Friday, July 31, 2009

Sick Of It 

I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.
--Charles Baudelaire

Look at this crap they pass as news -

Oh, guess what? The economy sucks. Who'd a-thunk it?
The first 12 months of the U.S. recession saw the economy shrink more than twice as much as previously estimated, reflecting even bigger declines in consumer spending and housing, revised figures showed.
What happened to the "green shoots," Barry? They look more like brown turds.

I fully expect the stock markets to continue to defy logic, and soar on the news. Seriously.

What is this "teachable moment" crap?
The White House billed the meeting, the culmination of days of national debate, as a "teachable moment" occasioned by the July 16 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley after a confrontation between the two men.
Here's what I learned from this tender moment:

Shockingly, if the government offers over-market payment for goods or services, people will take advantage of it:
Less than four days after launching a popular cash-for-clunkers program, the Obama administration warned Congress the plan already had burned through its $950-million budget, setting off a rush for more money while leaving thousands of dealers and consumers in the lurch.
So, let's game-plan what the Administration is going to do with this: This will be touted as a raging success, and they'll move to expand the program.

That's like saying, "We were standing on the street corner handing out $100 bills - which we had to borrow - and we gave them all away! Our plan was successful beyond all projections. Aren't we smart? Aren't you glad we're in charge of your finances?"

Yeah, give more away, faster. Great plan.

Most likely from the same great minds that brought us the wildly successful, "Let's turn food into fuel" ethanol program, all of those cars that you and I are paying for with the Cash For Clunkers program, MUST be destroyed.
Dealers must replace the oil in the “clunker” with two quarts of sodium silicate solution and run the engine for up to seven minutes, permanently disabling it, according to rules released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington.
Let's recap: When they decided to subsidize the price of corn so ethanol producers could buy it more cheaply, it resulted in massive corn shortages in the food chain. Riots, particularly in Mexico and central America, ensued. Then someone did some math, and determined that it actually takes more energy to produce ethanol than it provides.

Undeterred by fact or reason, the subsidy still exists.

Continuing down this path of Unintended Consequences, with this requirement to ruin these cars, we are taking affordable vehicles away from poor people, we are ruining the businesses of used auto parts dealers, and are being pretty damned "un-green" by discouraging recycling.

So the poor people will not be able to get to their jobs, losing them and going on the public dole. The auto parts dealers will go out of business, going on the public dole.

Their plan to make us all dependent upon Nanny is proceeding nicely.

Breaking News -
U.S. Economy Shrank Less Than Expected in Quarter
How long before this "report", too, will be adjusted? Will it take another year, like in the first part of this post?

Again, I expect this news to also result in a soaring stock market.

Another Atlas Shrugged Moment of Zen -
The newspapers did not mention the outbreaks of violence that had begun to burst across the country - but she watched them through the reports of train conductors about bullet-riddled cars, dismantled tracks, attacked trains, besieged stations, in Nebraska, in Oregon, in Texas, in Montana - the futile, doomed outbreaks, prompted by nothing but despair, ending in nothing but destruction. Some were the explosions of local gangs; some spread wider.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homemade Hooch 

There are only two real ways to get ahead today -- sell liquor or drink it.
--W. C. Fields

We've already seen Barry and the states impose their so-called, "sin taxes" on cigarettes and alcohol. I've read that both of them are being targeted for additional taxation to help pay for BarryCare.

You're nuts if you don't think it IS going to happen.

I've mentioned here before that I am a homebrewer. I've been making my own beer, wine, cider and mead since 1980.

In the only redeeming act of his administration, Jimmy Carter signed the legislation that allowed individuals the ability to legally brew their own fermented alcoholic beverages - 100 gallons per year, per adult 21 years of age or older, up to a maximum of 200 gallons per household (all except Alabama - start knocking some legislative heads).

Distilling is still illegal.

While I love my own fermented beverages, I still like some hard alcohol now and again. And again! Your only legal option is to buy your liquor at the store.

Some hearty souls break the law and make "moonshine". They may make hundreds of gallons out in the remote woods, or they may make a few bottles in their kitchen using distillation equipment marketed to distill water.

At least right now, I'm not willing to go down that road. Still, I want a beverage of increased alcohol levels.

When making any type of alcoholic beverage, you always start out with a mash (or a 'must' for wine makers). This is where the sugars that are present in your grain or grapes is extracted from the base product. You strain off the sweet liquid, and these sugars are then mixed with yeast. The yeast eat the sugars and produce alcohol and CO2 (uh oh... another target for the green freaks?).

A key component in the final product is the yeast you use. While primarily used to produce the alcohol and CO2, they also impart a flavor component to the beverage. There are two general categories of beer yeast - ales and lagers. Both produce a beer with an alcohol content of 3.4% to 7.5%.

Wine yeasts have similar uses, but generally produce alcohol in the range of 11% to 14%.

So, with wine, you're getting more buzz per ounce of liquid, but still nowhere near distilled spirits. Generally speaking, the reason the alcohol levels stop increasing is because the yeast are killed by the alcohol they've produced - they can't live in their own piss, so to speak!

Enter "turbo yeast".

This yeast was originally developed by distillers to get a higher utilization of the sugars in the mash. The higher the original alcohol content of the brew, the easier it is to get to your target distilled alcohol content.

Most of these yeast strains will get you an alcohol content of 20% or higher. While still only half the content of a typical distilled spirit, it's a lot better than starting out with a 5% beer.

One of the great things about this, is that you can make the entire batch with ordinary table sugar. Go to a home brew store, get a food grade bucket, a drilled lid, and an airlock , then proceed:
Prestige 8kg Turbo Alcohol Yeast produces less volatiles and ferments up to 18% - sometimes 20% or greater. The 8kg Turbo Yeast is not considered extremely temperature tolerant, therefore it is best to keep the ambient temperature below 80 degrees.


Pour 8kg (17.75lbs) sugar or 8.8kg (19.5lbs.) dextrose into 8 liters (2 Imperial gallons, 9 US quarts) of very hot water. Keep stirring until you are sure all the sugar has completely dissolved. Top up to 25 liters (5.5 Imperial gallons, 26.5 US quarts) with cold water then stir for 30 seconds. Make sure the temperature is below 30°C (86°F) before adding the contents of yeast sachet. Stir for 1 minute. To speed cooling, ice can be added in place of a portion of the cold water, or you may add sealed containers of ice prior to adding the yeast.

For maximum alcohol and best quality- Ferment for 10-14 days at between 19-23°C (66-73°F) air temperature.

For maximum speed - Ferment for 5 days at between 24-27°C (75-80°F). Yeast will die above 27°C (80°F) air temperature.
One you've made your alcohol - a vodka-like product - it is suggested that you run it through a charcoal filter to remove some of the fusel oils and other by-products that can give you a screaming head ache.

You can significantly reduce these by-products from being produced if you do a slower fermentation. Use the recommended lower-end temperature settings on the yeast packet, and add an extra week to your fermentation time. It's worth the wait. Trust me.

Bottle and serve. Many websites also sell extracts that you can add to your hooch to make it taste like whiskey, bourbon, gin - whatever "poison" you prefer.

Well, lookee here. Sounds very illegal to me (FYI, any type of distillation is illegal in the US of A without the proper Nanny permission).

Let's do some math:

Capital investment: Bucket ($8), lid with hole ($2), airlock ($1), bottle capper ($15) = $26

Charcoal filter: Optional, but in the $20 range.

Bottles: Free (old beer bottles, champagne bottles are best)

Stock pot: Free (hopefully, you already have a pot that holds 3 gallons or so - if not, get one at Goodwill, Salvation Army or a garage sale for a couple of bucks)

Consumables: Bottle caps 50 count ($2), propane/natural gas/other fuel (?)

Ingredients: Turbo yeast ($5), 18 lb Sugar ($6) = $11

Soooooo, it will cost you under $15 per 5-gallon batch of 20% alcohol hooch. Tax free.

