Archive for December, 2004

December 31, 2004

On Diversity

Some happy new year gun porn follows.

A while back, Kim du Toit posted some gun picks highlighting them as Diversity. He seems to be lacking in the diversity department (but makes up for it in the quantity department) as there’s not enough stuff in the black, plastic and aluminum department. So, I’ll pick up the slack (all pics taken at the Uncle Land Work Bench where he is a devout practitioner of the WECSOG):

Mr. Blasty (version 2.0):

Mr. Plinkie:

This guy has no name, feel free to suggest one:

And the carry department:

Maybe I need to get more diverse too?

Not Buying American

John notes some cool gizmos the military is checking out. He also comments:

Speaking of the US – is it me, or are all the new small arms in the US arsenal being designed by Europeans? Beretta (the M92 pistol), Benelli (the M1014), FN (the M240 and M249 and now the SCAR), Heckler and Koch (the XM8). Is the US firearms industry so moribund that we can’t compete? Am I missing something because I’m so much more focused on the old stuff vice the new?

It seems to me that the only real American firm in the military game (aside from a few high dollar custom shops) is Colt. They have been for decades. Colt has pretty much told the civilian rifle market in the US that it doesn’t need them. Other manufacturers in the US are more inclined to cater to us civilians. Some of the larger manufacturers essentially customized their rifles for post ban markets and wrote off the military. This also impacted the military as illustrated by the fact that, prior to the expiration of the assault weapons ban, there was a shortage of regular capacity magazines for US troops.

The non-US firms offer a few items to the civilian market but generally try to score military gigs since they tend to be located in countries that aren’t gun friendly (note to H&K: if you make a civie version of the XM-8, I’ll take a couple). You sell to who will buy, I suppose. If the US military adopts the XM8, Colt will seriously have to change their business model. With the recent trend of police forces in the US essentially becoming militarized, some US firms may start catering their rifles to law enforcement. The fact is, however, that there is no motivation for US firms to get in the military rifle game (particularly designing new ones) because they make their money selling to civilians. Gun bans hamper technology.

In the pistol game, most American pistols suck in my opinion. I don’t like 1911s, or S&Ws, or Rugers. Glocks, Sigs and H&Ks pretty much rule as far as I’m concerned. The Feds and police seem to agree with me since they stock up on Glocks and Sigs.

Told you so

Yesterday, I called it.

I didn’t know it would reach that far

A few nights ago, I was out in the yard playing a game with Politically Incorrect Dog. In this game, PID chases a laser from a laser pointer around the yard. Good exercise for him, minimal effort for me. Now, I may have inadvertently aimed it skyward a couple of times but I had no idea this would happen:

Authorities are investigating a mysterious laser beam that was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet traveling at more than 8,500 feet.

The beam appeared Monday when the plane was about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the FBI said.

“It was in there for several seconds like (the plane) was being tracked,” FBI agent Robert Hawk said.

Sorry, guys. We were just playing.

Campaign Finance Reform In Action

I thought it was supposed to decrease the effect of money on politics. Apparently not:

Lobbyists spent more than $1 billion in the first half of 2004 promoting their positions in front of the president and Congress, putting the nation on track for its first $2 billion lobbying year.

According to an analysis released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Political Money Line campaign finance tracking service, $1.06 billion was spent between January and June on lobbying the executive branch and Congress.

That is an increase over the same time periods in 2003 ($963 million), 2002 ($859 million), 2001 ($791 million) and 2000 ($765 million).

The average spending per month was $176 million. Spending usually increases in the second half of the year, the group said.

December 30, 2004

Prediction

I predict this blog will be popular soon.

Little help

Given that I practice WECSOG, I am prone to problems. Last night, I (being an idiot) completely disassembled my Crosman 1077 pellet rifle. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyone know how to get it back together? These things are more complex than real guns. While it’s apart, if anyone knows of any mods I can make to up the output a bit, that’d be great too.

Christmas cheer

Heh!

When city planners attack

This time, in Kentucky. A city plans to take commercial buildings, vacant lots, and private residences and turn them into more private residences. That is not public use. Apparently, this is also to preserve a historic area. Hats off to Commissioner Moorman:

Commissioner Bernie Moorman agreed the plan was a good one, but voted against it because it will allow the city to force the sale of property using the power of eminent domain — which he described as a “cruel and not necessary process.”

“The plan has good intentions, but it’s an evil process by which to execute the plan,” Moorman said.

