms.  Scores are not measurably better.  The kids don't seem to be any better prepared.  Graduation rates are much worse.

If you ask the teachers, higher pay and smaller classes are the solution.  Again.

We.  Tried.  That.  It didn't do what you said it would so we want to try something else.  Like merit pay.  Like being able to fire underperforming teachers.  Like trying it without unions to see if performance improves.

We're paying for it, we should get a say in how it will be run.  We no longer believe that the teachers are capable of identifying the problem or formulating a solution.

It's not just the conservatives saying it.  It's not just the home schoolers saying it.  It's not just the wookie-suiters saying it.

Talk about consensus building!

19 February 2011

High Speed Rail in Florida

Senator Bill Nelson sent me this message via his newsletter email:

A bipartisan group of the state's political and business leaders have pursued high-speed rail in Florida for decades, because it means more than $2.4 billion in economic aid, thousands of construction jobs and a modern transportation link between several of the state’s largest cities. That’s why I support it. I’m joined by state lawmakers and many members of Florida's congressional delegation, who also question the governor’s decision to kill high-speed rail. One is U.S. Rep. John Mica, the Winter Park Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee. Also, federal transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican, has expressed disappointment. If Florida doesn’t take the money, another state will. So, some of us will look for ways to save the rail project. Meantime, please don’t hesitate to pass along your thoughts

I replied with this:


There are numerous bad ideas that have been pursued by their advocates for decades; the length of time one spends pursuing an idea does not change its merit.
If high speed rail could be made to run at a profit then it stands to reason that there should be at least one example built that's doing so.  But there isn't a single one running without a subsidy; is there?
The advocates of high speed rail are essentially saying, "I want this; you pay for it!"  If they get their way I will be put into a situation where I don't want this, and I will have to pay for it.
Which isn't entirely true; I am a romantic about trains.  I would love for a high speed passenger service to be a viable alternative to driving.  Sadly, it is not and will not be; which is why I do not want to subsidize it or have the government owning it.
If a private concern builds it; I will be one of the first in line to buy a ticket to support them and my romantic notions, which is my choice.  I deeply resent the idea of being forced to pay for something that will never recoup it's initial capitalization costs through ticket sales.

18 February 2011

Union Math

Something that seems to keep coming up over and over again with unions...

The people paying them tell them that if a concession over pay or benefits isn't made; they will have to close or have layoffs.

The unions invariably choose a zero compromise path.

The recent kerfluffle in Wisconsin is a decent example.  The state is telling the teachers that they need to partially pay for their retirement benefit (around 1/8th of the total contribution) out of pocket or there would have to be 6,000 fewer teachers.  The union response is tantamount to a general strike.

The math problem is simple.  Which is more; 87% of an average of $52k or 100% of zero?  Do you need a calculator?  Yes, having to pay into your retirement account is a loss of take-home pay.

The unions seem to not be noticing the lack of sympathy for their "plight".  Many of us mere working stiffs are lucky to be able to plunk down a meager 5% into a 401k and we're even luckier if our employer has some sort of matching.

Oh, the state is not taking 13% of the teachers income either.  They are saying that the teachers need to pay 13% of the contribution.  For example, if working stiff is paying 5.3% of their income with a 100% match from the employer that means that 10.6% if the employee's base pay is going into a 401k every payday.  If the employee makes $52k a year that's an annual contribution of $2,756 out of the employee's pocket.  What Wisconsin is asking the teachers to do is to pay 13% of that 10.6% or 1.378% of their base salary or an annual contribution of $716.56 on a salary of $52,000.

EDIT: It would appear that the numbers posted above, which I got from searching for Wisconsin teacher salaries and retirement contributions are in conflict with what I have been reading at MSNBC and Fox.

A normal citizen is paying nearly four times as much out of pocket for the same benefit.  This is why there's not much sympathy out there for the teachers, especially since many normal people can't afford to pay that 5.3% at all any more while the teachers still get 10.6% plunked down at no cost to the teacher.

The teacher's unions are going to be getting a dose of reality soon.  The voters are awake and if the current crop of politicians doesn't start it; pretty soon the electorate will get some who will.

Special thanks to Gov Christie for starting this snowball and showing other governors how to fight the unions.

17 February 2011

Spin

Looking downrange a Smith and Wesson revolver rotates counter clockwise.  A Colt revolver rotates clockwise.

When shooting akimbo, should one use one of each manufacturer to balance the torque?

If so, which one should be in which hand?

14 February 2011

Periodic Posting

The Gods of the Copybook Headings; Rudyard Kipling.


As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." 

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." 

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, 
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; 
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, 
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. 
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, 
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, 
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, 
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! 

10 February 2011

Is buying a machine gun easy?

The process of buying a machine gun is straight-forward.  For an individual you pay the seller a huge sum, fill out the Form 4, get the local head constable to sign the back, get finger printed, swear you're a good citizen on another ATF form, write a check for $200, mail it to the ATF, start waiting.

A wait that can take from four months to a year.

There's nothing about that process that's particularly difficult.

Why does it rankle so?

Because it's a needless burden!

ATF maintains that the long wait is because of the extensive background check.  OK, why does the second NFA item take just as long?  Seems to me that all the checking they need to do is to see if you've become ineligible since the last approval; many fewer datum to check.

Even so, why does it take so damn long?  If I can own a gun at all, and the state I live in allows NFA items, then I can buy a machine gun.  The NICS check is nearly instant and is good enough to let me own a "normal" gun; why is this check no good for NFA?

