Friday, April 30, 2010

Gun Fun

Hunting the wily wild bowling pin tomorrow.

30 overnight, 53 for a high. We've had warmer days than this in January.

Civil Collapse

PDB has a post in which he suggests that a reduction in police services may be an early symptom of impending civil collapse.
Over here, is a piece in which a judge in Ohio suggests that the citizenry arm themselves in the face of police budget cuts and layoffs.

I'm not seeing an impending collapse of civilization as we know it. Both these examples suggest that the people are capable of sorting out a certain amount of kerfufflery on their own, which is the basis for a working libertarian society. What I think I'm seeing is an increasingly incompetent government providing less and less of the basic services a government should provide, and paying themselves more and more to do less and less.

To me this looks like an impending regime change.

What bothers me is that the left believes, down to the bottoms of their hearts, that the government can and should take care of everything, the Republicans, while giving lip service to the notion of limited government, won't do anything to roll it back. In their heyday, the Whigs policy was to repeal anything they could on the premise that laws passed by the opposition were intrusive, expensive, and not actually needed. Their laissez faire attitude toward everything except government eventually proved their downfall as they were unable to take a position on slavery, and vanished as a political force in the 1850s.

Today I find their active hostility toward government intervention to be more and more attractive.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Postal Match Fun

Those folks in Tennessee have had some good matches so far with interesting targets. This time it was one in honor of tax day:
Since this was designated as a tax form to be completed with a pistol, the rules were appropriately confusing.

First and foremost: You MUST "sign" your form. This is done by hitting the IRS logo on the lower left. You have no idea how frustrating it is to put a 5-hole "smiley" under that logo, without hitting anything else.
Next, use your remaining 9 rounds (you got it first shot, right?) to hit the coinage. There are 5 $1 coins, and 4 quarters, so your maximum "refund" would be $6.

Note the .05 and .10 Euro coins. The IRS won't accept foreign currency, so if you hit those, it counts off your score. Each coin counts only once. Good luck.

Results should be posted at the link sometime next week.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hidden Agenda

Now why didn't we think of that?
Oh yes, Colorado is, for the moment, a blue state.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hi-Point 4095 Range Report

This didn't work out quite like I planned. The original idea was to take the gun to the club IDPA shoot Saturday, and let anyone with .40 S&W ammo run a few rounds through it while I kept track of the chrony, and listened to comments. Unfortunately the match got rained out.

Today, I pretty much had the range to myself (nice), but not so much ammo testing and commentary.

Anyway... The gun worked quite well, right out of the box was hitting about 1" high, and 1/2" left at 25 yards. 2 clicks down and one click right (the adjuster didn't seem to actually click, so I imagined 8 clicks/turn) and my best group was 3/4".

I tried it at 100 yards, which was very optimistic of me, given my rather dubious eyesight. Note to self; If you think you're going to shoot very well at 100 yards with this, get some glass. Either that or a very long white cane. Still, I believe the 3" groups are quite do-able, and I had no trouble hitting a 3" x 5" gas cylinder cap, first try at that distance. Coyotes at 150 yds? I don't see why not. Should be easy. A 4X scout scope is an option. I wish I had had one.

Ammo was Federal JFP from Wally World, and worked flawlessly. It featured 180 gr bullets, and was advertised as delivering 985 fps, presumably from a full-sized conventional pistol. From the Hi Point, I was getting 1100-1120 fps. Other ammo for comparison was some 150 gr reloads which were delivering 910 - 960 fps from a compact pistol, and were hitting 1100-1150 from the carbine.

Three other people tried the gun, and described it as comfortable, easy to shoot, and having a "sporty" recoil. This assessment is because the basis for comparison is a .40 cal pistol with muzzle velocities in the mid 900s. Recoil is certainly there, but is easily manageable, slightly less than a .223. For the frail types, there's a muzzle brake / flash hider available.

