Friday, February 26, 2010

And Now, It's Molson Time!

Canadian women's hockey team beats the U.S. by a score of 2-0 and takes Olympic gold medal, then celebrates on ice with cigars and beer.

And champagne.



What, no firearms? Oh, right. Canada.


What the hell, cut 'em some slack. They earned it.

He Doesn't Have A Clue

Dave Kopel has a wonderful post at The Volokh Conspiracy about Goodwin H. Liu, who has been nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kopel writes:

Some readers and Senators may be interested in his viewpoint on Second Amendment and other constitutional issues related to firearms policy. So here’s an excerpt from his article Separation Anxiety: Congress, The Courts, And The Constitution, 91 Georgetown Law Journal 439 (Jan. 2003). Liu’s co-author on the article is Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. The article is based on a 2002 speech that Senator Clinton presented at Georgetown, sponsored by the American Constitution Society. Senator Clinton and Professor Liu criticize recent Supreme Court decisions declaring two federal gun control laws unconstitutional.

Liu and Clinton were upset that SCOTUS overturned the Gun-Free School Zones Act. Here's a brief excerpt from Liu and Clinton's article:

The Gun-Free School Zones Act passed the House by a vote of 313 to 1; it cleared the Senate by unanimous consent. . . . But even more astounding than the Court’s willingness to override commonsense legislation with such broad support is its eagerness to do so in terms which are deliberately designed to exclude Congress—and by extension, the American people—from playing a part in defining what the Constitution requires and what it permits.
To which a commenter responds:

That would explain why Article 1, Section 8 starts out “Congress shall have Power to do the following things (unless, you know, they want to do more than that).”

Wish I'd said that!

This guy's nomination should be vigorously opposed by every American who believes that the U.S. Constitution actually, you know, means something.

Big Mac, VI

The CATO Institute is hosting a public forum on the McDonald case. The forum is on Monday, March 1 at 4:00 PM at 1000 Massachusetts Ave. The featured speaker is Ilya Shapiro, a CATO fellow. Open to the public without charge. If you can make it, you should register here. You can also watch a live video podcast. Although it is at 4:00PM, the announcement says, "Reception To Follow"; that usually means the famous Milton Friedman Memorial Free Lunch.

Oral arguments at the Supreme Court are at 10:00 AM Tuesday, March 2. If you plan to attend, you should be in line no later than 1 AM, as seating is very limited.

On Wednesday, March 3, CATO is sponsoring a "Capitol Hill Briefing" on McDonald at 12 noon in room B-340 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Again, open to the public without charge but you should register here. Includes the famous Milton Friedman Memorial Free Lunch.

UPDATE: here's a USAToday profile of Otis McDonald.

h/t Arms And The Law and Maddened Fowl.

Useless Laws

In Tennessee, the legislature is considering a bill that would repeal the ban on having fish tanks in barbershops.

h/t Say Uncle.

And after that, maybe Congress can repeal the mohair subsidy, the national helium reserve, and the temporary tax to fund the War of 1812.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Look Out, Wyoming!

The Brady Campaign has Virginia listed in their state gun-control law scorecard in a three-way tie with Oregon and Washington at 17 points.

By the time the Virginia General Assembly finishes its work, the Old Dominion will have a score of no more than 12, and possibly as low as 10. That would put our state in a three-way tie with Wisconsin and Wyoming.

That would be great! A seven-point improvement in just one session of the legislature.

So, look out, Wyoming! And Texas? We've got our eye on you.

One-Handgun-A-Month

The Richmond Times-Dispatch published an excellent editorial on OHGAM last week, and I missed it. It included this wonderful quote:
We supported one-gun-a-month in 1993. But we have long argued that statutes and programs should not have eternal life. Otherwise America will gradually be smothered by relics such as the mohair subsidy, the national helium reserve, and "temporary" taxes dating back to the War of 1812.

h/t VCDL.

New York Times, Again


Americans are rolling back gun control laws passed in the last 20 years, and we in the Old Dominion are doing our bit:

In Virginia, the success of new pro-gun laws is partly a result of the Republican Party’s taking the governor’s office after eight years of Democratic control.

A major setback for state gun control advocates was this week’s House vote repealing the one-gun-per-month law, which was passed in 1993 under Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat, and has long been upheld as the state’s signature gun control restriction.