Evil, indeed.

Doctors and guns

This article, which quotes verbatim some thing I got in email about a half dozen times, links to Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws. The Docs published Ten Myths About Gun Control:

The proliferation of guns in this country is responsible for an increase in the violent crime rate

The proliferation of gun ownership in this country is responsible for an alarming increase in fatal gun accidents involving children

The proliferation of guns is responsible for an increase in suicides

Strict gun control laws have been successful in lowering crime in the UK and Canada

Criminals prefer ‘assault weapons’ and cheap handguns sometimes called ‘Saturday Night Specials’

Few people actually use guns for self-defense

Gun control laws take guns out of the hands of criminals and lower violent crime

You, and your family and friends, are 43 times more likely to be shot by a gun kept in the home than is a criminal intruder

Ordinary citizens (non-police, non-military) cannot effectively use firearms for self-defense and are more likely to get injured using a gun for self-defense than not

Law-abiding citizens cannot be trusted to safely carry concealed weapons in public

Follow the link for details. It’s no secret the AMA is anti-gun so it’s good to see some doctors that aren’t.

The site also defines what they mean by sensible gun laws.

More Taser Stuff

A forensic pathologist says that Tasers may not be as safe as the manufacturer and police would have you believe:

“It is my opinion, as a forensic pathologist, that a stun gun (as a device that can deliver an electrical current to the human body) has the potential to contribute to death when there is either significant coexistent natural disease, such as heart disease or drug toxicity of the body, or if the device is used in a manner other than according to manufacturers’ instructions,” wrote Dr. Cameron Snider in a recent letter to The Daily Advertiser.

In other news, another Taser death.

News we already know

Not that many criminals get their guns from gun shows:

The study noted that the number of criminals who obtained guns from retail outlets was dwarfed by the number of those who picked up their arms through means other than legal purchases. The report was the result of interviews with more than 18,000 state and federal inmates conducted nationwide. It found that nearly 80 percent of those interviewed got their guns from friends or family members, or on the street through illegal purchases.

Less than 9 percent were bought at retail outlets and only seven-tenths of 1 percent came from gun shows. So much for the much-ballyhooed closing of the “gun-show loophole.”

Happy New Year

Since this is my last official day of the year at the office, and we know nobody reads/writes blogs unless they’re at work, I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year. We’re trying something different tomorrow night and we’re heading to the aquarium in Gatlinburg to see what their “Dance with the sharks” thing is all about. That ought to be more fun than rolling over at 11:59, watching the clock change to 12, and then going back to sleep.

And then we can come back home, enjoy the rest of the weekend, and make all kinds of resolutions, like I resolve to win the lottery. And more than $4 this time too. Of course, I probably won’t win until I’m 94, like this woman, because it will take me that long to figure out you really do have to play to win.

Eight Years

Holding myself out as a small L libertarian means that I do see the need for some services to be provided by the government. After all, I pay for them. My list isn’t very large. I expect:

Navigable roads

To not be invaded

If my house catches fire, I expect someone to come put it out

My home to not be located next to a bomb factory

If an intruder invades my home, I expect the police to show up, remove the body, and recommend a good method for removing blood from the carpet; or a good cleaning service

You know, the little things. But there are also other services that I specifically pay government and quasi-government agencies for as I use them. One of those services is water. Good ol’ H2O. I like having water. In an effort to cut costs, the local utility in Blount County has decided to stop fluoridating the water supply. They say it’s for other reasons but word on the street is it’s about money. I can’t imagine it costs that much. Some folks oppose fluoridated water stating that it is medicating the water. Seems odd to me.

Today, Junior went to the pediatrician to get shots. This already horrifying experience was made even more so by the doc telling the Mrs. that Junior needs to take a fluoride supplement since the county no longer fluoridates the water. She has to take these supplements for eight years. Yes, for eight years. Unbelievable.

Tennessee’s War Tax on Drugs

Bill Hobbs notes that Tennessee will start taxing illegal drugs next year (I’ve mentioned this before). Says Bill:

This actually works – and is a pretty good idea, though it sounds a bit odd at first. The law will require sellers of illegal drugs to pay excise taxes, just legal businesses. Most drug-pushers won’t comply, of course, but the law can be used to assess back taxes on dealers who are caught by law enforcement, adding an additional financial penalty to their crimes while also bringing in a few extra dollars for the state budget.

