31 January 2011

I'm a gun owner but...

I find that I don't need a gun that only holds 4+1 rounds and has a scope.

I don't hunt.  I've only gone hunting a vanishingly few times; and the shooting part is the only part I am any damn good at.  I am not good with the stalk or the waiting in the blind.

I have a gun I could hunt with, I even bought a magazine for it that meets the local capacity restriction for hunting.  I don't have a hunting license or expect to get one any time soon.

I don't shoot in matches.

My shooting can best be described as "plinking".

I have taken two weekend carbine classes more to prove my "frankenAR" would hold up than to learn what they were teaching.  For the record, I learned despite myself and both Kaylee and Sabrina each ran 100%.

I am not a tacticool shooter.

I own bolt-actions, but they are of historical interest to me.  I own mostly older guns of little intrinsic but of great emotional value.  The old guns from Grampa are cherished artifacts.

I am a gun owner, but; I do not own for sporting purposes.

I buy for utility for self-defence, to satisfy my curiosity about the function, to indulge my historical interests, to amuse myself about some unique feature design.  In short, for whatever suits my fancy at the time.

That is enough.  It is my right to own these guns in the manner I do.  It is your right to do the same, or own entirely different guns from mine.

Carolyn McCarthy was an idiot in 2007 and she still is today.

I cannot help but notice that a free-float fore-end really is a barrel shroud.  Notice how many of we AR owners have a 4-rail type front on our carbines.

29 January 2011


A few things I have observed about present events in Egypt.

They have gun control.

The Egyptian government has an internet kill switch.

These are two things that the US Government has proposed getting.

Egypt has (had?) a dictator.

Does the US Government wish to make the president one?

Government control of all the firearms and communication basically guarantees a dictatorship.

We should oppose any attempt of the government to control either.

More likely?

Back in Iowa; I owned a lot of guns, but never many all at once.  Between "oooh shiny" and financial reality I nearly always sold a gun when I bought a gun.  I think the most I ever had at one time was five.

When I moved to Florida from Iowa, I owned three guns.

I currently own 25 firearms of all types (most aren't worth anything at all).

When I moved to Florida, my wife owned zero guns.

Now she owns 8.

I am storing four for a friend whose living situation forbids possession, but not ownership of his guns.

Yes, I have a safe.

But the point is that for some reason not a single one of these guns has killed anyone since I bought my first one in 1991.  Some are even dreaded "assault weapons"!

More guns made for no more or less crime here.

If owning a gun makes me 28 times (discredited) more likely to shoot my wife or son and the chance before was zero...  28 x 0 = 0.

Oooops.  Math be hard 'n shit; I guess.

26 January 2011

Barriers to entry.

When I was born there were many more domestic car companies.

GM had Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, GMC and Cadillac.
Ford had Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln.
Mopar had Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge.
American Motors had AMC, Rambler and Jeep.

Since then, GM added Saturn and Hummer.  AMC added Eagle.

Since then; GM dropped Olds, Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer.  AMC went away altogether with only Jeep remaining as a part of Chrysler.  Mercury is dead.  Plymouth is defunct.

The imports were unheard of when I was crawling.

All of the Japanese makes have added an upmarket brand.  Toyota even added a "youth" brand in Scion.

I wonder why we don't have a new domestic brand to make a car that people will buy.  A new company would not be shackled to union deals or legacy production facilities.

The engineering and manufacturing plants are expensive enough, but a boutique maker should be able to get a toe hold and start making a small run.

Crash safety and emissions testing come right to the fore.  Government mandated, manufacturer funded.  These are steep barriers to entry.  Part of emissions testing it corporate average fuel economy (CAFE).  CAFE is pretty simple, take the EPA estimated MPG for all the cars you make and calculate the mean fuel economy.  What that gives us is two econoboxes per gas guzzler; the CAFE is skewed to encourage small gas sipping cars.

What I don't understand about emissions testing is why it costs so damn much to certify a car; unless the process is deliberately expensive to prevent new participants in the market.

Crash testing requires that several cars be destroyed.

A boutique econobox is not going to sell.  A boutique brand needs to be sexy and have gigantic profit margins.  Ferrari and Lamborghini epitomize this.  But a super car will not pass CAFE muster.

