Monday, August 31, 2009

Turing-Bletchley Celebration

The Clue Meter has info on a celebration of the 70th anniversary of Alan Turing's arrival at Bletchley Park. Turing was brilliant, a math prodigy, eccentric, and gay. He contributed enormously to the Allied code-breaking effort against the Nazis.

As an extra, added attraction, there will be a talk by Tom Perera, W1TP on "The U-Boat Menace And The Enigma".

The Clue Meter: Oh, to be in England!

'I Work On A Starship' Has Its Own Blog!

The lovely and talented Roberta X has provided a blog for her wonderful online novel, where we can read the whole thing:

I Work On A Starship: Another Day, Part 14

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Concealed Carry

The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center have both been vociferous opponents of liberalized concealed carry laws. The VPC recently issued a report which claimed that liberalized concealed carry was responsible for the deaths of many innocents, including several police officers.

Now, Austin Gun Rights Examiner Howard Nemerov has examined that charge in great detail. Using data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the FBI and the Dept. of Justice, Howard demonstrates that the average Texas CHL-holder is much less likely to commit a crime than the average non-licensee. He is able to quantify the benefits of concealed carry:

However, if the general population were as law-abiding as CHLs, the corresponding reduction in crime costs would have saved about $42.4B, reducing Texas’s cost for these crimes to $12.9B. The 2007 amount alone is equivalent to a tax rebate of $238 for every Texan man, woman, and child.
Excellent stuff! Don't miss it!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The AMA On Health Care Reform

The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new Universal Health Plan.

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception and Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, Grow up!"

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say "no".

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

From Cree Tees.

h/t Say Uncle.

Mope And Rage

Interesting essay by author and historian Victor Davis Hanson in NRO about Pres. Obama and his program.


Whether more or fewer Americans would get better or worse access and cheaper or more expensive care, or whether the government can or cannot afford such new entitlements, oddly seemed largely secondary to the crux of the debate.

Instead, the notion that the state will assume control, in Canada-like fashion, and level the health-care playing field was the real concern. “They” (the few) will now have the same care as “we” (the many). Whether the result is worse or better for everyone involved is extraneous, since sameness is the overarching principle.

We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administration’s recent policy initiatives. Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.

Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By “better” I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.

Instead, “better” means “fairer,” or more “equal.” We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.
The sentence in italics sums it up nicely, for me.

Hanson is the author of Carnage And Culture, in which he argues, persuasively, that soldiers of democracies will always have an important advantage over their totalitarian opponents. Namely, each soldier is fighting for his own freedom; he has a personal stake in the outcome. Soldiers of dictatorships of the left or right could give a good goddam who wins or loses because at the end of the day they'll still get their government-issued piece of hard bread and cup of gruel.

h/t Michael Bane.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The FDIC Is Going Broke

You don't need paper to print billions of dollars in worthless new "money".

"I think the public should expect the fund to go negative at some point," said Gerard Cassidy, a banking analyst at RBC Capital Markets, which has predicted that up to 1,000 banks — or one in eight — could disappear within three years.

More On Open Carry

MSNBC has a web-only article on the open-carry movement, and it's surprisingly balanced! It begins with the rather spectacular shoot-out in Richmond, VA between an armed robber and customer open-carrying a replica Remington 1875 Army in .45 Long Colt. When was the last time somebody was killed by a .45 Long Colt? I blogged about it here.

h/t VCDL email.

Oh, and Edward Kennedy died.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Straw-buyer Gets Three Years

Prosecutors say she bought at least 25 guns in 2007 and 2008 and turned them over to a man she knew only as "El Mano" ("The Hand"). One of the guns was recovered at a shooting scene in Cancun.

Dallas Morning News.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Plaxico Burress Gets Two Years

Pleads guilty rather than face the possibility of 3-1/2 year sentence.

That seems to be the modus-operandi of the NYC prosecutors: maneuver the defendant into a plea-bargain where a guilty plea is irresistibly attractive. If you plead guilty, you can't appeal! And the last thing they want is an appeal to reach SCOTUS.

Yahoo Sports News/Associated Press.

Meanwhile, no word on the NYPD cop who showed up at a nightclub drunk, threatened the bouncer with an illegal gun (serial number defaced) and had marijuana in his car. What was that cop's name again? Oh, yeah! Trevor Harpaul.

H. L. Mencken

If I could "re-animate" anybody, it would be "The Sage Of Baltimore".

Dave Hardy has found a link to some of Mencken's choicest stuff about Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. It's great stuff: link.

I particularly like Mencken's aside about Congress:
The typical lawmaker of today is a man wholly devoid of principle - a mere counter in a grotesque and knavish game. If the right pressure could be applied to him he would be cheerfully in favor of polygamy, astrology or cannibalism.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Think I See Some Brass...

... in his hip pocket. Looks like a loaded magazine.

I have a post-ban AR, which is CMP-compliant (full floating barrel, no flash-hider, no bayonet lug) and therefore, by definition, not an "assault weapon" under the 1994 federal law.

No way! I would need a lot more brass than that!

This dude probably clanked when he walked.

Gotta admire his style, though: gray flannel slacks, white button-down dress shirt, black tie, horn-rimmed glasses. A model citizen!

Pioneer Aggregator Goes Chapter 11

Yes, the venerable Reader's Digest has gone Tango Uniform.

No more "Humor in Uniform".

No more "Quotable Quotes," "Laughter Is the Best Medicine," "Life in These United States" or "All in a Day's Work."

In the WaPo.

