Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Thoughts...

I've been a little busy lately, as well as somewhat under the weather, and I suppose that will have to pass as my excuse for not posting. I've still been lurking though, when I've had the time. That takes less creative energy than writing does, as well as being more informative anyway. I learn more by listening than talking, and the same holds true in the blogosphere.

I haven't had a whole lot to say about the Amy Bishop Saga because there isn't really that much to say about it, except to point out that neither side of the political spectrum has the lock on crazy... we on this side, however, don't usually point to such incidents as typical liberal behavior.

I honestly thought I'd be writing a post about how not to do a job interview - I felt like it had gone that badly last Thursday - but to my complete amazement, I had come out number 2 overall and will shortly be getting a call for a second interview. I had done it all wrong, starting out with calling the wrong extension at the security desk, to be pointedly told by the HR lady on the other end of the line the correct extension number (which had been in my email, but I had of course forgotten) and stumbling through with some awkward silences, some really dumb answers to their questions and generally feeling like I had absolutely blown it. Maybe they had been swayed by my dazzling good looks... or maybe most of the others had been even more moronic, I don't know.

I'm getting that itch again, too... I am casting about looking for my next gun purchase... mulling whether to buy a small revolver or another semi-auto rifle. Right now I have my eye on the Kel-Tec SU16CA in .223, although I've heard mixed reviews about it, and a Saiga 16in in 7.62X39. The Saiga is significantly cheaper, which may be the deciding factor, since money is tight, but we'll see. I know I'll have to turn in a crapload of aluminum cans either way...
As far as revolvers go, I know next to nothing about them, other than my wife's is sweet (.357 Smith and Wesson 686 in stainless), but quite expensive. I'm thinking of a smaller one, something concealable in anticipation of being able to get a CCW in the wake of incorporation via MacDonald, but who am I kidding - it'll likely be years of litigation before the laws here change to shall-issue, if at all... any suggestions as to a revolver, though, would be most welcome...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Coming down with a cold. Normally, not so big a deal, as long as I'm stocked with kleenex, but tomorrow I have a job interview. Hopefully I'll feel better in the morning, but it feels like it's just starting to settle in.
Not real happy about my options at this point - either go to the interview, snuffling and sneezing, potentially infecting my interviewers, or beg off sick, with no idea how that would go down...
Guess I'll just down some vitamin C tabs and hope for the best...


Haven't had much to say lately... it was a pretty busy long weekend, what with Valentine's dates, yard work, working (OK playing) on my ATV, helping family with home improvement and Call of Duty: World at War. That last one is proving to be quite addictive - possibly even more so than Halo 3...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Protect and, uh... Swerve?

Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach is under investigation - by CHP - for taking out a fire hydrant, light pole and cruising away for 3 miles on blown tires... at 3am Monday - the night after the Super Bowl.
In a city issued car.
Dude's on "medical leave" right now and has no clear recollection of the night. Pain meds, huh? Well, the proles can still catch a DUI for that, as well as hit and run.
No field sobriety test was given, since the initial stop was by his employees, and the chief ain't telling so I'll guess we'll never know if he was on the hooch. CHP is treating their investigation as if no report was taken at the scene.
Very interesting. Nice to have the benefit of the doubt. Nice to not have to spend that first night in lockup. Perks of the job, and all that.
Hmm, probably not the best example to set for the boys in blue.
Well, at least there's an investigation.
I'm just glad all he took out was a fire hydrant.

You know the score, pal. You're not cop, you're little people.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Boiling Point?

Thursday marks the anniversary of the Iranian regime's rise to power, and Khamenei has promised an event that will "punch" the West...
Seems like things are spiraling out of control for the thugs in charge there. They've arrested hundreds of dissidents in advance of the celebrations today, but it looks like there is going to still be unrest. Although the regime has made major efforts to shut down or limit internet access, there are a few people live blogging the events unfolding even as I write. My hat's off to these gutsy folk.
You can't stop the signal.

Via Instapundit

Well then...

I had a summons for jury duty this week and I was actually looking forward to participating in the experience, what with being a n00b citizen and all.
Our county has a call-in system, so we don't have to go down to the courthouse unless our specific juror number is called.
So, like a good little potential juror, I called into the system every evening to hear the automated system tell me my service had been postponed until the next night. Tonight's call ended with the automated system telling me my juror service was completed.
Honestly, I'm feeling a little disappointed right now...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Web wanderings...