Supporters of limiting gun purchases to one a month said the law was important to avoid Virginia’s becoming the East Coast’s top gun-running hub. Opponents dismissed the concern.

“We shouldn’t get rid of our Second Amendment rights because some people in New York City want to abuse theirs,” Robert G. Marshall, a Republican delegate from Manassas who supported repeal of the one-gun-a-month limit, told reporters.

Gun control advocates hoped to win new restrictions after the Virginia Tech massacre on April 16, 2007, in which a student, Seung-Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people before turning a gun on himself.

After the shooting, Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, pushed for stronger gun control measures. But last year the legislature rejected a bill requiring background checks for private sales at gun shows and repealed a law that Mr. Kaine had supported to prohibit anyone from carrying concealed weapons into a club or restaurant where alcohol is served.

In previous years, the guns-in-bars bill cleared both chambers but was vetoed by Mr. Kaine. But the new governor, Robert F. McDonnell, has said he supports the measure.

Virginia is also considering a measure adopted in Montana and Tennessee that declares that firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress. The measure is primarily a challenge to Congress’s power to regulate commerce among the states.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boston's Gun Bible

The Amazon Man (surely an oxymoron) just left me one of their nice smiley boxes and inside was a brand-spankin' new copy of Boston's Gun Bible, one of my favorites.


I have just about worn out my first copy, plus I wanted to read what Boston had to say about the Supreme Court's Heller decision. He thinks it's a sell-out and a Trojan Horse. I disagree. I think it's a hard-fought victory, even if only one battle in a long war to restore the Second Amendment. But his reasoning is intriguing and thought-provoking.

The original BGB was published in 2000, with minor revisions in 2004 and 2005.

There are said to be ten new chapters and 200 additional pages in this latest edition, a total of 848 pages. If you've got a copy you already know that it has the oddest layout, typography and pagination of any book that you (or I) have ever seen. Italics, bold face, underlined text and all-caps run riot through the book and at first I found this very off-putting. But I pressed on and eventually came to like the format: it makes the text read a lot like the spoken word, if the speaker is keyed-up and excited about his subject, and Boston sure is that!

The downside, though, is that each chapter is paginated separately; for example, the last page of the text is paginated "46/8". There is no index, so it's hard to look things up. At first I found this very annoying, but I discovered, as I flipped through the book looking for something, that I was stumbling on new and fascinating items that I might have otherwise missed. So a bug became a feature.

There really isn't much new here about firearms that you can't find in ten or fifteen other books, and that's one of the beauties of it: it's all here between these green covers. Plus Boston says things that corporate publishers are sometimes reluctant to put into print, for fear of being too provocative or incurring potential liability.

The book does not cover hunting or other shooting sports or disciplines. The focus is on the concept of "American Riflemen" and "American Riflewomen"[1] and becoming an "armed libertarian".

Available at Amazon or Brownell's.

1) The spell-check dictionary in Firefox has no problem with "riflemen" but flags "riflewomen" as a misspelling; how can we fix that?

"He Died Of Natural Causes"

Great editorial in (of all places!) the Toronto Sun.

In 2006 in Polk County, Florida, a man wanted for skipping bail was pulled over for speeding. He shot both officers, killing one, then fled into a wooded area. Police surrounded the area and when the man pointed a gun at them, the police opened fire.

Later, the Florida Civil Rights Association complained police had shown disregard for human life and had used excessive force.

"Why did you shoot this poor, undocumented immigrant 68 times?” Sheriff Grady Judd was asked.

“Because that was all the ammunition we had,” he replied.

Sheriff Judd was subsequently re-elected with 99% of the vote.

When the coroner reported the guy had died of natural causes, he was asked how this could be, with 68 bullet wounds? He replied: “When you’re shot 68 times, you’re naturally gonna die.”

They don’t fool around in Florida!
Here is a contemporaneous news story of the incident. The quote from the Sheriff seems accurate, if not verbatim, but I can't find a source for the marvelous quote from the Coroner. It may be apocryphal, but irresistible! The medical examiner at the time was a woman, Vera Volnikh, and the quote refers to a "he".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Concealed Carry In D.C.?