Very small boutique models are out there, but the problem is getting from making a handful of hand-made cars to manufacturing a few hundred.  Then getting from a few hundred to a few thousand.

We need the government to get out of the way or to subsidize the development of new manufacturing.  I propose that it start with an American version of Ferrari!

Missing the point...

Labrat posted about the GOP submitting a gay marriage ban.

It's a good post, go read.

It occurs to me, again, that nearly all of my problems with government is that they are involved in places where they have no business being.

What business of government is it that who I marry?  What business of government is it how many I marry?

Other than their valid role of enforcing contracts, which is all a formal marriage is, I don't see where they are authorized to be involved.

This theme repeats over and over.  Most of the time the crap they are involved in where they have no damn business is some conservative cause.  Gay marriage, abortion, drugs...

Labrat aptly points out that the electorate didn't change since 2008.

These crusades of sticking the government in where it doesn't belong just cause backlash and put the other party in power (again).  That in turn causes another backlash when the liberal causes get advanced.

Just so you don't think I am picking on conservatives...

Conservatives tend to go all in for things where Congress is granted no power.  Liberals tend to go for things where Congress is forbidden to do.  They attack free speech, guns, privacy...  They're better at it than the conservatives, notice they are considered the champions of free speech and privacy rights?

The conservatives help them immensely with the privacy infringement too.  There are some things that cannot be regulated or banned unless the government knows entirely too much about my life.

I cannot help but notice and repeat that if the government was reduced to its constitutionally empowered limits there would be a great deal less of it and we'd be a great deal more prosperous.

21 January 2011

Count me in!



No more guns for using what amounts to harsh language?

I guess it makes sense that liberty should die in Massachusetts, since The Revolution was born there...

19 January 2011

Co-Witnessing, UR Doing It Rong

As I a joke we mounted an EOTech on a side rail with an Aimpoint on top.

Clips and magazines.

Robb posted a pic of a 30 round clip.

That got me to thinking about what the differences are.  Historically I think we can blame the Korean war vets for making clip mean magazine.  They'd been loading their Garands with clips and the M1 and M2 carbines came along so the thing that loads them must be a clip too?  Right?  "Thirty round banana clip" comes from the Korean War.  It parses well, so it entered popular vernacular.

The rule of thumb: Clips feed the magazine, the magazine feeds the gun.  The terms 'clip' 'stripper clip' and 'charger' are interchangeable.

On the left; a ten round clip of 5.56x45mm.  On the right; a thirty round magazine of the same ammunition.

Some history!

The first clips loaded the non-removable magazines of bolt-action rifles.  The charger guide is built right into the receiver, like on this M-1903A3.

I discovered that you can't load the magazine on an M-1903A3 with the magazine cut-off engaged while taking these photos.
At this point you can either pluck out the clip or just shove the bolt forward; the bolt will knock it out of the way.

Even after the introduction of the detachable magazine, many military rifles still retained the charger guide.  The British SMLE (shown here) has a detachable magazine; but only one magazine was issued per rifle.  Reloading was intended to be done from clips (it takes two five round clips to get a full load).  The much later M14 was issued with five magazines per gun, was intended to be loaded with fresh magazines and still retains a charger guide; just in case.

These can be generically called "Mauser" style clips.  They are discarded before the round is chambered.

Mannlicher clips are retained in the gun until the last round is chambered; then they fall out of a slot in the bottom.  Sorry, no pics of this one.  Donations of pics will be accepted and added.

The en-bloc clip of the M1 Garand is a variation on the Mannlicher idea.  The clip forms a part of the magazine and is retained in the gun until the last round is fired, then it is ejected with the final casing.

Notice the clip of the en-bloc forms the feed lips of the magazine?  That's an important distinction of this form of charger.

Mannlicher and en-bloc systems cannot be "topped off" with loose rounds; which may explain why the Mauser system was more popular.  The increasing rate of fire of newer guns virtually dictated that detachable magazines would replace fixed and that multiple magazines would be issued to every soldier.

Modern guns use a sheet metal adapter called a "charger guide" that attaches to the magazine that you insert the clip into to load the magazine.  M16 system illustrated below.

