Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Riddle me this, Gun Control Man

A Million Dollars a Minute

 From Andrew P. Napolitano, a reminder of the real risk. The heart of it is in the quote. The $30 billion he writing about is the money borrowed to finance our participation in WWI.

The $30 billion President Wilson borrowed from the Federal Reserve and others has been rolled over and over and has never been repaid. The federal government still owes the $30 billion principal, and for that it has paid more than $15 billion in interest. Who in his right mind would pay 50 percent interest on a 100-year-old debt? Only the government.
Wilson’s $30 billion debt 100 years ago has ballooned to $20.6 trillion today. At the end of President Donald Trump’s present term – because of the Republican budget signed into law last week – the government’s debt will be about $27 trillion.
That amount is a debt bomb waiting to explode. Here’s why. Every year, the federal government collects about $2.5 trillion in revenue and spends it all. It borrows another $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion and spends it all. To avoid paying back any of the $27 trillion it will owe, the federal government will need to spend about $1 trillion a year in interest payments.
That $1 trillion is 40 percent of the revenue collected by the federal government; that’s 40 cents on every dollar in tax revenue going to interest on old debts – interest payments that are legally unavoidable by taxpayers and voters.
   Here's the whole thing.

Monday, February 19, 2018

President's Day musings on the best and worst Presidents

This is my more or less annual post for this holiday. In the 6 years since I wrote it, I haven't seen the need to update it.


It's not a real President's birthday (Lincoln was the 12th, Washington is the 22nd), but everyone wants a day off, so sorry Abe and George, but we're taking it today. But in the spirit intended for the holiday, let me offer up Borepatch's bestest and worstest lists for Presidents.

Top Five:

#5: Calvin Coolidge

Nothing To Report is a fine epitaph for a President, in this day of unbridled expansion of Leviathan.

#4. Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson is perhaps the last (and first) President who exercised extra-Constitutional power in a manner that was unambiguously beneficial for the Republic (the Louisiana Purchase). He repealed Adam's noxious Alien and Sedition Acts and pardoned those convicted under them.

#3. Grover Cleveland.

He didn't like the pomp and circumstance of the office, and he hated the payoffs so common then and now. He continually vetoed pork spending (including for veterans of the War Between the States), so much so that he was defeated for re-election, but unusually won a second term later. This quote is priceless (would that Latter Day Presidents rise so high), on vetoing a farm relief bill: "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character."

#2. Ronald Reagan

He at least tried to slow down the growth of Leviathan, the first President to do so in over half a century (see entry #5, above). He would have reduced it further, except that his opposition to the Soviet fascist state and determination to end it cost boatloads of cash. It also caused outrage among the home grown fascists in the Media and Universities, but was wildly popular among the general population which was (and hopefully still remains) sane.

#1. George Washington

Could have been King. Wasn't. Q.E.D.

Bottom Five:

#5. John Adams.

There's no way to read the Alien and Sedition Acts as anything other than a blatant violation of the First Amendment. It's a sad statement that the first violation of a Presidential Oath of Office was with President #2.

#4. Woodrow Wilson.

Not only did he revive the spirit of Adams' Sedition Acts, he caused a Presidential opponent to be imprisoned under the terms of his grotesque Sedition Act of 1918. He was Progressivism incarnate: he lied us into war, he jailed the anti-war opposition, he instituted a draft, and he was entirely soft-headed when it came to foreign policy. The fact that Progressives love him (and hate George W. Bush) says all you need to know about them.

#3 Lyndon Johnson.

An able legislator who was able to get bills passed without having any real idea what they would do once enacted, he is responsible for more Americans living in poverty and despair than any occupant of the White House, and that says a lot.

#2. Franklin Roosevelt.

America's Mussolini - ruling extra-Constitutionally fixing wages and prices, packing the Supreme Court, rounding up citizens to be interred in concentration camps, and transforming the country into a bunch of takers who would sell their votes for a trifle. At least Mussolini met an honorable end.

#1. Abraham Lincoln.

There's no doubt that the Constitution never would have been ratified if the States hadn't thought they could leave if they needed to. Lincoln saw to it that 10% of the military-age male population was killed or wounded preventing that in an extra-Constitutional debacle unequaled in the Republic's history. Along the way, he suspended Habeas Corpus, instituted the first ever draft on these shores, and jailed political opponents as he saw fit. Needless to say, Progressives adore him.

So happy President's Day. Thankfully, the recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue haven't gotten this bad. Yet.

School Shootings - only some are remembered

The Only Ones were the only ones with guns that day.  On a campus, no less.

How long would it take for the Police to confiscate all the guns in America?

TL;DR: it would take 3 years for the police to search American's houses to find and seize guns, and it wouldn't work anyway.  The math is inescapable.

There's been a bunch of great posting recently on the perennial gun control argument.  One thing that stands out for me this time around is (ignoring the sense of futility on the gun grabbers' side) the increasing calls for confiscation.  Call it the "Australian Model" if you want to sugar coat it but it amounts to the same thing: collection of privately owned firearms by the police.

This made me wonder whether this would even be possible.  It sure looks like it isn't.  Let's take a look at why.

Nobody knows for sure just how many households in the USA own firearms, because there is no nation-wide registration requirement.  Estimates that I've seen range from 70 million households to 90 million (or even higher).  For today's thought experiment, let's take the lower number because that will make it easier for the gun grabbers.  So we have 70 million houses that government will have to visit.