There are some great books out there on how to home brew beer and wine. They give techniques on sanitation (VERY important) and ways to keep the temperature of your brew in check while it's fermenting. If you're going to do this, at the very least, search a couple of websites about the entire brewing process.

Did I mention to pay particular attention to sanitation and temperature?


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Hard Being A Politician... 

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
--Patrick Henry

I see stuff like this, and am just stunned by the logic(?) of our elected "leaders".

This guy is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and he's whining about the futility in reading 1,000 page bills before they're voted upon.

He's not complaining that they are too big, just that people complain that they don't have the time to read them before they vote.

John, I have a solution for you. Make it THE LAW that the bill must be released to the public a week before it's going to be voted upon. WE'LL take the time to read it, and give you our questions and concerns. WE'LL do you job for you.

And it would also allow President Barry to actually meet one of the promises he made when he was Candidate Barry. Remember that whole "transparency" thing that so upset him when he was Senator Barry?


Seriously, it is because of crap like this that I will very likely never vote for an R or a D ever again UNLESS they have a proven track record of actually doing what they say. There are only a handful of them in the country. One is actually here in California - Tom McClintock - but I'm not in his congressional district.

If I've got to vote for an unproven politician, I'll let a third-party candidate lie to my face. The Rs and Ds have used up all of their "mulligans" with me.

Another poll - most of what these bastards in the House and Senate are doing is blatantly unconstitutional. They are passing laws and spending money on "projects" for which they have no constitutional powers.

Yet they continue to legislate and spend at will.

I was feeling a bit melancholy thinking about what the Constitution is was supposed to accomplish before it was so thoroughly shat upon.

YOUR most important original Constitutional Amendment? » poll maker
Tags : constitution natural rights guaranteed small government

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I'm all over the board today -

For those of you that like to think of Californians as simpering dolts with no more than organic turnips between our ears, have fun with this -

Ahhh, a shining example of our public education system. Yeah, let's dump more money into THAT sinkhole...


OK, the last entry about the IDPA stuff (at least until my next match!) -

Woohoo! I did pretty well. As I noted, there were 41 shooters. My division, SSP (Stock Service Pistol) was the biggest division with 22 shooters.

I came in 7th! I was the top scorer of the newbees.

In analyzing the scoring, I'm clearly taking too much time in making my shots. The top guys had significantly lower times, and seemed willing to somewhat sacrifice accuracy for time.

It seems as though the strategy is to shoot fast, and just make sure you hit the target somewhere. Of the 22 shooters, I had the second best accuracy numbers, but was number 11 in regards to speed.

Where you get killed (pun intended) is if you have a procedural error (+3 seconds), hit a good guy (+5 seconds) or miss the target all together (+5 seconds). If you get an accuracy "ding", it only adds a 1/2 second penalty for each point. I was one of only 3 shooters not to have any of the big errors.

So, practice, practice, practice. I think I can shave a second - at least - off of each stage just by getting better with my draw, and as DAL357 suggested, using more point shooting for the closer targets.

Have you seen this story on the 7 guys from North Carolina? They were arrested because they were planning on some "violent jihad" overseas.

Am I missing something here? What law did they break?
Although the indictment provided few details, it outlined a plan among four of the suspects "to meet up" in Israel, as well as other overseas forays. The conspiracy, according to the government, included other suspects "known and unknown," and its aim was to provide money, training, transportation and personnel to those wanting to fight a holy war against countries friendly to the United States.
Nanny makes a big, splashy, very damning press release, but the indictment provids few details. Still, the government makes this pronouncement -
"These arrests today show there are people living among us, in our communities in North Carolina and around the U.S., that are honing their skills to carry out acts of murder and mayhem," said Owen D. Harris, special agent in charge of the FBI's Charlotte, N.C., division, which led the investigation.
These arrest show no such thing. They show that the FBI THINKS these guys did something wrong. None of the evidence they've provided so far seems damning.

If these guys are such stone-cold killers, why this?
A year later, the indictment said, Boyd -- who called himself Saifullah, or Sword of God -- his son Zakariya Boyd and two other suspects went to Israel to wage jihad but returned without success.

Defendant Ziyad Yaghi, according to the indictment, traveled to Jordan in 2006 to "engage in violent jihad." And Hysen Sherifi, a 24-year-old U.S. legal permanent resident, traveled to his native Kosovo in July 2008 to "wage violent jihad," then returned to North Carolina to raise support for Islamic militants, the indictment said.
Did the second and third guys, Yaghi and Sherifi, actually engage in violent jihad, or were they unsuccessful as well? At worse, it sounds like these guys are all bark and no bite.

That's illegal?!

How are these guys supposed to prove that they were NOT there to wage jihad? The FBI says they were, so they're probably toast in a court of law.

How easy would it be for the FBI or ATF to say that a group that gets together to shoot shit up on weekends, are actually terrorists - overseas OR domestic?

We don't have enough information to know if these guys are terrorists or not. I just don't like the way this has been presented, and how they are making it very easy to paint people who go off into the hills to train with "high-powered weapons " as terrorists.

And of course, rags like the LA Times will do everything in their power to paint anyone with guns as a potential terrorist. They sure don't seem too hesitant to use the words "terrorist" and "Muslim" when it has to do with guns in America.

It makes me very uncomfortable.

Kind of a follow up to trying to ban sugar 'cause it's bad stuff -
The medical costs of treating obesity-related diseases may have soared as high as $147 billion in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, as its new director set a fresh tone in favor of more aggressively attacking obesity.
Shouldn't this be an issue left to the person and their insurance company? Stop smoking, or we'll raise your rates. Lose some weight, or we'll raise your rates.

Right -
The numbers underscore the urgent need for deeper interventions in society and the environment that will make it easier for people to maintain normal weight, Thomas Frieden, the CDC’s new director, told conference attendees.
I guess if Nanny is your insurance carrier, telling you how to live your life would make perfect sense.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Sweet Surrender 

No matter how noble the original intentions, the seductions of power can turn any movement from one seeking equal rights to one that would deny them to others.
--Tammy Bruce

I was listening to a radio show called, "God Talk" while I was in the car yesterday morning. It's a kind of non-denominational religious show where people call in and talk about, well, God.

Since California is many times the potting soil where liberal control freaks often plant ideas which bloom into full-fledged Nanny laws, I thought I'd give you folks a heads-up.

The show was about how alcoholism is a horrible thing, and people's lives are just ruined, blah, blah, blah. The typical modus operandi of these folks is they set the stage for removing the personal responsibility aspect of a situation by banning something for everyone.

For instance, take cigarettes. I don't think that many people think that cigarettes are good for you. In fact, most of us smokers acknowledge smoking probably harms us, or at least increases the chances we're harming ourselves.

Still, we smoke. Most people will come to the conclusion that if someone wants to kill themselves, go ahead, and nothing will change.

Not to be slowed in their fascist march, the liberal control freaks realize they must expand the pool of people that are harmed, so they publish "second hand smoke" studies that show it is actually more harmful to the surrounding people than it is to the guy actually sucking on the cigarette itself.

No matter that the study gets torn to shreds - it still gets used as Example One in the war on smoking, and we end up with all of the prohibitions we've got.

So, I'm listening to the radio show and person after person is preaching the evils of alcohol. They take the last call for the hour, and the guy speaking is very articulate and well spoken. He's telling his story of victimhood and ties it to getting sweet treats as a kid.

Like most of us, candy or cakes or something sweet was given as a reward. You finished all of your dinner. You cleaned you room. You fed the dog all week. Whatever.

Sugar equals good.

He then continued his "sugar = good" premise by associating the sugar in alcohol with "good". My ears perked up. WTF?

They continued their chit chat and story of sorrow for a couple of minutes. Right before the break at the hour, the host asked, "So. Do you see sugar as the gateway drug to alcoholism?" Sad story boy answered, "Yes, of course. It's very clear."

They took the evils of alcoholism and turned it into your mom being a pusher when she gave you a slice of pie for being a good kid.

Twenty five years ago, I would have just blown this off as some crackpot to be chided and mocked. Nowadays, I tend to take it a bit more seriously.

