Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It took a while...

For years, I have been an irregular member of the NRA.  The yearly membership, while not terribly expensive, some years just did not fit into the budget.  My wife is a lifetime member already, so I did not feel that the household was not represented.  However, it always disappointed me when I had to choose not to renew for the year.  Originally I signed up at a gun show at the Cow Palace and selected the option for the life membership in 40 payments of $25.  However, somehow that turned into a one year membership.  After that I just kept doing the yearly membership. 

Now mind you, it did take me a while to start participating as a member.  Many moons ago, before the intarwebs were invented by Al Gore and made popular by AOL, I had limited exposure to the NRA.  Generally, when I saw someone speaking who was listed as a representative for the NRA, they were not putting on the best face for the organization.  They were the steriotypical "everyone should own a machinegun" type with specks of froth at the corner of their mouth as they raved about gun laws.  While I appreciated many of the programs I had observed that the NRA provided, I had issues with an organization that couldn't get a spokeperson on camera that looked sane. 

Later (after I took journalism classes) I learned that the media exists to sell itself, not necissarily to actually present the truth.  They are there to present their version of the truth that will get you to buy their catbox liner or to watch their infomercial.  I have yet to see a news organization that will let facts get in the way of a good story.  I also started to look into the NRA and see actual spokespeople with calm demeanors and actual facts at their fingertips. 

Now I finally reached a point where money is not short.  The credit cards are clear, no lingering bills are hanging over our head and my company did well and issued bonuses.  So I had a choice, one of which was to possibly purchase another firearm.  I still lack a 1911, so I was anticipating purchasing one.  However, I chose differently and decided to finally purchase the NRA lifetime membership.  Yes, I could have spent far less, purchasing a 3 year membership and one of these with 10 spare magazines, but I decided that this was something who's time had come.  So, I finally plunked down the cash (well, really I clicked, 'cause its the internet and all) and purchased a life membership.  In 2 to 4 weeks I should have a shiny new card and a spring in my step.  Well, I'll have the card anyway...

Now I just have to work towards attending a convention.  I won't make it this year (so I'll have to live vicariously through JayG)but hopefully in the next few years I will have the scratch to make it to one.  Maybe they will hold one in my area.  Oh, wait, SF bay area...  Yea, I won't hold my breath.

Monday, January 23, 2012

They never will get it...

Dodd Calls for Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Meet

The real arrogance here is the view that these bills had to be done in secret, quickly so that the public did not have time to read it and react.  That is what they are disappointed about, that the people actually got to look at this and give their opinion.  It's like listening to the members of the European Union body when Ireland voted no on a referendum. 

Point of interest, when you have to sneak your laws in the back door and hope nobody notices until they are in place, you really should not be making or even suggesting laws.  Mr. Dodd, please do us all a favor and just quietly retire.  Or take a long walk on a short pier.  Either way you would be properly placed for any future legislative sessions.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sometimes you have to take care of yourself first.

Giffords to finish 'Congress On Your Corner' before resigning this week

 Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced she will resign from Congress this week -- but not before finishing her "Congress On Your Corner" event that was interrupted by the shooting rampage that left six people dead and Giffords with a gunshot wound to her head.

I hope that Rep. Giffords continues with her recovery with continued amazing results.  I also hope that the peoplw of Arizona elect a new representative that has the same drive and determination that Rep. Giffords has shown.  While I know that she could have continued to hold office and likely would have been re-elected with no problems, she chose what some would call the difficult path, some the easy path.  I look at it as the right path, because she chose to take it.  It was not forced upon her.  I hope her path is as promising as her recovery has been.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why is the financial world in the crapper?

Well, I would say that this is a perfect example:

Google revenues worse than expected
Google reported a 27% increase in revenues for the last three months of 2011, but even that was not good enough to meet Wall Street estimates, sending the shares tumbling.  Google shares fell 10% in after-hours trading to $575.  It reported 3-month revenues of $10.6bn (£6.8bn). Its net profit rose 6.4% to $2.7bn.

I saw this kind of idiocy when I worked at an internet auction company during and after the dotcom boom and bust of 2000.  When they would post their earnings, they would always beat their own estimates, as well as Wall Street's estimates.  However, everyone expected that.  After the announcement there would be a huge selloff and forecasts of doom.  Why?  Well, you see, they only doubled what Wall Street estimated.  The analysts expected them to triple it.  How dare they only double the earnings expected!

Now I am seeing the same silliness here and it just floors me.  For reference, lets put those numbers in perspective: 

"For the full year, Google reported a 29% rise in revenue to $37.9bn, with net profit up 14% to $9.7bn."