We know that the government will have to physically go to and search these houses because we see massive non-compliance to registration and reporting laws where they get passed (example: New York and Connecticut where non-compliance is certainly over 90% and may be over 95%).  People just are not willing to line up at the local Police Station to turn in their guns.  So the police would have to go house to house.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that in 2008 there were 765,246 police officers in the United States.  This is our starting point.  Assume that you need to send 2 officers to search a house for firearms (this is very likely grotesquely under estimated given the expected resistance to 4th Amendment violating household searches; a man's home is his Castle and all that).  This gives us 382,623 pairs of police for searches.

Assume it takes 2 hours per house to travel to the residence, search it, and write up the findings (or non-findings).  Now for the math:  70 million houses divided by 382,000 pairs of police is 183 searches per police pair.  At 2 hours each, this is 366 hours to complete the searches, or 9 weeks.

So the entire police force in the United States would have to take over 2 months to search for and confiscate the national stock of firearms.

But wait, it gets worse for the gun grabbers.  Remember, people haven't reported the fact that they own firearms.  While there are 70 million homes owning guns, the police don't know which households are in the 70 million gun owning group and which are not.  The police would have to search all homes in the USA - The US Census reports that there are 118 million households in the country, so we're looking at 16 weeks (4 months) for the searches to complete.

But remember, this is every police officer in the country working full time on house to house searches.  Crime would explode, and so you can't take the cops off the streets like that.  Probably you couldn't devote more than 10% of the cops' time to searches, so the 16 weeks turns into 160 weeks to search everywhere.

160 weeks is 3 years.  That's so long that once a house had been searched and "cleared", the owner could hide his shooting buddies' guns so that when their houses were searched, the guns were long gone.  It's simply not possible to confiscate guns this way.

Notice that we don't need any speculation at all on how many gun owners might shoot at the police; 3 years of futile house to house searching simply won't do what the gun grabbers think it will.

This is just a thought experiment, of course.  There are many practical issues that we haven't addressed:

  • In an era of collapsing governmental legitimacy, what would police state style house to house searches do to our Republican form of government?
  • How would Black Lives Matter react to such a massive police presence in minority neighborhoods?
  • Just how big would police search teams have to be?  It sure seems you'd need more than 2 officers.
  • How many police officers would actually do this?  How many would refuse, and how many would simply go through the motions to keep their job while not really looking for anything?
  • The Democrat Party in 2009 controlled the White House, the House of Representatives, and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  They didn't pass even watered down gun control then.  What do they know that the gun grabbers don't?
The conclusion is inescapable: people who propose house to house gun confiscation are morons.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Beethoven and the fall of the Berlin Wall

Beethoven's life was basically out of a soap opera - it was all so impossibly over-the-top as to defy belief.  It was a clichéexcept that it was all new then: A towering intellect, writing music like nobody had written before, tragically struck with deafness so that at the end of the premiere of this piece he couldn't hear the audience roaring its applause and the contralto Caroline Unger had to take his hand and turn him around so he could see.  Sadly, she did not get appropriate credit in the scene from Immortal Beloved.

Even in death, he maintained his flair. He died during a huge thunder storm, and witnesses said there was a prodigious thunder clap at the moment of death itself.

His 9th Symphony was so popular in Japan that when the Compact Disc was being engineered, it was decided that the disc had to be physically big enough to get the entire Ninth Symphony on a single disc. Musicologists were employed, searching the archives of recordings. It turned out that the longest recording took 74 minutes. The disc was resized from 11.5 cm to 12 cm to accommodate this symphony.

But that wasn't the end of the Soap Opera.  Beethoven put to music Friedrich Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" which was, well, about Freude (Joy).  And thus to the final, improbable Beethoven story.

Fast forward from 1824 when Beethoven composed this to 1989.  The East German Politburo decided that they would not order their border guards to machine gun the people lined up at the Brandenburg Gate, trying to visit their relatives in West Berlin.  The Berlin Wall had divided that city for 28 years, 2 months, and 27 days.  But when the Politburo ordered the guards to stand down and the gates were thrown open, the populations on both sides of the wall took things into their own hands and tore down the wall in an orgy of Freiheit (Freedom).

Soon after, Beethoven came to East Berlin.  Leonard Bernstein conducted a symphony from both Germanys where the word Freude was replaced with the word Freiheit.  It was so improbable that if you had written a novel with that scene, nobody would have published it.  Only Beethoven could pull it off.

The Berlin Wall has now been down longer than it was up.  Berlin - and indeed all of Europe - has been transformed beyond recognition.  28 years later the dreams of Freiheit have cooled somewhat but have not been extinguished.  Beethoven's ghost looks down, waiting for the next improbable chapter in his continuing Soap Opera.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

From The Comments

Jeffrey Smith said...
Cough cough.
If you make history-based arguments, please ensure your history is correct.
German gun control laws were put in place by the Weimar Republic well before the Nazis came to power. And given that the overwhelming number of Jewish victims were living outside of Germany in September 1939, the relevant gun control laws are those of the Soviets, Poles, French, etc. 
I will be blunt and say this: anyone who thinks a group of citizens can outfight the government is the one living in a fantasy world. Bundy faced down the government not because he utilized his Second Amendment rights but because he utilized his First Amendment rights.

This deserves to be on the front page and deserves a reply, thanks to Jeff for taking the time to comment.  Here goes.

1. I know when the laws were passed in Germany and who passed them. Then the Nazis came to power and put them to use. This perfectly proves my point. Trusting the current government with more control because it seems benign sets you up for any future government to misuse power.