When the whack-jobs in San Francisco start talking in earnest about banning something, you need to pay attention. They have the needed experience to get something that they deem as "evil" taken from your life.

Oh look, an article on this subject. Another part of the laying the groundwork for an "opening salvo?"
ARTICLE: Does a Sweet Tooth Mean Alcoholism?

An affinity for sweets appears to be a marker for those at risk of developing alcoholism. This could be because both sugar and alcohol affect the same pleasure area of the brain.
By:Colin Allen

Sugar-addicts beware; an affinity for sweets appears to be a marker for those at risk of developing alcoholism. While previous studies have found a sugar-alcohol link in both humans and animals, this study finds that sugar addiction may predict alcoholism.

Lead author Alexei Kampov-Polevoy, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, recruited 163 college-age social drinkers. Half of the participants had a paternal history of alcoholism while the other half did not.

Kampov and colleagues asked each participant to rate a series of sugar solutions that increased in concentration. They judged each for sweetness and palatability. Our hedonic reaction -- how much we enjoy sugar -- is something we are born with, not something we learn later in life, notes Kampov.

Participants with a paternal history of alcoholism were 2.5 times more likely to enjoy sweets. Also, they were more likely to dislike the most diluted sugar solutions. Kampov suggests that the opioid system -- the part of the brain impacted by both sugar and alcohol -- is oversensitive in these subjects.

Researchers say in the future a simple test may help identify who is at risk for developing alcoholism long before one takes his first drink. The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
See how they frame the issue as something outside of your personal control?
Our hedonic reaction -- how much we enjoy sugar -- is something we are born with, not something we learn later in life, notes Kampov.
Their logic goes, "Since it is something these poor folks can't control, we must ban the evil substance from everyone. It will make our world a better place to live."

If BarryCare comes to be, expect sugar, salt, red meat, tobacco - anything that has the possibility of harming any person, anywhere - to be banned, "for the greater good." The fact that all of these things do not negatively affect the vast majority of people is irrelevant.

I hope you enjoy your soy burger seasoned with organic herbs. Every single day.

Totally OT: I forgot to mention yesterday about the gun blowing up.

On Saturday during our last live-fire exercise, some guy's Glock went "boom". As it turns out, he was a novice re-loader and they're guessing he over-loaded the powder.

The barrel was split right down the middle - in duck bill fashion. He was basically unharmed. He got some blast and a cut on his right hand, but nothing much more than that.

I had already left when this happened, so I didn't get any pictures. They're supposed to post some that were taken, either on the gun club or action pistol website. If they do, I'll post them here.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day Two of Defensive Pistol 

I'm certified (shut up... I didn't say certifiable)!

I'm now a card-carryin' (and T-shirt wearin') member of the Diablo Action Pistol Association.

Yesterday was the classroom stuff and a bit of live fire. Today was a full-on IDPA match. There were 15 of us from the class that were in the match with 26 other certified shooters. We had to complete the match without getting disqualified for any of twelve zillion reasons you can get booted.

They broke the 41 of use into 3 groups. We had 9 scenarios to complete. Some were very simple, some were very VERY complex.

IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) is different from IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation), in that IDPA is the "anal retentive" sport. The rules are much more stringent. IPSC is much more free-form, in that you can shoot targets in any order you see fit.

My certification allows me to shoot in both groups. I'm guessing they start you with IDPA to make sure everyone is grounded in the safety aspect of the sports.

It was so much fun, but my day almost ended early. There is a very stringently followed rule called "the 180 rule." Basically, if you draw a line parallel with the targets - a line being 180 degrees - you cannot have your muzzel cross that line (basically pointing behind you). It's a very good rule.

At the very first scenario, we had to run for cover and do a reload behind a barrier. I got too close to the barrier, and when I was putting in the new magazine, I brought the muzzle dangerously close to crossing the 180 line. Figure I was at 175!

After I finished the stage, the Range Officer told me what I had done - he said it was a typical newbee mistake, but I was very close to being booted. He reiterated what we had learned in the class to NOT hug the barrier - stay a good 3 feet behind it until you need to shoot around the backside.

Every stage after that where we had barriers, I consciously did a mental walk-thru that took me in a direction back away from the barrier. It worked well.

A cool stage: The series of events for a stage is to load your weapon and reholster it (well, most of the time). You then have your hands at your side, or up on a barrier. The Range Officer the asks, "Are you ready?" Then, "Standby", then the buzzer goes off, and you do the stage.

On this one stage, we had three targets set up in a "V" formation - one in the center at 6 yards, and one on either side, both at 8 yards. When he said, "Standby", you started walking towards the center target. When you got to within 3 yards, the buzzer went off. You drew your weapon, and had to do a "tactical sequence". One in the body of the target directly in front of you, then one in each target to the sides, THEN one to the head of each target.

Oh, did I mention that you had to do all of this while walking backwards! After you drew your weapon, you had to shoot all 6 shots while going backwards, THEN move to cover and take out 3 more targets with two shots each (so you had to work a reload in there).

I felt very good about my shooting. I was fortunate that my "regular" firing range training, I use 6 inch targets. The sweet spot for the IDPA target is 8 inches. I'm typically not a "tack driver", but I'm pretty good keeping it on the target.

We won't have our final scores until sometime next week (I believe), but I think I did pretty well. I was regularly coming out with times better than the certified folks. They tended to go for very low times, but their aim was horrible, so they'd get buckets-o-penalties.

For the entire match, I only had one 3 point penalty, and perhaps a dozen 1 point penalties. Oh, and I didn't kill any hostage targets!

I and beat and burnt. Standing almost continuously for 6 hours in close to 100 degree sun was very draining. I drank a lot of water! Off to the shower and get some food in my belly.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Defensive Pistol, Day One 

I just got back from the orientation for what I've been calling Action Pistol or Practical Shooting. It is actually Defensive Pistol. My club is part of the IDPA -the International Defensive Pistol Association. I could not be happier.

The entire philosophy behind this is to assess a bad situation, and take out the bad guys - in the correct tactical order - as accurately and as quickly as possible.
The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters.
You shoot at paper targets and metal plates set at various distances. You are always either shooting from behind cover, or while moving. When you reload, you must be behind cover. The course also has "innocent" targets in the field. You must be cognizant of the angles at which you're shooting. If a bullet goes through a "bad guy" target, and hits an "innocent", you get penalized.

Today was a classroom orientation to refresh us with some basic handgun safety stuff, but more particularly, safety issues that will get you penalized, disqualified or banned. We were "all ears" with this stuff.

Once the classroom work was finished, we went to a target line with the paper targets set at 10 yards. We did a bunch of dry fire exercises for drawing from a holster and reloading.

We then did a bunch of live fire exercises. We'd do draw-6 shots-make safe-reholster. Then draw-two shots-reload-two shots-reload-two shots-make safe-reholster.

Strong and weak side, with both two-hand and one-hand shots. It was really very thorough.

Here's my practice target:

You need to click it to blow it up to see the target area. The IDPA targets have a high-center center circle - 8 inches wide. Hit that OR the crease defining the circle, and you get no time added. The next area gives you a 1 point penalty, the outer area gives you a 3 point penalty, and missing the target gets you a 5 point penalty. Each point results in a half-second being added to your time - faster and more accurate is better.

So with my practice target, I had 10 outside of the Zero ring, nine of which were 1 point penalty and 1 that was a 3. I'm guessing my weak hand, single-hand shot was the wild one!

We all then moved down to one of the bays that was set up with one of the actual scenarios we'll be shooting tomorrow.

We had two barriers we had to shoot around - at a total of 4 targets, and two run-and-gun targets.

This is a rough drawing of the scenario (click to enlarge):

I was using my Glock 19. You can load 1 in the chamber, and 10 in the magazine. Plus two more mags. Same with .40 cal. With .45's the rules were different - for some reason, you could only have 1 in the chamber and 8 in the mag.