This morning's Washington Post has a profile of Tom Palmer, lead petitioner in Alan Gura's suit to bring concealed carry to the nation's capitol.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lawyer Regrets Calling Client "Wacko"

The defense attorney appointed to represent an Alabama professor accused of shooting her colleagues said Friday he regrets describing her as "wacko." But at a news conference, Roy Miller said "something's wrong with this lady."

-CNN

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Flower Of Spring

Just spotted in my front yard, a nice little crocus, pushing up through the snow. There is still 6-24" of snow on the ground, except in this little sunny spot near the front door.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bitter Clingers

The editorialists at The Washington Post are upset that Virginia is poised to repeal the "one-handgun-a-month" law. Even though they acknowledge that it is now obsolete and redundant due to the NICS "instant check" system, they still want to hold on to it.

One commenter said, "I'm all for the one gun a month limit -- just as soon as the editors of the Washington Post accept a "one newspaper a month" publication limit upon freedom of the press."

h/t Snowflakes In Hell.

And in a related story: hundreds of new handguns have been brought into the District of Columbia and registered after the Heller decision. Has there been an explosion of gun crime in D.C.? No. Have any of these guns been used in a crime? No. Has there been any coverage in the Post of this astounding anomaly? No.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quick! Hit This Poll!

Well done!

UPDATE: AT 10:35 PM:

Common Sense Gun Laws

The Virginia General Assembly is in session.

Newbius has a great progress report.

These bills have passed in the House and are on their way to the Senate:

  • repeal "one-gun-a-month"
  • CHL data only available to law enforcement (CHL applications, too!)
  • Castle Doctrine
  • Virginia Firearms Freedom Act
  • Fingerprinting no longer required for CHL applications
There's more to come, too! We're working on the "restaurant-carry" bill.

UPDATE: the "restaurant-carry" bill was passed by the Senate and sent to the House.

Never Bring A Knife To a Gun Fight

In Maryville, Tennessee yesterday, a man named Matthew Dressler pulled a knife during an argument with a man named Billy Dunkelberger. Dunkelberger, a CHL-holder, drew his gun. Police arrested Dressler; Dunkelberger was not charged.

Link.

From the comments:

Want to know the funny thing about this story? Mr. Dunkelberger actually said to Mr. Dresseler when drawing his gun 'don't bring a knife to a gun fight.' The not so funny thing is that the man he was protecting was my father. I am forever thankful to Mr. Dunkelberger for stepping up and potentially saving my dad's life. The aggressor Mr. Dressler posted $20,000 BAIL within a few hours. Any guesses on what he does for a living? I have a few of my own... Must've felt like a big man being 26 picking on a 56 year old man. Lesson learned though- our entire family will have our gun carry permits ASAP!


h/t Say Uncle.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm On A Horse



I haven't laughed so hard at a commercial, ever.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

NASA Launches David Bowie Concept Mission

The heroic, genre-defying crew (L-R): Maj. Tom Louis, Maj. Tom Greely, Maj. Tom Ohweiler, Maj. Thomas Sinclair, and Maj. Tom Keenan.

The Onion.

Also:
Terry Gilliam Barbecue Plagued By Production Delays


Friday, February 12, 2010

The Big Dig


We've had freezing temperatures since the snow stopped falling but strong sunlight with not a cloud in the sky. So we are getting some melting.

I got a couple of hours of shoveling yesterday, trying to free my car, and a couple today. I stopped to take a snapshot of the dig. And I was looking at a couple more hours of hard work, when who should come along but The Jersey Snow King.


He moved several cubic yards of snow in just a couple of minutes and freed my car for me. A little more shoveling around the car and it popped right out!


Now I have a nice little snow fort for my vehicle.


Fits like a glove!


Thanks, Jersey Snow King!

video

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Out In The Blizzard

I set out to walk to the post office.
Heavy boots? Check!
Insulated snow pants? Check!
Gore-tex parka? Check!
Neoprene balaclava? Check!
Goggles? Check!
Silk glove-liners? Check!
Thinsulate mittens? Check!

It was quite a slog, but there isn't going to be any mail pick-up today and what with Valentine's Day on Sunday, well, what's a feller to do?