The basic gun runs $305, at least where I got mine, and magazines run $18-20. Hi Point pistol mags fit the carbine, and are available in 8 or 10 round capacities, depending on your location.

Cheap entertainment? You betcha.

Edited to add the pic. I had a nice pic from the range, but the computer ate it. Honest

Addendum: I have several more posts about the 4095 on this blog. Enter 4095 into the search block at the top left corner of the page.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Future of Transportation, Emissions

Here's a piece in NRO, noting that, in time for Earth Day, the 2010 Mustang, motoring down the road at 70 mph, emits only 1.3% of the HC of a 1970 model.

But wait, there's more!

For purposes of this comparison, the 1970 Mustang in question was not making 70 mph. In fact, it is tested parked, as in a driveway, with the engine shut off.

The 2010 Mustang has reportedly met another milestone: It can produce 300 hp, and get 31 mpg, though probably not at the same time.

All you Greenies out there now have my express permission and encouragement to go suck an egg.

Primary Politics

National Peoples Radio is already bringing up the possibility of a primary challenger to The One, even though that event is 2 years out just yet. They start off by citing four previous such moves in recent memory, and point out that they all failed. Like we don't know whose side NPR is on.

They also point out that the incumbents, having fended off a primary challenge, went on to lose the general election, so in the interest of covering the bases, they trot out some potential challengers, and look at their prospects. This exercise has the earmarks of an inter mural version of the last election in which the Times endorsed the weakest Republican candidate until he got the nomination, then tossed him under the bus without further ado, come the general.

The strongest challenger at this point has to be Hillary, although Barry has done enough for organized labor to win them over handily.

I'm looking forward to a primary which is decided when either Rahm Emmanual is found in Ft. Marcy Park, or Hill's campaign manager is found in the Chicago river. It's how it's done on their side of the fence any more.

Gun Law

Michael Bloomberg is not a Senator or a Representitive, but he has enough money to own a few. He has a Federal bill up for consideration that would impose onerous new requirements on gun owners, and even set up an eternal federal list of any one who buys or sells a gun.

Our own temporary Senator, M. Bennet, is on as a co-sponsor, and Bloomberg is trying to pressure Udall to bet on board.

Some of the salient details include a requirement to register the names of both the buyer and the seller of a firearm, along with a history of how the seller used the weapon, and how the buyer intends to use it.

Frankly, I don't see much chance of this passing, but given the suicide bomber mentality that's taken hold among the Dems, it behooves us to make sure our legislators understand that this is most certainly NOT the will of anyone besides M. Bloomberg.

Oh yes, and don't forget, when writing your congress-critter, to include a line or two requesting the BATFE be completely defunded, if only as a cost-saving measure.

Update: This article has been edited to remove references to certain unsavory parties.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

Found over at Smallest Minority:
I want people elected to Congress, to the United States Senate, and to the presidency in 2012 with the express message that we are going to go to Washington and try to make Washington as inconsequential in your life as we can. I want the states to become the laboratories of innovation and experimentation. And I want to get this country back.
This from Texas governor Rick Perry. Frankly this sort of sentiment should be part of the campaign rhetoric of any politician who expects to get my vote, from candidates for U.S. federal positions, all the way down the the local city council.

Earthquake Prevention / Causation

An Ayatollah in Iran has pronounced that earthquakes are caused by promiscuous women, and has renewed demands for women to completely cover themselves to reduce the threat.

This has aroused the ire of one western woman who has decided to put the cleric's theory to the test.

Jennifer McCreight is determined to prove him wrong.

Since launching the "Boobquake" Facebook page she has enlisted more than 20,000 women promising to show as much cleavage as possible on Monday, April 26.

As worthy causes go, this one has to be right up there with the greatest. Pass the word around, and make Monday the least productive day in World business history.

