Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Anyway, the Supreme Court granted cert to one of the three cases today, and Alan Gura, the attorney who argued for Heller, will be going to Washington again. High hopes here... even with Sotomayor appointed earlier this year, the basic ideological makeup of the court remains the same as when Heller was decided.
I'm not sure exactly when this one will be heard, but I'll be keeping an eye out for sure...
Monday, September 28, 2009
As bad as life sounded there for a liberty-loving individual, there were worse places. Among his often recurring nemeses was a group of Judges (Fear, Fire, Death and Mortis) from an alternate universe where they had extinguished their populace and were themselves kind of undead. You see, they had come to the logical conclusion that all crime was committed by the living, so to produce a truly ordered society, they had passed a law stating that life itself was a crime. Obviously, they had eventually run out of perps, which was why they kept trying to break into JD's dimension, to bring law unto the lawless.
They had finally found that one law that would prevent all crime.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Lo and behold, a watermelon, just chillin' on my driveway...
Looks like it's almost ready! My Little Princess proudly claimed the credit for surreptitiously planting watermelon seeds in the garden...
But is Sarkozy really taking a principled stand, or is it just typical Gallic contrariness? They do, after all, pride themselves on squabbling with us...
Found at Instapundit.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I had such an experience last night playing Halo 3. Some guy on the other team in the pre-game lobby singled me out for reasons unknown and proceeded to sling a bunch of juvenile, anatomically impossible abuse my way. Normally I would mute such persons, but this time I didn’t, nor did I respond.
Cut to the game. Not only did my team win handily, I scored the highest number of kills overall, and as a bonus, I got to ice the smack-talking jackass while he was teabagging* one of my team-mates. Being the imperfect human that I am, I stooped to his level in the post-game lobby:
“Talk your shit now, bitch! HAHAHA!”
“Well, I wasn’t really trying.” Uh-huh.
Yes, I’m gloating. Yes, it's puerile. Sue me.
*Teabagging – when you stand over your vanquished opponent, squatting up and down repeatedly. Very disrespectful behavior during a game. I hardly ever do it at all. Honest.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
From the Twitter feed, it seemed very positive, although over on Calguns, the folks there who had heard the audio weren't as optimistic. I'm interested in hearing David's take, since he attended also...
OK, I'm gonna go listen to the audio now...
Bracing for the inevitable torrent of anti-conservative "red-neck domestic terrorist wacko" invective from the media...
Updated to add links. Yeah, another iPhone post...
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
They had a good time, although it was made quite glaringly clear to them that Miley Cyrus is desperate to shed her "Hannah Montana - little girl" image, as evidenced by her on-stage gyrations and song selection. Good for her, but maybe we could've gotten a heads-up prior to dropping $200?
No, I didn't climb the hill last night - the temperature was still obscene after 5pm, but I did do the next best thing. I dusted off my 24 Hour Fitness membership card (yes, its been that long) and "hit the gym". I trudged along on a treadmill at 3.2mph, with the incline set at 8.5 for 35 minutes... I know, probably a piece of cake to all you out there, but whatever. Baby steps, right? That was enough to get me all tired and sweaty anyway. Today is even hotter, so I'll want to do the same tonight once wifey gets home...
Just got an email from Del-Ton which was a bit of a downer. They are currently working on orders placed in March. I ordered my rifle kit in June. What a bummer. The 12-16 week estimate on their website is just a tad bit on the low side, dontchyathink? Oh well, more time to stash money for it, I guess.
Work is slooooowww... scary slow. I've been filling my time with busy work all week. I don't mind doing that stuff - a lot of it is necessary after all - but the bread-and-butter stuff just doesn't seem to be coming in the door and that's a little disconcerting. We usually get a boost towards the end of the year, once all the local municipalities rush to get their required analyses done that they've been holding off all year - I just hope it's enough for us. Sure as hell don't relish looking for a job in this state, at this particular moment in history...
CA population (2006): 36,457,549 (Number found here)
CA total labor force (2006): 17,929,100 (Number found here)
CA unemployed (2006): 880,400 (Number found here)
CA working (2006): 19,929,100-880,400 = 17,048,700
CA number of state/local workers per 10,000 residents (2006): 486 (Number found here)
Therefore, total number of state/local workers in CA (2006): 36,457,549/10,000 X 486 = 1,771,836
Total # of Californians working in private sector (2006): 17,929,100 – (1,771836+880,400) = 15,276,863
Public sector jobs as a percentage of the workforce: 1,771,836/17,048,700 X 100 = 10.39%
Number private sector workers per public sector worker: 15,276,863/1,771,836 = 8.6
Wow! I knew the numbers would be ugly, but this was still a bit of a surprise to me. 8.6 private sector workers per public sector worker? Really? All of these jobs are critical to the smooth running of our society? Over ten percent of the workforce is paid by taxing the rest. How can this be sustainable? I guess by looking at California’s current fiscal crisis, it really can’t.