18 January 2011

Fully Featured Assault Weapon

It's got all the banned features!  Collapsing stock, pistol grip, detachable magazine, bayonet lug, threaded muzzle, flash-hider and grenade launcher.

Grenade launcher?

Yes, Troubleshooter, grenade launcher.

That's a NATO compliant M16A2 flash-suppressor screwed onto that threaded muzzle.

It's nearly as useful as the bayonet lug (which can't be used because the muzzle is 1.5" too far from it).

If I were to find someone willing to sell me a NATO spec rifle grenade, I could fit it to my muzzle device and fire it.  After I filled out an ATF form 5320.4, paid a $200 transfer fee, and passed an extensive background check I could, in theory own the Destructive Device known as a rifle grenade.  The companies that manufacture them do not sell them to individuals.  Last time I checked, that included sales of even the inert practice rounds.

The only rifle "grenades" I have ever seen for sale are the inert practice rounds for the spigot launcher attachments for the M1903 and M1 Garand.

I don't know why "grenade launcher" was included in the assault weapon ban, but it sure wasn't ready availability.


I am perfectly willing to compromise with the gun grabbers.

They want my guns to fire about 60 rounds per minute, cyclic.

I want a gun that fires 6,000 rounds a minute, cyclic.

I will compromise and accept guns that can only fire 1,500 rounds per minute, cyclic.

See how much I am willing to give?  I gave up 75% of my target number.

I'm so generous I should get a tax break.

Just because...

Just because I defend the design of the M1911; it does not mean that I automatically think other designs suck.

I am a Glock owner.  I was an early adopter of the Glock; or would have been if I had been old enough to buy one.

I bought the very first Glock 21 (1991 made by the serial number) I encountered and I have kept it.

While the Glock has given me more problems than any other gun I have ever bought new; the truth is I have fired it a lot more than any other gun I've owned.

To date:

It would not feed reloads from an ancient set of Lee dies.  Loads that the 1911 would.

The adjustable rear sight has died twice.  The stock Glock one when I threw it across the room after changing my mind about shooting myself (I feel better now).  The Pachmayr (IIRC) rears died from a fall of the bedside table and to the concrete floor.

And that's it.  Hundreds of rounds and the only problems have been non-design.

In almost twenty years it's never rusted.  Heck, I am still on my first set of springs; but I don't shoot thousands of rounds.

I don't like how it feels in my hand compared to most other handguns, but I can adapt readily to the change in grip angle and it shoots quite accurately.  I don't carry it because it's huge; not because I think it's not going to work when I need it to.

The gigantic flaw in the Glock design, to me, is having to pull the trigger to disassemble it.  That ranks up there with magazine safeties for "accident waiting to happen".


If the Glock sucked it would not have the wide issue it enjoys with law enforcement today.  It's been around long enough to have been replaced by another design if it had.

Please also note in the previous rant that I am not saying the M1911 is better than the designs that replaced it (in most ways, it isn't); I am merely saying the not being best is not an indicator of suck.

A reminder...

Just because there are ignorant people who don't have any knowledge of history, we end up chewing the same ground over and over.

In reference to the M1911 sucking.

Before the AK hit the scene, the 1911 was the very definition of reliable gun.  They issued it for more than seventy years!  Unreliable guns don't last that long.

Tracking the experience of the staff of one small magazine's reviews does not change history.

Think about it for a moment.  The M1911 replaced the series of double action revolvers starting with the M1889.  Eleven separate revolver designs that were supposed to replace the M1873 SAA.  The Army was ready to go back to the 1873, but left things open to a competition in 1907.  That's 11 designs from two makers to replace one in just 18 years.

When production fell behind demand for World War 1, the Army adopted the Colt M1917 and S&W M1917 revolvers to fill the gap.  If the 1911 was such a crappy design, why did the Army not cancel 1911 production and keep the now proven revolvers?

The military sure as shit did not keep the Chautchat in either caliber.

The M73 was withdrawn as fast as FN could make the M240.

While the M1911 was being issued it outlasted the M1903, M1, M14 and M16A1 rifles.

It remained in service while the BAR came and went.  It saw all of the M1917 and M1919 variations come and go.

