Archive for June, 2005

June 30, 2005

Horror Movie Short Fiction

It was raining and thunder ripped through the sky. Margie curled up on her couch to half-heartedly watch the evening news before it bored her to sleep. The top story was the same as it had been every night this week, the only difference was the number of victims. Tonight, it was number eight. Eight women had now been brutally tortured to death. No leads, no suspects. Only mystery and death but nothing new. Her eyes were half-closed.

Then she heard it.

A click at the door. Followed by another. Margie cautiously approached the door. She’d never heard such a sound. Click. This time the click sounded impatient and the following click came sooner than the previous. Then she saw it. The door knob began to move.

She was afraid. The door opened. There he was, tall, muscular and masked. She drew her Glock 30 and put two rounds of .45ACP in his chest. He hit the floor. She called the cops.

The End.

My horror movie wouldn’t sell. Too short. The premise of horror movies seems to always be a group of teen-something attractive people, who happen to be clueless, fall prey to some guy with a knife. And all those clueless people are pussies. M. Night Shyamalan thinks you’re a pussy too. He needs you to be or his movies would be shorter (I’m of the opinion that they do need to be shorter). I’ve seen a couple of his films and just think What the Hell? In Signs, the farmer takes his family into the basement to wait out the alien invasion. A farmer doesn’t have a gun? Or a stick? A big rock? Or any sort of weapon on his farm? The best he’s got is a baseball bat and water? He doesn’t even take the bat with him into the basement. Stupid.

Or The Village, which I couldn’t even finish because it was so damn slow, was the same way. The big red things come for you and you hide? No musket? Unbreakable and Sixth Sense were good, though.

Or the teen slasher films. Honestly, nobody has a gun and holes up to make a stand? Or grabs their gun to make way to their car to leave? I guess if they do, it becomes an action movie.

Future RINO Sightings

Mark is taking entries for the second RINO Sightings. Raging RINOs show your work!

This just in

Nashville to enforce existing gun laws. I’ve been covering Project Safe Neighborhoods in Knoxville for a while. I generally approve of the program but wonder why such enforcement requires a special grant.

Cool

US gun sales are up! Why do I have to read about that at a foreign news source? No American outlets want to point that out?

Guns and writing

The Anarchangel sets would-be authors straight on guns.

More Stupid Range Officer Tricks

In light of my post about my treatment at a range, Denise details her own bad experience at their local range.

Attention gun owners: We’re all in this together. Knock that shit off.

Like you and me, only better

OK, they’re actually nothing like you and me but:

State records show the Attorney General’s Office hasn’t collected more than a quarter-million dollars in campaign finance fines in nearly four years.

The unpaid fines, many of them $10,000 each, were levied by the Registry of Election Finance. The Registry forwards to the Attorney General all uncollected fines after 30 days.

Attorney General spokeswoman Sharon Curtis-Flair says the office sends notices to violators and sometimes offers payment plans. If the fine is unresolved, Curtis-Flair says it goes to Chancery Court.

Noticeably missing from the story is the people who owe the fines. What gives? Which campaigns violated the rules and were fined? Why are the offenders not being arrested? Inquiring minds want to know.

Something you don’t see every day

Heading into the office this morning, I saw a news crew on the side of the road and glanced. They were interviewing an elderly black fellow who was carrying a large Confederate Flag (which means he’s racist).

I think it was that local black Confederate guy.

Update: Bubba grabbed a picture. And links to background info.

It’s coming, Kali

Speier’s repeal of doggie protections passed committee:

SACRAMENTO State Senator’s Jackie Speier’s dog law bill passed the Assembly Local Government Committee today on a four-to-two vote.

Current state law prohibits breed specific legislation. But Speier’s bill — S-B 861 — would allow local governments to place restrictions on breeders of certain types of dogs and allow local governments to enact spaying and neutering programs.

The one thing that made me think California wasn’t wholly evil is probably going away.

June 29, 2005

Ultra-libertarian?

