Monday, January 30, 2012
There's lots of years of evidence and data if anyone wants to collect it that will show that states with low or no income taxes do better economically than states with such taxes. A tax, after all is a penalty you pay for being successful. The more successful, the higher the penalty.
Gun Show Report
1. Someone walded by an appearantly unmanned table, and walked off with a rifle. The action was noted, and the door guard alerted. The miscreant was apprehended at the door. Sucks to be him, I'm sure.
2. Some unemployed rocket scientist took a liking to a firearm and filled out the 4473 and proceeded with the background check. Turned out that several law enforcement agencies in Colorado found him to be a Person of Very High Interest. He left the show in handcuffs.
3. By way of hearsay, Saturday was a Fire Marshall day. At some point you couldn't get in until someone else went out. Several dealers told me that business was exceptionally good too.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
A Tale Of Two Train Sets
Several states looked at the proposal and saw a black hole for money, large portions of which would go to lawyers who would fight for environmental impact statements and new routings to keep the thing out of the better neighborhoods. They also looked at the ridership projections and noted that they would need more population in their states to be able to fill the cars. Almost everybody turned the offer of partial Federal funding down as unaffordable.
Except California. There it made perfect sense to assume that a quarter the population of the state would want to travel from near L.A. to San Francisco every Tuesday and then return on Thursday, while another quarter would be going the other way. The cost would be borne by the Federal monies the other states had given up, and the whole thing would run about $46Bn. So they approved $10Bn to establish the bureaucracy to run it and do an actual cost study. While this was being done, a preliminary route was selected, which brought out the lawyers demanding environmental impact statements and new routings to keep the thing out of the better neighborhoods.
Then the first cost studies came in, and it now looks like $46Bn will barely buy track from somewhere outside of L.A. to the ever popular hip Mecca of Bakersfield. Building the whole thing is currently estimated at $96Bn and I doubt that anyone thinks that’s accurate either. Directors are bailing out of their plum positions on the H.S. Rail board like rats from an Italian cruise ship. Speed is projected to approach that of the DC-3, and the fare would be about 50% more than the current jet airfare for the same trip. Governor Brown continues to believe, but then the 60’s were very kind to him.
Here in Colorado, we do things differently. Some time back the Mayor of Denver got the idea to resurrect a chunk of the long-defunct Denver tramway system, which had been shut down and the tracks paved over for lack of revenue. He arranged to get built a short stretch of tracks that ran from about 1-1/2 miles south of downtown, through downtown, and about 1-1/2 miles eastward toward the airport. The promise was that the line would soon be extended to the airport and thus serve some useful purpose.The reality was that it ended in rather a seedy part of town. Interestingly the merchants, seeing the “tourists” riding to the end-o-tracks, spiffed up their businesses and formed a low-key vigilance committee to discourage the less reputable denizens from hanging out within sight of the line and are now doing well for themselves. The airport it was going to serve has been closed and moved a long ways out of town.
That first short stretch was the camel’s nose pushing into the tent. The RTD (Reason To Drive) figured out that if they forced riders onto their existing line, they could justify more lines. Did I mention that fares are a lot higher on the trolley? Did I mention that the subsidies are much higher for the trolley? The current plan is to build multiple legs running out to the sort of places people move to to avoid hearing about Denver. Vince Carroll at the Denver Post has a column suggesting that the rail boondoggle now absorbs over half of the state’s transportation budget.
According to the Denver Regional Council of Governments, transit investment in this region dwarfs all state and federal spending on highways and roads. Between 2008 and 2011, those sources will channel $1.8 billion into transportation, with two-thirds of it for transit.
Cities and counties also spend a lot on roads - roughly $1.6 billion a year, according to an estimate that Steve Cook, DRCOG's transportation planning manager, was kind enough to pull together for me. But only about one-fourth of that is invested in the arterial corridors that count for this discussion.