It was issue before there WERE tanks and was issued to tank crews who served on the tank that's still standard today.

When it was first issued the Wright brothers were state of the art, when it left we'd long since stopped going to the moon.

Unreliable things do not last this long!  Most things don't last this long, period.

But the 1911 is still a damn good gun.

A top of the line 1911 Ford Model T cannot hope to compete with the worst piece of shit the company makes today, on any level; even if it was newly made.

Want to have a dogfight between the state of the art Curtiss bi-plane and an F-22A?  Speed contest?  Endurance?  Range?

See what I mean?  Truth is that firearms have not advanced all that much since 1907 when the M1911 was born.  The two gigantic improvements have been in the lock going to a ramp from a link and materials.

I have more jams in my Glock 21 than my Springfield M1911-A1 GI.  My Glock doesn't like about 1 in 20 of the reloads I had been using (failure to feed).  The 1911 ate them up without fail.

I have extraordinarily good luck with guns.  I just don't have issues.  I suspect that what we are really seeing here is the internet makes all complaints louder.  You rarely see, "my gun ran like advertised!"  I am willing to bet we are seeing most of the "gun didn't work" occurrences.

The person who started the whole 1911's suck (and who trolls the comment threads to continue his agenda) cited Gun Tests magazine.

Gun Tests can claim that since they don't take advertising that they are not biased by their advertisers.  That's true.  BUT WHAT THAT DOES NOT MEAN IS THAT THEY ARE UNBIASED! Their testing methodology is no different than mine as an owner, truth be told.  Their sample sizes are piteously small, just like mine where I have a positive experience.  In other words, statistically insignificant even if you repeat what they observed a great deal.

You want to impress me?  Go buy twenty of each model and fire 1,000 rounds from each and note when the failures occur.  I don't have to do this because I have 100 years of testing on my side that you don't so you have to prove that the last 100 years were bullshit, not the other way around.  Otherwise it's just anecdotes.

PS, a contemporary of the M1911 acceptance test went back into production and died.  That would be the Luger.  There's a fine example of a finicky gun that romance keeps around (or at least inflates the value).

16 January 2011

Conceal Carry Fail

I was watching "The Jackal" and it struck me that Sidney Poitier's character was wearing his side arm entirely wrong for both easy access and concealment.

That got me to thinking about other movies and TV shows.

It seems that, like real life, we should not be seeing the plain-clothes cop's guns.  I think the reason we are seeing them in the shows is to show that this is a COP.  COPS CARRY GUNS.

The only time I have seen a detective's gun hanging out is when they all gather at the local Beef-O-Brady's for lunch.  When they leave, though, they are all covered up again.  As an aside, I long for the day for someone to try to rob the place during those lunches; I desperately wanna use the, "What's it like to be a rocket scientist?" line.

At any rate, Hollywood constantly puts the OWB holster up front at about One O'Clock.  The style is always a canted holster that should be more like 3 or 4 O'Clock.  The position of the holster is also such that I don't think the actor would be able to sit down without their leg shoving the gun into their gut but hard (if they can get their leg up enough to sit with the gun in they way at all).

15 January 2011


I don't care for how some things are phrased.

"Reinstating the Assault Weapon Ban."  It makes me feel like they are saying it is still the law, but there's a pause or hold placed on it we need to remove.  The AWB is expired.  It is no longer the law.  The phrase that is more apt is, "Pass a new law, identical to the expired AWB."  I would  oppose that bill too.

The AWB fell squarely into the category of "law that did nothing but infringe on my rights."  I am never selling my raggedy M16 magazines because I spent $30 a piece for them.  I can get two brand new USGI magazines for that price now.  I didn't buy those mags at the peak price either.

Section 922r is another onerous piece of useless law.  If more than 10 items on an arbitrary list of 20 parts of a firearm are made outside the USA, it's an illegal "imported assault weapon".  If 10 or fewer parts are imported, it's just another hum-drum semi-automatic rifle.  This really only affects two models of firearm, AK clones and FALs.

I don't recall the specific timeline for it, but semi-auto clones of military assault and battle rifles were banned from import.