Got that?  Your financial advisers are disappointed in a net profit of $9.7 billion (with a B) dollars for the year.  From a company who's entire product line exists only as electrons and who made it big by first enabling you to happily find the best porn on the internet in the shortest amount of time.  I have always felt that the stock markets really have no basis in reality, and stories like this only further re-enforce my belief. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And they will likely claim victory...

Mexico released data showing only an 11% increase in deaths in the ongoing drug wars in that country, which is much lower than recent years.  According to their figures, in the 2009-2010 area there was a 70% increase, which interestingly coincides with the ATF deciding that it wanted to be the top supplier of guns to the drug cartels. 

I can't wait for the ATF and Justice Department to start using this data to support their argument that their heavy handed and poorly thought out plans show a need for increased firearms laws.  In reality, it shows that our justice department (ah, the poor naming conventions) has lost sight of what their job is about.  Much like the IRS and Congress, they appear to think that unless they are showing an increase in the work that they do and the number of people that they go after, they will lose their reason for being.   

The thing that struck me most is that this item was not a headline on the site, more of a Section G page six item.  Almost 13k dead in 9 months and almost 50k overall and it is an "also ran" story.  Sad, really.

<Note to self:  When scheduling updates for posting, remember to actually finish the scheduling part.  Posting almost a week later is silly.>

Wait, you need money to do that?

Ah, the great irony unfolds.  Occupy Wall Street is now having funding issues.  I note that they have a documented corporate structure and I am willing to bet are using a bank to hold the dwindling supply of money that they have had donated.  They also have noted a downturn in free food and ice cream delivered to the protests.  I'm sure the banks are to blame.

Anyway, they have had to institute a partial spending freeze.  (I know that somewhere there is a union rep that is trying to figure out how to protest this freeze and turn it into an opportunity to unionize the protestors.)  But as I look at the items described, I am entertained to see the kind of spending that they justified.  $3000 in supplies for puppets.  $2500 on tea, herbs and likely a very spiffy teapot.  They have had to endure such "hardships" while protesting as opposed to those in the past who had possibly a bit more difficult time of it.

Yea, we're taking you seriously.  Honest. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why did I get up?

This was how my day started.

It went downhill from there.  How was your day?

Friday, January 13, 2012

I want that firewood salesman!

Russian finds Kalashnikovs in firewood crates

A man who had bought crates off the back of a lorry in Russia for firewood found they contained 79 Kalashnikov rifles and parts, Russian media report.  The villager in Udmurtia reported the rifles to a local policeman, after which investigators examined the 64 crates.

Interestingly, there is no mention of the villager or driver in question being harrassed or arrested by the police.  Now, if a similar situation occurred in the US, do you think that the ATF would be as polite?  Just food for thought...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yep, an upstanding officer...

I know a number of current and former members of law enforcement.  I know that there are a large amount of good people in that profession.  So it really sucks when I see crap like this guy:

Ex-cop gets prison in shooting plot
XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) - A former Miamisburg police officer will spend some time in prison for convincing his lover to shoot her husband.  The victim says his wife used photographs of him as target practice while Mark Roysdon taught her how to shoot a gun.
What really disappoints me is that this waste of oxygen got only 18 months, likely out in 9.  While his career is ruined, and he will likely loose most of his possessions, he got off light.  In less than two years he can begin to rebuild his life, likely in a different area where they do not know of his real background.

Meanwhile, the victim has to deal with a shattered marriage and the violent ending to it.  He will likely have personal issues to deal with for decades. 

The word "Justice" in the phrase "Criminal Justice" seems a bit misleading sometimes...

Another fine "Occupy Moment"...

Brought to you by the US Park Police. 

Man accused of leaving toddler alone in Occupy tent
From Greg Seaby, CNN
updated 6:55 PM EST, Wed January 11, 2012
(CNN) -- A man accused of leaving a 13-month-old girl alone in a tent at Washington's Occupy DC encampment has been arrested, U.S. Park Police said Wednesday.
Police spokesman David Schlosser said the man was taken into custody at McPherson Square in downtown Washington, where Occupy protesters have been camped out since last fall.
Police were called around 10 a.m. and found the baby girl wearing only a "onesie," Schlosser said. Temperatures in Washington at the time were in the low 40s.

Yes, a good example of the fine parenting skills inherent in the Occupy movement.  In a city with the seventh highest violent crime rate in the US this pillar of parenthood decided to leave his toddler in a tent.  In the park.  In 40 degree weather.  And he didn't even show up until 30 minutes after the police showed up.  That is the cream of the crop, Occupying our country into the crapper. 

Top Gear, still doing what they do best.

Apparently, the Government of India has no sense of humor.