Doing the math suggests that transport subsidies of buses and trains now absorbs about half of all the monies spent on servicing transportation in Colorado. And still we wonder why the roadways are crowded and dangerous. The price of this toy train set has been rising at a rate of about $1Bn/year and the completion date is out to 2044 by which time I don’t doubt that the last legs will be the ones connecting Ft Collins on the north and Pueblo on the south with the baseball stadium downtown.Oh yes, and the West Link, running from Greenwood Village to Aspen Ski resort.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Nerdy T-shirt contest? That time of year we'll probably look like a bunch of flashers.
NOTES: Merles is a fine place. Good food, good beer, both large, is somewhat pricy. Swell place to visit, just not on Saturday night when it's packed to the walls.
SOPA, PIPA, It's The Thought That Counts.
If it's pretty clear that a treaty would effectively repeal large parts of the constitution, you simply declare the treaty to be an executive agreement rather than a treaty, sign it, and begin enforcing the details. ACTA, the Anti-Counterfiting Trade Agreement, would grant sweeping powers to overseas entities to shut down internet sites without any legal oversight.
Under the provisions of ACTA, copyright holders will be granted sweeping direct powers to demand ISPs remove material from the Internet on a whim. Whereas ISPs normally are only forced to remove content after a court order, all legal oversight will be abolished, a precedent that will apply globally, rendering the treaty worse in its potential scope for abuse than SOPA or PIPA.Imagine elevating Righthaven to the status of global internet censor, with no accountability and you're getting close.
I find the potential precedent here to be rather unsettling. Imagine an "executive agreement" to forbid criticizing Islam, or limiting weapons possession. We doan' need no steenkin' Senate vote, now do we. It would probably be a good question for Eugine Volokh to ask what remedies would exist if the president declared this treaty to be an executive agreement and began enforcing it. Meantime, write your Senator and ask him or her if they plan on doing anything or if they're happy being highly paid and irrelevant.
I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of this sort of "rule by decree" effort in the last year of the Obama reign as his party increasingly sees him as a very lame duck who is likely to take people too close to him down with him.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Balancing the Budget
Having explained the problem, the eventual solution becomes blindingly clear.
Refrence here is Chilie, about which I've written before. The social security program there is privatized, mandatory, and vastly superior to what we've got. We could impliment something like this here by phasing out the current system and phasing in the new one.
That won't happen because the current system creates a population dependent on the government for its very existence, which means the population will vote for those who promise to sustain that system.
In Chile, Alberto Fujimori was able to implement his privatized variant because when he took over, the country was flat broke and couldn't pay anyone anything. Since all was already lost, there wasn't much objection to his trying something new, and it worked.
When something can't go on forever, it won't. Sooner or later, the system will crash and at that point we'll be able to make the needed repairs, but at that point, a lot of people are going to get seriously hurt.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 13 and 16.It's a fancy gold-stamped certificate, so I'm probably some kind of snob.
In other words, you don't even have a bubble.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Energy and Environment
I wish them the best of luck. What could go wrong?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Gun Law, Colorado
The Dems, who control the Senate, say this distracts from job creation, which should be more important.
Given the Dems practice of making jobs harder and harder to get and near impossible to create, I would think that anything that distracts the electorate from their record would be welcomed by them.
H/T to Bayou Renaissance Man
I have a blunderbuss barrel. What it needs is a brass housing around the back end, enclosing a spring driven motor that comes slowly up to speed while emitting an ominously rising pitched whine, before releasing the striker onto the percussion cap. Multi-colored whirligigs and a smoke-emitting stack would be a plus.
Something to do in my spare time.
Friday, January 20, 2012
In fact the only improvement would be to resurrect Ron Reagan as a zombie, and put him on the stage at the debates, and see him unerringly shamble toward Gingrinch mumbling "Brainnnnns".
Well it would be entertaining, no?
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Beer. Is There Anything It Can't Do?
I suppose the analogy is that of stressing individualists until they form a Tea Party.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Stop SOPA, Stop PIPA
Go here to let your congress animals know how you feel.
H/T to Insty
NOTE: In the you can't win department. The administration has said they can't quite support either bill as written, so Big Hollywood is announcing a boycott.