Maryland LEO Confronts Virginia Open Carrier - In Virginia

A Maryland law-enforcement officer crosses the Potomac River into Virginia. While there he notices a man open-carrying a revolver in a park. He confronts the man and asks to see his "permit".

This officer's commander should be made aware of this incident so that the officer, and his peers, can be brought up to speed on the consequences of crossing into another state to enforce Maryland law.

h/t VCDL email.

"One-Gun-A-Month" Laws Impede Police

Interesting comment from a former supervisor of the BATF gun tracing center, passage of "one-gun-a-month" laws actually weakens law enforcement's ability to spot illegal gun trafficking. From a guest commentary by Scott Bach of the ANJRPC:

According to a former chief of the ATF National Tracing Center, who testified against S1774 before a state Senate committee last year, ending the reporting of multiple sales “eliminates an important law enforcement tool in the detection and interdiction of possible illegal gun trafficking, and also makes it easier for illegal traffickers to evade detection, since authorities are no longer alerted to the occurrence of multiple sales.”

Well, damn! I had never thought about that: BATF would much rather have reports of multiple handgun sales, rather than eliminating them by law. Criminals just adapt to the new conditions, and have their mules buy one gun instead of two. And now law enforcement has no clue who these people might be!

Only in gun-phobic New Jersey! Can you say "iatrogenic"?

h/t Say Uncle.

Black Man With A Gun - West

A gentleman of colour carries a 9mm pistol on his hip and an AR-15 over his shoulder to an Obama rally in Arizona.

Wonderful interview. He seems to be a libertarian, or a Ron Paul supporter, or both. Best line from the interview is at the very end, when the reporter comments, "...big brass ones, man!"

h/t Say Uncle.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Tennessee Carry-Permit Law 99.9994% Effective"

The Tennessean newspaper has a story on the effectiveness of the screening process for issuing handgun carry permits in Tennessee.

The newspaper provided a list of names to the Tennessee Department of Safety, of licensees who appeared to be disqualified. In twelve of those cases the department agreed, and revoked or suspended the permits.

Twelve out of a total of more than 237,000 permits issued.

But what was the newspaper's headline?

"Tennessee Law Lets Thugs Pack Heat"

A commenter pointed out that a more accurate headline would be:

"Tennessee Carry-Permit Law 99.9994% Effective"

h/t Say Uncle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Ethics Of Space Travel

NASA has a resident Bio-Ethicist. Who knew!?

He's gotta be, what, a GS-14 or somethin'?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hey, All You Single Guys!

Have I got a girl for you! Say hello to Vanessa:

Incidentally, does anybody know if the "thing" at the muzzle is a flash suppressor?

h/t Joe Huffman.

Lessons From Lotus-Land

California can dish it out, but they can't take it!

Courthouse News Service:

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Small businesses that received $682 million in IOUs from the state say California expects them to pay taxes on the worthless scraps of paper, but refuses to accept its own IOUs to pay debts or taxes.

"What?! You can't pay your taxes with that worthless paper!"

h/t Say Uncle

Monday, August 10, 2009


I took a 2-hour bicycle trip around town and I thought I'd share some snaps.

This is a really cool house that would be right at home in Broadripple, wouldn't it?

Over in a scruffy part of Arlington I found this abandoned office. Remember Bank Americard?

Here's another angle of the office. I just thought it looked so... forlorn, I dunno.

As I was coming around a corner I saw this in some sort of out-of-the-way storage yard. Check it out! It's Arlington County's new mini-sub. I wonder why the guard was frowning at me? Oh, well!

Solar Blackberry

In anticipation of a wilderness camping trip, I wanted to see if I could power (or, more accurately, charge the battery of) my Blackberry with a solar panel. This is a 40-watt "backpacker's" solar panel that puts out 12 volts. The little plastic box is a charge controller for charging large batteries, like motorcycle batteries. I have it wired so that I can access either the controlled output or the raw output of the solar cells. In this photo I'm using the raw output.

This close-up of the Blackberry shows the charging icon (upper edge of the screen). It's a little yellow rectangle, and there is a little plug coming out of it that indicates it is charging.

Excellent kit for TEOTWAWKI, but who would I call?

Women, Handguns and Civilization

Absolutely outstanding guest editorial in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The best thing I've read on this subject in years!

Highest recommendation.

h/t Alphecca.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Am Not Worthy!

Roberta X, in her most excellent blog novel, Another Day, has based a character on yours truly. My fictional counterpart seems to be a deep space Sergeant Bilko, a scrounger, a schemer. There's one on every ship, the type who can get you a carton of American cigarettes, a pound of Danish butter, a jar of marmalade, or a 35mm single lens reflex camera with a focal-plane shutter.

Or a rock hammer, if the price is right.

I am very gratified and yet unworthy of this high honor.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A City Of Two Tales

Yesterday, professional athlete Plaxico Burress was indicted on three charges, including weapons possession and reckless endangerment, stemming from a negligent discharge of his handgun in a Manhattan night club.

Saturday night, an off-duty NYPD officer, Trevor Harpaul, showed up drunk at a bar in Queens. The bouncer refused to admit him. Harpaul went back to his car and returned with an illegal (no serial number) handgun and threatened the bouncer. "You think you're big? I've got something for you," he said, according to a witness. Forcing him to his knees, Harpaul shouted, "Where's your mouth, now?" Two uniformed officers arrived at the scene and arrested Harpaul. In his car they found marijuana. Harpaul is charged with marijuana possession, weapons possession, menacing and reckless endangerment.

Three guesses as to who walks.