2. If you want to discuss the gun control put in place by the USSR, the outcome was more horrific than Germany's. The collectivization of the Stalin Era, the gulags, and resultant famines exceed the deaths in the Nazi extermination camps.

3. The Poles and French, along with other conquered countries including most of the USSR west of Moscow, fell under Nazi control and Nazi martial law, and then the Jews in those countries were rounded up for transport.

4. If you think that it would be possible to disarm the American populace without their active cooperation, you haven't thought it through. All we would have to to do is refuse. Look at drug laws, prohibition, and immigration.

5. There would be no need and no reason to outfight anyone, no one goes up against a superior force. If the people actively resisted, however, it would be impossible for the government to even begin a confiscation. Any indigenous populace on their own land can resist a military force. Consider Vietnam and Afghanistan when you want to talk about the limits of what an army can do. Then, who is going to do it? Are you thinking of using the Army to invade cities and go house to house? Do you think local police will do it? Are you going to assume that either of those groups would even follow those orders when it meant knocking on doors of fathers, brothers, sons, and close friends? Then, do you think the populace would sit in their homes and wait for that knock? Think hard about who the gun owners are. There would be, planned or not, what would amount to a general strike by the very people that are the ones paying taxes, working farms, keeping the lights and water on, etc.

6. Bundy and the people that came out to support him, right or wrong, most definitely used their 2nd Amendment rights along the 1st. You don't have to fire a weapon for the weapon to have the desired effect. Neither side wanted it to come to shooting or it would have. On a more individual level, there are far more many times that a weapon is used to stop or prevent a crime than they are used to shoot criminals. This is true both for police and the citizens that carry. 

I have one more thing to say and this not that this is part of the reply to what I see as an honest comment. If laws were passed that disarmed the citizens of the United States, what you would have by the time the disarmament was accomplished, would be a police state. There be a before and after. All our freedoms are intertwined in ways we barely understand and we pluck at those threads at our own peril. It might not be as bad as Nazi Germany or the USSR at first, but that power to force citizens to comply would corrupt and someone would come along to grasp that power.

Citizen Disarming

Every time we have a shooting in a gun free zone, the idea of disarming the citizens is raised. So you want to take away violate the rights of all of us to ensure that the only people with guns report to the government?

Remember, the government isn't going to disarm. There's no fantasy world you can imagine where the government gives up their weapons. So your plan only ensures that the direct power of the government increases exponentially relative to the citizens.

Let's consider our current President, Donald Trump. He's literally Hitler, right? And you want him and his henchmen to be the only ones armed? What happens if he decides to build that wall and deport every person of Hispanic descent? Maybe build some camps to expedite the process? Then declare martial law and make it illegal to gather and protest? You already believe he would do these things. If you've had all of us line up and turn in our guns, what's your plan when the new Emperor of North America is no longer responsive to polite letters and protest marches in pink hats?
First history lesson:

Germany disarmed their citizens in the 1930s. Went so far as to make it a death penalty offense for a Jew to be caught with a firearm in a follow up law in 1938. It made it a lot easier to kill those same citizens by the millions less than a decade later. The only reason there is a living Jew anywhere in Europe today is that lots of American (and some British and French) boys took guns and went to Germany and killed Nazis until the remaining Nazis decided to quit being Nazis and stop killing Jews.

If every adult Jew had illegally kept a gun and instead of getting in the cattle cars, had shot one Nazi, the Holocaust would not, could not, have happened. The Nazis were only capable of committing the evil of mass murder because they successfully committed the evil of disarming their victims first.
Second history lesson:

On 19 April 1775, the main reason the American colonists decided that this was the day to make a stand against 700 British Regulars at Lexington and Concord was that the British were marching out to disarm the colonists, to confiscate their muskets, powder, and shot. The colonists refused and successfully defended their weapons and supplies. The birth of the United States is a violent response to an attempt at disarmament.

Another fun fact from that 19th of April. One 78 year old farmer from the area, Samuel Whittimore, is remembered as the State Hero of Massachusetts for his actions that day. He had missed the main battle and only heard about things when the British were retreating back toward Boston. He could have stayed out of it, the battle was essentially over.
 Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore loaded his musket and ambushed the British Grenadiers of the 47th Regiment of Foot from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols, killed a second grenadier and mortally wounded a third. By the time Whittemore had fired his third shot, a British detachment had reached his position; Whittemore drew his sword and attacked. He was subsequently shot in the face, bayoneted numerous times, and left for dead in a pool of blood. He was found by colonial forces. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore recovered and lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 96. (excerpt from Wikipedia)

Patrick Henry's famous speech was given a month later. You should read the whole thing.
What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
--Patrick Henry, St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775

Into the Night - A Brigid Guest Post

In Chicago this week, we lost a well-loved and respected police Commander, to a criminal's bullet.  His colleagues were helpless to stop it, but they are there now to honor him as he is laid to rest.  When going into battle soldiers know who has their back. In Law Enforcement, it is much the same. But in the day to day life, we often find out who is around us that would take that literal bullet for us.

Growing up my big brother was my protector. If you've read my first two books you know our story well. He was my best friend and guide despite the age difference.  I still thank him for when he sent the "live toad in a gift box" to the snooty girl down the block that made fun of me for wearing hand-me-downs and home sewed clothes because my Mom chose to be a full-time mom rather than return to the workforce as a Deputy Sheriff when they adopted the two of us late in life.