Is it just me, or do both those bills sound a lot like the Righthaven scam written into federal law?
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Gun Fun: Technology
Coming soon to a gun merchant near you.
To my observation at bowling pin and IDPA matches, a more useful and less obtrusive gimmick would be a small red panel that pops up blocking your view of the front sight when your gun goes to slide lock.
I see more people staring intently down a locked slide, carefully pulling the trigger and becoming more and more surprised when the thing refuses to go bang. Maybe something as simple as a small LED that lights up when the slide comes back. In normal use the blink would be too short to notice, but with the slide locked back, it stays on.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Yessiree, the next best thing to having a congress full of ravening right-wingers who are repealing everything they can get their hands on all the way back to the New Deal, is gridlock of the sort that makes Nome harbor in February look like Waikiki beach in June.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
O.K. that moves Mr. Romney up to just ahead of the camel in my book, but only just.
I'll not fault the news media for not being top-notch forensic investigators as that sort of thing requires training of the sort you don't normally get at J-school, but enough details emerge to make some intelligent guesses. The perp, at the end of the story was reportedly suffering from two shots from a 12 ga shotgun, one to the buttocks. I'm going to guess the first one was to let him know he wasn't supposed to be where he was, and the second was to let him know he wasn't leaving quickly enough.
Lesson here is that all those stories about what a man-stopper the 12 ga is probably ought to come with an asterisk and a paragraph of disclaimer stuff. Things like the value of shot placement, and the relative effectiveness of #8 birdshot vs 00 buck and 2-1/2" shells vs 3".
So much also for the "rack a round and watch them run" theory. Sometimes a loud boom is also required.
The report goes on to say that the wounded man then ran out of the house and back to the waiting getaway car, which then got away. Good advice here: Never stick around to argue with a naked man with a shotgun. He's probably not going to be amenable to reasoned discourse.
Following the escape, the wheel man must have decided that his partner was going to require more medical attention that he was likely to get back home, and transported him to the best location he could think of to get him quick professional attention; the drive through of a local McDonalds.
Happy ending; The bad guys are in custody and the homeowner isn't. Is the 12ga a brick-wall man stopper? Depends on several factors. Do you need 00 buck or slugs? Probably not, but remember if someone can run out of the house and get into the getaway car after being shot twice, he could probably run the remaining few feet toward you and stick you with a knife if he was so inclined.
The biggest factor that makes a weapon effective in a situation like this is shot placement. If you're going to keep a gun for self defense, the most important factor will be your ability to use it.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
If the U3 is 8.5%, and the U6 is around 16%, then things are getting better, right? Those numbers used to be a couple points higher, no? It turns out that if you have 100 people in your workforce, and 20 of them have no jobs, then you have an unemployment rate of 20%. Unless 10 of those 20 unfortunates have given up on finding work, in which case they are no longer in your workforce, which reduces that number to 90, of which only 10 are officially unemployed for an unemployment rate of 11% which is much better.
Bogus? Sure. but that's how the government does things when job 1 is getting re-elected. Go here for a much more detailed description including more links.
If you want some encouragement, you can try drinking or go here to hear the MSM call this the best recovery ever.
Having people drop out of the workforce and either starve in the streets or join the gray economy makes the administration look bad. See the opening minutes of Moscow On The Hudson for examples. The stricter sorts of regimes have developed a method of dealing with unemployment that is simplicity itself: They make it illegal. The charge is "parasitism" and is punishable by a long stretch in an isolated prison camp doing worthwhile work for the government, like cutting timber or digging in a mine. The old Soviet Union was always proud to point out that its unemployment rate regularly hovered around zero.