That led to a brisk business in disassembling (foreign) AK and FAL rifles from surplus and selling all but the receiver to Americans.  The buyer then took that "parts kit" and assembled it on an American made semi-automatic receiver (the numbered part that ATF considers to be the firearm) with whatever parts substitutions to ensure the new rifle was, indeed, a semi-auto and not a new machine-gun.  A real live loop-hole!  As long as I didn't import the GUN part, I was not importing a GUN.

922r was passed to put an end to this.  You needed a set number of US made parts in your new rifle or it was considered to be an imported gun and thus illegal.  It did not take too long for entrepreneurs to begin making the requisite number of parts to comply with 922r.

Damn those gunnies for obeying the law AND getting the guns we're trying to ban! [twirl mustache]

The next step was to ban the import of the barrels with the parts kits.  I notice that the barrel is on the 922r list too.  They have essentially made it easier to comply with 922r by forcing the use of a domestic barrel.  While barrels are an expensive part, they are something that is readily made by existing companies.  The only real effect this is having is to make FAL's based on kits more expensive and moving the manufacture of AK clones from the garage to a factory.

Today there ARE many fewer AK and FAL's being made than before the AWB, but not fewer "assault weapons".  The numerous variations of the AR-15 and its very affordable price have done more to eliminate the AK sales than anything the government has cooked up.  Especially so since a semi-auto AK has zero advantages over a semi-auto AR-15 (assuming equivalent build quality).  An FAL clone only has one advantage over an AR, 7.62x51mm over 5.56x45mm (and that's not always an advantage depending on the situation).

Quote of the day twofer?

"So by saying you're in favor of magazines that hold no more than rounds, you're publicly stating that it's only X+1 bodies that bother you. If that's not what you mean to say, then come out and state your real intentions." - Tam

Quote of the day.

"To infringe on your rights to accomplish nothing; is not what government exists to do." -- Dave Champion.

it gets better-----a music video by rebecca drysdale

When I was in high school, we D&D geeks were picked on pretty good. It was nothing compared to how the gay kids were treated.

They were also the only group in the entire school who treated us gamers like humans.

Hard not to see them as human in return.

McThag; straight but not narrow.

h/t Weerd Beard.

13 January 2011

A note.

The National Rifle Association would not be a powerful lobbying organization if there weren't millions of members and gun-owners.

The reason that gun control is not getting anywhere is, quite frankly, there really aren't millions of people who want it badly enough to do anything to get it.  Gun owners, on the other hand, are willing to work quite hard to stop it spending time, money and energy.

By the way, Bill Maher, if you are sick of hearing about the second amendment and the constitution; perhaps you should stop trying to violate the prohibitions in them.  Perhaps you could move to a nation that better suits your ideals, like Venezuela.  As I said earlier, if we ignore the parts of the constitution that stand in the way of your ideal, we are also throwing away the legitimacy of the government.  It's not a situation where you can just keep the things you like about liberty and toss the rest into chains.

12 January 2011

Bitter, angry and irony

I have just had my first job interview in over eight years.

When the company I was working for went tits-up after 9/11; there just flat wasn't any work in my chosen profession; so I went to college and got a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field.

Since I graduated in 2005, I have had not a single interview for a job that uses my new degree.

Yesterday I got a call about a job using my previous profession; today I interviewed.  Monster 1, college's placement office 0.

The interview went well and I will more than likely be asked to interview a second time.  It's just ironic that I spent a large (borrowed really) amount of money to get a degree that should have led to more job offers and end up interviewing for a job in a career I had thought was dead.

11 January 2011

Bigger Man Than I

John Green, who had just lost his nine-year-old daughter; "in a free society we’re going to be subjected to people like this; I prefer this to the alternative."

I don't think I could have made that statement, if it were me, less than 24 hours after my loss.

All in all, the shooting is a drop in the bucket compared to "the alternative".  It takes centuries for the criminal use of firearms by individual actors to catch up with "the alternative".  Centuries.  Centuries with the caveat that governments will not do any non-war killing while mere murderers catch up.  Suggested Reading.

Even war kills fewer people than "the alternative".  It takes decades of total war to catch up.  Total war, like World War Two not like what we are doing in Afghanistan.

