Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Being from around Chicago, good outdoor ranges are hard to come by in a reasonable radius. My dad and I have found one, the Conservation Club of Kenosha County, that we quite like, but it's a bit of a hike, and not the sort of trip we can arrange spur of the moment. This means that we are essentially restricted to indoor ranges around Chicago. We have a couple we have used many times, but never been particularly satisfied with, as they are short, dirty, not particularly well run, and of occasionally dubious clientele. The complaints were never enough to make us stop going, but it wasn't the experience it could have been.
Considering our dissatisfaction, we looked with great interest on the announcement of a new range opening up in Lombard, the Article II Gun World Range. With initial opening set for the first couple months of 2011, we got email updates with pleasure, until the updates contained more delays than good news. Seems the city of Lombard wasn't keen on a new range opening, and put up every inch of red tape possible, and there were several problems with contractors doing bad work. The net result of all this is that the range finally opened last Wednesday.
Seeing as I was home for Thanksgiving break, Dad and I decided to check it out on Friday, as we are not crazy enough to even consider black Friday shopping. When we got there, the staff was friendly and helpful, and I spent a while wandering around the cases trying not to drool too openly. They have some very interesting, beautiful, and rare pieces on display, though I am not knowledgeable enough to know what exactly I was looking at most of the time.
The range was entirely filled when we got there, so we were put on a waiting list. While we waited, we wandered around the shop in front for a while before being called to the firing line. I gotta say, this is the nicest, cleanest range I have ever been on. Whether or not it will stay that way remains to be seen, but considering the industrial air filters they have going, I'd guess it will stay cleaner than most. They have I believe three 75-foot typical ranges, and one club range, also 75 feet. They tested the ranges with a .50 BMG, so everything currently in the armory is fine for shooting there, including the Mosin Nagants.
The biggest difference between this range and the others around Chicago has to be how it's run. The other ranges, there may be one or two people behind the counter, and there they stay. The ranges themselves are inhabited solely by the shooters. At Article II, there are quite a few people behind the counter, a range officer outside the three ranges, and a range officer walking through the ranges making sure everything is functioning well. For people in more gun-friendly areas, this may seem like no big deal, but by Chicago standards, this was quite a nice feature.
There are still a few minor bugs to be worked out it seems, such as the line for the target carrier in the next booth popping out of its track a couple times, but the range officer fixed that quite quickly. Other than that though, the entire experience was excellent.
I was somewhat surprised as I ended up shooting at my best, with about a 5" group at 75 feet with a Ruger Single Six, despite not shooting for several months. It's an interesting type of shooting, when the front blade obscures most of the target. I also shot <2" groups at 30 feet with a Ruger mkII 22/45, and nice tight groups with a pt1911 in 9mm and Kel Tec P3AT. Perhaps the improvement has something to do with rock climbing improving my grip strength, or perhaps a more pleasant shooting environment had more to do with it.
I was thoroughly pleased with the entire experience, and can recommend without any qualms Article II Gun World range to anyone in the Chicago area. Considering we now have a good place to shoot, we may need to expand the armory some.... the one major arsenal hole at the moment is an EBR, (Evil Black Rifle) so perhaps that should be the next acquisition.
Monday, November 14, 2011
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.Here we have a self-identified group, the People of the United States, agreeing to sacrifice some freedoms in return for a list of responsibilities that another group, the government as defined in the Constitution, has. To the people of the US, Justice, being here protection against other people (including the government) and redress of grievance, domestic Tranquility, being again protections from other people and from assorted other causes of societal disturbance, defense, in this case being against foreign powers both militarily and diplomatically, general Welfare, being a very general summation of the assorted duties of government in aiding societal function, and the Blessings of Liberty, being governmental guarantees of personal freedoms, are what the people of the United States thought government should be involved in in 1787.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.
Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
Demand four: Free college education.
Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.
Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants.
Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.
Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.
Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.
Quick note, the admin of Occupy Wall Street have distanced themselves from this list, saying there is no official list, but it's disturbing in any case that at least one person things that this is what the movement is about. Also interesting, said admin have refused to make any list of their own, so their official goals are still nebulous.