Here, this was called the WPA.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
While I was in a Denver gun store today, my car was tagged on the wheel in the parking lot. The gangs do this on wheels or bumpers at gun stores, shooting ranges, gun shows etc. Later when you are parked at a restaurant, hotel, or other location that's less well guarded or not under video surveillance, other gang members spot the marker and break into the car for a quick gun grab. This is so RAMPANT in San Antonio where we were for a National shoot this summer, the police chief of that county came out to brief the 400 participants of our competition. Too bad three teams had already been victimized the first day. This is the first I've heard of this in Denver . Please pass this info along to your 2nd amendment list.This next comment from a Gunsite instructor: I don't know how widespread this is becoming , but the info regarding the NSCA Nationals in San Antonio is correct, as all of us who compete in sporting clays know. Competitors there were having their vehicles marked with a small adhesive dot on the rear license plate or rear bumper, then followed for miles and having their vehicles quickly and efficiently broken in to when parked for lunch etc. Some crews were working the parking lot at the Nationals itself. 27 high end shotguns were taken there recently. They know when 1400 shooters with high $$ competition guns are in town. BTW I shot with a young man who was trying out a new gun at the Nationals. He and his father lost all their guns and equipment while making a quick stop for lunch at a BBQ place in Corpus Christi the month before.When leaving the gun store or range, give your car a quick walk-around. It can't hurt.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Gunsmithing the Revolver 3
O.K. a lot sub standard. Some research suggested that this sometimes happens, even on brand name firearms, but once the problem is diagnosed, it's relatively easy to fix. The original "forcing cone" seemed to be a badly cut chamfer of 45 degrees. What should be there is a smoothly cut taper of 11 degrees although this can vary from 7 to 15 depending on who made the gun or who worked on it last. Brownells sells the reamer for this, so I invested in one and tried my hand.
The taper should be between 1/8" and 3/16" deep when finished although it's difficult to get anyone to come out and say this. I wish I had gotten some before pictures of this showing really heavy copper and lead fouling in the barrel and all over the top strap where the debris stuck. I also got a lot of testimony from the R.O. at the previous pin match that enough debris was escaping the sides of the gun to drop pins in the adjacent firing lane. I'll testify that it would occasionally spit back and hit me.
Anyway here the result after some 70-80 rounds at the last pin match.
The gun had not yet been cleaned. There's a bit of copper on the upper surface of the barrel, and essentially no deposits on the top strap, which is toward the lower right in these pictures. The residue above the barrel, between the barrel and the top strap looks like legacy residue as it is not repeated anywhere else.
I also got no complaints about side spray, so I'll call that problem fixed.
Light A Candle For Peace
Note the use of the tactical illuminated front sight in which the candle is actually contributing to the process. The drawback is that elevation is self-adjusting so as the candle burns, your shot placement will get higher.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Oh yes, and a division for unelected bureaucrats too.
Daniel Mitchell over at Townhall has been digging these sorts of things up and publishing them for a while now, and I just found the trail of links (crumbs) to several of them.
Most of us have heard that in Illinois, you now need to present a photo I.D. to buy drain cleaner. Did you know that the vendor is required to take additional information and keep it?
The law, which took effect Sunday, requires those who seek to buy caustic or noxious substances, except for batteries, to provide government-issued photo identification that shows their name and date of birth. The cashier then must log the name and address, the date and time of the purchase, the type of product, the brand and even the net weightNot to be outdone, the Brits require photo ID and minimum age for the purchase of teaspoons they having been declared dangerous weapons. I seem to remember the Brits having been, at one time, much tougher than that.
Back home, the Fed Gov requiring two Naval vessels to be almost built, then towed to Texas to be scrapped is probably not eligible. After all I'm sure some Senator from Virginia at some point saw them as indispensable to the national defense, or at least his own re-election.
Back in Europe, the Germans managed to lose the entire set of architectural drawings for the new headquarters for their national intelligence agency, which isn't quite as bad as the Americans contracting out the building of a new embassy building in Russia to local contractors and then finding that the place had more bugs in it than some downscale New York hotels.
BTW: did you know there was a seven-day waiting period on the purchase of cold medicine in Chicago?
In Chicago, politicians who are dead from the neck up are elected by voters who are completely dead, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but about that award: I'm thinking of a bust of some pol famous for bad governance, done as a thin clear plastic mold that emphasizes the empty space between the ears. Nero perhaps. Imagine the headlines: "Senator Phoggbound Nominated For Nero Award"
I'd certainly nominate the head of the EPA for declaring carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant.