If cleavage on the internet had any effect, there wouldn't be one brick atop another in the whole world, you'd think, but maybe it's a matter of reaching a certain critical mass, which would posit an explanation for the rash of big 'uns we've been seeing lately (earthquakes, dammit!) topped off by the Icelandic volcano.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Health Care Update

Pursuant to federal regulations recently discovered in the Obamacare bill, women will now be required to carry warning labels:
That list looks about right.

You laugh. Wait till we find the mens section.

Monday, April 19, 2010


The last time the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano erupted, the eruption lasted 2 years. I'd say it sucks to be in Europe. Almost. My kind of privation.

Anyway, Stormbringer has a great piece on recent volcanic activity and the results of same, so drop on over and be prepared to be appalled at the possibilities.

Hi-Point 4095

I have traded in my Leader Dynamics EBW for a Hi Point 4095 carbine. Hi point is a bit slow updating their website, so the above is a 9mm version. Imagine the barrel being just a tiny bit bigger, otherwise, same gun.

Due to the ammo shortage, and an unexpected honey-do bomb, I haven't been to the range yet. Maybe this weekend. Meantime, I've found a couple of things. First, let me remind you of the story about the IT guy who joined the Army:

He goes to the rifle range, and puts a magazine full down range, only to be told that there were no holes in the target. He puts his finger over the end of the barrel and pulls the trigger, shooting off a bit of finger. He then calls back to the downrange spotter:
"It's coming out this end O.K. The problem must be on your end."

The Hi Point comes with a yellow stickie on the stock that reads:

"CAUTION This is a short barreled rifle.
DO NOT extend your FINGERS past the MUZZLE of the weapon."

The marksmanship instructor must have retired and taken a job with Hi Point.

I'm not a fan of the broom handle, but that's the only model that was available. OTOH, it folds back into a credible variant on Magpul's AFG, so maybe I'll get to like it after all.

The gun comes with an allen wrench which fits every screw on the gun except the fine sight adjustments and the broom handle. The broom handle takes the next size smaller. The handle has a clever secret compartment, in which is a wrench / screwdriver tool that allows pretty much complete dis-assembly of the gun. I was advised that brushing the bore after every 2-300 rounds would suffice, and more extensive cleaning could wait for the 2-3000 round mark.

All Hi Point carbines will be shipped with the "sport" stock, shown in the picture above, complete with a spring-loaded pad. The 9mm version reportedly has little recoil to absorb, but the .40 is reported to be noticeably "sportier".

One last thing: The box this gun came in had check boxes to designate the model inside. Choices being 4095, and 4595. Yes, that's right, according to highly reliable third-hand information, the .45 ACP H-P is actually in production, awaiting delivery of stocks, and will be on the market in August. If you already shoot a .45 pistol, you may commence drooling. This model has been "6 months out" since 2004, so I'm not holding my breath. Of course if Hi Point wants to send me a pre-production model for evaluation, I'll be happy to endorse their projected delivery date.

The club has an IDPA-style match this Saturday, so I'll be at the range, barring the predicted cloudy, rainy, and cold frightening people off. Range report this weekend. Several of the members shoot .40 SS&W so I should be able to get Chroney data over a range.


Today is the 17th anniversary of the burning of the Davidian church in Waco TX.

Today is the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah office building in Oklahoma City.

Today is the second anniversary of the founding of this blog, which goes to show, third time's the charm. Or something.

A big thanks to all my readers and followers, I'll try not to dwell on politics any more than I have to, and put up more guns, Mad Science, and scantily clad ladies.

Gun Goodies to follow:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Unemployment, Another Perspective 2

Uncommon Misconceptions has, I think, put his finger on the source of the problem when trying to follow the unemployment news.

It's like trying to follow that hot stock your buddy recommended by jumping over to Yahoo Finance 3 times a day to see what it's doing. Eventually you'll figure out that it's fluctuating. Little more than that either. It's when you take a longer view, with a longer-term floating average that the jiggles in the price curve start to make sense.