When Mom died, and Dad briefly checked out emotionally, my beloved brother off in Submarine Service, I left home young, starting college at age 14, fleeing not simply because I was fleeing, but that the absence was the only argument I had at 14 to employ against the losses in my life. I was alone until I was not, then a pregnancy in college and my daughter's subsequent adoption made me realize I needed family around me again, even if not related by blood. So there were friends, and there were toasts and tears and healing as I got past the sound that goodbyes made.
When I graduated and was accepted into flight training to become a pilot I had much the same support system. Our Crew Chief, who often looked at us like something on the bottom of his shoe, honestly was our biggest fan, but using Crew Chief etiquette wasn't allowed to show it. Crew Chiefs were like that, finding the occupation of keeping their emotion steeled against the worst so captivating, that they had no other emotion available. He wasn't scared, but thinking everyone under his charge was such an idiot that we would never see another sunrise, he remained firm in his resolve that what was to be was predestined.   The ground crew was won over by homemade chocolate chip cookies even if they weren't quite sure what to make of the first female Commander in the unit.  My copilots became family, even the one that used to spray the whole cockpit down with Lysol because he was a germaphobe which followed with me puking into his flight bag due to a late night out and a fighter pilot breakfast (you'll have to google that, this is a family-friendly blog).

We'd launch, whether we were ready or not, listening to the sounds of the ground crew (clear on 2) with that listening attention that meant we were ready to go out and confront whatever those words meant. In the distance, a knot of men, moving with deliberate movement, offering a wave as we taxied out, their roles unclear as the wind amped up a slow vibration in the air, but their support unwavering,

But later in life, when my flying was behind me except for the occasional inverted romp in an 8KCAB, my support system was not so structured. There were friends I thought I could rely on that disappeared like smoke when there were clouds on the horizon. There were those that wanted to be friends simply to build their fan base. And there were those that were like the walls of my house - quiet, not always saying anything, but always there to keep me warm and safe.

My team at work has always been a constant. I've worked with gruff curmudgeons who held evidence in their giant paws of hands like the most tender of playthings even as they busied themselves with matters of life and death that brooked no delay. And I've worked with the young probies, so bursting with ambition and testosterone that they always upheld a state of lively satisfaction no matter the amount of deeply questioned bloodshed.

I've been covered in gore, and I've been shot at, ending my day wet, tired, and stiff in every joint, with that momentary hallucination of vision that comes to the insanely exhausted, where like a drowning man reviews his life, I realized that not only did I not find the smoking gun, I left the coffee pot on this morning.
But I always had my support system.

Today, I'm management- more likely to be felled by a paper cut than a bullet. My team still visits, but in doing so I'm "Ma'am" not "Brigid" as I'm the director. Times change, time slows. But I do know that there are those around me I can count on, both personally and professionally, in that enlightened compression that dwells upon the approach of a storm.

Yet, on those nights I'm stuck in a hotel room, the bed linen cold and soundless under my hand, clinging softly to that hand in the quiet air as breathing vaporizes in the faint light as I wait for the phone to ring, I'm aware of something.
I still have those that watch my back, even if they are only friends and family, strong in my life, even if their numbers are as a shadow is larger than the object that casts it. They are there in those mornings where the red dawn crests in the sharp light as if beyond the horizon lay hell not heaven. They are there in those soft nights, where ice cubes tinkle and the air carries on it only the scent of mint and soft lemon verbena perfume as small children chase fireflies in the yard.

As I return from my travels, the taxi taking me from the airport, the old bungalows of Chicago pass by the window in grays and browns, lighter than dust and laid lightly upon the earth, as if one good hard rain would wash them away, I smile. I am simply another suit and a laptop, trying to make a little difference in an insane world, where those that work for me, risk their lives for what is right and good. This is not the life I planned, and it is not the life I imagined, but it is the only life I want, here with those who would walk into the night with me. - Brigid

Friday, February 16, 2018

At Borepatch's Request

Jim Land's rifles on YouTube.

These are some the rifles I got to see and handle last night. Although he did not have the Barrett 50 with him, the others were on the table. And we got a fine dinner of chicken and pastry.

Remember, kids - only the police should have guns

The Father of Marine Corps Snipers

At our monthly club meeting last night, the guest speaker was Major Jim Land. Major Land was the Marine that started and built the modern Marine Corps sniper program. He started with a dozen scoped Garands (M1-D) and a dozen hunting rifles he acquired from Special Services on U.S. bases and built the first sniper team in Vietnam.

He brought a collection of military sniper rifles, starting with a 1917 manufactured 1903 Springfield on up through the M40A6 that is in use in Afghanistan today, and spoke of the evolution of the equipment.

He had stories to tell of his time as a competitive marksman for the Marines as well as his experience leading a team of snipers that included Carlos Hathcock.

Here's another article about him and his experiences from American Rifleman.

Even the blanket he put his rifles on could have been the subject of an interesting presentation.

The "logic" of gun control

Here endeth the lesson.

Walking Dread - On Zombie Spiders - A Brigid Guest Post

While visiting a friends farm in Northern Indiana one fall, someone brought over these round green balls that appeared to be some kind of pod or alien fruit. "What the heck are those?". I asked. Apparently they were the fruit off of the Osage Orange tree, otherwise known as Hedge Apples. My friends  said they repel spiders. You put them in a bowl or on a piece of foil and place them around the house. They won't spoil or mold and eventually just shrink to the side of a walnut. I should have brought more of them home.

For I am afraid of spiders. I can watch "Walking Dead" and sleep like a baby, but spot a big hairy spider in the house and I'm tip toeing around with a rolled up newspaper for days.