I am a gun owner, I am OK with a goal of zero gun deaths.  It's an unattainable ideal.  The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

I am not OK with being punished for the actions of others.

Liberty and freedom have warts.  There are some unpleasant and unpalatable side effects.  They are, on the whole, far more bearable than totalitarianism.  I'd rather have warts than lesions!

10 January 2011

Positive Defense

Something I would like to see added to our legal system is:

Questioning the constitutionality of a law is a positive defense.

No judge should be able to dismiss this defense for any reason and it goes to the jury to decide if the defendant's lawyer has argued it well enough.

Will it take an amendment to get this or just co-opt enough judges?

09 January 2011

That UK citizen who's been living here for decades and now wants a carry permit.

Self defense is a natural right.  It's independent of your nationality and local government.

I think that anyone here legally should be able to own a gun and carry it.

What I have a problem with is the guy getting to live here forever without joining up!

You clearly like it better here, become one of us!  Don't want to be an American?  Leave.

I think it's time to abolish "permanent alien".  Don't want them, don't need them.

The shooting... An incoherent ramble.

Edit:  I am not happy with this post.  It didn't really gel.  I should delete it, but I don't want to get into the habit of having a memory hole.

I don't know who Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is.

I don't live in her district.

I hope she makes a full recovery.

She should not have been shot.

The thoughts I have reading some of the stories about this are not about her or the shooter.

Fox News has quoted John Lewis (D-GA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about how this is all very familiar to them; referring to racial violence and homophobia respectively.

Except it's not familiar from those perspectives.  Ms Pelosi is closer to the mark, Mr Lewis is 180˚ off.

Pima county's sheriff is closest to why this happened.  I got a more complete quote, he's wrong.

Mr Lewis, what direction was civil rights violence going in 1965 when you were beaten near to death?  That wasn't a constituent, that was a deputy.  It was state and local governments denying your civil rights and becoming violent when you demanded them.

Ms Pelosi, the murderer of Mayor Moscone and supervisor Milk was, apparently, not motivated by homophobia but rather just mundane and petty revenge of a relatively small slight.

What they are right about is the level of anger is because of civil rights being denied.  Property rights are civil rights.  Taxes are a concession of a small amount of property to further the common welfare via government.  Promoting the needs of those who have conceded nothing over those who have and demanding ever more from them is a civil rights issue; and those constituents have a right to be angry about it.  If their rights are continually and systematically ignored they will eventually have the right to revolt, even violently.  We're not there yet, but I can see it coming if something doesn't change soon.

The crazies are the ones who will start first.  I think that's what we saw here.  His writings and posts (if it's the same person) show that he's definitely unhappy with his representative.  What his rambling doesn't show me is that he made a considered decision based on having no other recourse to secure his rights.

But his actions don't have anything to do with the building anger and resentment in the more general populace.

The gun people are winning now, but we understand the desperate feeling of nothing we do or say seems to matter.

Things I keep hearing about from my less political friends is about the government wasting literally tons of money, illegal immigration, property rights, gas prices and taxes.  They don't like that people are paying negative taxes (getting a tax "return" when they've paid zero income tax).  They don't like that the norm for welfare is serial and multi-generational.  They don't like illegal immigrants are colonizing where they have large numbers; one gets the impression that if they were here illegally and working hard on becoming just like us we wouldn't care (but they aren't).  Kelo scared a lot of people; especially in neighborhoods like mine with a lot of empty rental properties.  Energy prices are pissing a lot of people off especially since we've been sitting on undeveloped reserves for decades.  Taxes are bothersome since so much is increasing in price that the government taking a larger percentage means we have to lower our standards of living; while watching the non-payers get an increasing amount of aid.

This anger would be abated somewhat if the mass media had not picked A side.  If there was an even mix of biased news sources, we could see both sides and come to something of an informed opinion on matters.  What we have now is biased, biased in one direction and obviously so.

I didn't say this would make sense at the beginning.  But I needed to let some of it out.  If I got it all wrong, please comment briefly.  If your comment is longer than this post, link me to your blog...

07 January 2011

Rosecrans Military Cemetery.

I think the best way to put how to deal with the crosses there:

This is ours, not yours.  We paid for it, we own it, we will decide what is done with it.  No outsiders need apply.