When the unemployment claims dip, the media puts it on page one, and begins singing "Happy Days". When the new claims rise, the story moves to the footnotes on page 77. Click the link and see the graph with both the weekly new claims numbers and a moving average that shows the rate inching upward slowly.

Volcano Face

Here's a radar image from the Daily Mail of the Islandic volcano.
All you apocalyptic Steven King fans, go have a celebratory brewski.

There's a chance here for an interesting experiment. How long will the ash take to completely circumnavigate the world, given that the circumference of the world at 50 degrees north is not all that large, and the ash is currently making 20-80 mph.

North-South spread will depend on the size of the high and low pressure systems it gets involved with, but I bet it won't be seen south of the equator.

Al Gore has not yet weighed in on how big a tax increase would have prevented this, but I bet it's going to be a mighty chilly spring in Northern Europe, at least all the way to the Urals.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Techno Challenge

Two things coming together here: One is that no matter how successful, the media always drops a couple of zeros off their crowd estimates at Tea Party events. The gathering at Searchlight Nevada was described as "dozens", the Tax day gathering here in Denver was described as "hundreds".

Second, my circle of friends includes some very clever technologists, with specialties in about any field you could think of.

So, in the current age of the ubiquitous UAV, why don't we have one or more taking airel pictures of the Tea Party and other events. Accurate head counts are so much easier when you have a picture of all or most of the heads in question. In the times of RC aircraft, digital cameras, and wireless internet, you'd think this would be easy.

Here's your chance to be the first on your block to win the prestigious DMSC Peabody Award for extremely clever thinking.
Wouldn't that look nice hanging on your cubicle wall?


I mean, can't we all just get a long gun? The folks in Oklahoma have come up with several variants on the bumper sticker favored by the hippie left. They are busily discussing discovering bumper stickers, window decals, and t-shirts.

I think one of these would make a swell t-shirt. Extra gunnie geek points if you can name all seven manufacturers on the last one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Party Tomorrow

At the State Capitol at 10 AM.

Unfortunately I have to be at work. A job is difficult to find, and I haven't been there long enough to take days off yet. However, not everybody is so bothered. As Michelle Malkin reports:
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement is calling on all radicals – anarchists and communists, Mexican and Black nationalists, Third Worldists and Indigenists, students, social critics and anti-racists – to come out and oppose this vile, hateful message in the midst of the Tea Party Movement. Bring signs, bullhorns, props, a hat and sunglasses, etc. Cut loose and let these racist crackers know they are opposed.
I'm guessing there will be 2-5000 Tea partiers out there, although with the warm weather and all, it could be bigger. The downside is that there's effectively no parking within six blocks or so of the venue. I'm also guessing the RAIM folks will be countable on the fingers on one hand. Maybe two hands, with some fingers left over. If you have one to spare, give it to the RAIM-bos.

And for you sons and daughters of the great revolution of 1917, be sure you dress appropriately so as to fit in to the group you're trying to infiltrate:
And throw snappy Nazi salutes to further blend in. This and other sartorial suggestions here.

For you partiers, Glenn Reynolds suggests you bring a video camera, maybe one of the pocket sized Flip models to record all the fun.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tea Party Can Do No Wrong!

Absolutely. All real participants at Tea Party Functions, and thoughtful, well-educated, non-violent people with only the country's best interests in mind.

Anyone with a misspelled sign, or a slogan that might be construed as hate speech, is instantly identified as a leftard infiltrator. Don't believe it? Check their website. Just don't tell anyone, because it's a big secret operation.

The Nobel Prize In Mechanics

It was to be mine! Mine, you hear, untill my unscrupulous partner filed the papers behind my back, took complete credit for all my work, and absconded with my beautiful wife! And here he is, gloating! The bastard!

Vengeance will be mine! My infindibulum is nearly finished, and will give me the power to create small black holes anywhere in the world. Just wait. He'll get one in the lap at an inopportune moment. If my timing's right, my unfaithful wife will be taken care of at the same time.