Snakes, bats in my hair (been there, done that), no problem. When you're out in the wild, sometimes hiking, sometimes working, you run into it all, bears, wolves, coyotes, horny toads, horny tourists, bugs, ants that bite and those little plastic containered, cellophane-covered sandwiches they carbon date for freshness and sell at gas stations.

I lived in the desert after grad school, and woke once to find a tarantula in my bed. My roommate, raised there, heard my shout and got a dust pan and gently picked it up, talking to it softly, and took it back to the yard to be released. "They do more good than harm" she said. I slept on the couch for the next month.
When I too lived out in the country a few years ago, spiders were a constant, short of running them over with your giant Chevy Subdivision, they were pretty indestructible.  The little ones, I left alone, as they do eat bugs and such around the property, letting them be or gently removing them from house to garden. But those large hairy fast moving spiders scared me to no end.  One night I opened the door to let the dog in and in rushes a grasshopper, into the house as fast as he could go.  What the. . ??  He was being chased, by a large spider.  I got the door closed before a spidey security breach, got the grasshopper picked up in a jar, and put him out the back door at the opposite end of the house..  Next time I opened the front door, the spider was waiting, rushing at the door again. . .

 "I Am Sparta!"  SLAM.

 We used the back door for a couple of weeks.

I can handle a lot of things, be it heights, or horror movies. But not giant spiders.

So there I was, staying with some friends who live out in the country, up at 3:30 in the morning to use the bathroom (note to self no Guinness after 8 pm) and as I'm taking care of business, a wolf spider about the size of a Buick runs across the floor towards me. Barefoot, I threw a hand towel on it and proceeded with my rendition of the Grapes of Wrath stomp.

Stomp Stomp Stomp. Die Spider Die!

No movement from under the towel. He didn't escape, the floor around it was clear. I left it there for the morning.

At 5 am, I got up (wearing slippers just in case) and look at the towel, prepared to just shake it outside and then throw it in the wash. But what caught my eye was the large dead spider, legs curled up, a few inches away. He'd managed to crawl out and expire next to the tub, rolled up like a crescent roll. OK. At least he was dead. I went to get a paper towel to dispose of the remains.

This is where the fun started

I came back and Mr. Spider was completely reanimated, and pissed off, on TOP of the towel, ready to pounce on my foot like a Chihuahua on a pork chop.

He'd been dead. I'd been sure of it. I'm kind of trained in those things. Now he's back.

I had the only zombie spider in all of the Midwest.

Fortunately, I was highly trained in zombie spider removal and wearing nothing but tactical bunny slippers, dispatched him with a roll of paper towels.

Zombie Spider Rule # 2
The Double Tap

Thursday, February 15, 2018

So lefties are all over themselves about gun control?

Uh huh.

Smartest kids in the class.

Are there fewer calls for gun control today?

Or am I just tuning things out more?  I could see the media keeping their focus on Trump and Russia Russia Russia and not having the professional or emotional cycles to push gun control.

But maybe I just don't listen to the Usual Suspects much anymore.  They may be going the same old, same old gun grab push but I'm just not listening to them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

The Queen Of The World has been leaving little surprises around all over Castle Borepatch, which is great fun.  I hope you have as nice a Valentine's Day as I'm having.  Or at least better than this:

Valentine's Day Thoughts On Communication - A Brigid Guest Post

There was a best selling book a long while back called "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", attempting to sum up the differences between the sexes.

I flipped through it at the book store but didn't buy it, as I work and play with mostly guys and would probably have done better with a book on copper plumbing and why it hates me.

Certainly there are differences, but communication, not books, is the key.   For example, consider this actual conversation not all that long back at the Range.

Venusian:  (fresh out of the shower and eying perfume and body sprays). "What would you like me to smell like? You have a choice of Vanilla, Strawberries and Champagne, White Musk, or Loves Potion No. 1."

Martian: "Loves Potion No. 1?"

Venusian: "Yes."

Martian: "Does it smell like bacon??"

See what I mean?
Then there's the way we deal with stress.  Today's example.

Which would be the Venusian versus Martian choice?


If you answered, "both" you might be dealing with a redhead from either planet that's had about enough stress for one year, (one armed with a Wilton extra large decorating tip and tactical sprinkles).
So gentlemen, let's say you wish to go out and purchase a new firearm, something nifty, but perhaps not as supremely practical as your better half might think. Not necessarily something you need as you already have a concealed piece or sporting pieces.  It's just something you want.

I know much of what I'm saying here is a generalization and "one size does NOT fit all", but the women I know who have firearms for protection or sport shooting are married to men who also enjoy safe and responsible firearm ownership.
In that case say "Honey I think I want to go out and buy another gun", and he's got the car out of the garage and warmed up faster than that time you said, "honey, I think my water just broke".

Yes it seems like a stereotype but it's based on statistics.  There are still a lot of law-abiding  men who enjoy firearms and firearm activities who are married to those that do not embrace it  They may not object to it in theory but may still consider it an extra expense, one that perhaps the household doesn't need right now (though more and more women are learning practical defense and taking a try at some of the shooting sports).

In such a situation, how do such folks know that their planned purchase will be met with a warm reception or at least avoid a serious conflict ("dodging a bullet") in the household.

It's all in the subtle verbal and non-verbal communication: You can learn a lot just by watching a person's behavior. I'm not talking profiling because we're not allowed to do that. I'm referring to those subtle signs that offer big clues as to someone's recent actions or intent.

For example  -Their right hand has no visible cuts, bruises or scars (they areleft-handedd).

They have no eyebrows (they recently purchased a barbecue and an aceteylene torch).