Tam posted about a book that I'd really like to read. Glad I've still got money left on my Barnes and Noble Gift card...
Billy Beck is posting again. He can be, err, abrasive sometimes, but he is one sharp guy. He's right, too. The Republicans are fools if they think a repudiation of the Democrats is by default a vindication of their own agenda. Bush's excesses are still quite fresh in the public mind.
Linoge gave his blog a makeover. Very nice... easier for me to post a comment there, too, now.
I don't care at all for the possible implications in this post by Robb Allen...

Real funny, guy

An East Palo Alto police detective posted a crack (on Facebook, of all places) about killing open carry activists:

"Sounds like you had someone practicing their 2nd amendment rights last night! Should've pulled the AR out and prone them all out! And if one of them made a furtive movement...2 weeks off!!!"

There's a lot of contempt for the movement in the thread in question, but Detective Rod Tuason's casual joking about murdering law-abiding citizens kinda stands out, dontchya think?

In a perfect world, this kind of comment - in a public forum, by one sworn to protect and serve the public - would merit at the minimum immediate termination (of employment) and a psychiatric examination.

Since this is, however, the real world, I don't expect anything to happen to such a stellar public servant. After all, if the act of murdering lawful citizens warrants nothing more than a 2 week paid suspension for the officer involved (as he so helpfully points out in his post), then cracking a joke about it probably won't even raise command's eyebrows.

It's one thing to hear this about this mindset from one of the unwashed masses; to hear it from one of the privileged elite themselves is far more meaningful. That he felt comfortable enough to post it on Facebook is also very telling, and makes me think his may not be a minority view.

I'm reminded of a quote from Blade Runner, by Captain Bryant to Deckard:

"You know the score, pal. You're not cop, you're little people."

Found via Say Uncle

UPDATE - It would appear that Detective Tuason is a member of the Calguns community. I just got done reading through this 600+ post thread (he outs himself on page 24). Huge disappointment, to say the very least.

Monday, February 08, 2010

On Beer and Brewing... Sort Of

So, instead of going to the range due to the crap weather, I wound up going to watch a home brewing demonstration over at this place. Fascinating stuff. Damn tasty, too. They had a couple of their varieties on tap in the back room, free for the taking and let me tell you, their honeyed pale ale was frigging GOOD. Makes me want to try making my own. The guy doing the demo really knew his stuff - he answered all the dumb questions I threw at him authoritatively.
One guy's question threw me for a loop, though. He asked, "What can I used in the process other than honey? Is sugar a good substitute? I really can't use honey because my wife is pregnant and she can't have it."
Uh, dude, if she's pregnant, I'm pretty sure she shouldn't be on the BEER, regardless of honey content.
When class got out, we traipsed over to a local brewery that I never even knew existed up until that day. They've been in business for a year, and one of the partners was a high school classmate of one of my friends. Small world. Tasty beer, and real friendly guys. They were only too happy to give us a tour of the place, and show us the process from start to finish. I was especially impressed by the way they engineered some home-grown solutions to some of the problems a brewery faces - for example, temperature control, which can be a bit of a challenge down here in the Southland. My friend was so impressed, she asked to work there for free to learn the trade. Her dream is to start up her own microbrewery up north, so this was an ideal opportunity for her - especially since she's unemployed at the moment, so she has the time to devote to this.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a day, if going to the range is out...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Dampened Enthusiasm

A friend of mine just picked up a new hunting rifle (Savage in .30-06) a few days back, and we had made arrangements to go to the range today. Of course, I didn't check the weather, and it's raining. Not hard, but the range we were going to hit has no covered firing line, and since I'm all about comfort, I'm not going. I'm really not all that into fighting my way up a muddy, rutted mountain road to go sit on a wet stool and lean on a wet table to shoot in the rain.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yet Another Proud Dad Post...

Number One Son got his black gi tonight and I couldn't resist sharing...

And from the back...

What History Has Taught Me About Socialism and Communism

I was called out on another blog to show the historical evidence backing up my low opinion of Socialism, and rather than respond there, I decided to give it some thought and post my reasoning here.

Socialism has been an intermittent part of the human experience for a long time. It has never lasted long in any society that has tried it, but it remains a popular system. Why?