You must shoot 2 rounds at each target. I'm guessing the stage was 20 yards long. In this scenario, you started behind the barrier on the left, with your gun in the low-ready position. Shooting left handed around the left side of the barrier, you first shoot target 1. Even though target 2 is closer, you shoot #1 first because it is the first that would see you if it were a bad guy and you were peering around the corner. It is about 7 yards away from the barrier. Target 2 was probably 2 yards away.

You then switch hands, and shoot the next two targets, strong-handed, two hand. You MUST be moving. You can't just plant yourself in front of the target and fire. Also, with number 4, you must be shooting at the correct angle, or you'll put a round into one of the "innocents" behind your target.

So, you've now fired 8 of your 11 original rounds. Most of us now reloaded behind the second barrier. If the magazine has rounds in it, you must put it into your pocket or mag holder (you can only drop empty mags on the ground). Two handed, around the right side of the second barrier, you take out targets 5 and 6.

Since I'm so damned anal retentive, I was the first one to show up this morning. So I was obviously first on the list.

That meant I was first on the stage. Great.

The instructor did run through it once. He shot the stage in 17:50 (17 and a half seconds - the partial seconds are in hundredths), which included penalties. I went, and shot it in 20.83.

Not a single penalty point - Twelve kill shots!

So I was about 3 and a half seconds slower than the instructor. I have no idea if that's good or not. I was in the top quartile of the class, with one guy shooting a 16 second stage (he had taken the course before, but had to re-take it again for some reason). The slowest was in the low 30 second range.

There was one kid taking the course. I'm guessing he was 14 or so - kind of small in stature, and was shooting a .45, which was way too much gun for him. He shot a 25-something.

For tomorrow's real match, we need to wear a shirt which hangs below the bottom of our holster. The idea is to replicate conditions you would have if you were carrying concealed.


So. We're in the first outside range, doing some dry fire exercises. The instructor is talking, so we have our ear protection off.

All of the sudden, we ear a bullet go screaming over our heads! Talk about a paniced feeling.

They explained that the Action Pistol range was at the end of the rifle range. We had a 20 foot berm to our rear, which is the back side of the berm the rifle range shoots into. So, for all practical purposes, it would be impossible for us to get hit. Still, I've gotta say, that was a very eerie feeling.

Another update tomorrow after the live match!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Money, Money, Money, Money, Monnnnnnney 

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.
--Ayn Rand

Had a nice score on some silver coins yesterday. As usual, I went here to see what the real market price was for silver bullion (common silver, not coins with numismatic value). Spot was at $13.71 an ounce. Silver Eagles had a 34% premium, and silver rounds had a 19% premium.

I won 2, 5-coin Silver Eagle auctions for an average premium of 29% and 1 auction for 10 silver rounds for a 10.5% premium. When I figure my premium, I also include my shipping cost - if any - so I can accurately reflect my actual cost to take possession of the coins.

My average premium for all 20 coins was 19.65% - less than 20%, which is the line I try not to cross when making purchases. I don't know how long I'll be able to hold that line, though. Today (at this point in time, 10:10am PST), the Silver Eagle premium is (holy shit!) 46.9% and silver rounds is 26.1%.

This Federal Minimum wage increase crap just hurts my head. It has just affixed an 11% tax on businesses by raising the minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour.

Do they think the money to pay for this will just magically appear in the bank accounts of the businesses? This 11% increase puts one minimum-wage job in 9 in jeopardy.

And it will be mostly kids taking this hit. I'm sure there won't be any negative repercussions with a bunch of teens hanging out in parks and malls instead of working. No, no impact at all.

Fun fact: California's minimum wage is already $8 an hour. Come on, American! We're leading the way! Follow us down the toilet!

Michigan, that shining example of business acumen, is considering increasing their minimum wage to $10 an hour.
Besides the 35 percent hike in the minimum wage, party officials want to mandate employer health coverage for all workers, boost unemployment benefits, slash utility rates and freeze home foreclosures."It's pretty obvious from this whose side we're on. We're on the side of people who are suffering," Mark Brewer, the party chairman, said during a news conference at Democratic headquarters in Lansing.
Dude, just go house-to-house and suck their dicks in private. You're making a spectacle of yourself by doing it so publicly.

Another Atlas Shrugged Moment of Zen (close your eyes and image Pelosi, Reed, Dodd, Kennedy and all of their socialist buddies making these statements while drafting legislation):
What were they thinking now, the champions of need and the lechers of pity? - she wondered. What were they counting on? Those who had once simpered: "I don't want to destroy the rich, I only want to seize a little of their surplus to help the poor, just a little, they'll never miss it!" - then, later, had snapped: "The tycoons can stand being squeezed, they've amassed enough to last them for three generations" - then, later, had yelled: "Why should the people suffer while businessmen have reserves to last a year?" - now were screaming: "Why should we starve while some people have reserves to last a week?" What were they counting on? - she wondered.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hot Diggity-Dog 

A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule.
--Michael Pollan

[Note: Be sure to get to the very bottom of the post, as we have a new feature - "Sing Along With Mike".]

The "Control Every Aspect Of The Lives Of The Unenlightened" crowd is at it again. Your wieners ("ha ha, he said 'wiener'!") may soon carry this warning:
"Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer."
What is the source of this dire warning? The non-profit group, The Cancer Project.

Wow, sounds legit, huh? Uhm, not so much.
The Cancer Project is a branch of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group that lobbies against animal research and pitches the adoption of meat-free diets.

You see, when one of these left-wing, crack-pot, "tell us how to run our lives" groups wants to lend some legitimacy to their whacko ideas, they open up a LegalZoom account, create a non-profit organization and start filing lawsuits.
The nonprofit Cancer Project filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of three New Jersey plaintiffs asking the Essex County Superior Court to compel the companies to place cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey.

"Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer," said Neal Barnard, president of the Cancer Project and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University medical school in Washington, D.C. "Companies that sell hot dogs are well aware of the danger, and their customers deserve the same information."
That's right - hotdogs = tobacco = cancer = death, therefore hotdogs = death.

I'm surprised they haven't some how tied hot dogs to global warming. Someone in the Propaganda Ministry dropped the ball on that one...

These guys understand that with the majority of our puddin' head citizenry, all you need to do is say something on TV or have it published online, and people will believe it.

"Hey, some cancer center dude said hot dogs will kill you quicker than giving a cockroach a high-colonic with Raid. No more tube steak for me, duuuuuuude!"

Barry and his ilk know this. Last night, he stood in front of the nation, and lied his ass off. He didn't stretch the truth. He looked us in the eye and lied.

If the press had even tried to question his "facts" (LOL!), he would have said that some guy from The Center For Economic Perfection - or some other such impressively-named organization - gave him the numbers.

He would have failed to mention that "The Center" was a non-profit arm of someone like ACORN, who just so happened to be in line to get a pile of money from whatever legislation Barry was trying to get passed.

So, I want to fight back.

Most of the people who unquestioningly accept what these bastards say, enjoy a catchy little tune. They get an "ear worm", and can't get the song out of their head. It's like brain-washing without the pesky water-drops on the forehead.

With that in mind, I present you with the first Sing Along With Mike. In honor of the Ban On Wieners Movement ("ha, ha, he said 'wieners' again!"), it is sung to the Oscar Mayer theme song. If you must, click here to hear the tune, then Sing Along With Mike!
Our Con Man has a first name
It's B-A-R-R-Y
He will tell you what you need to think
It's all a big damned lie.
Ooooh, I don't believe a word he sez,
The guy the soft-heads made our Prez,
'Cuz Barry 'Bama is, you see

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Be A Fat Tony 

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.
--Albert Einstein

A good buddy of mine sent me a couple of links to information that just boils my blood.

The first article is called, "Thinking Like "Fat Tony". It was published in September of last year.

It's a fictional look at how we're just a bunch of suckers - mostly for the pablum that is fed us by Nanny.

Fat Tony is a character in a book - he has "street smarts". He uses his powers of observation to guide his decisions. This is in contrast to Dr. John, who is a by-the-book observer of facts.

