Saturday, April 19, 2014


Non-Alanis Morrissette Type Irony Abounds

Nanny, proud ex-Mayor Bloomberg announced he'll send $50 million to the 50 states to set up a network of grass roots organizations to infringe on the People's rights to keep and bear firearms. (I don't think that's how grass roots organizations actually get started). As part of the fawning media support for Bloomberg's once more unto the breech comes this hummer of an article by ex-State Senator John Morse, who is the only Colorado State Senator ever recalled from office in Colorado. The irony is that he's still supporting the legislation infringing on the People's right to keep and bear firearms, the same legislation that got him recalled. Let's look at some of his piece. Big start:

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week announced new funding and a new organization to level the political playing field against the gun lobby. The rest of us need to do our part and stand up to stop the madness the gun lobby engenders.

The "madness" he refers to is our gun nut's enforcing the 2nd Amendment against the government's tyrannical attempt to make it meaningless. Oh, and lobbying is also a protected, actually mentioned, 1st Amendment right. Don't recalled Democrats ever read the Constitution? And this funding from NY, is that the outside money Governor Hickenlooper said we Coloradoans should and do dislike? Just asking.

We heard and continue to hear arguments that people have the unimpeachable right to own these weapons and walk down the street, though most admit those rights stop when someone else starts shooting people. Of course there is no such absolute "right". All rights that exist under our constitution have limitations. (Emphasis added).

I have no idea why someone else starting to commit the crimes of assault and murder would have any effect on the application of the 2nd Amendment to me. This is incomprehensible. I want a gun for self defense and defense of others most when someone else starts shooting people. I don't admit this, because it's nonsense. But more troubling is the idea Morse, our former State Senate leader, has about the Bill of Rights. The rights are not grants by the government to individuals to do certain things, albeit without fear of government repercussion. Our rights are God given and cannot ever be repealed by a legitimate government of the People. Rather, the rights actually enumerated are absolute prohibitions on government action. The Government cannot, for example, ever prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of the press. There are no exceptions. There is at times difficulty applying these prohibitions to the complex behaviors of individuals, but that's not a limitation on the ban of certain government action, it's merely the exercise of an ordered liberty. The left in America seems to think that the Constitution, as amended, is something to overcome, not cherish. What's up with that?

Is forcing someone to reload their gun after cranking out 15 rounds a limit we can’t tolerate? Is allowing children precious seconds to escape a shooter just too inconvenient for rabbit hunters who don’t want to have to reload? Is requiring a background check to provide a measure of assurance that you are not a criminal or mentally ill before permitting you to purchase a gun unreasonable?
I have some questions: Is the 16th victim so much more precious to the government's actual desire to save lives than the first 15? Are you serious that the government infringement on magazine sizes is justified by the rank speculation that maybe it will give children "precious seconds" to escape a mass murder (in a gun free zone)? Because that's a really piss poor-way to protect children--only after 15 have been shot. How about protecting children from mass murderers with good people well trained with guns? Just a fleeting idea. Also, there already were background checks for purchasing guns, all federal firearm licencees (that is, all gun dealers) must use the background checks before any transfer of a gun, all sales at or initiated at gun shows must use the background check. What Morse is talking about here is having to do a background check to lend a gun to a friend for a weekend target shoot or to give one to your son. That's a real infringement in my book. If I don't know my son is mentally ill, it's extremely unlikely the government will.

If a 20-year-old man were to walk down the street in the middle of downtown Colorado Springs, my hometown, wearing black pants, black shoes and a black shirt overlaid with a shooting vest loaded with four 20-round magazines, three 30-round magazines, and a 15- and an 18-round magazine, carrying a Bushmaster XM15-E2S (a variation of the US military’s standard M-16) loaded with another 30-round magazine, along with a fully loaded Glock 10mm semi-automatic pistol in a holster strapped to his right thigh and a fully loaded 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol in a holster strapped to his right hip – all in plain view – he would break no Colorado law.

Well, not exactly. First, the M-16 is generally fully automatic and is, in every model, a Class III firearm which can only be owned after a super background check and usually permission of the local police chief or sheriff to own them. Since the 1934 restrictions on full auto ownership only one legal machine gun has ever been used in a violent crime (by a police officer, great!). I'd call that an effective program. So don't conflate M-16s with semi-auto weapons. M-16s are not and have never been a danger to the populace and semi-auto rifles are very rarely used in crimes either. Many more people are punched or kicked to death each year than are shot to death by any rifle, of which auto loaders are a smaller sub-set and the AR-15 types are an even smaller sub-set. The whole point of the stupid, unconstitutional laws Morse helped pass was to make having any magazine over 15 rounds illegal. That several million 30 round box magazines exist for the AR-15 et al. and are legal to own if you owned them before the law went into effect, makes the prohibition kinda worthless. We'll get to why such a ban is absolutely worthless for other reasons below.