Superficially, Socialism (and it's purest form, Communism) looks very attractive from a financial standpoint - certainly to those in the lower strata of society, especially poor societies. Essentially, everyone pitches in for a fair share. Since the poorest classes of any given society also tend to be the largest, democratic societies will always tend toward socialism. It makes sense, as people vote their interests. A colleague of mine, who is Chinese, pretty much agrees with this. He believes that communism is good for China, because before communism, he said the people had nothing. Note that he lives here in Capitalist America, however, so it's good for them, but not necessarily him.

You don't really have to dig to hard to see why socialism doesn't last, however. In order for it to work as advertised, you have to have a 100 percent buy-in. Everyone in the society has to play by the rules - there is just no room for people to do their own thing. If people were allowed to pursue their own dreams and ambitions rather than working towards the common good, problems would arise - inequity comes into the equation and you're back to square one.
So, how do you prevent this?

In theory, you have to concentrate power in the hands of government. All financial matters are controlled by government. All businesses are owned by the state. All work therefore is done in service to the state. The state then distributes the wealth created in an even manner to all participants.

However, in reality, you really can't. Here's why.

-Black markets will arise in even the most controlled economies, despite the wishes of the powers that be, and the punishments meted out for participating.

-The people in charge - and there always has to be people in charge, especially in these cases, to ensure distribution - have to be trustworthy. They have to have society's best interests at heart. They have to participate in the system too. To date, I don't believe that any socialist society has succeeded at finding these so-called "right people". Power corrupts. Power always corrupts. These people are guiding the society, so they're entitled to a little more of a share, right? They're important, so they need state protection, right? In order to protect them, they need housing away from the masses, right? It's a stressful job, so they need more leisure, right? And so on. Wow. We've just created a class system again - this time political, rather than financial. Whatever; you still get "haves" and "have-nots".

-Equal pay, but not equal work. There will always be an element of society that simply does not work. There are three main groups here: The incapable, the most sympathetic group (although some socialist societies preferred to remove, rather than support them); the criminal (there will always be a subset of any society that finds it easier to take what they want rather than work for it); and the plain lazy. As it becomes apparent that people are entitled to the same share regardless of the effort put in, this group expands as those who work begin to see that they don't benefit any more than those who do not.

-Individual liberty must be sacrificed upon the altar of the common good. Liberty and Socialism cannot coexist - at least, not for long. The needs of the individual must always yield to those of the state - otherwise, you'd get back to that horrid class system in no time. This is the most sinister aspect of the system for me - that I must subject my own personal dreams, rights and liberties to the whim of society at large. If I refuse, I may be imprisoned or executed. In no way will I be permitted to live in liberty within such a system. Nor can I leave. History bears this out. This is where the bodies start to pile up. If everyone who wanted to leave left, why, who would do the work necessary for the functioning of such a society? That's one reason why there is a lot of animosity towards America in the world. Our country is a shining example of what is possible when individuals are left alone to realize their potential. Our very existence is a threat to Socialism, because as long as there is an America, based upon our founding principles, people in Socialist states will always be able to see - to know - that the grass is greener on the other side. For this reason alone, Socialism will always fail as long as people can see that there is an alternative.

OK, enough of my simplistic opinions and observations. On to some examples of Socialism in history, in answer to Markadelphia's challenge:

The Plymouth Colony, 1620. Their socialist experiment almost wiped them out. Fail.
New Harmony, Indiana, 1825-29. Lasted four years before collapsing. Fail.
Brook Farm, 1841-44. Held out for three years. Fail.

"But wait!" I hear you say. "These were all small societies, with limited access to resources. Surely there are examples of larger societies with more resources that lasted much longer!"

Yes, there are. I believe that large societies, with a wealthier starting point in terms of resources and manpower, can (but not always) tolerate the drain of Socialism for longer periods. But not indefinitely. The current record holder is the Soviet Union - a huge state, we can all agree, with vast tracts of land, plenty of mineral wealth and a large population to exploit.

They lasted sixty-nine years.

Other examples include Tunisia (less than ten years), Tanzania (gave up after 20 years or so in the face of famines and starvation - but hey, they got the literacy rates up!), Grenada (four years - guess they just couldn't get along).
There's a list here of many more if you're interested. Note the list of former states is much larger than current.
And who could forget Nazi Germany. Twelve years. Yes, it was a socialist state.