They are given a set of facts, and asked to make a prediction -
Taleb [the book's author] then brings these two completely different people together in a make-believe encounter to ask them a question in order to compare their answers. He tells them that he has a coin and that it is “fair”, meaning that it has an equal probability of coming up heads or tails when flipped.

He then tells them he has flipped it ninety-nine times and the coin has landed heads each time. Taleb then asks them to calculate the odds of the coin landing tails on the next throw.

Dr. John: Trivial question. One half, of course, since you are assuming 50 percent odds for each and independence between draws.

NNT [Taleb]: What do you say Fat Tony?

Fat Tony: I'd say no more than one percent, of course.

NNT: Why so? I gave you the initial assumption of a fair coin, meaning that it was 50 percent either way.

Fat Tony: You are either full of crap or a pure sucker to buy that “50 percent” business. The coin gotta be loaded. It can't be a fair game. (Translation: It is far more likely that your assumptions about the fairness are wrong than the coin delivering ninety-nine heads in ninety-nine throws.)

NNT: But Dr. John said 50 percent.

Fat Tony (whispering in my ear): I know these guys with the nerd examples from my bank days. They think way too slow. And they are too commoditized. You can take them for a ride.
The central point that he's making is that if you believe exactly what you're being told at face-value - no questioning of the information - you're in line to get taken. Big time.

The article gives a very interesting example of official government information that is virtually impossible to be true. Yet, it has been published - unchanged - since April of 2006 -
Here’s something even more bizarre. One would assume that the size of the Mint’s working stock varies from month to month, just like inventory varies from month to month in any business as a result of changes in production and the ebbs and flows in sales. And indeed, the Mint’s inventory did vary monthly, up until March 2006. But according to the Treasury’s reports, the Mint’s working stock has remained exactly 2,783,218.656 ounces since April 2006. How is it possible that the Mint’s working stock has remained unchanged for 28 months? Have you ever seen any business anywhere in the world for which its working stock was unchanged for a day, let alone 28 months?

Click this link. It will take you to the Treasury Department's, "Status Report of U.S. Treasury-Owned Gold".

Click the most recent report - June 2009. Here's a screen shot of the "working stock" report.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Yep, the working stock is STILL exactly the same as it was back in April 2006 -39 months later. For this to be accepted as fact, that would mean that our government wants us to believe that not a single gold coin has been minted in the last three and a quarter years.

Maybe the Treasury guys should walk across the hall and talk to the Mint guys. According to THEIR site, they sold 172,000 ounces of 2008 minted gold coins.

The Dr. John's of the world might say, "Well, they buy exactly the amount of gold blanks as they're going to produce each year. THAT's why the numbers remain unchanged."

For you to believe that, you would have to believe that for each month of production, the exact amount of incoming gold equaled the exact amount of coins produced. And they would have been able to do that every single month for the past 39 months.

That would be a level of efficiency unattainable by the best manufacturing companies in the world. I don't think even the most ardent gulpers of Nanny's Kool-Aid would consider any arm of the US government as "ultra-efficient".

Speaking of non-ultra-efficient ideas, consider this hospital administrator's experience with our current federally mandated health care system. This is the story across the country.

I believe these are called, Unfunded mandates -

Why would anyone think that by socializing our medical system, our health care delivery would improve? In my area of Northern California, we have seen a dozen or so hospitals close because they just aren't profitable. Why would you stay open if you're not making any money?

So now we have fewer hospitals, providing care to more people. Less competition results in higher costs.

I wonder what our health care system would look like if our hospitals were only forced to treat American citizens and LEGAL residents for free.

I think Fat Tony would say, "Dat's a no-brainer". Too bad Washington is full of nothing but Dr. John's...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fraud During Tough Times 

Whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth.
-- Phaedrus

Speaking of fraud, is Cap and Trade dead? I just heard it again on the TV - for the second time - that it is deader than Al Gore's chances of getting a contract to model Speedos. Nothing on the Internet. Wassup?

If true, I'll go over to my friends at TerraPass and gloat while I can. It WILL be back.

I subscribe to a bunch of FDIC newsletters. One of them is an alert that goes to banks regarding fraudulent cashiers checks floating around the country.

Normally, I see 3 or 4 of these a month. Yesterday alone, I got 11! So far, 4 this morning.

Desperate times can turn people with financial troubles and some insider knowledge into crooks.

I'm guessing that bank robberies, as well as robberies of jewelry stores and other places with cash or items of high value, will be going up. It always starts with the "white collar" crimes - fraud, embezzlement, etc., and progresses to the more aggressive crimes.

I'm suddenly hearing lots of stories of people who have gotten screwed by their health insurance carriers. Mostly, being dropped from COBRA coverage after a job loss. Could this have anything to do with Barry changing the title of "Universal Health Care" to "Insurance Reform"?

Naw, that couldn't be it, could it?

I was talking to a head-hunter about a position with a Bay Area bank. I did some research, and I found that this bank has had two Cease and Desist orders in the last year - the latest one in March of this year.

They have some in-house program that deals with electronic payments. To save money and improve efficiencies, their system did away with all paper to document the money transfers.

It seems that somehow, they came up $48 million short. Oops. $11 million of it was a single transaction.

Let's just say that negotiations for a position are at a stand-still....

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Monday, July 20, 2009


If you read yesterday's post, I had to end it a bit abruptly.

We had a little problem with combustible materials. Yep, a fire got a little too close for comfort...

It doesn't look like too much was lost. It started in some wrecking yard, and just went nuts.
The blaze, which was contained around 8 p.m., began at an auto wrecking yard near Lone Tree Way and Brentwood Boulevard, and initially sent up a great cloud of black smoke visible from as far away as Bay Point.

"I thought it was rain clouds," said Cintheia Mcpherran, who was working the front desk at Oakley's Comfort Suites when she glanced outside.

Authorities evacuated about 200 residents of the area between Delta Road and Lone Tree Way as far east as Sellers Avenue.
I'll have to drive by the site, but from what I've been able to get from the news, it was about a half mile from us. Even though the evacuation area was very close to our home, we were not in any real danger.

It was scary as hell, though. But we were ready to evacuate immediately if necessary. Two minutes, and we'd have been gone.

I called my wife at her hotel in Vegas. "Uh, guess what's going on here, honey?..."

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Sunday, July 19, 2009


It cooled off today. It was down to a chilly 104 from yesterdays blistering 105. Nice respite.

I went to the range today with one of my brothers. Lots of fun.

I worked on a number of quick target acquisition drills to kind of "prime the pump" for next weekend's Action Pistol/Practical Shooting certification.

I worked on drills from 5 yards to 15 yards (which I think is the maximum distance for this sport). Gawd, I'm looking forward to this!

Interesting range note: The place was damned near empty. It has 20 lanes, and only 3 or 4 were in use on each side. The last few times we went there, it was packed, with the last time resulting in us being placed on a waiting list.

Is the rush off, or are people worried about shooting up all of their limited ammo?

The range had some ammo. They had 9mm Wolf for $14 a box. Pass, especially after my last problem with that crap. .38 spl American Eagle brand for $20.50 a box. Pass again.

After we finished up shooting, we went over to the gun store on the other side of the building. I asked for some .22 LR. He had a box of the Cyclone stuff. Box of 500 for $40. Kiss my ass!

We had gone to my brother's local Walmart the day before. They had tons of birdshot, a couple boxes of .270 rifle. No handgun ammo , no .22LR. She said to come in at 8am if I wanted a chance to get some. Nice.

My wife is in Las Vegas for some teacher's conference. Don't worry - she's works at a private school, so no tax dollars will be going into the codpiece of some hunky male stripper. Better not be any of her bucks, either ;-)

Get this: They're staying at the Wynn. This place is VERY chic. And expensive. A regular room mid-week room is something like $300 a night, and they have some for $3500 a night.

This group of teachers is staying 2 nights, and the cost (paid for by the school) is $120 each, total! I don't know if the place has got a soft spot for old mature Catholic School Teachers, or what, but they got a hell of a deal!

Funny how you shop for the best deal when you're spending your own (company's) money, huh? I guess the SSA didn't get the how-to booklet when they did their recent little gig in Arizona.