I’m pretty sure these numbers don’t even include federal employees (nor military, whom I do not begrudge paying), so the numbers must be even worse than that – nor do they include the thousands of govt. retirees in the state, busily chugging away at the public tit at a rate typically north of 90% of their pay at retirement.
Please bear in mind that these numbers are from 2006, when the economy was humming, and the state unemployment rate was a mere 4.9%.
So how do the numbers look like this year?
Current numbers for this year: Total labor force: 18,390,500, unemployed 2,248,000, giving us a total number working in CA of 16,142,500, and an unemployment rate of 12.2%.
So – the total number of workers has shrunk by almost one million since 2006, and although I cannot find numbers of state/local workers for this year (my google-fu is not so strong), I can almost guaran-fucking-tee you that it’s gotten higher than 486 per 10,000 residents.
Here's a rough number - 2.5 million, which works out to 15.49% of the workforce! Or, 5.45 private sector employees per public sector employee. Unbelievable. Not to mention the fact that the average government wage is about 14% higher than its private sector equivalent. All under the watchful eye of a Republican governor. Who happened to run on promises of fiscal responsibility. I don't think he really gets that concept.
I guess at least its not as bad as the UK... yet.
The reason I started looking into this was something that I read in the local fishwrap about Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Ebay who is going to run for governor in 2010. One of her promises is apparently to cut 40,000 state employees from the workforce.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
LabRat put up an excellent post about ACORN and its defenders...
A depressing look at the unintended consequences of sex-offender laws... found via Radley...
A hilarious twitter feed about a cranky old bastard, as related by his lagger-still-living-at-home-son...
I have to find that sweet spot, that timeframe where the heat is tolerable enough to be outside hiking, yet it is still light enough out to see where the hell I'm going (and to be able to spot rattlesnakes. Yep, folks, it's that time again...)
Well, this problem has been exacerbated by a federal judge’s timely decision to redivert a huge chunk of water back to the Sacramento River delta, at the urging of environmentalists in order to “save” the Delta Smelt.
The consequences of this idiocy has compounded the problem and effectively turned the valley into a dust bowl, putting many farms out of business and thousands of people out of work. Expect prices for your food to go up too, since this state supplies the rest of the nation and that supply just took a hefty kick in the balls.
Well, I saw this headline today in my daily “BC Water News” email, and felt the stirrings of hope. USDA declared California a disaster area? Wow! Maybe that’ll be enough to override the judge’s decision and get the spigots turned on again!
Yes, I am a naïve fool.
What it means is that they’ll be starting to make loans to the farmers.
Let’s look at the implications of that, shall we? A government policy creates the conditions to put the farmer in straits of impoverishment, and the “solution” they come up with to “help” is to offer said farmer a loan. Why? The water won’t be coming back unless the decision gets overturned, so how the hell will the farmer repay the loan? What happens if/when you default on a government loan? Do they take your farm? Do you go to jail?
This doesn’t make sense to me, unless the goal is to destroy agriculture in the valley, to which I see no point. So are we looking at an uncaring, faceless bureaucracy here, or evil masterminds out to do harm and create more dependents on government? Does it even matter at this point?
I doubt Obama will give much of a crap about this (remember, this is a guy who thinks “economic stimulus” means literally destroying tens of thousands of cars that poor people might otherwise buy) since it likely won’t affect his penchant for arugula, or Michelle’s supply of Tuscan kale, but the rest of us proles who actually have to factor our food costs into our budget are probably going to feel this one pretty good.
Your tax dollars at work; shut off the water supply to farmers during a drought, thereby losing thousands of jobs during a recession.
You know, I have to go with evil. Nobody's that stupid.
Like Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I got home from work, excitedly told my wife of my plans ( who then rolled her eyes and directed me to the thermometer outside that still read 94 degrees - at 4:30!!) and invited my children along for the trip. Both promptly declined.