Bwahahahaha! Fools! I'll destroy them all!(tm)(r)(c)

Video shamelessly lifted from Curmudgeonly and Skeptical.

Copyrighted line property of DMSC, who swear they'll have their website up Any Day Now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Just Because The French Think You're Crazy...

Doesn't necessarily make it so. Charles DeGaulle in the 50s, thought the whole world was crazy, not to mention notably inferior to himself, and was miffed that he had not been named Rightful King of the World, after his trouncing of the Germans just a few years before.

Sarkozy, it seems, has expressed doubts about Obama's talents, which were somehow leaked to the French equivalent of the CIA, by the Russians, who seem to know everything.
According to this report, Sarkozy was “appalled” at Obama’s “vision” of what the World should be under his “guidance” and “amazed” at the American Presidents unwillingness to listen to either “reason” or “logic”.
Which sounds just like DeGaulle did. On the other hand, I have a higher opinion of Sarkozy than I did of DeGaulle, and am inclined to agree with him here. Also if DeGaulle ever called Eisenhower a "dangerous lunatic", the French press was at least discreet enough not to print it. The EU Times is also a contender for best use of gratuitous use of scare quotes.

Thanx to Steve for the lead on this one.

And Back From The Convention

The local offices needing filling were already down to single candidates, so no excitement on that front.

The heavyweights running for state office find Arapahoe county too big and too convenient to pass up, so they were all there, pressing the flesh, and handing out candy. By the time I got there, I would have sold my vote for a cup of coffee, but strangely, no one had any.

The heavyweights all got to speak, and were mercifully limited to 3 minutes each. At least two shot themselves in the foot. Unfortunately, the wireless mike was cutting in and out, which made hearing difficult. I blame the administrations stranglehold on the media.

Ryan Fraiser made a good impression by dumping the defective mike and booming to the audience. The poor lady from eastern Europe who was running for governor, couldn't get the mike to work at all, and went home largely unheard.

Steal a page from Jessee Jackson: Bring your own bull-horn, and dish out the bull at full volume.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To The Convention I Go

As a delegate to the Republican county convention anyway. Here we meet the hopefuls who want to get elected to the various county-level positions, including local house and Senate candidates.

Hopefully I won't be hearing too much about how Fred the Republican can administer a big wasteful program better than Bob the Democrat. I want to hear about how "Chainsaw" Fred proposes to do away with the program.

Advance predictions:

1. Pravda-By-The-Platte, AKA the Denver Post will cover the conventions by visiting the Denver County Republican convention. They will not visit any swing counties.

2. In the upcoming elections, Pravda-By-The-Platte will confirm its claims of bipartisanship by endorsing every single Republican fortunate enough to be running unopposed, proving that they don't endorse exclusively Democrats. Just when they get the chance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Payoffs

It is quickly becoming apparent that, barring the Republicans acting like Republicans, the Dems are going to take a major shellacking this fall.

The game at this point is to enter your best guess as to what any specific "suicide voter" will get in return for their vote.

What do you think? An ambassadorship to someplace with warm weather and good rum? A permanent seat on a "death panel" where one could conceivably ration health care to ones enemies?

Come January next year I bet we see a whole raft of these.

Chris Dodd: An Ambassadorship to Ireland, since he already has a "modest cottage" there on an exclusive gated island.

Barney Frank: Same thing, but to the Dominican Republic. He also has a beach side bungalow in the $500,000 range, which goes a long ways in the D.R.

Bart Stupak: Something in Canada, where he could come home on weekends by traveling after dark to avoid the lynch mobs.

Harry Reid: He's not a very diplomatic sort, which qualifies him with the current administration for a posting to England, with whom we are no longer being diplomatic.

Barbra Boxer: Has the kind of arrogance that would make the Red Queen jealous. A shoo-in for a death panel job, which I'm sure she'd enjoy.