Depends on what works means. Will it curb illegal drug sales? Nope. Will it generate tax revenue? Unlikely. What will it do? It will give prosecutors another criminal charge (tax evasion) to apply against drug dealers. It will also give the powers that be another justification for seizing assets.

Mr. Blasty Update

Because I was contemplating getting one of these (still am), I decided to get a new upper receiver for Mr. Blasty. I met a fellow AR guy on AR15.com and traded the 7.62MM upper and mags for a light weight 5.56MM upper and some mags. I dig it. That light weight barrel is amazing. I bet the thing weighs less than 7 pounds. Pics later.

Fun With FedMath

Figures on Government Spending and Debt:

Figures on government spending and debt (last six digits are eliminated). The government’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Total public debt subject to limit Dec. 28 7,475,601
Statutory debt limit 8,184,000
Total public debt outstanding Dec. 28 7,536,268
Operating balance Dec. 28 30,513
Interest fiscal 2005 thru Nov. 33,336
Interest same period 2004 32,604
Deficit fiscal 2005 thru Nov. 115,173
Total deficit fiscal 2004 412,284
Receipts fiscal 2005 thru Nov. 271,447
Receipts same period 2004 254,032
Outlays fiscal 2005 thru Nov. 386,620
Outlays same period 2004 366,549
Gold assets in Dec. 11,043

Emphasis added. Of course, these figures are probably useless.

Chai Vang pleads not guilty

In an update to the Wisconsin hunter murders:

A man accused of opening fire on hunters who confronted him about trespassing, killing six of them and wounding two others, pleaded not guilty to the shootings Wednesday.

Chai Soua Vang, 36, of St. Paul, Minn., waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will stand trial on six counts of murder and three of attempted murder.

Judge Norman Yackel continued bail for Vang, a Hmong immigrant, at $2.5 million. A trial date was tentatively set for Sept. 12.

Damn

Sure, I’ve been Instalanched a few times. But this poor guy. Behold the power of a Drudgelanche. He got more hits yesterday then this blog has ever.

December 29, 2004

Follow Up

You might remember the post I made when I first came to SayUncle. Well, here’s the latest from the FAA. So far, no damage has been done after several attempts, though the FAA claims there’s still a threat. I’ll stand by the Air Force’s claim that it’s just an attempt to cause a panic until more proof is brought forward.

Damn You, TiVo

One year and nine days ago (this will be important later – I think it’s called foreshadowing), TiVo changed my life. We got it and it truly is the greatest invention since Al Gore invented err took the initiative in creating the Internet. TiVo is amazing in that the Uncle family has entertainment on its schedule and not the schedule of network television.

Yesterday, TiVo died. The receiver croaked. It was a sad day. We’re having services for it Tuesday (when the new one shows up). We can still watch the stuff it recorded but it won’t receive a satellite signal. TiVo came with a one year warranty. It’s a pity it didn’t die eight days sooner. Now, I am out $50 for a new receiver. The good thing is that we upgraded from 40 hours of recording time to 80 hours.

Even though the repair guy said that in all the time he’d been doing this that only one other TiVo croaked, I wonder if this crash after warranty is a conspiracy.

Same thing happened with both mine and the Mrs. cellular (yes, I know they’re not really cellular anymore) phones. We had contracts for two years on our old phones. Within literally days of the contract expiring, our cell phones would no longer hold a charge for more than a day and the automobile chargers would hardly work at all (the outlet charger would keep the phone going for a day). Also, we lost reception at our house. As good little consumers, we went out and bought new phones (now we have fancy new camera phones with tons of bells and whistles), a new service plan with a different company, and ported our numbers (which was easy to do, I highly recommend it).

And one more example is that the same thing happened with our coffee pot. We had a fancy coffee pot that cost about $150 and had all sorts of electronic timers and brew settings. It did it all. It was a popular name brand and I really liked it. It died shortly after the warranty.

I’m starting to wonder if electronics are programmed to self-destruct shortly after their warranty’s give out.

AP Getting Sued

Via The Trainer, Navy SEALS are suing the Associated Press:

Six Navy SEALs and two of their wives filed a lawsuit against The Associated Press and one of its reporters today for allegedly revealing their identities in photos published in early December, according to a press release from the plaintiffs.

The complaint, filed in California Superior Court, alleges that AP reporter Seth Hettena obtained a photograph in a personal Web site maintained by one of the wives of the Navy SEALs, which contains personal photographs.