Rob Huddleston, who I met this past weekend, is a good guy. He’s thoughtful and quite articulate. Sure, we disagree on a few things but people can’t agree on everything. Rob, in reference to me (note to Rob: if you call me out on something, at least link to me), says:

. . . SayUncle, whose ultra-libertarianism I simply cannot understand, as I don’t see the good in threatening to burn the American flag if it is outlawed, not voting, refusing to recognize that one can be a “conservative” and still not be a “Republican,” and pushing special homosexual rights, but that’s just me.

If you think I’m an ultra-libertarian, you’ve not been paying attention. I want government to be small, the market to be as free as is feasibly possible, and constructionist constitutional law. None of that penumbra crap for me. Say, doesn’t that make me, like, a conservative?

I see nothing conservative about expanding government’s power to regulate desecrating a flag. Such an amendment is an affront to free speech. Sure, it’s the speech of morons, usually, but there is a right to be a moron. We can’t legislate brains.

I have never advocated not voting and I pretty much vote in every election. In 2004, I wasted my vote on the ultra-libertarian Badnarik in protest to the policies of the Republicans. I pretty much voted Republican until 2002. They need to win me back. I have advocated not voting for certain Republicans and not voting for certain Democrats. But never not voting.

I have no idea where he got the idea that I refused to recognize that one can be a “conservative” and still not be a “Republican,”. And I’m not sure what that means. I consider myself fairly conservative on most issues but socially liberal. I did comment when we met that Republicans these days are not necessarily conservative.

And I have never pushed special homosexual rights.

So, I have no idea where Rob is getting these ideas about me (except the flag thing) and need some clarification.

Excellent!

The Lost Liberty Hotel is taking reservations. Many people making such a pledge would definitely contribute to the local economy and promote economic development.

Libertarian movie?

Could be.

Kelo floodgates

Radley rounds up cities pouncing on the Kelo decision and snatching up the primo property. Of note:

Memphis, Tenn. — The Riverfront Development Corp. is planning a massive, 5-mile development effort, including the use of eminent domain to claim a four-block section from the current owners for a mixed-use development. “[Kelo] definitely gives the city more tools in its tool box for dealing with the legal issues surrounding that piece of property,” RDC president Benny Lendermon told the Commercial Appeal.

Memphis? That might explain something.

Administrative note

My excellent hosting service, Hosting Matters, is moving me to a new server today. This may affect somethings and I know at least one comment has been eaten so far. Apologies in advance for delays and lost comments.

Not taking any crap

Junior is now at the age where she no longer requires the little seat in the bathtub. We just let her hang out in there (supervised, of course) and she can crawl through the water, splash and carry on. She really enjoys bath time. But the first time dad (or, as he’s also known: dadadadadadadadada) let her do this, he got a little surprise.

After I took her out of the seat, she was busy splashing and playing. Suddenly, she stands up in the tub, looks me in the eye, lets out a very audible grunt, and then I heard that distinct sound: ploop! She made a brownie. I’ve changed countless diapers but in the tub, it was different. In the controlled setting known as the changing table, I have infinite resources at my disposal to handle this situation: a work area with removable covers, wipes, diapers, and a variety of other tools for poop-related program activities. This was something much more. It involved evoking the all-powerful. Calling forth the all-knowing, all-seeing mom (or, as she’s also known: mamamamamama). Honey, I yelled, got a minute?

She had a minute. She came in and I was holding Junior away from the offending poopie, which floated with a surprisingly delicate grace. I explained that there was a shot bunny in the tub and pointed. She says Get it out before she steps on it. I said I would but asked her to hold Junior with the thought that, while she held her, I’d go get a towel, rubber glove, tissue or aquarium net to fish out the offending dookie. Without a word or hesitation, the Mrs. reaches in (with her bare, uncovered hands) and grabs the floater and puts it in the toilet.

Now, I’m new to this dad thing and, despite loving my daughter, am unwilling to grab floating excrement with my bare hands. The Mrs. has no problem with it. I’m not sure who the weird one here is. No matter how much I love someone, I’m not cool with handling their turds.

Guns and baloney

Via Phelps, we learn that James Wolcott is a dumb ass. Note: I don’t really thing Mr. Wolcott is a dumbass but since he spent a good portion of the piece insulting Glenn Reynolds in particularly childish ways, I figured I’d show him a faster way to insult people without boring readers. I guess it might be fun to refer to him as James Doodiehead or James Stupidface so that I maintain the level of childish discourse he’s comfortable with. Says Wolcott:

Because according to a CDC study from 1998, there were 19 gun deaths in Japan, 54 in England and Wales, 151 in Canada.