Quite a few of these people have no obvious talent at all, so I suppose the witness protection program is the placement of last resort.

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Health Care - Details

In the details is where the fun lies. It now appears the writers, whomever they were, for got to give the IRS its usual authority to kick down your door, do the SWAT-Ninja dance, and confiscate everything you own until you make up that last 4 cents you owe them.

It seems that if you don't buy health insurance, the IRS is limited in retribution to sitting on your tax refund until you send them proof of insurance. Remember that if you claim many deductions, they will have little or nothing to hold over you. IRS Commissioner Doug Schulman says:

"The vast majority of American people have a healthy respect for the law and want to be compliant with their tax obligations."
Right. I know I respect the law in general, but for the government I have the same kind of respect I hold for stinging insects and venomous reptiles.

I'm sure all my readers are citizens of their environs, just as good as I am.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Zomby has a nice piece on the current political climate over at Resurrection Song. I was going to comment, but his server isn't speaking to anyone. Or maybe it's just me.

The situation is getting so strange I'm almost afraid to look. The Dems have a widely hated candidate with the union seniority to demand another shot on the ticket. They also have a "lite" version of him, with pretty much the same platform and qualifications. Also their vote-fraud machine has taken some hits. Looks great for the Republicans, right?

But wait! The traditional Republican strategy is to select some colorless party apparatchik, barely distinguishable from a Democrat, who inspires the base to simply stay home, hoping that next time they'll nominate a conservative. They have Mitt Romney, for example, all primed and ready to go, probably willing to take a conservative as his running mate, as did McCain.

The current situation is close to bad enough that Arlen Specter could probably get elected president if he changed his party back to Republican, and had a conservative running mate. Still, what did we do to deserve this?

It's caucus season, and this is where you show up and demand real candidates. If you are a Republican, demand a real conservative who isn't afraid to say so. If you are a Democrat, demand a real Communist who isn't afraid to say so. Bring a friend to vote. Bring 2 or 3, or if you live in Cook county, keep coming back till the polls close.

If you don't vote, you can't bitch.

Squirrel Season

Spent part of last weekend out doing the springtime brush clearing, and discovered that the squirrels had chewed the bark off of several limbs of my plum tree.

You realize, of course, that this means WAR?

This year we will determine if the pedal air gun can, in fact, launch a squirrel completely over the house. We will also endeavor to determine if the dogs can catch a squirrel launched nearly straight up.

No cute furry creatures will be harmed. Any more than they have coming.

PETA protesters will be welcomed with a bottle of Bleu Cheese Dressing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Postal Matches

Mr. Completely's first postal match of the year is in, and I did credibly well, finishing 3rd of 25 in class 1 rimfire pistol, no optics, and 3rd of seven in centerfire pistol, no optics.

Paula, my shooting partner, and student, finished 15th of 25 in class 1. She's getting better.

Next up is the Conservative UAL guy, who has a similar approach:
He is scoring it a bit differently in that he allows 13 shots on the thirteen circles, but scores only one hit per circle. There's also 2 targets to shoot, one standing, and one sitting. Click the link for the complete rundown.

Gun Fun 3

Today, being the first Saturday of the month I would normally be out shooting bowling pins, but the club bought a set of Steel Challenge plates, and we decided to give them a try instead.

This was probably a good idea, as the wind was blowing at around 40 mph, and we would have spent a good deal of time chasing wayward pins as they tumbled across the plains like tumbleweeds.
Here's a stage. Sorry for the photo quality, but as I said the wind was about 40 mph, and the dust was rather hard to take. Note the 5 white plates on the left. The rightmost plate is actually in the center of the arrangement from the shooters POV. The drill is, when the timer starts, to hit the 4 plates at the rear, some 18 yards back, then hit the one in the center, some 9 yards out. The small plates are 10" dia, and the "big" ones are 12".

This is a difficult stage, and the wind sure didn't help. Oddly enough, I believe I did slightly better with the little CZ-82 than I did with the 6" revolver. I must be getting the hang of the automatic.