I do notice that the people most worked up about it are not veterans.  You made your decision to have no voice in the matter a long time ago, live with it.  We live without the fallen, some of us live in pain of a less complete sacrifice.

If we decide those crosses no longer do honor to our comrades, we will remove them.  Until that day, you get to tolerate something that is offensive to you in the same way we tolerate so many things offensive to us.

It is not yours, you did not pay for it, you do not own even a tiny part of it, you have no say about it.  Kindly shut up.

The Irrelevancy of the Constitution

Something to remember about the Constitution is that the powers wielded by Congress, the President and the courts are given them by said document.

If it no longer limits those powers, then it no longer grants any either.

05 January 2011

Quote of the Day

"All the government has to offer is what they take from you."


Ammo for sale was kind enough to send me a box of .45 ACP for evaluation.

I've been entirely too busy with the holidays and #1 Son being home from school to hit the range.

Test is coming, soon.  I promise!


I don't have it.

I am getting so damn sick of the bills being monthly and the checks being bi-weekly.

With one crisis after another and the money only lining up with the due dates occasionally it gets stressful.

Another thing I am sick of is "due on receipt".  It's not really.  They have a real date that it must be paid by or extra charges will happen.  They have a real date where if it's not paid they will shut off service.

Why can't they just tell me what those dates are?  It would mean a much more orderly progression of things.

For-ex: Payday is friday.  This morning the internet was off.  I had planned on paying them Friday, when there is definitely enough money.  But they got paid today, when I am not sure if there's enough money.

02 January 2011

Reasons the M1911A1 does not suck...

The lanyard loop and a partially extended magazine can be used as a bottle opener!

Can your plastic fantastic do that?

Edit: I totally forgot to tip my hat to Tam about this.

Fair Trade

This is a retread of a post from my now defunct LiveJournal

I was reading Bill Whittle the other day and he hit on a simple truth; Fair trade is simply giving something that someone else wants for something you want.  As long as you both get what you want, there is no problem.

If someone asks for more than I am willing to trade for something they have, again no problem.  I don't get what I want because they don't get what they want.

If I offer far more than they would have asked, once again no problem.  We are both getting what we want, they are just getting more than they expected.

If I offer far less than I expect to get the item for, and they accept, no problem.  We both get what we want, I am just getting more than expected.

If I pay far more for something than the previous or next guy, no problem.  There is nothing that says that value is absolute.  And a seller who cranks up the price because I belong to a group I am member of is telling me that they do not want my business.

Problems surface when I demand the item for less than the seller is willing to part with it, or the seller demands more than I am willing to pay and we are forced to make the sale anyway.

Imagine gasoline being $5.75 a gallon and having to buy 30 gallons a week regardless of how much you use.
This is great for the seller if the market value of a gallon of gas is less than $5.75, especially if very few customers buy 30 gallons of gas a week.
This is great for the buyer if the market value of a gallon of gas is more than $5.75 and they use 30 gallons a week.
It is better than ideal if market value of a gallon is more than $5.75 and you use less than 30 gallons, and you can sell your surplus.
It is ideal if the market value is $5.75 and they use 30 gallons a week anyway.
It is neutral if the market value is $5.75 and they use more than 30 gallons a week.
It is less than ideal if market value of a gallon is $5.75 and you use less than 30 gallons, but  you can sell your surplus.
It is less than ideal for the seller if the market value is more than $5.75 a gallon and many customers use more than 30 gallons a week.
It sucks for the seller if the market value is more than $5.75 a gallon, with many customers using more than 30 gallons a week and customers can sell their excesses to each other.
This sucks for the buyer if market value is less than $5.75 and they use less than 30 gallons a week regardless of being able to sell the excess.
This sucks for the buyer regardless of market value if they use less than 30 gallons a week and are not allowed to sell the excess, especially if they use far less than 30 gallons a week.
This sucks for the seller if the market value of a gallon is more than $5.75 and most customers use 30 gallons per week.

And there are other combinations and permutations I have not listed.