Click the links. Mr. Mitchel has some good stuff.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Noting of course that a NICS check does not correspond to a gun sale as some people are refused, some states require a new one every year for gun owners, some states require one every year for CCW holders, and some states (my own state of Colorado, for example) don't use NICS for background checks. Still, that's 16,454,951 checks for 2011.
Ammoland is reporting that some 10,800,000 guns were sold or transferred although they admit this number may be conservative. The report link compares this to the sizes of several foreign armies complete with "Don't f*** with us" lines.
Frankly I doubt that all those guns are being purchased in anticipation of the commie hoards storming over the horizon, but rather for locally produced barbarians in light of budget cuts at police departments.
Gun Fun: Bowling Pins
Also had no one complain about debris flying sideways from the cylinder gap of my revolver so the forcing cone reamer I bought paid off as well.
Started shooting at 28 degrees and partly cloudy standing on frozen ground. No wind for a change, so not too bad. As the day went on, the temps rose to about 38 deg and the sun began to come out more. Frozen ground turned into mud. Don't worry about shifting your stance, your feet aren't going anywhere.
By 1:30 the clouds had rolled back, and the temperature was rapidly dropping, so we held a shoot-off for the top 2 shooters packed it in. Congrats to Kirk, our newest pin champ.
About 1/3 of the way back home it started snowing, and by the time I got home, it was coming down in earnest. 1-3 tonight they say. Looks like we caught the weather window just about right.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Doom And Gloom
Not to worry anyone overly much. Most of these changes would require a Republican sweep akin to the Dem wins of 2008, plus a solidly conservative Republican in the White House. The former is not outside the realms of possibility, but the latter? No such person is currently running.
The Washington Monthly asked a group of distinguished journalists and scholars to think through the likely ramifications of a GOP victory in November. Here’s what they conclude:
David Weigel reports that the Tea Party will control the agenda regardless of which Republican wins the nomination.
Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann predict that there’s a “better-than-even chance” that the Senate filibuster will be destroyed.
David Roberts shows that the GOP won’t eliminate the EPA, but will permanently cripple it.
Harold Pollack disabuses liberals of the hope that health care reform can survive a Republican presidency.
Dahlia Lithwick writes that one more round of judicial appointments by a Republican president will lead to a generation of anti-government rulings no future Democrat can undo.
Plus: Jonathan Bernstein on why campaign promises matter; Michael Konczal on the end of Dodd-Frank; James Traub on the GOP’s “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine; and Paul Glastris on why, this time, conservative anti-government aspirations will be fulfilled.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I have to say that not only does the handle not get hot in the microwave, it provides a much more stable grip. I also like the ambidextrous safety. It's about as safe in one hand as in the other.
Update: High capacity too.
Get 'em here.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Along with that, the minimum wage just went up, at least around here, so in addition to being required to seriously consider morons for employment, you have to pay them more as well.
If I were a businessman, I think I'd move "hiring more help" down a notch or two on my list. If I were a politician, I'd add abolishing the minimum wage to my platform.
The Kinder, Gentler Jackboot
Since buying health insurance, or anything else is an individual responsibility, it seems that opting not to play at all is somehow un-American.
Under Obama, you'll be required to buy a Chevy Volt, which may eventually come with a fire extinguisher. Under Romney, you'll have the option of buying an electric car from any manufacturer you want, but you will be required to buy one.
After this election, the Republican party needs to go the way of the Whigs.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Read All About It!
All too often, I mention a week-old news item to the wife and find out she's not heard a word of it as she gets her news from the TV for the most part.
In the coming year we'll probably be treated to many examples of USSR-era Russian humor as the country becomes more and more like the Socialist utopia that the cowboy Reagan pitilessly destroyed just as all was about to come to fruition. Paraphrasing the Daily Worker may well become more common as well, no?
So as you peruse the local fish wrap, remember this Soviet-era wisdom: "There is no Truth in Pravda, and there is no News in Izvestia.