We gave up after 3 stages, although most of us shot each one twice using different guns. Several people shot the stages with .22s. If the stages don't involve any more targets than the ones today, I won't need a second magazine for my Ruger Mk 1. Still, I was sort of looking for an excuse to pick one up.

Musical Interlude

Following the discovery of this widget on Resurrection Song, I decided to try it on my blog. This thing somehow interprets the musings on a page, and turns them into music, of a sort.

Mine sounds rather upbeat. Go here, and plug in the url of your favorite on line philosopher.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Future of Transportation, Overpowered

My favorite transport mode is what is called the "pocket rocket. That would be a "compact" car, with a generous sized engine in it. Your definition of compact may vary, but the Mustang, Camero, Cobra, Sunbeam Tiger, and others like that all qualify. Here's the big buck version:
Asking price is currently estimated to be $270K, but the car won't be available until 2013, at which time I expect the price to be closer to a half mil.

Nice, but difficult to convince the wife you need this for the daily commute to work. There's no reason there has to be a dearth of fun cars available, they don't have to be SCCA contenders to be fun, after all, just reasonably quick, and not exorbitantly priced.

Imagine you're an overpaid executive at a big car company. One of the big 2-1/2, maybe, and you want to offer something people will buy. So you think to yourself, what the country needs, is a commuter car that's snappy looking, and more fun to drive than a Focus. Keeping in mind that 99% of all commuters travel alone.

So you have the production boys send you over a compact 2WD pickup. You toss the bodywork, shorten the frame, lower the suspension about 2-3 inches, and drop on a swoopy body, with an optional convertible top, and voila! the commuter car of the 21st century. Best part is that apart from the body, all the components were off the shelf. Think Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, or Chevy S-10. Adequately muscular motors and manual transmissions are already there, and more power is only a chip change away.

This would not be a track-ready, refined sports car, but you wouldn't be paying for that either. You bought it to drive to work, right?

The reason you won't see this is CAFE. This requires that the overall average fuel economy of all the cars your company sells be some 27 mpg, soon to increase to 35 or so. The pickups don't count against that, so the better engines are available, although that is scheduled to change soon too. Once you remove the pickup bed, however, it's a car, and counts against your average. Sell too many, and the government will nationalize your company. Oh wait...

Unemployment, Another Perspective

The unemployment rate depends a lot on who's doing the counting, and what their agenda might be. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a fairly good reputation for accuracy, although lately some of their numbers have begun to look suspect. If the economy is really recovering, for example, why is no one being hired?

The BLS gets their numbers by taking telephone surveys, among other methods, and then deciding whom to count and whom to ignore. They currently have a U-6 rate of the unemployed, the underemployed, and "discouraged" workers, running about 17%. Other sources call the number as high as 22%. Gallup has been doing its own unemployment survey, with their own methodology that doesn't allow them to ignore as big a portion of the numbers as the BLS.
This number is, to me anyway, more credible than the BLS.
A rise in the percentage of part-timers wanting to work full time (from 9.2% to 9.9%) is responsible for the March increase in underemployment. Unemployment saw a slight, but insignificant, decline in March.
So it looks like while people are finding a bit of work, it seems a good part of it is part-time rather than full-time. Gallup also shows that in the last 4 months, actual employment has dropped a tiny amount, calculated as a 30-day rolling average, which smooths out the week-to-week fluctuations. Less than 1% from the look of the graph, but this is not the rising line we hope for when we're told the recession is over.

The President, meanwhile, tells us to tone down the complaining. He finds the noise annoying.

April Gunney Girl

Rules for a gunfight:
1. Bring a gun.
2. Bring another gun.

There are several others, but putting up enough distraction to be able to get the first shot off has got to be worth something.
This young lady looks like she could get to slide lock before her opponent realized he was in a gunfight at all.

Serious posting later.