They don't listen to anyone (they are in politics).

They twitch a lot (they are either nervous or watched too much Jersey Shore).

They are wearing an I Heart Osama Bin Laden T shirt and are waiting for public transportation carrying a large ticking suitcase (they are a tourist, we don't profile now, do we).

I'll give you another example of reading non verbal communication:

Gentlemen:  you come home quite late, smelling like beer. You didn't call. Your better half greets you at the door:

(1) She's wearing yesterdays sweat pants. Her hair is in a bun, her brow looks like the San Andreas Fault. Her look would freeze small mammals in their tracks. There is a bear trap on the bed.

(2) She's dusting the living room wearing sheer lingerie while humming Etta James' "At Last". There are two cold beers on the table. The bed is unmade. She looks at you and winks.

In which example would the man have a more pleasant outcome?

See, it's not that hard. Ladies, this applies to us as well. Women aren't the only ones who offer up non verbal communication clues.

For example

Martian (coming in from the shop): "Do we have any beer?" (what he's actually saying: "*(#*@ single stage press, I should have bought the five stage one.")

Venusian: "Just some Schlitz Light, it's only 2 points on Weight Watchers"

Martian: "No IPA?" (What he's actually saying: "with all the money we're saving on cheap *&@ diet beer I should have just bought the damn Dillon")

Sound of feet heading down stairs

Venusian: "Honey, you forgot your beer."

That being said, study both verbal and non verbal clues when presenting something that might be met with less than a stellar response. For some, that might be a new gun purchase to add to your already nice collection. When contemplating such a move, in addition to being prepared to offering up the advantages of said purchase (safety features, ease of maintenance, inexpensive back-up)  and addressing mutual  concerns (storage in a house with children, availability of ammo), you need to remember the usual tactics that apply to about any activity in the Mars/Venus household.  As Red Green would say:

(1) Come home in the same clothes you left in.

(2) Don't argue unarmed with any creature with bigger teeth than you have.

(3) If they don't ask for your opinion assume they are right.


(4) Anything you say will be held against you.

So, keeping those points in mind, you've done your homework and looked far and wide for just what you want. Then one fine Saturday, you bring home your little beauty and show the better half .

Her response:

(1) Somewhere a door slams. The only thing that's going to kick on tonight is the furnace.

(2) She looks at it and utters a very long sigh.

(3) She doesn't say a word about the firearm but reminds you of that argument you had back in 1996 when you know she was right.

(3) She says "that's OK" (she just went out and bought $525 worth of shoes, see "dodged a bullet.")

(4) She looks at it carefully, asks what it cost and what it's best used for.

(5) She says "COOL!  Can I borrow it!?"

Again, subtle clues of verbal and non verbal communication. I hope this helps, but remember, if all else fails (and you don't want to make a dozen duct tape roses for Valentine's Day like Partner in Grime did..)

(1) Tell them they are the love of your life, especially smelling like bacon.

(2) Bring them home something too. I'd suggest a 1911, but whatever strikes their fancy.


Monday, February 12, 2018

R.I.P. Daryle Singletary


What Travis said.  And Charlie.  This was real country music, for real country music fans.  46 is too young by decades.  Damn.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

... and then patriotism spontaneously broke out

Yes, it was in Fly Over Country.  Why do you ask?

But man, what a moment.

Get offa my lawn, punk

Operation Paper Cut - A Brigid Guest Post

With two feet of fresh snow outside, I can't go out and play with my usual toys, so I'm going to have to find something else to entertain me today.

I know, I can make some paper airplanes!

But first, a little practice with a Scottish Drone.
Then on to American fighter technology, soon ready for takeoff.
Which, after crashing in Iran during a CIA mission, was reverse engineered by the Iranians to make an exact duplicate.
You all be safe out there!
- Brigid

The Olympics are more exciting than I had thought

Seen on Facebook by the Queen Of The World.

Sergei Rachmaninoff - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

You know this music - it is perhaps the most famous romantic music used in film scores.  You've heard this a lot, in movie after movie.  It will start out unfamiliar, but just after 15:00 into this performance you will find yourself humming along.

Rachmaninoff was born in 19th century Russia but had to leave with his family after the revolution, settling in the United States.  He was initially known more as a concert pianist - his famously large hands combined with a precise playing style made him popular on the touring circuit.  This actually consumed much of his time, and he had relatively few compositions.  This is one of his most successful, although it had a rather unbelievably cool reception at first.

Critics - what are ya going to do?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The world is not going to hell

In some ways, it's getting a lot better.  Malaria deaths are down almost 50% in 15 years:

Of course, you won't see this in the news because it doesn't reinforce any of the following:

  • The world is going to hell
  • Russia! Russia! Russia!
  • Republicans are the worst
  • Donald Trump is the only thing worse than a Republican
So okay, then.  Sure would be nice to have a news media that you can trust for actual, you know, reporting what's going on in the world that's important.

Dick Curless - A Tombstone Every Mile

I'm tired of winter.  Wolfgang needs his walks and so out we go, but I'm ready for it to warm up.

This feeling always hits around this time of year, and has for as long as I can remember.  I grew up in Maine, where winter sometimes seems to last until June, and we'd all get "Cabin Fever" back then even as a kid.  I wasn't the only one.

Maine native Dick Curless hit #5 on the country charts with this, back in 1965.  It's about a particularly dangerous stretch of road in northern Maine - Aroostook County, ground zero of Maine potato farming - and the danger faced by the truckers hauling the crop to Boston Town.