It seems to me that the process could be simplified a great deal.  Get the head cop's signature saying it's OK with them you wanna buy something NFA, show that to the seller, hand them your money, run the NICS, pay the $200 right then and there, head home with your spiffy new firearm!

Notice we skipped the fingerprints?

The current process is done via mail.  Here's a clue, if you've never been arrested or otherwise had your fingerprints taken you could submit ANYONE'S fingerprints as yours when you send in your forms.  There's no record contradicting them!  Clue number two; people who would be disqualified by their fingerprints are not going to be buying a machine gun through legal channels anyway.

While doing the NFA thing is not hard, it's an unnecessary obstruction; and that prevents it from being easy.

Love Hurts - The RACIST Pepsi Max Superbowl Commercial Ad - Finalist



Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX thinks the above ad is racist.

It's not.

All you have to do to check is reverse the races and see if the ad changes message. It doesn't. The wife is definitely not a nice person; but except for being portrayed by a black actress, there's nothing about the character that's stereotypically "black".

What is racist is spotting racism in everything.

Should I go into a tear about how ads like this reinforce that a man should take physical abuse from his spouse? Should I pontificate about how if it had been the husband abusing his wife over her food choices the way the wife is shown here that we'd be calling it sexism? Or is it possible to read racism and sexism into anything if you want to see it everywhere you look?

09 February 2011

FAL vs AR

This is not really comparing the guns.

Both have strong communities.  Both have opinionated owners.

What I have noticed about the FAL community is a distinct lack of snobbery about what brand is best.  There's sympathy for those who bought garbage; but then they go on to attempt to help the hapless buyer salvage what they can that's good and identify the parts that are no good.

In the AR world, "buy a Colt* and call it good"

There are no recurring debates about the reasons for and utility of "M4" feedramps in the FAL world.  There is a feedramp issue, but it's not a debate.

There is no doubt that 7.62x51mm as issued was enough.

Owning a "FrankenFAL" is not a mark of shame.

If a gun isn't running, the community quickly figures out why and offers solutions that almost always work.


* Or some other "Tier 1" brand.

08 February 2011

Statistically Impossible Grouping

I guess change has to come from within, but it's a tough row to hoe.

NY Times Article for you to read in its entirety.  Hat tip to Lex

What good that those do again?

If you don't have a carry permit, Florida has a waiting period of three business days when you buy a handgun.

Julie Schenecker, when she decided to kill her teenage children for "being mouthy", had no gun and no carry permit.  When confronted with the three day waiting period she simply bided her time and wrote a note saying that was just a delay to the massacre.

What difference did that waiting period make?  Perhaps, maybe, it bought those poor "mouthy" kids three extra days; but it didn't change Ms Schenecker's course one iota.

The sad truth is this sort of thing will happen regardless of the laws concerning the buying and owning of weapons.  Just look across the pond at Jolly Ol' England.

This is just another sad example of a gun law that didn't "cool off" a murderer and only inconveniences the law abiding.

07 February 2011

An inspiration to the world!

Sudan splitting into two separate nations has been characterized by President Obama as, "An inspiration to the world."

Okay.

I am inspired!

Inspired to secede.

Now that the president in Washington is amiable to the idea, we should refound the Confederate States of America!  Skipping the chattel slavery, of course.

06 February 2011

Helmet Laws

I was a biker for many years; the reasons I quit riding are their own story.

What I always did was to wear a full-face helmet.  I took a lot of shit for that from a lot of bikers.

As my dad said, "there are two kinds of bikers; ones who've been down and ones who haven't been down yet."  I'm not what you'd call gracefully coordinated, so I have always thought that helmets were a good idea for me.

FOR ME.

I do not support helmet laws.

If you don't want to wear one, I don't think you should have to.  If you don't wear one you are assuming an increased chance of a head injury should you have an accident; you should make a reasoned decision when you make this bet because the stakes are pretty high.

Yes, there are accidents where a helmet would have made no difference.  Yes there are circumstances where the helmet makes things worse.  It's all part of the risk assessment you have to make everyday when you get out of bed.

Life is not 100% safe and cannot be made to be so; even if it were possible it would be incompatible with liberty.

Because life is not safe you can't let your guard down for even a second.  The universe plays to win and she plays for keeps.

03 February 2011

Pain

White text on a black or dark blue background is PAINFUL.

I know it looks all artistic and edgy, but it hurts.

Stop doing it.  Monitors are in color now and have been for decades there is no reason to keep to the ancient IBM eye strain color schemes.

Now what?

A judge has declared Obamacare to be unconstitutional.  Until there's a stay issued or the decision is reversed by a higher court, it's legally dead.

President Obama has ordered the implementation to continue anyway.  That's illegal.  He's ordered that a not-law be enforced.

This is an example of "high crimes and misdemeanors".  Time for impeachment proceedings.

I am getting really, really sick of the courts saying that a given law is unconstitutional and then having the executive branch affected ignoring the ruling in any way they can.  DC still hasn't issued Heller a permit for his gun.  Chicago created a new system that creates a de facto ban to replace the de jure.  Now Obama just flat ignores a ruling he doesn't like.  It's extra irksome in that there are several legal means for him to continue implementation while it works its way up to The Supreme Court.  But rather than do any of those, he just ignores the judge.

Again, if the government starts ignoring the founding documents then the government forfeits its legitimacy.  This is pretty flagrantly ignoring how the system is supposed to work (and has been working for quite a few decades.)

What do we do about it?