As compared to 11,789 in the good old US of A.

That is the metric he places in Reynolds’ mouth. Reynolds, of course, merely quotes Heinlein: An armed society is a polite society. When you take someone else’s rather subjective point (i.e., what polite society means) and ascribe your own measure to it, it’s easy to use whatever stats at your disposal to discredit it. To wit:

Note also in 1998 per Wolcott’s own source, gun deaths were actually over 30,000. He excluded suicide and accidents. However, he fails to mention robbery, rape, assault and other violent crimes that may be affected by gun ownership. When you look at overall violent crime, England and Wales, Canada and Australia have higher rates than the US. Their rates are actually rising while the US violent crime rates are dropping. England even has higher gun crime rates. So, by making up a criteria to define polite society, it’s easy to show that we’re far more polite.

Another asinine statement he makes is:

“An armed society is a polite society.” Think about that. Think about societies where the adult men routinely pack and tote arms.

Afghanistan. Yemen. The badlands of northern Pakistan (Bin Laden Country). The Sunni Triangle. Beautiful downtown Mogadishu.

Do these regions and cultures leap out at you as polite societies? Places where you could safely stroll for a nightly constitutional and enjoy vigorous differences of opinion that wouldn’t break out in a misunderstanding between AK-47s?

Why not mention Switzerland? Where they have compulsory gun ownership and a lower murder rate? In fact, citizens are issued military rifles by their government. Or Finland where there is a much higher rate of machine gun ownership? In the US, it’s almost impossible to own an AK-47. Those activities are highly regulated here. They also have a lower murder rate. Are those countries polite? Beats me, never been there. The reason he doesn’t mention them is because, like all good journalists/editors, he merely found the most convenient anti-gun group and quoted them. Parrots repeat.

And, of course, what about the 46 states that allow citizens to carry handguns? The number that will soon be 48 when Nebraska and Kansas come around – and they will. Are they polite? The prevalence of gun ownership doesn’t tie directly to violent crime or murder. And it damn sure doesn’t tie to politeness.

Why are Americans a murderous lot? I don’t know. But many of the violent crimes in the states are inner-city, black on black violence (here and here). I guess poverty is a factor.

He concludes with:

No, I think I’ll stick with my illusions about too many guns equating to too many stupid, needless, tragic, preventable violent deaths and maimings.

Admitting it’s an illusion is the first step. After all, not even your wrongly quoted CDC thinks gun laws affect crime.

More weapons lies

The DC Examiner would like you to believe that the law to repeal DC’s 30 year old gun ban would allow people to have machine guns:

Congress received an earful from District officials Tuesday in a committee hearing on two bills that would repeal the nearly 30-year-old ban on handguns and automatic weapons in the nation’s capital.

Automatic weapons have been regulated federally since 1934. And since 1986

Update: In comments, Publicola notes and CounterTop concurs, that DC code is the liar:

If I recall D.C.’s laws call certain firearms (such as one capable of firing more than twelve times without manually reloading) machineguns. So if I’m remembering the deifnitions they use in their assinine law correctly, then making Marlin model 60’s available again would in fact be putting “machineguns” in circulation.

Travels

You need to read this.

Weekly Check on the Bias

Jeff has the latest on media coverage of guns.

June 28, 2005

The Self-Hewn Gallows

Heh.

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter’s land.

Justice Souter’s vote in the “Kelo vs. City of New London” decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

When gunnies don’t know laws

This weekend, Les, Rich, a friend, and I went to the Volunteer Rifle and Pistol Club‘s John Sevier Range. I’ve gone there for a few years and was a member (let it go once Junior was born since I don’t go as much now) and never had a problem. Then, this weekend, it was as if the elderly range officers were trying to run us off. I guess us young punks with our assault weapons, 90 round AR-15 magazines, and homemade guns are not to be trusted. At one point, we had three benches and three guns going (an AR, an SKS, and a 1911) and, quite coincidentally, we all let off a volley of rounds at the same time. One of the guys at the range (who was not the range officer but was chummy with the officers) made a comment about how it sounded like a war zone. Of course it did, it’s a firing range.