Yeah, funny.

If we only had stronger gun laws, this woman's life could have been saved -
Mitchell is suspected of beating to death his former girlfriend, 29-year-old Danielle Keller, with a baseball bat Sunday and then kidnapping their 1-year-old daughter, Samantha. The attack occurred at the home Keller and the baby shared with Keller's mother, Claudia Stevens.
Oops, sorry - my bad. I guess if some crazy bastard wants to kill you, he'll figure out a way, huh? The laws don't mean much to that kind of lawless animal.

I wonder how things would have turned out if SHE had had a handgun.

Sorry - I forgot where it happened. Not only was it in California, but in Marin County, where the liberals look at Marx as being a bit wishy-washy.

Disaster plan in action? Gotta go, there is a HUGE fire. Huge. I need to keep an eye on this thing.

I'll post some video later. Big and black and boiling. I'm guessing 2 miles a way.

The temperature is about 95 right now, and a breeze is starting to blow.

I'll be back.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Political Change Poll 

Belly up to the ballot box, and let us all know what you think...

What is the best way to get political change? » create online polls
Tags : poltical change voting

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On Track! 

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.
-- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I see headlines like this, and they no longer even surprise me -
Summers Says Stimulus Plan on Track Despite Job Losses
OK, so we all know that the stimulus packages haven't done anything of import. A couple of jobs may have been saved here and there - sure to be highlighted on the TV with old Jug Ears grinnin' and takin' bows.

But in general, for every one job "saved," the real economy loses 10 or 15 or 100. Who knows? Since unemployment numbers are so tweaked and massaged, it's tough to tell what's real any more.

So anyways, I was reading the article with the headline above. Now, when you read the headline, it implies that everything is chugging along, good as can be.

Since I'm not 6 years old, I know it will be at least a slight exaggeration. Maybe even what could be considered a stretching of the truth. At the very minimum, though, the compliant media and Barry's Boys will be able to parade SOME actual accomplishment for ONE thing that's working.

So, what have they accomplished? What does BarryCo consider, "on track"?

The speed with which they are spending our money. I shit you not.
The White House adviser [chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers] said the two-year stimulus plan of tax cuts and new spending was timed to peak during 2010, with 70 percent of its benefits to be distributed to local governments, businesses and families in the first 18 months. “We are on track to meet that timeline,” he said.
They aren't even trying to lie about good things happening. They realize that most of the mouth-breathers that voted for them only need to see a Happy Headline, and they're good for the day.

Apparently, Larry got an actual question from someone in the crowd as he was gently blowing smoke up the asses of the assembled media.
Mr. Summers, in what the White House billed as “a progress report” on rescuing the economy, pointed out that other independent forecasters also underestimated job losses.
Huh? Larry considers people on the government payroll as being included in the, "other independent forecasters" group? The numbers produced by HIS group are what are used to build budgets and spend our money. They aren't independent by any stretch of the imagination - they are on the front-lines of partisan economic programs.

So how did this little rat bastard actually explain to the assembled press corps why his employees so wildly missed the job loss numbers.
"Geez, fellas, this stuff is hard."
OK, I made that up. Probably.

I have to hand it to this guy for one thing, though. He is a pro - perhaps even a Jedi Master - when it comes to spin. Man, this guy is good.
In an attempt to offer perspective, Mr. Summers said, “It’s easy to forget how far we have traveled” in six months, when there was talk of a second Great Depression. “We were at the brink of catastrophe at the beginning of the year but we have walked some substantial distance back from the abyss.”
Every single economic indicator has gotten worse since BarryCo took over. The administration gets to publish those numbers, so we all know they are actual worse than how they're being reported. Yet somehow he has the balls to say that things have gotten better? Dude...

But he saved the best for last. It must be part of the Lawrence Summers Theory Of Economic Subterfuge.

The Company Line is that by spending MORE money on something - in this case, health care - you will actually be saving money. Let that sink in.
Responding to a comment from David Walker, the former head of the Government Accountability Office, that “You can’t cut by expanding coverage” to the nearly 50 million uninsured, Mr. Summers said, “We’ve rejected that view.”
Apparently, Larry, you've also rejected the view that sanity is a good thing. We're not talking about spending money on capital improvements such as machinery which could improve productivity. We're talking about operating expenses.

Spend more money and you'll be spending less money. It hurts my head.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

By Force or Reason? 

There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.
--Booker T. Washington (a black guy, in case you were wondering...)

NOTE: After writing this post, I went back and re-read it. I swear a LOT in it. If you're offended by such speech, go somewhere else today. I'm not changing a word. This bold-faced racism and race preference politics is one of my biggest hot buttons.

So, I'm clicking around, reading the news online, and I see this headline -
Obama says people in charge of helping themselves
Oh, no. This is gonna get ugly...

I figure he's got to be speaking to some racial preference civil rights organization. Regardless of his actions, he has to make it sound as if he's actually suggesting people become responsible for themselves.
Heralding the NAACP for a century of courage and progress, President Barack Obama will come before the nation's oldest civil rights organization Thursday with a message of shared responsibility: Government can help communities, but people are in charge of helping themselves.
Ahhh, the NAACP. The Kings of the Race Card players. This is nothing but a fucking wink-and-nod circle jerk for the New Elite.

So, people are in charge of helping themselves, huh? Just like the auto companies, the banks, the insurance companies? Just like the people that are getting government help in paying their mortgages? Just like the growing numbers of people who are getting some sort of government food/housing/clothing assistance?


Apparently so -
Obama will make clear that while the government can help, "individuals will have to take responsibility," according to Burton. The president is expected to make that point, in particular, on matters of education and economic opportunity. He is also expected to address health care, his dominant domestic priority.
Uhm, is this the same president who, just yesterday, told us he was going to give away another $12 billion for education? That looks like more of the same Nanny bullshit to me, Barry.

And what do you think he'll say about health care? Will he suggest that the individuals should take personal responsibility for that as well?

Of course not. Barry Knows Best. I guess his idea of personal responsibility is the person has to know how to correctly fill out the forms to get the government cash.

And his "peeps" know he isn't going to let them down -
"We will be the people at the end of the day who help make him do what he knows he should do," NAACP President Benjamin Jealous told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this year. "We will help create the room for (Obama) to fulfill, I think, his own aspirations for his presidency."
At least this race preference bastard is honest enough to say that they'll be standing at the door, arm outstretched, palms sky-ward.

It just boggles my mind how these fucking race preference organizations are allowed by the press to keep getting away with this bullshit. Are they so fully engulfed by guilt, socialist dogma and Political Correctness, that they can't see how the racial preference movement has crushed the black community? Maybe they do, but they're in too deep to back out.

As Booker T. Washington noted in this post's quote, organizations like the NAACP and ACORN, or individuals like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright all make their living by keeping blacks believing they are oppressed. How they can continue their charade while a black man resides in the White House is beyond me.

Equality of opportunity is no longer the goal (if it ever was). It is to perpetuate the lie that the reason a person doesn't get a particular job is because he's black. It has nothing to do with the fact that the person doesn't have the education or experience for the job. Need or want is all that matters - qualifications be damned.

If they are attempting to foment civil discord, they're acting exactly as they should. If we start increasing and dictating racial preferences in hiring, and if Barry continues to play the Robin Hood card of taking from "the rich" - whatever the fuck that means - these cocksuckers are going to have their hands full.

Yesterday's post about Going Galt will be the least of their worries.

An Atlas Shrugged Moment of Zen -
"Reason is the scientist's only weapon - and reason has no power over men, has it? At a time like ours, with the country falling apart, with the mob driven by blind desperation to the edge of open riots and violence - order must be maintained by any means available. What can we do when we have to deal with people?"
Figure that one out, Barry...


UPDATE: Watch one of my senators, Babs Boxer, get bitch-slapped about bringing race into a scientific issue. Oh, and the slapper is a black man.