Made it to the post office after about half an hour. It was closed. Yeah, so much for that "neither snow nor sleet" nonsense...

But I got my letter in the drop-box inside the outer lobby.

This (I think) is my car. See the antenna? that's a roof-mounted antenna.


video

It's about 20-degrees with wind gusts 20-40 mph.

Still Snowing

There must be three feet on the ground now, and it's still snowing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Just In!

It's snowing again. Expected accumulation 10-14 inches here.

That's on top of the 28" still on the ground.

"Journalist, Heel Thyself!"

Amusing or sarcastic? You decide. The chart is from the Wall Street Journal (behind a subscriber wall, but I got it from The Volokh Conspiracy.)

Turonistan News... We Retort, You Deride.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Green Police

Did anyone else see the Audi TV spot during the Super Bowl?

It was a series of vignettes of folks being arrested by "The Green Police". The GP goes through curbside garbage bags and if they find a mercury battery, it's "Go! Go! Go!" and they bust into the guy's house and arrest him. They busted a guy for failing to compost an orange peel. They busted a guy for using an incandescent light bulb. A cop pulls over a motorist and says, "Is that a styrofoam coffee cup, sir?" The driver stammers, "Um, I guess..." And the cop says, "Please get out of the car and put the cup on the roof."

They were advertising the Audi "clean diesel" engine.

But I was shocked by the spot. It was not funny!

The Big Storm

I packed a suitcase Friday afternoon and got one of the last trains into town. Snow had been falling since before noon and 6" was on the ground at that point.

It snowed all night and all day Saturday.

On the left is our HQ and on the right is the Mayflower Hotel, where I spent Friday night. At the end of the street is the National Geographic building.

Lots of trees were bent to the ground like this.

You can't see the snow falling in many of these shots...

...unless the flash is turned on.

The ENG truck was covered.

This is K Street at Farragut Square.

The Godiva Chocolate store on Connecticut Avenue was closed! Now this is serious!

Late Saturday afternoon the snow was really piling up.

Very little traffic on Connecticut Ave. Saturday afternoon.

There's always one guy...

They put us up Saturday night at the Hotel Monaco.

Sunday morning at 3:00 AM. The snow had stopped falling.

It looked like everything was coated with whipped cream or meringue. Walking the four blocks to work was not difficult, but navigating was a challenge because the landscape had been changed by the snow; it was strictly "navigation by street signs" because all of the familiar little landmarks that we typically use to get around were covered with snow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Index!

Anna Sheridan of the Chicago Police Dept., 1928.

h/t Say Uncle.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eensy-weensy Black Rifle

He brought it to P.S. 52 in New York City. He was forced to sign a statement and let go with a warning.

It could have been worse. If he had done it in New Jersey, he'd be looking at doing some hard time.

N.Y. Daily News


Battle Of The Sexes...uh...Genders

Dr. Helen's got a great post about misandry and misogyny. Go read it.

My favorite anecdote in this regard comes from a battered women's shelter in San Francisco. A woman living there was attacked and beaten by her significant other. When police investigated, they asked about security measures in the shelter. Apparently, the only security rule in place was "we don't let men in."

The victim's attacker was, you guessed it, a woman.

Guns In The Medical Literature

There is a new "survey" (apparently this is not original research but a survey of published research papers) on the dangers of gun ownership. I added a comment:

1) These research papers used high-risk populations with extensive histories of drug-abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and criminal records. The research has little to offer about the risks of keeping a firearm in a "normal" American home.

2) Correlation does not prove causation. This is like doing a study to determine how diabetics differ from non-diabetics, noting that diabetics are more likely to possess insulin, and concluding that insulin possession is a risk factor for diabetes.

3) American suicide rates actually compare favorably with other nations where firearm ownership is lower. People bent on self-destruction will find ways to do it even if firearms are not available.

4) A majority of American homicide victims (up to 80% in some surveys) had criminal records, or had traces of narcotics in their systems when they arrived at the ER. Most homicide in the U.S. is criminals killing other criminals.

I should've added that these studies suggest that, if you live in a "normal" American home, with no history of drug abuse, no history of alcohol abuse, no history of domestic violence, and nobody living there with a criminal record, you can own as many guns as you want, and it will not increase the risk of death or accident to you or any member of your family.

h/t Alphecca.

