Archive for October, 2006

October 31, 2006

Fun With Demographic Maps

Time has a map of the United States with population density histograms.

Voting Machines Are Awful

anybody else get the feeling that voting machines aren’t quite ready for actual use? The early voting in Florida is done on machines and the machines are revolting.

Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said it’s not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly.

Well, at least the mistakes cut both ways so it will average out. Oh wait, every instance they’ve found has skewed votes for the Republican candidate.

Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up.

But at least somebody is monitoring the problem, right? Um…

[T]hey don’t know how widespread the machine problems are because there’s no process for poll workers to quickly report minor issues and no central database of machine problems.

Setting aside the Diebold conspiracy theories, the machines just don’t work very well. At least with paper ballots, there’s a paper trail.

Maybe there’s hope

Speaking of what government does, how’s this:

When two unshaven men wearing camouflage pants and plaid shirts walked into Cappy’s Chowder House in Camden on Thursday afternoon, owner Johanna Tutone thought she was about to feed a pair of hungry duck hunters.
After the men presented badges identifying themselves as federal fish-and-wildlife agents and said they had come for her 150-year-old stuffed gull, Tutone concluded it had to be a prank.

“I thought they were joking,” she said. “I thought any minute someone would come up the stairs and say, ‘Gotcha!'”
But the men were serious. Based on a complaint they had received from a customer, they told her they had come to confiscate the stuffed Greater Black Backed Gull that has been perched upstairs in her restaurant for more than 20 years, mounted under glass and surrounded by an ornate frame.

But, maybe, people are paying attention:

A quarter century after the Reagan revolution and a dozen years after Republicans vaulted into control of Congress, a new CNN poll finds most Americans still agree with the bedrock conservative premise that, as the Gipper put it, “government is not the answer to our problems — government is the problem.”

The poll released Friday also showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans perceive, correctly, that the size and cost of government have gone up in the past four years, when Republicans have had a grip on the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House.

Discretionary spending grew from $649 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $968 billion in fiscal year 2005, an increase of $319 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Queried about their views on the role of government, 54 percent of the 1,013 adults polled said they thought it was trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Only 37 percent said they thought the government should do more to solve the country’s problems.

It’s a pity the Reagan revolution died when Republicans suddenly found themselves in charge.

Is there freedom of Religion in America?

Terry Frank has an interesting post this morning on First Amendment rights. The story is about a Christian student who has been punished for opposing homosexual adoption on religious grounds. The ADF (Alliance Defense Fund) is suing Missouri State University on behalf of student Emily Brooker.

MSU student Emily Brooker faced an “ethics” committee after school officials informed her that she stood accused of a Level 3 grievance for violation of the School of Social Work’s “Standards of Essential Functioning in Social Work Education.” The Level 3 grievance is the highest level of grievance that an individual can bring against a student. University officials told Brooker she had violated three of the “Standards of Essential Functioning”: Diversity, Interpersonal Skills, and Professional Behavior.

One of Brooker’s MSU professors, Frank G. Kauffman, assigned to his students a project promoting homosexual foster homes and adoption. The project required the entire class to write and individually sign a letter to the Missouri Legislature in support of homosexual adoption, a letter Brooker refused to sign due to her religious objections.

On Dec. 16, 2005, Brooker faced a two-and-a-half hour interrogation by faculty members, who allegedly asked her personally invasive questions such as, “Do you think gays and lesbians are sinners?” and “Do you think I am a sinner?”

The question I have is would there have been a difference if Emily Brooker was a Muslim? I have a feeling that MSU professor Frank G. Kauffman would not have filed a Level 3 grievance for violation of the School of Social Work’s “Standards of Essential Functioning in Social Work Education” if Brooker was a Muslim. Do we have freedom of religion in this country or are some religions more “free” than others?

Gs Up, Hoes down

G = Guns

We got some snakes. Our new lot lines up to a field and a creek. So, it’s not surprising we’d have some legless lotmates. The Mrs. hates snakes. I step outside on the back-porch with The Second this Sunday to see Politically Incorrect Dog engaged in an epic battle with what is probably the biggest black snake I’ve ever seen (I’m guessing it was a good four feet long). And by epic battle, I mean Politically Incorrect Dog is playing with it as though it were some sort of self-propelled stick to be fetched and released and fetched again. I call the dog in, put The Second down, alert the Mrs., and get the Walther P22. I don’t mind black snakes as they eat vermin (including other snakes) and are not venomous. But at the time I was not 100% sure that’s what it was. And I’m not risking a 0.01% that I am wrong. I get back out and he’s gone. Not a trace. I was almost convinced he was gone never to return and then it occurred to me he might be in the dog house. Crap. Well, I’m not crawling in there looking for him. So, I get a garden hoe and attach a mirror to it so I can look around the corner (yes, the dog house I built has rooms – gotta keep the wind out, ya know). No snake. And no snake killed. It’s win-win.