Top Gear India special criticised for 'toilet humour'
A Top Gear special in India was "offensive" and full of "toilet humour", the High Commission of India (HCI) in London has complained.  The 28 December special featured jokes about food and trains and a Jaguar car fitted with a toilet seat on its boot.  The HCI has written to the BBC after it was contacted by "too many people" who were "very upset" by the programme.

Nor, apparently, do they do any research on the people and programs that apply for visas to shoot film in their country.  If they were unable to check wikipedia for the American Special, or the Botswana Special, or the Vietnam Special, not to mention the second America trip (the US did give them a stern talking to that time) or the Boliva Special, then really they have nothing to complain about. 

Now, since I am one of Clarkson's "fat Americans" and I have no problems with the jokes, my advice to India is to lighten up and take the show for what it is, light entertainment, nothing more.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weerd's Light A Candle To Stop Violence

Weerd has requested participation, so here is my submission.  Since CCW is effectively* illegal in California, this is for in home protection. 

* Getting a CCW in California (especially the Bay Area) may technically be legal, but the chances of non-Law Enforcement people getting one are Slim and none, and Slim left town years ago.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You, Sir, are my hero.

90-year-old man, suspect injured in shootout during burglary attempt

Unfortunately, it does not qualify for Jay's DGC list, but still the end result is good so far.  Goes to show that WWII vets still have what it took to win that war.  Now if the jury convicts and the judge actually give him hard time, this goblin will think twice before trying to burglarize a home.

And I am expected to trust the TSA?

After reading the excellent fisking  at Popehat of an article by one Mike Elk (linked to by an equally excellent but shorter one by The Queen of Snark), I am treated to this little gem: 

TSA worker sentenced for aiding drug dealer

And they think we should trust these people?  Seriously?

I've seen fast food joints with better hiring practices than the TSA. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The fun of researching California firearms laws...

So I was checking the details on the old ammo that I unearthed in my garage when I decided to check out the California firearms laws again to make sure I had not run afoul in the past year.  California politicians really like to pass laws that immediately criminalize significant parts of the population, such as, well, anything proposed by Kevin de León.  Things that come to mind are AB 962 (overturned in court) and SB 798 (changed dramatically after visible opposition and many shenanigans on de León's part).  The first would have banned sales of ammunition using the phone, mail or internet.  It also would have required lots of paperwork and tracking of personal ammunition sales.  Then this fine state senator decided to jump on the "river of steel flowing to Mexico" fiasco, not bothering to note that the ATF was actually acting as the supplier.

So, following that ugly little rabbit hole, I decided to look back at the state websites for up to date information.  I went to the website for the California AG and after a roundabout run of the links, I got to the firearms section.  Here I find that the website hasn't been updated since apparently 2009, since AB 962 was shot down and they still prominently display it as law.  I thought the new AG would want to tidy things up there when she took office there in 2011, but not surprisingly, she hasn't had the time to set her staff to it.  I see that she is keeping up the fine standards that she showed in earlier positions.

Having just returned from the free state of Oregon, I keep looking at our finances and my career and think about what is would cost to move and how hard it would be to find another job...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

At the movies: Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows

My wife decided that we should go see the new Sherlock Holmes movie after our daughter got home from school today.  So, we picked her up from school and headed directly to the theater.  After paying $28 for popcorn and sodas, not to mention $22 admission, we headed in.  On a side note, with those prices, I am incredulous the movie industry is shocked that during an economic downturn people may not want to dump that kind of scratch on a movie.

So we then sat down and proceeded to wipe out the popcorn and enjoy the movie.  Two hours of a spectacle that I expect when I sit in a theater. 
Historical accuracy?  Not really. 
Geographic accuracy?  Nope. 
Accuracy regarding the source material from Sir Arthur?  That died on the first movie, not expected here. 

Now, the flip side.  Were we entertained?  Yes, extremely.  The continuity from the first movie to the second was perfect.  I would have liked to have seen more of the London police in the movie, but they did get back in the end.  The movie was fun to watch, did not require much reference to the first movie to follow this one.  If you were looking for the books, please buy the excellent Jeremy Brett series.  If you were looking for an entertaining two hours, this is not a bad way to blow $50.  Just remember to suspend disbelief before entering the theater, definitely before stopping to buy the tickets. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

A frest new start to the year.

The end of 2011 fell short of optimal from a time stand point.  We had an unexpected termination at work which added to the already heavy workload.  Add in my immediate two levels of management being brand new and we find a lot of wheel spinning.  So, in addition to trying to work in family holiday visits in a different state, I worked a lot of overtime and didn't have a lot of time to write.

However, I am going to endeavor to write on a more regular basis this year.  At least one item per day.  Starting today, at least 365 posts...  Wait, its already January second? dammit...