Strangely, I don't remember this from when I was a kid.  The song must have been pretty big up in Maine, I'd think.

A Tombstone Every Mile (Songwriter: Dan Fulkerson)
All you big and burly men who roll the trucks along
Better listen, you'll be thankful when you hear my song
You have really got it made, if you're haulin' goods
Anyplace on earth but those Hainesville Woods 
It's a stretch of road up north in Maine
That's never, ever, ever seen a smile
If they buried all the truckers lost in them Woods
There'd be a tombstone every mile
Count 'em off, there'd be a tombstone every mile 
When you're loaded with potatoes and you're headed down
You've gotta drive the Woods to get to Boston town
When it's winter up in Maine, better check it over twice
That Hainesville road is just a ribbon of ice 
It's a stretch of road up north in Maine
That's never, ever, ever seen a smile
If they buried all the truckers lost in them Woods
There'd be a tombstone every mile
Count 'em off, there'd be a tombstone every mile 
When you're talkin' to a trucker that's been haulin' goods
Down that stretch of road in Maine they call the Hainesville Woods
He'll tell you that dying and goin' down below
Won't be half as bad as driving on that road of ice and snow 
It's a stretch of road up north in Maine
That's never, ever, ever seen a smile
If they buried all the truckers lost in them Woods
There'd be a tombstone every mile
Count 'em off, there'd be a tombstone every mile

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tired of winter yet?

Me, too.

Found at By Other Means.

Practical Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Borepatch's infatuation with blued steel and walnut as a preference to modern plastic and stainless steel is something I share with him. I like older designs, although I don't own anything as old as the Martini. My current favorite is an old Palma rifle built on a 1903-A3 Springfield receiver, sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Blued steel and wood, Olympic sights, chambered in 30-06. It may not be a practical choice.

I do own an AR. It's easy to shoot reasonably accurately, it's fun to take to the range, it's easy to clean, and ammo is available. Today, it's practical.

The question of practicality, however, is both subjective and situational.

In a modern military unit with a functioning supply system, AR pattern rifles and .223 ammunition are a practical choice. Ammunition is factory made, every round made to tolerance and highly reliable. Repair parts and replacement rifles are made to modern tolerances out of quality raw materials. Keeping the army at the end of the pipeline supplied is what makes them practical.

If things fell apart, how long would ARs be the practical choice? Only as long as the ammo lasted and the rifles didn't fail. You can back up from there. Any rifle (or handgun)  that uses a brass cartridge depends on a functioning industrial base. A bolt action rifle, like a Mauser or a 1903 Springfield, is a simpler technology than an AR. But it still requires modern steel, a reasonable level of machine tools, brass cased ammo, and trained people to produce. If things fall apart, bolt action rifles outlast automatics, but only as long as the ammo lasts or the rifle remains usable. It may be more likely that an old bolt action would be repairable, but the ability to make new ones would be lost. Ammo would eventually run out and even reloaders need empty cases, primers, and smokeless powder, along with the equipment (presses, dies, scales, etc.)

I think the level of technology that survives a collapse long term is probably about the flintlock stage. The recipe for black powder, hand cast bullets, and an understanding of how to forge a barrel is what is required to make a functioning musket. A single shot flintlock is a practical weapon when anything with a higher rate of fire is gone.

If we lost the ability to forge, it's back to long bows and metal tipped arrows. With as much metal as we have lying around, I think it unlikely we would fall back beyond this point. This is also the point where spear heads, and swords, at least made from existing scrap, would persist. That's not the practical point until the rest is lost.

Back to Borepatch and Filthie, the Martini-Henry rifles the British carried at Roarke's Drift were only practical as long as they had cartridges to load. But they were absolutely practical until that point. After that, the Zulu spears were the practical weapon. The battle ended before the British ran out. Otherwise, it would have gone the way of the battle along the Little Bighorn River.

Kim DuToit used to occasionally run a post along the lines of, "If I sent you back to 1800 to go exploring, what rifle would you want to take?" The scenario would take different tacks. How much ammo is reasonable? Are you ever coming back? Do you have wagons and pack animals? What about handguns? It was an exercise in thinking about practicality. If you could take a modern weapon back, which one and why?

You saw lots of thought put into it and people came out at different places. Pump shotguns were popular choices. With an ammo selection that included everything from birdshot to high brass slugs, they were a practical choice. So were lever-actions, sometimes in intermediate cartridges that could be loaded in a matching handgun. .357 Magnum, for example, or .45Colt. Another effort to be practical. All of those ideas are only practical until the ammo was gone, then the rifle is just an un-ergonomic club.

Literal Man takes things literally


Glen Filthie has been on a roll lately, posting about a recent range day and the best chain saw tree felling of all time.  But then he puts the cherry on top by posting this:

This is Canada's (and pretty much the British Commonwealth) response to America's Springfield Trapdoor rifle. Unlike the Springfield's 45-7 cartridge, the Martini Henry is chambered in the long obsolete 577/450.

There has been a resurgence of long dead American blackpowder guns and even I have a much loved Remington rolling block single shot. My arch enemies at the rod and gun club all have Sharps and Springfields and we have a ball with them. The old British guns? They are still deader n' a dodo.