The second snake wasn’t so lucky. Yesterday, I was at work and the Mrs. called to tell me she just hacked a brown spotted snake (her description – I have not yet examined the carcass to determine what kind it is but I’m guessing copperhead) to death with a hoe. Again, with the hoes. She said she was out in the yard checking something and noticed the gnarly, 2 feet long beastie and wasn’t taking any chances. So, she went to the garage, grabbed the hoe, and hacked him into bits. She said she was wearing shorts and flip-flops and, in between hacks, was dodging an understandably annoyed snake.

I say to her: I’ve gotta get you to the range. The old Walther P22 would have dispatched the alleged copperhead with minimal fuss and risk.

What government does

The Second, who is 5 months old, likes to sleep on his belly. He sleeps more soundly and for a longer period of time on his belly. When he sleeps on his back, his naps are short and he gets cranky due to lack of sleep. Trouble is, since he’s a big boy, he has a bit of trouble rolling from his back to his belly. He can roll from his belly to his back just fine. So, when we lay him down for nap time, we place him on his belly. So did daycare. Until two weeks ago.

You see, appropriate sleeping procedures vary from decade to decade. One decade, parents are told baby sleeps on his tummy. The next, it’s on his back. And this flip-flops all the time. That’s what my parents tell me. Apparently, this is the decade where it’s on the back. When The Second first got in daycare, they asked us to fill out a form telling them it was OK to let him sleep on his belly, which we did.

Now, some arbitrary state agency with nothing better to do has decided that parental permission isn’t good enough. No, you see, The Second needs a note from his doctor stating that the daycare staff can put him in his crib on his belly. Yes, that is correct. Let me repeat the stupidity: In order for him to be placed on his belly and get an adequate nap, parental consent isn’t good enough. You need a note from a doctor. If baby rolls on his belly by himself, that’s fine. But he can’t be placed there.

We call the doc and say Hey, doc, this is really stupid but can you sign a note saying it’s OK for the second to be placed on his belly for nap time? Doc says Well, I would but current guidelines say I shouldn’t. So, I can’t really. I’m not sure what guidelines he meant but I’m sure it’s some other arbitrary state agency with nothing better to do.

Well, duh, it’s an expensive hobby

Bitter notes gunnies have money:

Researchers found the average lifetime outlay for firearms, ammunition and other gear totals $20,219 per person. When purchases for licenses and lodging, food and fuel, magazines and meat processing, dues and contributions, and other associated items are added, the average lifetime grand total rises to $109,568 per person.

Danger, danger

A new report spells out the most dangerous cities:

A surge in violence made St. Louis the most dangerous city in the country, leading a trend of violent crimes rising much faster in the Midwest than in the rest of nation, according to an annual list.

Here’s a link to buy the actual report. Brick, New Jersey is the safest but, err, that doesn’t grab headlines. Violent crime (danger, I suppose) is based on rates for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.

New Jersey also made second most dangerous with Camden, which topped (or bottomed?) the list last year.

The KNS reports that four Tennessee cities made the top 100 dangerous cities. The are Memphis (359 of 371), Nashville (333), Chattanooga (315) and Knoxville (297). The KPD disputes the list claiming it is flawed:

Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV was not immediately available for comment. KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said the study appears flawed as far as Tennessee numbers are concerned.

Law enforcement agencies in Tennessee use a more comprehensive and detailed crime reporting system than that used in most other states.

“It’s like comparing apples to oranges,” he said. “All Tennessee law enforcement agencies use an incident based reporting system, versus the Uniform Crime Report system that most law enforcement agencies in the county use.”

In Tennessee, four separate crimes will be reported if, in a single incident, a house is burglarized, the homeowner stabbed, the house vandalized and the homeowner’s car is stolen. “But in the uniform crime report system, all of that is reported as a single crime, the most serious one.”

The FBI has recommended the incident based system as more accurate, but only a few states have adopted it so far, DeBusk said.