Undaunted, I hopped in the car and drove around to the back side of the mountain, where I usually park in order to make my way up the service road, a nice 5 mile round trip with enough steep spots to really get the juices flowing.
I pulled around the last bend and was confronted with a large sign, boldly stating that this parking lot was now a day-fee area - $4 per person, plus an additional dollar per dog.
WTF? When did this shit happen? I've been coming up here for years, and now I have to pay for the privilege? Oh HELL no! Because that collection of retarded clowns in Sacramento can't manage to run the state, I have to suffer? They want to up fees in a recession? Do these idiots have any sense of history? Do they truly want the whole house of cards to come crashing down? (actually, that might not be a bad thing - we sure as hell need a do-over in this state).
Park fees have been raised across the state - I heard it was coming in the news, but I honestly didn't expect to see this spot go from free to four bucks a head!
My plan was to hit the hill every day, either before or after work, when convenient. Four bucks a day? Not frikking happening.
Fuming, I spun the car around (it was dirt, so it was pretty easy) and made my way back around to another lot, where I was assured by some other hikers that there were no fees. The trails out of this lot are significantly steeper, but them's the breaks.
I parked and started up the mountain. Did I mention how steep these trails were? And how long it had been since I last did this?
Yeah, I lasted about forty minutes...
Next time - tomorrow - I'll do better.
Since my back yard butts up against the mountain, and there are trails out there, from here on out I'll just be going out from my back yard. At least I've already paid to park there.
Saturday morning was spent digging up what I thought was a busted sprinkler line, but turned out to be our water main... like a lot of the other crap I've fixed around this place, it was not to code, and built as though it was designed to fail at some strategic point in time... that point being right when I excavated around it. The line was leaking at a joint already, but as I moved the dirt around from under it, the line popped right out of the fitting (into which it was seated less than an eighth of an inch! Who DOES that!?) so there was water and mud everywhere. So, having located the leak, I turned off the water at the street and got to work fixing it. Once I got the right sized pipes, fittings, primer and Red Hot Blue Glue, everything went pretty quickly, although my family wasn't too pleased at being deprived of water for a couple of hours. What really pisses me off is that this whole mess just had to happen in the one part of my lawn that looks lush and green , even in late summer in the valley. I tried to put the sod back to fit as best I could, but its going to take a little while for it all to recover.
Sunday was Game Day, and I had the good fortune to be able to go with a friend to the Chargers home opener versus Baltimore. Game on at 1:15, which meant that the parking lot opened up at 8am, which meant we had to leave from the valley at 6:45am... tailgating there is great - I've met a bunch of really cool folks, who come loaded for bear - grilled shrimp, bratwurst, stuffed jalapenos - you name it, plus plenty of beer and such to wash it all down. The best part is I don't have to spend a dime once I'm inside the stadium, being all full with a warm, mild buzz...
The game was a little disappointing, what with Sproles getting stuffed by Lewis on the las play of the game and ending up as a Charger loss, but I love watching NFL football.
Course, spending the entire third quarter inside the team store while my buddy was agonizing over which jersey he should buy didn't help... that guy is worse than my wife, I swear! Still, had a great time, and I'm only too happy to go when I'm invited.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Public Safety is by far the easiest, most effective bait by which the state can hook the populace into giving up liberties.
Public Safety is the reason I can no longer buy ATVs for my children, out of fear they might chew on them, or something.
Public Safety is the reason I cannot arm myself in public for my own protection.
Public Safety is the reason for the nonsensical ban on antique children's books.
Public Safety is the reason for the War on Drugs, no-knock warrants and the carnage that has ensued.
Public Safety is the reason I have to take my shoes off at the airport and put up with TSA goons going through my crap.
Public Safety gave us the Patriot Act and all its attendant infringements.
Public Safety is the reason I can no longer talk on my cell phone in the car, despite never having had an accident while doing so.
Public Safety is the reason I couldn't shoot the rattlesnake that killed my dog in my back yard.
Public Safety is the reason for the ammo bill sitting on Arnold's desk right now.
Public Safety is a tyrant that will not rest until it rules EVERY aspect of our lives.
The list is endless.
Public Safety can go to hell.
(I would post a link to the Anarchangel, but I'm blogging this from my iPhone and haven't figured out how to do that yet).
Updated to add a link, and correct spelling... yes, I'm in front of a real computer now...
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
So... what are we looking at here?