Well done, sir. We need a lot more people of every race that think as you do.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Going Galt" on Nanny 

God, grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.
--Adm.Chester W. Nimitz

Hermit had a post today asking what can we do to fight back against our ever-growing and intrusive state and federal governments. It is a topic that is much discussed nowadays.

I'm in the process of reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It is a massive book that is taking me a lot longer to read than I had hoped.

What I have found while reading the book - first published in 1957 - is how the fictional depiction of the American and world governments is so frighteningly similar to real-life today.

WARNING: I'm about to give a brief overview of the story up to where I've read. If you haven't read the book yet - and you should read it right now - come back tomorrow for a different post. For those of you who HAVE read the book, don't spoil the ending for ME!

The story is about a world and America which had become increasingly socialist. Profit was evil and the only goal people should have is to take care of others who are less fortunate. Everything was focused on need, not ability, skills or personal responsibility.

A group of industrialists, scientists and other leaders decided to call it quits. They would no longer allow the government to steal from them in the form of exorbitant taxes, nor tell them how to run their businesses for the sole benefit of their employees, nor to live by laws devised to ensure all businesses had a "fair chance" and were not allowed to fail.

Sound familiar?

Over a 12 year period, they just packed up their stuff and relocated to a place called Galt's Gulch. They let the looters and blood suckers run their old businesses, schools and other institutions as they saw fit.

They watched as they ran them into the ground.

So, what was their plan and strategy?
  1. Withdrawal their skills, knowledge and energy from the workforce
  2. Insulate themselves against the coming collapse, and
  3. Prepare themselves for the eventual re-birth
Sounds pretty good to me.

But how do you do it? There is no magical Galt Gulch in which to sit out the collapse.

Most of us aren't genius industrialists. If we didn't show up to work, generally speaking, they could fill our spot with relative ease. Most of us are not unique enough to have our individual presence missed.

That doesn't mean we're mindless cogs. Far from it. We can, as a whole, impact Nanny through the one thing she needs the most: Our tax dollars.

Don't worry - I'm not suggesting that you cheat on your taxes. I'm suggesting you reduce your need for products and services which are taxed.

A simple example is, instead of buying a loaf of bread - which produces taxable profit for the store - buy the less expensive components of the bread - flour and yeast - and make it yourself.

Grow your own veggies and can them yourself. Hunt, fish, trap and preserve the foods.

Buy goods from flea markets or from online sites that charge no tax (I'm not your CPA. If you're required to pay a Use Tax on April 15th for these items, pay it if you feel so compelled).

Don't support the institutions that have been nationalized. Don't buy GM or Chrysler products. Pull your money from Wells Fargo or B of A or Goldman Sachs or any of the others. Don't reward their incompetence with your dollars.

Cut off the life blood of the bloated government, and it will die.

How do you insulate yourself from the coming collapse? I think the plan that helps you to do that, also helps you to prepare for the eventual re-birth.

Clearly, a high degree of self-sufficiency is the key. If you rely on Nanny to provide for your well being, I fear you're in great danger.

Plain and simple, the government cannot afford to keep increasing the number of people that depend on the products and service it provides. We were told just yesterday, that our federal government is ONE TRILLION dollars in the hole SO FAR this year.

That is around $3,300 for every man, woman and child in this country. More, if you're one of the folks actually paying taxes. This is only the 9th month of the government fiscal year, and we've already created the largest single-year deficit in the history of our country.

It will not - it cannot - continue. I'm not saying that as a plea - I'm stating it as a fact. Very soon, our creditors will stop funding Nanny's largess, and the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve will have decimated the dollar.

What to do? Stay off the radar and prepare NOW.

We need to get and stay physically healthy. Get caught up in the Nanny health care system, and you are doomed. If you have an illness or condition right now, figure out how to reduce your dependence on hospitals. Get your internal chemistry back in order.

Obtain tangible, trusted currencies - gold and silver. The dollar will be as useful as toilet tissue, and not much else.

Learn how to be more self-sufficient. As I suggested, learn how to grow vegetables, kill and prepare an animal for food, forage, gather and cleanse water, reduce your dependence on utility power and heat. Conserve.

If Barry and Company continue down their path to socialism, if you have guns, expect them to become an issue. A society is not fully compliant until it is disarmed. Decide how far you expect the Nanny apparatchiks to take it, and prepare for it now.

If standing on your doorstep blasting away at government goons is your plan, change it. It will only result in your death - and they'll still get your guns. Don't let THAT happen.

Most of us don't have the ability to drop out of society - to move to a remote area and become totally self-sufficient. We can only lessen the impact. We've got an ever-closing window of opportunity right now to get as much of our own lives in order as possible.

This may simply be delaying our own inevitable demise. I don't know. But at least it gives us a chance.

I think that perhaps the most difficult aspect of this is the, "one foot in, one foot out" issue. Most of us must work to support a family, pay the mortgage, put kids through school, etc. We may want to Go Galt on them, but we can't - at least not fully. The depth and breadth of the coming impact is VERY difficult to know with certainty, so we're not willing to go "all in" with everything we've got.

What if the Stimulus packages work? What if inflation doesn't go bat-shit crazy? What if things are a bit worse, but still bearable? How can we know for sure?

I find it very interesting that a few months ago, the media was pushing the phrase, "The New Normal." It was about how people are going to have to adapt to our changing economy, country, world.

Where is that now? My guess is, it scared the hell out of people, so Barry and his compliant media put the brakes on its use. We mustn't scare the lemmings.

I think it is very real. Things are going to change - are changing - very rapidly. I believe our way of life is in line for a very big reality check. I can quote history, statistics and philosophy as to why I think we're in for a crash.

But I can't prove it.

I think that the squashing of the "New Normal" phrase was in part because Barry knows how bad it's going to get. Reality is going to be crushing, and the government can at least look like they're doing their job if they rush to the rescue of an unprepared populous.

I'm Going Galt in my own way. I have not committed 100% of my resources as they did in Atlas Shrugged. I'm holding a bit back in the hopes that I'm wrong.

I've got Plans A, B, C and D. Each kicks in if certain events occur - both for the good and the bad. I just hope I've chosen the right events to watch!

If the world can just hold together until November or December, I'll be in a much better position regardless of what happens. Going Galt won't be such a stretch...

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"The liberties of our country..." 

The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.
--Samuel Adams

I am absolutely crushed. I've mentioned here before that I have a Utah non-resident CCW permit. It is accepted in some thirty-odd states. Up to now, the only state where I've used it is in Nevada.

No more.

As of July 1, 2009, Utah and Florida have been removed from the list of states accepted by Nevada -
Utah’s permit process does not require live fire training that Nevada
law requires...
Great. Utah must have changed their requirements, because when I got my permit, I had to do a number of live-fire drills. No more, I guess.

I need to chew on this a bit. I'll probably contact Utah to find out why they made this change, and if it is going to be reversed. I'll also look into either a Nevada non-resident permit or another state with a broad acceptance like Utah used to have.

One more "gun thing" to stress about...

In yesterday's post, I got some information on some of the US laws pertaining to gunsmithing. It is amazing how far Nanny feels compelled to crawl up your ass when it comes to guns.

27 CFR 478.11 is the section used by the BATF for definitions. Here are some of the interesting ones that I stumbled across -
Commerce. Travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between the District of Columbia and any State, or between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any State or the District of Columbia, or between points in the same State but through any other State or the District of Columbia or a foreign country.
Well, well, well. It seems as though the states that have passed, or are considering the passage of laws flexing their Tenth Amendment rights to build guns - in their entirety - inside of their own state - and thus NOT be subject to the Commerce Clause in the Constitution - are on very firm ground.

Right. How long do you think it will take the BATF to change this definition? Hell, it's probably already been done.

It appears as though I was this close to becoming an arms dealer -
Dealer. Any person engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail; any person engaged in the business of repairing firearms or of making or fitting special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms; or any person who is a pawnbroker. The term shall include any person who engages in such business or occupation on a part-time basis.
So, if I had cut down that lady's barrel I discussed in yesterday's post, AND had accepted any kind of compensation - from a 6-pack of beer to cash - I would have fit the definition of a part-time Dealer in the eyes of the BATF.