Rule 3

Keep your booger-hook off the bang switch:

A man found dead on an Oakland street early Saturday morning from a gunshot wound may have accidentally shot himself a short time earlier while robbing a Pinole liquor store, according to investigators.

[…]

During the hold-up of Appian Liquors, Williams initially placed the handgun on the counter so he could grab cash from the register, Oakland police detective Sgt. Phil Green said.

But as Williams placed the gun back into his waistband, he squeezed the trigger and shot himself, Green said.

Quote of the Day

Richard W. Hatzenbuhler in a Boston Herald letter to the editor:

gun control is something that politicians do instead of doing something

This just in: Pit Bull Doesn’t Attack

But maybe it should have. Eeew.

Via fish or man.

Gun Porn

An AK with a bolt release? Nice.

Colt Python. Woohoo.

The Carnival of Cordite is up.

October 30, 2006

Say Uncle’s next build project?

Since Say Uncle likes to rebuild firearms, I thought of him when I saw this. All he needs is $32,000 and he may redefine the modern neighborhood watch.

She may part with it

Well, you can use our copy when we’re done:

Run by Slackers

I mentioned here that Harold Ford, Jr. was a slacker. So is Bob Corker:

Pierce says that by the last year of Corker’s term, the mayor was hardly ever around, having abandoned his post for a run at the Senate. “The mayor was elected to serve four years, but he only served three,” Pierce says, adding that Todd Womack, Corker’s mayoral spokesman who is now communications director for the Corker campaign, ran the show in Corker’s absence. “Most of the council referred to Todd Womack as ‘mayor.’ ”

6,000,000 people in this state and these are the best two we got?

Thou shall not mock the dogs and ponies

Joe Huffman:

I used a statement from security researcher Christopher Soghoian for the quote of the day a couple days ago. He said airport security was really “security theater”. Even before I had made that post the FBI had raided his home

And why:

It’s not that he’s trying to compromise airport security. It’s that he’s pointing out that airport security already is compromised, or, as his site used to read, “The TSA Emperor Has No Clothes.”

Dems Running to the Right

The NYTimes reports that the big-tent Democrats now have room for righty candidates, most notably some people who take gun rights seriously.

Democratic officials said they did not set out with the intention of finding moderates to run. Instead, as they searched for candidates with the greatest possibility of winning against Republicans, they said, they wound up with a number who reflected more moderate views.

I have a friend who believes this country is going to hell. He sees the left-right schism getting wider and says it will eventually break out into civil war. I tell him there can’t be a civil war between right and left for one simple reason: the left has no guns. Bless his heart, his response is always “I’m trying to change that.”

My kind of mudslinging

Caught the latest Corker ad. Or should I say the latest anti-Ford ad. It said something to the effect of:

Ford has missed 365 votes.

But has managed to take 59 private junkets.

Now, all the other negative ads that were tacky, but this one could be hammered home. And I wonder why they didn’t start it sooner:

Ford: He doesn’t go to work. Just like John Kerry.

It could work. Because it’s verifiable and it doesn’t involve porn money. But it could be racist. I don’t see how but I’m sure somone is looking into it.

Site problems

Yeah, it’s slow. The deal is that the server’s primary drive appears to be failing, so all accounts will be migrated from there to other servers. Propagation time after the move is typically very fast, so you should not notice anything at all. Well, that’s what they tell me.

Democrats and guns

Pro-Gun Progressive notes:

In this post, Kevin Drum (who’s never actually responded to my requests for a position statement on gun control) mentions gun control as an example of a failed social policy that liberals actually had the brains to back away from.

Shorter Kevin Drum:

Well, we can still think guns are bad.

But we need votes.

So, stop acting anti-gun.

Oh Nos a summit

Over at The Gun Blogs, XD45 writes:

The first step to taking your legally owned guns passed in the U.N. yesterday (Oct 26th). This is truly disturbing as you can imagine; not only was the U.S. the only nation that voted no, but that this is a solid foundation for the anti-gun lobby to go forward with their agenda.

From the article:

United Nations member states voted Thursday to create an international treaty to curb the illicit trade in guns and other light weapons, despite strong opposition from the United States and other big powers.

On Thursday, a vast majority of delegates to the U.N. General Assembly’s first committee endorsed the resolution calling for the establishment of a treaty to stop weapons transfers that fuel conflict, poverty and serious human rights violations.

As many as 139 countries voted in favour of the resolution while 24 abstained. The United States, the world’s largest supplier of small arms, was the only country that opposed the resolution.