Well, if I still lived in the United Kingdom, I'd be looking at 5 years in one of Her Majesty's prisons... but since I have the great good fortune to reside in the United States, what we have here is a Springfield Armory 1911-A1, chambered in nothing other than the mighty .45ACP, pretty much bone-stock with the exception of a Wilson Combat 8 round mag and a Hogue rubber wrap-around grip.
I added the grip because the grips that this puppy came with made the whole thing feel way too skinny enfolded in my meathook...
This baby was my very first handgun purchase (after all, if you were to own just one handgun, it would be sacrilege to have anything but a 1911 as we all know), and if she looks very clean it's because I really don't use her all that much. I know, shame on me, but I tend to prefer shooting my long guns when I get the opportunity...
Buying handguns in California is a little more involved than buying a rifle. First off, you may not purchase a handgun in the Golden State unless you have a Handgun Safety Certificate, or HSC.
Well, how does one obtain a HSC, you ask? You get one by coughing up $25 (at least that was how much it was when I did it) and taking a test in basic firearm safety. These tests are administered by most any gun store out there. Then you get a pretty little card with the seal of the Great State of California on it, with your name, date of issue and expiration date on it. With this in hand, you are now qualified to purchase a handgun.
The other major differences between handgun and rifle purchases? You have to DROS both (fill out a Dealer Record Of Sale form) and wait 10 days for both. In order to pick up your handgun, however, you need TWO forms of ID - a driver's license alone is not sufficient. Typically, your car registration would suffice as a second form of ID. The biggest difference, though, is the fact that handguns are registered with the state DOJ. Along with the DROS form, make, model and serial number are also passed along to those fine fellows in Sacramento...
Here we can see a slight difference between my 1911 and what one in a free state would look like. See that tiny little slot in the barrel (the silver part) toward the rear? That is a California-mandated Loaded Chamber Indicator - a way to instantly tell if the gun is loaded by simply looking at it. If it were loaded, you would see the tell-tale gleam of brass instead of the black void of an empty chamber.
So there you have it; my 1911. A beautiful little piece, a time-tested design, but one that spends far too much time in the safe as opposed to on the range...
That said, today was my turn to drop the kids off. I got up a little late, but the kids were up before me and they know their routine...
I was still fairly groggy by the time we hopped in the car and made our way to school, at which point My Little Princess turns to me with a stricken look and says, "Daddy! I left my backpack with my homework at home!"
My reply was: "Hmm, that sucks"...
Cut to two hours later; My Little Princess calls me from school. Bear in mind, I'm knee-deep in work at that point.
"Daddy, can you PLEASE bring me my backpack? The teacher says I'm going to get a zero for my homework!"
Now, I have a huge soft spot for my little girl, but I'm thinking this is a little too much, so I consider it. This is going to set my day back by an hour minimum, in a week where I already have to make up some hours...
"Honey, let me think about this. I'm not pleased you did this, and I don't know why I should have to suffer for your mistake. Let me talk to your mom."
I called my wife and asked for her take on it...
Her response: "Ha! You know why she didn't call ME!"
That settled it. My Little Princess had to deal with the consequences of her actions.
I called back to talk to the teacher who actually thanked me for staying strong. It's kinda hard when it comes to my girl though; had it been Number One Son, it would have been much easier to say no. I wonder why that is?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
We'll see, my friend. We'll see...
I spent the bulk of the day watching football at a buddy's house, who has HDTV (I have yet to get a flat screen - I think I may be the last person in America without one), NFL Sunday Ticket and Red Zone - which is like football coverage for ADD sufferers - flicking around between games whenever something interesting is going on. Pretty cool.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I'll be sending the governator an email. It's about all there is left to do at this point.
UPDATE: My email to the governor:
I would most respectfully urge you to veto bill AB962 that just passed the assembly yesterday and is now on your desk. I believe that with the current economic issues facing this state, the government has bigger fish to fry at the moment. The new crimes and requirements that this bill creates should it pass into law create unneccessary fiscal challenges that California will be hard-pressed to meet in these current times. I am also very concerned about the impact this bill would have on law-abiding gun owners' opportunities and ability to purchase ammunition by mail order or on the internet, especially if the ammunition in question is not available in local stores. This bill will have a far greater impact on law-abiding gun owners than criminals, who by definition, ignore the law anyway. Please do not sign AB962 into law.