Under the Principal objective of livelihood and profit section, they somehow stray off into terrorist activities. According to the BATF, if you're a legal resident, you cannot be a terrorist -

For purposes of this part, the term “terrorism” means activity, directed against United States persons, which—

(a) Is committed by an individual who is not a national or permanent resident alien of the United States;

It doesn't say anything about if a natural born citizen can be a terrorist - at least in their eyes. Why in the hell would you carve out who could and could not be a terrorist? Isn't it the act that we're worried about, not their place of birth or legal residency status?

I just had to shake my head at the definition and characteristics of an "assault weapon" - it is mind-numbing.

A semi-auto, magazine-fed rifle with a telescoping stock and a pistol grip is magically designated an assault rifle? Somehow, it's not a "menace to society" if you cut off the pistol grip?

Are they insane?

Do they really think that we are somehow protected from some deranged bastard bent on killing a group of people because he can't buy a rifle with a pistol grip? Really?!

The way you are protected from the deranged bastard is to have decent, law-abiding citizens exercising their 2A rights - part of which is the unrestrained ability to carry a weapon of self-defense.

I know I'm "preaching to the choir" for most of the folks that come by here, but this is just nuts.

Think about what brought this on: If I had helped a friend out by cutting down her shotgun barrel, and she gave me a couple of bucks for my troubles, that act could have been construed as breaking the law, as I didn't have a business license and ATF Dealers license.

A federal criminal.

Absolute insanity.

Another Atlas Shrugged Moment of Zen -
"We started with no time limit in view," said Galt. "We did not know whether we'd live to see the liberation of the world or whether we'd have to leave our battle and our secret to the next generations. We knew only that this was the only way we cared to live. But now we think that we will see, and soon, the day of our victory and of our return."

"When?" she whispered.

"When the code of the looters has collapsed."

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Maintenance Prep 

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

I helped someone out yesterday by cleaning their Remmington 870. What a mess!

Judging from the condition, she had never done a thorough cleaning of the shotgun. It looked like the entirety of its maintenance had been to clean the bore after shooting. Nothing else.

Since my personal pump shotgun is a Mossberg 500, I had never taken down an 870. I jumped on YouTube, watched a little 6 minute video, and went to it.

I must say, taking down and reassembling the 870 is MUCH easier than the 500.

When I took out the trigger assembly, it looked horrible. Black crap was everywhere - in every little nook and cranny. I don't normally use Gun Scrubber (a cleaner in an aerosol can) because it removes everything it touches. You have to be very diligent in reapplying lubrication when you use this stuff.

But because of the condition of the trigger assembly, I used it. This is what came off JUST the assembly -

If you click the image, you can see the little chunks that were in there. It was bad!

The gun had a good deal of rust, but it was all in places that weren't critical, or way past repair. Lots of elbow grease put the shotgun back into decent repair.

I gave the entire gun a heavier-than-normal coating of gun oil, as it looked like the last time it had any was when it came out of the box! I wiped it down today to get any of the excess, and then did the whole thing with a silicone cloth.

It's hard to recognize it as the same gun!

The owner has a question I couldn't answer: She wants it to be a house security gun. It is a Wingmaster Magnum 12 gauge model. In looking online, I could not find any 18 1/2 inch barrels for this model. The only stuff I could find was for the Express (ironically made by Mossberg!). Will that work with the Wingmaster receiver?

I know, I can call myself - I just want to know if anyone has any experience with this.

If the decision were made to cut it down, do you just use a hack saw to the muzzle and then file out the burrs? Is any kind of treatment (paint?) needed for the newly cut muzzle? Any legal issues anyone knows of?

It's been a while since I've done a take down on my other rifles. I need to get on that. Hopefully, it will just be a case of using gun cleaner, and some compressed air - no Gun Scrubber.

Better grab a can just in case...

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Scouting Trip 

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.
--Peter Drucker

Last Friday, I took my buddy that had the horrible car crash out for a little road trip. This guy is the King of Free. He is always working for a better deal - getting a price drop or more product/service. He's a wonder to watch.

He has always fished a lot. He knows hundreds of little, hidden spots. I asked him to go with me for a little drive around the Sacramento delta levee system. There are thousands of miles of sloughs running through the area. I told him I wanted to find a hidden, very secluded area.

I told him I wanted to find seclusion because I wanted to test out running a trot line (a multiple-line and hook fishing set up - VERY illegal in California). My real reason was to scout areas for caches.

Obviously, the levee system has a number of drawbacks. Levees break with some regularity. A few years back, we had a couple of breaks that were pretty devastating. The CA levee system is also VERY old. I don't need my stuff floating down the river after a breach!

Another drawback is that, at least with the levees in my area, the levees are made primarily of large rocks - not dirt. I guess that makes them more sturdy. Some areas have been covered with dirt and have roads built on top, but it still leaves less depth for burying longer cache tubes.

In general, the "water side" of the levees is publicly owned (although we found an increasing number of 'private property' postings) and the "dry side" is farm, cattle range or some other sort of pasture.

Still, there is A LOT of privacy. I noted a number of places on both sides of the levees where there appeared to be plenty of land and cover. A couple of places on the water side had 30- or 40-foot trees growing, so the land must be pretty damned deep!

We're going to do another road trip next week to find some out-of-the-way spots that are a bit closer to home. They are generally our "secret" fishing spots that don't get a lot of traffic.

We've got a pretty significant mountain in our area as well. It is mostly a state park, so nothing can be built - reducing the chances of having the cache discovered. I just don't know how much privacy I'll be able to get for the digging. We'll see.

When we were driving the levees, I was struck by the massive amounts of wild edibles. The biggest "crop" was blackberries. Literally thousands of bushes were along our route. We didn't stop at any of them, but they looked pretty bare - which is odd, as this is prime-time for the berries.

I'm putting together a spreadsheet of veggie planting and harvesting times for my area. I've added a "foraging" column to the sheet, and am going to include local wild foods in the listing.

While we were out, we passed a "U Pick" sign. In one part of my town, every weekend they get thousands of people from the greater Bay Area coming out to pick their own fruits. I have lived in this area for the past 20+ years, and have never gone to a U Pick orchard. Go figure.

This place was out on the levees, and my buddy wanted to stop (never pass up a good deal!). It was a bit over a mile and a half off the main road. They had a little parking area and a shack where you picked up buckets for your haul.

Right now, peaches, white peaches, apricots, plums and nectarines are in season. This little joint - tucked away from the world - had 36 rows of trees, each 200+ yards long!

You could pick whatever type of fruit you wanted, and it was all $0.79 a pound. Compared with our local store, that was half-price for the nectarines, and about ten-cents a pound lower for the peaches and thirty-cents a pound cheaper for the white peaches.

I picked up a combined 12 pounds of white peaches, nectarines and plums. Ten bucks.

I used about half of the white peaches, and made jam -

It looks amber-ish in the picture, but it's actually a shade of pink. I had some on an English muffin for breakfast this morning. It is VERY sweet. I made up 8 pints, and I think that will last me a very long time.

The flavor is wonderful, though. The peach flavor really comes through. I'm guessing it will be very much appreciated in the winter time.

OT: I don't know if I mentioned this, but I'm going to be participating in some Action Pistol (AP) competitions. This is a shooting sport where you are required to shoot, move, reload and hit targets. You run/walk through the different stages and scenarios and are judged on accuracy and speed.

I'll be going through an orientation and training class in a couple of weeks, then go straight into a match! You then become certified, and can participate in other matches. More importantly for me, I will now have access to my gun club's AP range and can practice when it's available.

In addition to sounding fun as hell, could there be a better civilian training routine for defending against multiple aggressors in accurate, rapid succession?

I'm going to stay with the "stock" gun division (or whatever it's called) - I'm not going to get the super-uber tricked out guns, mags and sights. Just me and my stock Glock 19.

I figure it's like food preps where you store what you eat. In this case, practice with what you'll use.

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