A feature common to these but maybe not readily obvious until I included Nazi Germany is the huge body count. You never get 100% participation in these societies, as I stated. Well, that is just an obstacle to be overcome for the true believers. They see no disconnect at all in killing millions of people in order to make life better.

So, my opinions, my observations and the historical record show me that Socialism as a system of government is doomed to fail every single time, with disastrous and often lethal results for its participants. YMMV, especially if your name is Markadelphia.

Screwed either way

I just heard on the radio that President Obama's aunt, who is in the country illegally (and had been ordered deported four years ago) is facing an immigration hearing today. Probably a very intimidating process for the lady, and having experienced the US, the prospect of being booted back to Kenya is probably quite daunting.
This is a no win for Obama, for which I have a lot of sympathy for him. If he does nothing, then he's a heartless bastard who doesn't give a crap about his family. If he intercedes on his aunt's behalf, then he's a corrupt bastard for using his position to influence immigration policy on behalf of his family. Either way, the right can have a field day with this.
I guess the best road to take would be to pony up for legal representation for his aunt - the best he can get on his own dime -
and then stay out of the matter entirely.
Kinda feel sorry for the guy.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I Love Calguns

And this is why.
All part of the sea-change. Even here in California, gun bigots are not ever going to be able to push their agenda in a vacuum any more. The determination to fight this kind of nonsense is growing, and we will be heard. If not in the legislature, then in the court room. And it won't be cheap, for all those like-minded cash-strapped municipalities out there.

Here's the thread I ripped it from...


Ha! A blow for freedom in my own back yard!
Though not necessarily for the noblest of reasons (as pointed out halfway into the article - not enough revenue was generated), our local council has voted to do away with a couple of sets of red light cameras. I'm glad that the council is showing, though, that local government can be responsive to the people it serves, as there were a lot of gripes about this thing.
Wow - $500 tickets? Glad I never got pinched...

No Fair!

The Tax Men can have 14 inch shotties, but I can't?
Us proles - especially here in California - have to have shotguns with barrels no less than 18 inches long. Because, you know, we can't be trusted with something that has no obvious use other than to er... collect taxes?
Guess it's good to be the king('s men)...

Found at Drudge

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I have come to the definitive conclusion...

that Paul's Boutique is by far the best album put out by the Beastie Boys.
That is all.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Well, My Lad...

... Better sooner than later, because you'd be up shit creek if Obamacare passes.
There's a reason that people from countries with socialized medicine come here for procedures when life is on the line and they have the means. You want to know the reason?
It's because our medical care is better.
Shit, it's the best. People don't fly to France or Canada or England for life-saving surgeries. If they can afford it, they come here.
That's what markets do. They encourage competition, which improves the quality of the service, drives innovation and, if the market was truly unfettered, with the patient, rather than the employer or insurance company being the customer, they push costs down in a way that a command from on high never could.
Socialized medicine kills innovation, kills initiative and worst of all, kills people.
It's a dark thing they're pushing for, the democrats. Pray they don't succeed.

Found at Instapundit.

Loooong day...

I'm up to my eyeballs in Proficiency Testing samples at work (which our lab needs to perform - accurately - every six months to retain our certification), which means multiple dilutions for multiple tests - including some that we don't even offer anymore, but the powers that be want us to stay certified in, despite lacking the correct detectors for my instrumentation. Long story short, 'twas a busy day. I shouldn't really complain, though, since there's been precious few busy days lately, and this one didn't even have the added satisfaction of customers taken care of and money in the coffers, since it was all about compliance today.
Speaking of compliance, I went to buy a feeder mouse for our snake (who shall henceforth be called Leah, since it was ascertained beyond a shadow of a doubt today that she is, in fact, female... although we had our suspicions) yesterday and was handed a contract to sign, prior to taking ownership of said mouse, stating, and I quote:

"By signing, I commit to being a responsible pet owner by providing a safe and appropriate environment for my companion animal. I have received a 'PetStore' care sheet for my companion animal, and am aware of what is necessary to keep my pet happy and healthy".

Um, sure... it'll be the happiest little mouse ever... right up until I toss it into my pet snake's gaping maw.
They knew why I was buying the mouse, but insisted on the contract anyway. OK then.