So, let's see about this list.
Demand 1: Reinstate tariffs. I have no philosophical problem with this other than the fact that those tariffs are not going to be paid by the other nations or corporations out of pocket. The added costs will be met by increasing costs for the consumer. And second... 20$/hr minimum wage? What are you smoking? Remember the "radical wage and environmental advantages" bit? That's because they don't have 20$/hr wages. Also, inflation would quite quickly make that sum of money worthless, as well as shutting down hiring. No company is going to pay that.
Demand 2: Single Payer Insurance... nonononononono. This probably warrants a full post at some point, but in short, the problems with this are that the government is absolutely incompetent, the economics just don't work, the government is incompetent, abuses quickly run rampant in any situation of mandated health care, it all but enslaves doctors, and the government is incompetent.
Demand 3: Paying people to exist. If there's a living wage regardless of employment, why bother with employment? Also, who is paying for this? Are you telling me that I am going to pay taxes on my income such that you can sit around the house smoking pot and listening to radiohead? Why then would I work? Lazing about doing nothing and getting paid for it sounds pretty easy.
Demand 4: If all college education is free, then the degree is worth precisely what you paid for it.
Demand 5: How do you intend to fast track alternative energy? We are working on it. The only reason it isn't up now is because alternatives just plain aren't as good as conventional, with the exception of nuclear, which some consider conventional anyway.
Demand 6: Spending more money. Who is paying for it? Do you have ANY idea how much money a trillion dollars is? Going back to an earlier point that I believe I mentioned briefly, government is incompetent. They can't do anything reasonably. A trillion dollars at this point might be a new manhole cover.
Demand 7: Greenspeak and... oh. Decomming Nuke plants. There goes #5.
Demand 8: This one is interesting. Last time I checked, people of all races and genders are allowed to be citizens, yes? Correct me if I'm wrong there. There's a handy little section of the constitution that says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprice any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Now, it seems to me that that means there is already equality regardless of Race or Gender in the constitution. It is true that there are times where it isn't always enforced right, see affirmative action, but that's not the fault of there not being constitutional provision, that's just unconstitutional law.
Demand 9: Open borders? Not particularly problematic until the 'live' bit. In order to really function well living in society, you need to abide by the social contract of government. When it comes to non-citizens though, they will get the benefits of without the responsibilities. They become parasitic. It's frequently not malicious, but there are costs that they don't pay. Before they can live here, they must buy into the social contract.
Demand 10: This is more amusing than stupid. This may just be representative of my lack of election knowledge, but whose standard is this? It seems woefully inefficient, and still subject to the same problems as everything else. Considering also how the democratic party is the one famous for vote fraud, and this one may not work out to their liking.
Demand 11: And here we have the big one. Immediate global debt forgiveness, also known as immediate global economic and societal collapse. 65 trillion dollars is a mindboggling sum of money, and deleting it from the record is easily enough to collapse the world. Add to that a truce with China predicated on their owning US debt, and two superpowers could be at each other's throats again soon. Every dollar in a bank is also technically debt on the part of the banks, so everything but the cash you have on you is gone.
See, most of the circulation of funds in our economy is not actually liquidity but debt. We have a fiat currency even, which can be seen as a form of debt. When you pay by card, you become indebted to the creditor, who in turn is indebted to the payee. The payee then doesn't get paid cash, the creditor shuffles some of their monetary holders debt to that of the payee's account, and everyone is satisfied. Unless you pay cash, there is debt, and even when you do, the nature of the currency makes it somewhat hazy.
Taking away debt takes away the entire basis of the economy. So all you crazy people out there at Occupy Wall Street are just gonna have to live with the fact that you are in debt. No it's not fun, but that's no excuse to wreck the world.
Demand 12: Credit reporting agencies report your bad decisions, yes. No, people should not give you a loan you won't pay back. Yes, you are expected to be held accountable for your actions. Where else is the problem?