And that guy and the range officers kept coming by and criticizing, offering advice, and generally making us feel unwelcome. At one point, one of the range officers went to Les and told him that he had to put the bayonet on his SKS away. Of course, the bayonet on the SKS is basically permanently attached so he folded it down. The range officer then said, and I am not making this up, that it was illegal to have a bayonet on a gun. I informed it wasn’t and that just about every SKS on the market comes stock with one. He then made the equally ludicrous comment that it had to be under a certain number of inches to be legal. Les just stepped away, shaking his head. I didn’t say another word. It was clear the guy had no idea what he was talking about. Les later looked at me and said he just didn’t think it was worth it to argue. He was right. Supposedly, like the Mosin-Nagant, you’re better off sighting an SKS in with the bayonet unfolded because it helps with weight distribution.

The also have this new rule that all guns must be shot from the bench. That includes handguns. That didn’t make the day as fun as it could have been as the 90 rounder is a bit unwieldy from the bench and you don’t get range time in the standing position. And it pretty much sucks for shooting handguns.

After a while though, the range guys started warming up to us. Particularly since we gave them a couple hundred rounds of 5.56X45 and .45ACP brass. And, you know, we were there for a while and didn’t kill anyone.

Note to you older gunnies: When the younger folks show up with their evil black assault weapons and want to shoot, welcome them. Make them feel wanted and at home. Otherwise, you’re not encouraging anyone to take up shooting, particularly at your range.

I’ve not decided if I’ll be back to the John Sevier Range yet.

All I will say about the flag desecration amendment

I would never burn a flag unless it was illegal to do so.

Piracy

SayUncle’s resident troublemaker Hellbent links to this article which notes that the legal structure used in the past to address piracy can be adapted to the terror war:

INTERNATIONAL LAW LACKS A DEFINITION FOR TERRORISM as a crime. According to Secretary General Kofi Annan, this lack has hampered “the moral authority of the United Nations and its strength in condemning” the scourge.

But attempts to provide a definition have failed because of terrorists’ strangely hybrid status in the law. They are neither ordinary criminals nor recognized state actors, so there is almost no international or domestic law dealing with them. This gives an out to countries that harbor terrorists and declare them “freedom fighters.” It also lets the United States flout its own constitutional safeguards by holding suspects captive indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay. The overall situation is, in a word, anarchic.

Interesting read.

Police Survey

I was a bit surprised by some of this:

Gun Control: With regard to private citizens owning firearms for sport or self-defense, 93.6 percent of the respondents supported civilian gun-ownership rights. Ninety-six percent of the police chiefs and sheriffs believe criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources and 92.2 percent revealed they hadn’t arrested anyone for violation of the so-called “waiting period” laws. When asked if citizens concealed-weapons permits would reduce violent crime, 63.1 percent said yes.

War on Drugs: Forty-one percent of police commanders surveyed said they believe marijuana should be available for medicinal purposes and 68.9 percent said they’ve seen an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and other Schedule II drugs. Only 22 percent of police commanders believe the war on drugs has been successful, while 28 percent said they favored decriminalization of “soft drugs” such as marijuana.

Well, surprised by the drug thing. I’ve long known police support gun rights.

Kelo effects

I had hoped that, if nothing else, Kelo would serve as a wake up call to everyone regarding just how too-big-for-their-britches the .gov had become. It seems some are getting the message. However, some are pouncing:

Ravenwood reports that Freeport is already drawing up papers and going shopping and that DC is too.

Radley has a round up of other governments pouncing on other people’s property.

Quite depressing.

And I think this is the right idea.

However, the ray of sunshine is that politicians are waking up and realizing that this issue is important to people. Donald Sensing thinks a draft state constitutional amendment is a good start. I feel obligated to point out that the fifth amendment did not stop the Supreme Court.