Now, if you enter into an agreement to buy 30 gallons a week at $5.75 a gallon for the next year, you have agreed to spend $8,790 and take delivery of 1,560 gallons of gas regardless of whether you can use or store that much (we'll assume that you can afford to spend $172.50 a week).  The person selling the gas has agreed to give you 1,560 gallons of gas for $8,790.  In this arraingement, you are hoping the price of a gallon goes higher than $5.75, and the seller is hoping the price falls below $5.75 because $5.75 is what is going to be spent for this transaction.  If the price goes higher, you can sell your gas for a profit, if it goes lower the seller makes a profit selling to you.  Welcome to the commodities market!

Now, imagine that gas sells for $5.75, but it's only $3.00 at the pump, with the government paying the seller $2.75 on every gallon.  This is a subsidy.  $3 a gallon?  What a deal!  Except, where does the government get $2.75 a gallon?  Your taxes, of course.  This is great if you pay fewer taxes than $2.75 times the gallons of gas you buy.  This sucks if  you pay more taxes than $2.75 times the gallons of gas you buy.  Notice that I said that "gas sells for" and not "gas costs"?  There are several commodities in the US where the price per unit is fixed and the government makes up the difference if the market value is below the fix point, corn for example.  The government pays the difference between the market value of corn and $2.50 a bushel.  So, even if corn is $0.01 a bushel, it sells at $2.50, with the government paying the farmer $2.49 and the buyer paying $0.01.  Why doesn't the buyer have to pay $2.50?  Because if he did, he would buy from overseas where it's still $0.01!  Why not just charge a tarriff on the imported corn?  Because the farmer here can't live on the fair market value his crop produces, so a tarriff would drive him out of business and we'd be buying imported corn anyway.  The question here is: Is it worth it to keep US farmers farming?

Isn't economics fun?

01 January 2011

A sticky wicket

Everyone KNOWS the American Civil War was about slavery.  Right?


Slavery was a component, but it had a lot more to do with the northern states telling the southern states what they were going to do about slavery than the actual slavery itself.

Maneuvering about how new territories were to decide whether slavery would be legal there or not had a lot to do with it as well.  There was a real concern that the new territories would become states and then simply outvote the slave states on the matter.  Massachusetts splitting Maine off as its own state just to get (prevent the slave states from getting one up really) more abolition votes reinforced the position.

Pressure was maintained on the issue until the southern states felt they had literally nothing to lose and everything to gain by leaving.  They felt they had no options besides the path taken to have any chance at all at deciding their own fate.

If only the thing that we were talking about wasn't the horrible institution of chattel slavery.

But there's also things like messing with the price of cotton through tariffs and export restrictions.

Things like Texas that had only just left Mexico over the very matter of self-determination.

Things like Florida having quite recently being Spain and not liking the return of the dictatorial air from afar.

The war wasn't really about slavery to the everyday soldier until the emancipation proclamation.  To the Union it was about preserving the union; to the Confederates it was about deciding how (and by whom) they would be governed at a national level.

Slavery was dying on its own too.  Advances in agricultural technology were making it obsolete.  The Jim Crow version of slavery (sharecropping) didn't survive the technological advances either.  Brazil is a good proof of how slavery died in western civilization.

While we're talking about how evil slavery is, we should also consider the working conditions of an immigrant worker in a factory in, say, Pittsburg or New York City.  Some of those bog-Irish might have considered a slave's "lifestyle" to be a step up.


New made, relatively modern, .45 Colt double actions.

S&W lists their Model 25 in blue and stainless.

Ruger lists a version of their Redhawk for it too.

Why no Anaconda, Colt?

Some odd things.

Fractions are more precise and concise than the decimal representation of them much of the time.

Digital gauges are easier to read quickly, but analog gauges give a better sense of rate-change.  This is why we have electronic gauges that show a needle on a LCD display.  Both are only as accurate as the sensor reading the condition they are measuring.

First post of the new year.

And the first post of the second decade of the 21st century!

Contracts:  If the contract is more complicated than:

Party A will supply X currency to Party B for Y product or service to be delivered in Z time-frame.

Someone is trying to screw someone.


Most of what's in a contract is there because of people trying to get out of paying or delivering.  The only people who benefit from that are lawyers, not the parties to the contract at all.