Demand 13: I'm not entirely sure what this is meant to do. I read it as an escape clause from the creepiness that is the modern union, but that seems contrary to the rest of their goals. As is, you can join a union and get the collective bargaining benefits. Whether you can hold certain jobs without joining a union is occasionally dubious. So, sure. Allow people to turn down union membership at no penalty. (If I've missed the point of this one, let me know)
All this seems so juvenile. For whatever reason, these people are dissatisfied with their lot in life, and are looking to the rest of the world to care for them. So, you who call yourselves the 99%? Shut up and stop your whining. You don't stand for the majority against the silent exploiters. You stand for the few who never cared to grow up and accept responsibility for yourselves. Stop pretending to represent me.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.Where does that leave room for the targeted killing of a US citizen in a non-battlefield or defensive role? Sure, he was a treasonous pig worthy of death, but there are ways of doing that. On that note, let's take a closer look at that word "treason"
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Seems pretty clear cut that this man was in fact guilty of treason. However, he was never convicted as such, so from a legal perspective, an innocent citizen was murdered by the US. If this doesn't scare you, there's something very wrong with you. The full rights enumerated in the Constitution still applied to al-Awlaki, and were blatantly, openly, and terminally ignored.
To riff on my theme this week, he was Vanished, as in 1984. No trial, no arrest, just wiped from the face of the earth. It almost serves to make me question my previous post about the feasibility of a 1984esque scenario.
To add another layer of creepy to the entire situation, former Bush Administration Homeland Security advisor Frances Townsend told CNN "No one should be able to use their citizenship as a shield," as seen here.* Lady, I don't know what you think citizenship is about, but let me tell you, it's entirely about BEING a shield. Citizenship trades a set of responsibilities and adherences for the rights and privileges associated with the position. Al-Awlaki violated the responsibilities and adherences, but is still entitled to the rights and privileges until such time as a court has seen fit to remove them through proper trial.
Citizenship exists to stop tyranny. The assurances nested in it need to be inviolate without due process. A government that can take away those rights at will is out of control, dangerous, and an immediate, vitally important threat to those it claims to represent.
Right now, it seems to be restricted to people the state calls enemies. Looking at past DHS definitions and profiles, however, it's entirely probable that I could end up in the same way. I am a young, right wing reactionary activist who shoots and associates with people who are of like mind. How different am I from al-Awlaki in their eyes? It doesn't take looking far to see real world examples. Look at TJIC for example. 2nd Amendment rights stripped without due process because he exercised his 1st Amendment rights.
The media is largely ignoring the implications of this attack. Therefore, I urge you readers, get angry. Talk about this, spread news around, share this post, and don't tolerate this. Al-Awlaki needed to be tried in court, convicted of treason, and made to do the midair jig. Skipping to the end is counter to everything the Bill of Rights tried to guarantee.
*Non MSM source because CNN has no mention of it in print. I only found out about it because I happened to be near a TV when the quotation aired.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Everything takes longer. 1984 has come and gone, but I still think we are on the slippery slope to something resembling the book. Think of what a Founding Father would make of gun laws, the dept. of education, Obamacare, etc. How big a jump is it from demanding nutrition labels on food (check) to outlawing food (trans fats, check) to prescribed exercise & diet? Yes, some people will always struggle against such, but the Soviets and Pol Pot had a solution for those folks.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The interesting thing that crops up later is the application of faction and mob mentality to the governing body. The proposed solution is simple. The US is big enough that, in theory, there will be enough factions competing that none of them are rendered effective.
The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project,** will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State
The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice.Taxes are indeed by international standard fairly low. This does not change the fact that they are ridiculously high. Increasingly we see a government bleeding it's constituency dry and offering nothing substantive in return. Both parties are guilty.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I give in to peer pressure.
The NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels with the ones I have read in bold:
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert (I have read Dune, but none of the others)
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
23 out of 100 - That's just plain embarrassing. I may have to use this as a required reading list now.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
"This doesn't happen with all arrests -- but, during the "laying on of hands" the talking part is over and done. There is no negotiation, making deals, or asking for co-operation once the talking has failed."