Contact info here, should anyone else feel inclined to urge a veto.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Growing up in England, I think I was a little more familiar with terrorism in various forms than the typical American, seeing the IRA work their horrors over the years. On 9/11, the USA "joined the club" of those countries that have to deal with attacks on their own citizenry, in their own land, by organizations opposed to their way of life. The shock that this could happen here pervaded the entire country, regardless of political bent, and we all tried to find the answer to "why?" in our own ways. If there is one good to find from this horrific event, this evil act of war, it's that for a very brief time, this country was truly united, as we all learned the hard way what a truly evil thing a terrorist is.
Eight years down the road, there's a new sheriff in town, and according to his cronies, I and those who think like me are terrorists. How the hell did that happen?
Today should be a reminder of REAL terrorism. It's not a term you use for those who disagree with you. It's a term for those who gleefully massacre innocents in order to strike terror into the hearts of the rest of us, to make a political point.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
13-10 in OT, and NOT an easy victory for the Super Bowl champs...
Cannot wait until Sunday.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
I have to say, he did a pretty good job. Whether you like him or not, that man is a born orator, with a resonant voice that he pitches damn near perfectly depending on what emotion or response he is trying to evoke, and whoever writes his speeches is a master.
The way Obama framed his plan was quite compelling, I suppose, especially when he tossed the "tort reform" bone to the Republicans, but as well as he can speak, he cannot disguise the fundamental moral flaws inherent in the so called "public option".
Not everyone wants to be insured. There's no real reason for a healthy young guy in his early twenties with no family to worry about to be insured. This plan would take that guy's choice away. If this passes, health insurance would become mandatory for everyone, because as he put it, the taxpayer could not be expected to foot the bills for people's irresponsibility.
How will they enforce this? How does government enforce anything? That's right - with fines and jail. Government will yet again be fining and imprisoning "irresponsible" people to save them from themselves.
That's the kicker. Once government is in charge of something like healthcare, they can (and will - look at the UK) make demands like that, for the public good. It won't stop there, either. Since they're footing the bill, the government will feel entitled to make all kinds of decisions for us with regards to keeping health costs down. Just about any behavior you can think of could be regulated in this manner, as an appeal to reign in healthcare costs. It won't happen right away, but it will happen.
Individual liberty simply cannot exist in such an environment - it's too expensive when the government is writing the checks.
My Little Princess didn't see it at all, as the school district decided to play it only for 5th grade and up.
Number One Son did see it. His verdict: "It was pretty boring".
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
So with reluctance, I started shopping junkyards and found one from a Kia a year older for 85 bucks - a little more doable. Still, I'm broke, so I needed to come up with the cash. Our shed was piled high with trash bags full of cans that I'd been putting off turning in - I guess now was the time. I had so many I scored a hundred bucks - woohoo! Free radiator!
I picked up the radiator today and it looked worse than the one in my car - it also happened to be out of an automatic, so there were a couple of extra lines hanging off the back.
We got home and put the Kia up on ramps and let it sit for a couple of hours to cool off, then did the switch. While we were in there I replaced the alternator belt which looked a little tore up. My Little Princess was only too happy to help. She grabbed one of daddy's old T-shirts and dug right in. This is a shot of her putting the skid plate back on...
Let's hope it holds...
Monday, September 07, 2009
After such a brouhaha this last week, Obama would have to be straight up stupid to try and deliver anything but a milquetoast "stay in school" message.
I really don't think politics has any place in the classroom, any more than religion does, and I believe the time spent on this broadcast would be better spent on, say, I don't know, EDUCATION, maybe?
That said, I'm not going to pull my kids out of school. I don't think thirty minutes with Obama is going to seriously counteract any influence my wife and I have with our children, and I'm not going to short them a day's worth of instruction out of pique.
The kids came home with fliers giving us an opportunity to "opt out", essentially meaning the kids would spend that time reading instead of watching dear leader - not a bad way to spend a half hour, in my book... but I'm kinda curious to hear what the man wants to say, and it'll be interesting to get my kids' take on it... I haven't decided whether to sign it or not. I probably won't.
Friday - skipped out of work early to go to the Charger game, got into the parking lot in time to tailgate for about five hours before the game. My friend and I brought a 30 pack of Coors Lite... at the end of the day there were 8 left... Chargers beat the Forty-niners 26-7. A good time was had.
Saturday - barbecue at my buddy's house - pool party - many beers were consumed (and shots) - again...
Sunday - Luau at another friend's house, followed by poker - many beers were consumed - again...
Today - barbecue at my house with my in-laws, including poker - not quite so many beers this time, but wine too...
I don't think I've partied this much since college.
My liver hates me right now.