First, compliments to Bill Hobbs for getting responses from local politicos. Here’s some:

State Senate Candidate Ed Bryant, in a blog interview at Bill Hobbs blog, responds to Kelo:

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Kelo v. New London takes a radical turn on the important issue of private property rights. The ruling is a blow to our Constitution’s 5th Amendment, and I believe it is devastating to private property rights. The court got it wrong!

Excellent. Also, Hobbs posted Hilleary’s response and he is against it as well. Kurita is also against. Good. SayUncle applauds these three.

Ford, however, has just ended his political career:

“I’ve always believed individual rights are a big thing….. but, I find value in the court’s decision. As long as people are compensated fairly, I can appreciate the decision. Certain areas in our state are crying for development, if this decision helps – it’s a positive.”

I don’t think you believe individual rights are a big thing at all. On the national level, Eugene Volokh notes that Senator Cornyn has a bill that would limit takings, though that limit would be rather modest in that it affects Eminent Domain exercised using federal funds.

Update: Politicos in Alaska are moving to limit Eminent Domain there.

More on the Drug Tax

I’ve discussed Tennessee’s asinine illegal drug tax many times before. It’s only use seems to be taking people’s property without due process of law and there are reports that the tax stamps aren’t actually being sold. Tennessee Rep Stacey Campfield alerts us that:

Tennessee Center for Policy Research has a new study out today which claims that the “Drug Tax” is fiscally wasteful and legally flawed.

It’s also, of course, an infringement on constitutional rights. Here’s a link to the release, which states:

A report released today by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) finds that from January 1-June 21, 2005, Tennessee’s Unauthorized Substances Tax (UST) cost taxpayers nearly $1.5 million more than it generated in revenue.

The UST also has troubling Constitutional implications for Tennesseans, infringing upon two separate Fifth Amendment protections.

The tax, which was created to generate revenue for the state general fund and state and local law enforcement agencies, requires that individuals in possession of illegal drugs or alcohol pay a tax by purchasing a drug stamp or face severe fines if arrested. Purchasing a drug stamp does not provide immunity from criminal drug possession or trafficking charges.

If an individual arrested on drug charges cannot pay the fines resulting from failure to pay the UST immediately, the state can seize his or her property without the burden of establishing guilt in a court of law.

This year, the Department of Revenue has assessed $14.9 million in tax penalties for drugs on which taxes were not paid. However, the state has collected only $480,007 of that amount through property seized and fines levied as a result of drug busts. Since three quarters of the fines collected as a result of the UST are returned to the local law enforcement agencies that make the drug arrest, the tax has generated only $120,002 in new revenue for the state.

The cost of implementing the tax and operating the bureaucracy necessary to administer the tax over the same period reached $1.58 million.

Here’s the full report.

Protection Racket

The Supreme Court ruled police cannot be sued for how they enforce restraining orders, ending a lawsuit by a Colorado woman who claimed police did not do enough to prevent her estranged husband from killing her three young daughters.

It’s not really surprising as other courts have ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect you and, of course, they can’t be everywhere. Paper protection doesn’t work and isn’t worth the paper its written on, unless that paper is ATF Form 4473.

More on Zimbabwe

The withdrawing of gun licenses I mentioned yesterday is arousing suspicion:

The government has withdrawn firearm licences with immediate effect, raising suspicion that it is already working on countering an armed revolt.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena on Sunday urged people with automatic weapons at their homes to surrender them at the nearest police stations.

These weapons include all types of rifles and an assortment of pistols. Tension has been high in Zimbabwe since the start of operation Murambatsvina, which has seen over a million people being made homeless by a senseless exercise orchestrated by Zanu (PF).

June 27, 2005

AOL News

While I’m honored to have been selected link worthy by AOL News BlogZone, they link to a post that is old and doesn’t say what they say it says.

Quote of the day

The newer, angrier Rich:

The threat is no longer external; we know the terrorists cannot beat us. They can hurt us; they can make us angry; but they can’t beat us. The enemy that can beat us is among us, and no, I’m not talking about liberals. Yes they are a big part of the problem, but the Republicans have quite a bit to answer for themselves. The divide is no longer one of left and right, but authoritarianism and libertarianism, and friends and neighbors, the authoritarians have damn near won the war before we woke up enough to fight the first battle.