Other major arms-manufacturing nations that oppose the treaty but did not participate in the voting include Russia, China, India and Pakistan.

Err, so the US was not the only country that opposed the resolution. More:

“No weapons should ever be transferred if they will be used for serious violations of human rights,” they said in a letter to the delegates who are currently attending the General Assembly session.

Supporters of the resolution said they hoped that it would help close loopholes in laws that allow the flow of small arms to conflict zones across the world, and thus give rise to violations of human rights and undermine development.

Knock that off

Seems everyone is up in arms (heh) over a potential victory for the Democrats sometime soon. So, they’re talking about their The DiFi/Schumer/Pelosi/McCarthy Contingency Fund (the guns they buy if the Democrats take control because they fear a ban of, well, everything).

Well, knock it off. It’s like you’re admitting you’ll be defeated. The Dems aren’t gonna go gun-grabbing right of the bat. They learned not to do that back in 1996 when they lost after the Assault Weapons Ban passed. Even Bill Clinton acknowledged such. They likely won’t go gun-banning due to political expediency. So, if they do, keep the pressure on politically.

Deceit

The NRA notes that the anti-gun American Hunters and Shooters Association is up to no good:

You may have recently received a postcard from an organization purporting to represent the interests of hunters and sportsmen. This postcard is nothing more than a blatant deception intended to mislead Missouri’s hunters and sportsmen. The organization that sent it, the American Hunters and Shooters Association Foundation (AHSA), is simply a front for a number of anti-gun groups. In fact, AHSA’s leadership is so extreme that it supports banning guns, gun rationing, registration, and licensing. The postcard, which claims NRA opposes protecting public hunting lands from developers, is as absurd as AHSA’s claims that it is a pro-gun organization.

Poker: The Summit

If America gave a rat’s ass what the world thought, we’d use the metric system.

The online poker ban is stupid. It had the effect of devastating a few British companies and the Brits aren’t taking it lying down. There will be a summit:

Britain’s culture secretary on Friday compared the U.S. crackdown on online gambling to the failed alcohol ban of the Prohibition as she prepared to host an international summit on Internet gambling next week.

Tessa Jowell warned that the U.S. ban on Internet gambling would make unregulated offshore sites the “modern equivalent of speakeasies,” illegal bars that opened in 1920s America when alcohol was banned.

U.S. Congress caught the gambling industry by surprise earlier this month when it added to an unrelated bill a provision that would make it illegal for banks and credit-card companies to settle payments for online gambling sites. President Bush signed the law Oct. 14.

The decision closed off the most lucrative region in a market worth $15.5 billion this year in “spend” value – the amount gambling companies win from their clients, or the amount gamblers lose.

First of all, Britain has a culture secretary? Well, it’s broken. Hope you kept a receipt.

As I said, it’s a stupid law and I agree with (shiver) British culture secretary. But I don’t really see the US government giving much of a damn about an international gambling summit.

45ACP AR Guide

For a while, the 9MM AR-15 was all the rage. Soon, it may be the 45ACP. Here’s a guide to how it’s done.

It’s like practice for another Goose Creek

Seen at publicola’s:

“Police in the western Michigan community of Wyoming entered two classrooms at Lee Middle and High School on Thursday and announced there was a threat to the school, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Students, who were unaware police were conducting a drill, were taken from the classroom into the halls, patted down by officers and asked what they had in their pockets, the newspaper said.”

“Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants,’ said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. ‘I think it’s pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this.’

Officers wore protective gear, including vests and helmets, and carried rifles that were unloaded and marked with colored tape to indicate they were not live weapons, the newspaper said.”

Gotta acclimate the kids somehow.

October 29, 2006

I say it’s my birthday

35. Officially, middle-aged.

October 28, 2006

Uncle on the TeeVee

Here it is. A conservative? Moi? I can’t be. I know a French word.

I guess libertarian or South Park Republican or Neo-libertarian would confuse, err, everyone who doesn’t read blogs, which is most folks.

October 27, 2006

Uncle on the TeeVee

No really. Not me, actually, but my words. Tonight, tune and tell me how it goes.

Update: Hmmm, wonder if they show text from the site? Maybe I’ll add some dirty words to the post I think they’ll show to see if they notice? Nah, I kid.

Quote of the day

David Hardy:

Enactment or failure to enact Brady’s legislative priorities had no correlation to murder rates. If a state were to go from F to A, from virtually no gun control to everything on Brady’s agenda, the only result would be a joyful press release from Brady.

Teehee.