UPDATE: They actually published it.

...And Some Pointy, Pointy Boots



I love this song. It's bad music for bad people.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DADT, KIIYP and STFU!

Wonderful post (hey, there's an idea for a newspaper) from Roberta X on the current controversy(ies).

The Second Amendment, II

What's the point of having small arms to defend freedom, some say, when the other side will have tanks, artillery, bombers, etc.?

Even tank commanders have to climb out to use the facilities, get some food, supervise fueling/repair, chat with the local cuties, etc. A deer rifle and a good vantage point are all you need. The Liberator pistol and the CIA ‘deer gun’ were intended for giving to insurgents so they could sneak up on occupiers, fire with the barrel against the target’s body and then escape with his weapons.

The STEN submachine gun was made in more than 20 covert factories in Poland during WWII, with some parts being secretly machined in factories under Nazi control. Cruffler.com has an excellent article on their production.

Resistance against tyranny and oppression is a human right, if not an obligation, and the tools to do so are covered under the 2nd Amendment.

Amen, Brother!

link.

And Staghounds has a post on underground arms factories in Nazi-occupied Denmark; they made over 500 STEN submachine guns during the war.

PelosiCare vs. CanadaCare

There's a dust-up going on at the Volokh Conspiracy about Canadians traveling to the U.S. for medical care, and what this might indicate about the quality, cost and availability of health care. One commenter, an American physician with experience on both sides of our border, has this personal observation:

I was working at a hospital in Kingston, Ontario when a US citizen truck driver came in, after a rather bad traffic accident. He didn’t get health care at all (we were stopped by admin) until he signed a waiver of his rights, and showed he had insurance that the hospital could bill.

Conversely, in the US a federal law (EMTALA) prevents us from asking about a patient's ability to pay, and mandates that he be given emergency, stabilizing treatment (which often means full treatment).

link.

Tamalanche III

I'm all outta breath!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Pong Su Incident


On the night of April 15-16, 2003 Australian police observed two men on a deserted beach near Lorne, Victoria. The men walked to a nearby hotel where they met another man. A fourth man was left behind on the beach. All four were arrested while in possession of 50 kg of pharmaceutical-quality heroin. A search of the beach uncovered a buried dinghy. A GPS unit was also recovered. Coordinates in the GPS led police to a separate cache of 75 kg of heroin buried nearby.


The dinghy was determined to have come from the North Korean-owned freighter Pong Su, which was observed to be loitering offshore. The Australian Royal Navy ordered the ship into harbor, but the Pong Su turned and fled into international waters. A four-day chase ensued.

Under maritime law, a ship suspected of piracy or smuggling may be seized in international waters as long as it is kept in continuous visual surveillance. The Australians used cutters, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to follow the Pong Su for four days and nights. The chase ended when the Pong Su's ancient engines could stand no more and failed. A helicopter team of Australian Special Forces commandos boarded the ship and seized it.

Four officers and twenty-seven crew members were arrested and charged with drug offenses. The four men arrested on shore pleaded guilty and received long prison sentences. The crew members were released and deported in June, 2004. At trial, the four officers were found not guilty and they were also deported in March, 2006.

In March, 2006 the Pong Su was towed out to sea and used as target practice for the RAAF. A pair of two-thousand pound laser-guided bombs dropped from an F-111 sent her to the bottom.

All except the radio equipment; that was donated to the Kurrajong Radio Museum. Check out their collection! They have an outstanding collection of historic military radios, including the WWII Gibson Girl survival radio:

This is a 5-watt hand-cranked CW and beacon transmitter. It's called a "Gibson Girl" because of the "pinched-waist" design which allows it to be strapped between the legs for hand-cranking. It reminded people of the fashion illustrations of artist Charles Dana Gibson in the late 19th century.

The whole thing had its own parachute, plus a 4-foot diameter balloon for the antenna. A box kite was also supplied to loft the antenna in windy conditions. The balloon was inflated with two hydrogen generators, activated by putting them in sea water. The telegraph key could operate the transmitter or the signal lamp. Made in USA by Bendix Corp.

One Hundred Years Ago Today

John Browning signed the application for what would become patent 984,519.



h/t Maddened Fowl.