Or are they?
Man, oh, man.  Do want.  Of course, that's not new:
[The definition of impractical is] an 1883 Martini-Henry Mark III, seen today at the Gun Show.  It was "only" $500, and ammo for it is insanely expensive at $139/20 rounds (!!!).  It is centerfire so you can reload - and would want to at that price.  Boy, howdy.
Reading Glen's post reminded me of Kim du Toit's Gratuitous Gun Pictures, which captured my love affair with old rifles.  The history is the attraction, not the practicality, and Kim's writing brought that out superbly.  You want practical, get you an evil black rifle chambered for the poodle shooter.  Me, I keep coming back to the Old School ones that billow clouds of history with each trigger squeeze.

Rifles like the Martini-Henry:

The battle of Roarke's Drift ended in a blaze of Martini-Henry smoke as 156 desperate British soldiers showed what fortified positions and brass cartridges could accomplish against thousands of attackers armed with spear and shield. 

Valor was present in overwhelming numbers on both sides that day.  Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for deeds performed that day.  In that day the VC was not awarded posthumously, and so the count would have been higher had the battle occurred after the reign of the Widow of Windsor. This was the highest number of those awards  - purchased with blood, really - by a single Regiment in a single action in the history of the British Army.  The final assault was immortalized in the 1964 film Zulu.

To me, there's no black plastic that remotely offers that whiff of history.  Sure, they're entirely practical, and I'd want one in a SHTF situation.  But I'd love a Martini in the gun safe.  No AR pattern rifle ever inspired this:

Tam explains the back story of the picture.  It's worth a read.  Like I said, no AR pattern rifle would inspire something like this.

Glen writes in his post about how the cartridge is obsolete and so you'd not only want to reload, but to cast your own bullets.  Fortunately, co-blogger ASM826 has some pretty serious skills in that respect.  "Practical" is for ARs; those of us enamored of the older fare must needs adjust.  Practical isn't the point, remember.

But the history, ah the history.  Kim is back blogging, and I'd love to see him resurrect his Gun Pic List.  After all, he became famous as "the worst blogger on the Internet" (as defined by moonbats) for this (among other Double Plus Ungood writings).  It would certainly épater les bourgeois once again.  Not that he'd ever want to do that.  And maybe he'd write about old school beauties like this again.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Future is not stupid

Chris Lynch posted the most awesome picture to ever grace Al Gore's most excellent Information Superhighway:

Well played, Tesla.  Well played.

Suddenly, the future is not stupid.  At least for a moment.

Blogroll update

I don't know how I have gone all this time without linking to Miguel at Gun Free Zone, but that's fixed now.  I imagine he's a regular read for most of you, but if not he should be.

And he now has an SSL certificate so your browsing is protected.  Still has that New Certificate Smell and everything!

It seems that your house is filled with yummy snacks

Hat tip: Rick, via email.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

SR-71 Ultimate Slow Flyby

When the question usually is, "How fast will it go?", what is the answer to, "How slow will it go?"

Here's the story. Involving a WWII British airfield, a flyby with cloud cover and a low ceiling, and an SR-71 sideways at 152 knots in full afterburner.

UPDATE 7 February 2018 21:22 [Borepatch]: This is a very cool story.  I posted one a long time back, if you're a SR-71 fan.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Why Everyone Needs a Lathe - A Brigid Guest Post

For the techno-geeks out there.  This was a little something put together for Partner in Grime, sort of an early anniversary gift a while back.

Yes, it's a pen.  But it's not a pen you can buy from a store. There are a few on sale via Etsy for top dollar,  but wouldn't it be better (and appeal to the Scot in you) to present one made for less money AND the pride of presenting something hand crafted?

Look closely, that is real circuit board. You can even see little resister valves as you turn it around!
You just need to know someone with a metal lathe (hmmm. . have I seen a lathe anywhere around here?)

The kit, from Woodcraft of Indianapolis was easy, no blank cutting, drilling or gluing, simply square the end of the acrylic bank, mount on your mandrel with bushings and start turning (use Wall Street II Tropical Island bushings, they don't come with the kit).  As in any lasting relationship, you want to go SLOW.  Like your wit, keep the tools sharp and keep that initial pressure light.  Think PMS. NO, not that kind, but the Polymethyl-Methacrylate Sensitive kind.  You WILL want to take your time with the lathe.

The actual ink was replaced with a Parker assembly (a bit better quality than the kit one) and it works great, no skipping, with a heavy, expensive look and feel to it.

With patience and basic shop tools, you can make a gift that even the coolest geek would love.  They are sold out on this design but at the Indy store and the Downer's Grove one nearer to where we live but they still have a bunch of really cool ones.

Why users hate security, part XCIII


Monday, February 5, 2018

Unusual traffic

I'm not sure what's brought all the visitors from the University of Kentucky.  Lexington is the Queen Of The World's home town, and she has many family there.  I'm not sure just which post has you interested, but welcome and Go Wildcats!


What's better than Tide Pods?

Damn, that's funny.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Groundhog Day cupcakes

The Queen Of The World rocks.

The music died 59 years ago

Buddy Holly, Richie Vallens, and the Big Bopper went down on a plane in Iowa.

Johnny Cash - Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog

Here's an ode to the FBI senior leadership.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Happy Birthday, Tommy Smothers

81 years old today.  He and his brother were simply hilarious:

He was hilarious on his own, too.  He did a simply outstanding impersonation of Johnny Carson:

And oh by the way, it was a pseudo-holiday today, I'm told.

Hat tip: Queen Of The World, who is giving me all my blogfodder lately.

So the GOP says that the FBI subverted the FISA Court

These guys are the sharpest tools in the shed.

Y'know, there's a solution to this ...

Interestingly, this would work for all of us nobodies who can't get a secret memo written on our behalf by a Congressional Committee: repeal section 702 and don't replace it.  Just sayin'.