[snip]

“There was no need for the AP to publish the faces of the SEALs,” Huston, the Morrison & Foerster partner who is heading the plaintiffs’ legal team, said in a statement. “They added nothing to the value of the story. In fact, the SEALs showed more respect for the insurgents and terrorists that they were apprehending by obscuring their faces than the AP did for the Navy SEALs who were in Iraq risking their lives,” he added.

I’m not sure, but I think SEALS are sort of top secret. Maybe even identifying them at all could be illegal.

Odd Jobs

Les is asking people what sort of odd (as in unusual) jobs they’ve had. Me personally: professional bungee jumper, worked in a prison, and I used to inventory nukes.

Hey man, pass the unpasteurized milk

As I’ve said before (specifically regarding helmet laws and seat belt laws), you have a right to be stupid:

It isn’t quite like bootlegging moonshine, but Kate Heidorn, a 41-year-old mother of two, has to keep her supplier a secret when she talks about the illegal liquid she craves and claims she needs.

Because in Tennessee, getting raw, unpasteurized, straight-from-the-cow milk is illegal. And some say harmful.

Heidorn’s source could be fined up to $500 or face a misdemeanor criminal charge if the state Department of Agriculture discovered which farmer was selling her unpasteurized milk.

Apparently, raw milk has been linked to illness and death. I wouldn’t drink it personally but see no need why others shouldn’t be allowed. Farmers do it all the time. If you’ve ever had milk straight from the cow, then you know it’s warm and icky (at least I think so).

Today’s idiot

I’m not surprised that a moron like James K. Herron would write a letter like this (scroll down to the 7th letter):

We have a well-organized body of arms bearers in the National Rifle Association — 2 million or so dues-payers, according to what I have read about NRA membership. Why not call upon these strong patriots to volunteer to serve in Iraq? They should require minimum training in the use of the arms; no one would argue or contest their use of automatic weapons (or even bigger and more powerful guns —- even rocket launchers). They wouldn’t have to be paid, being pure volunteers, the U.S. manpower problems would be solved and last, but not least, the Pentagon could devote more of its budget to “Star Wars” and no-bid contracts for Halliburton and not have to waste it on armored vehicles for our regular Army.

I am, however, surprised that a newspaper would print such rubbish.

Note to James: if you’re going to write something so asinine, you should probably change to an unlisted phone number.

90% is unacceptable

Looks like the New Jersey Smart Gun works, or so they tell you. What actually happens is:

Sixteen electronic computerized sensors embedded in the gun’s grip distinguished known from unknown users. “We’ve only just begun and we’re pleased to say that we’re getting 90 percent reliability when scanning users,” said Sebastian.

No thanks.

Polishing Turds

This year, there were fewer murders in the murder capital of the world.

On blowing stuff up

Phelps fisks the rules of fireworks safety. I’ve been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. Me and the buds used to light bottle rockets a gross at a time with a blowtorch. Or drop as many fireworks as possible inside a cinder-block to see if we could blow the block apart. And we’d shoot them at each other. Once we ran out of fireworks, we’d typically bring out firearms. We would not shoot those at each other. Good times. It is a wonder all of us made it to adulthood.

Update: Turns out, the Brady Campaign and the Million err 28 Mom March are on to me.

Quote of the day

Me:

When I was a teen, I was a Democrat, mostly to annoy the parents. In college, I was a Republican, mostly to annoy the smelly hippies I had classes with. Now, I am neither, mostly to annoy my readers.

I forgot I said that. Pretty funny, if I do say so myself.

The Logic of Tax Cuts

I’ve always been stumped by something. Every time a Republican proposes a tax cut, a helpful Democrat or two will point out that such a tax cut will take money from the poor and give it to the rich.

Well, I finally decided to perform a mathematical analysis, and you know what? It turns out the Democrats are right! Let me show you.

First, we know that Give and Take are opposites. In logical terms,
Give(x) = !Take(x) [1]
Take(x) = !Give(x) [2]

Further, let us denote the proper tax state as the opposite of a Tax Cut:
Taxes = !TaxCut [3]

Of course, we all know that the proper role of taxes is to take from the rich and to give to the poor:
Taxes = Take(Rich) AND Give(Poor)

Now we do a substitution:
!TaxCut = Take(Rich) AND Give(Poor) (using [3])

Finally, we negate each term:
!(!TaxCut) = !Take(Rich) AND !Give(Poor)

And a final substitution:
TaxCut = Give(Rich) AND Take(Poor)

QED.
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