Before 1 July 2013 he could have also bought every item described above in the state of Colorado without so much as a background check – because of legislation I championed and help pass – he no longer can. In Colorado today, you must get a background check before buying a firearm: That is the only restriction we imposed. In most states, to this day, that hypothetical man can legally buy all that firepower without a background check by simply going to a gun show or visiting the trunk of some entrepreneur’s car and paying whatever price is asked.

You could have bought 30 round magazines without a background check forever, background checks only apply to guns. Morse did not create background checks for 30 rounders after July 1, 2013, he banned their sale. You always had to pass a background check for any firearm purchase at a gun store or gun show. That might not be every single gun transfer but I guarantee you it's almost all of them. The law Morse seems to be so proud of didn't just apply to sales; it's a lie to say the new law did only that. The irony of this piece is that Morse reveals what is fundamentally wrong with the legislation. Only the law abiding will follow it. Criminals will always sell you the gun or magazine you want if you have the money and sufficient desire to own that gun or magazine, the law be damned. The people who obey stupid, unconstitutional gun laws, generally don't go on to shoot up children in some gun free zone. So the law is completely ineffective to prevent what Morse seems to believe it will prevent. Incoherent laws that serve no rational purpose are unconstitutional for that reason alone.

Morse refers to the Sandy Hook School shooting (of course) and then writes this confession.

When prevention fails, these incidents rarely end without devastating destruction. We can’t hope to prevent violence by noticing someone armed to the teeth entering a school, a theater or a mall. We can't arm everyone and hope to deter planned violent attacks or end them sooner and with fewer casualties. Even with the presence of an armed guard, like we had at Columbine High School, our attempts to stop these attacks will be muted since suicide is often the shooter’s intent.

You don't have to "arm everyone" in order to deter gun violence, one trained person with a concealed carry permit is sufficient, as incident after incident proves. What might be helpful is not creating gun free zones, that infringe on our right to bear arms and stupidly advertise where insane shooters will not be opposed by a good person with a gun. But he is absolutely right that nothing the government can do will stop or even deter an insane person eager to commit mass murder and willing to self-execute if he faces any armed opposition. So the purpose of the legislation Morse is so proud of was to fail totally to prevent the mass murders he mentions? Good reason.

The vast majority of Americans agree that we need responsible regulation of guns, but unfortunately, the few with arsenals in their basements are too loud and most politicians can’t think through the noise.
Notice the contempt for free speech? Some gun owners "are too loud" (shut up, he explained). He asserts that their exercise of one of the things the 1st Amendment protects keeps politicians from thinking straight. Really? I humbly submit that it is not the "noise" of differing opinions preventing Morse and his ilk from thinking well. My only exhibit for that submission is this deceptive, pathetic apology (in the classical sense) for his worthless, Constitution-infringing laws. Common sense, ironically, is not even in the same zip code as this propaganda.


Saturday, April 05, 2014


Changing the Settings

I was so disgusted with the ouster of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for having the same attitude about gay marriage 6 years ago as President Obama did then (and not the attitude Dick Cheney had then), that I stopped using Firefox. Had to rebuild my favorite list, which was a pain in the butt and is still a work in progress.

When Andrew Sullivan, who has never seen a gay issue he didn't support with all his heart, says the sore winner gaystopo is acting very badly, you know the gays and their supporters are screwing up royally.

I stopped using Firefox before Charles Krauthammer suggested it.

One day I'll talk about my idea for a counterstrike against intolerant gays which I call the "Hammer" but not this day.


Saturday, March 29, 2014


The Current Extinction Rate

There are myriad estimates of the current rate of species extinction, some of which estimates are clearly impossibly high. So what's the truth? First a sampling of the estimates.

This guy says dozens of species are going extinct every day. Call it 36--more than 13,000 a year.

These guys say it's 72 per day (more than 26,00 a year) and another says 50,000 to 100,000 per year.

Now that's just absurd. Name one species that went extinct in 2013. One! Even the science magazine Nature says cool it with the too-high-for-anyone-to-believe estimates.

Now keep in mind this is species, not sub-species or breeds or races. Thus, if you say, for example, Caspian tigers are gone but Sumatran, Bengal and Siberian tigers etc. are not extinct, then tigers are not extinct as a species but only one sub-species of tigers, one local race of tigers is gone. That's not what we're talking about. If you're saying the species we call tigers (Panthera tigris) is extinct, that means there are no tigers at all, anywhere, anymore.

A little more on the rational side is this German site, which says that 263 vertebrate species have gone extinct in the past 513 years or just under two such species a year about 1 species every other year.

Now there is no doubt that the average 'normal' background species eradication has ticked up a bit since mankind started hunting in earnest (Mammoths, Ground Sloths and their their predators Saber Tooth Tigers, Dire Wolves, etc,); and then ticked up again when humans began transporting species which had involved elsewhere onto islands around the world--first with boats and then with airplanes. But that's not global warming as a cause, nor, I would argue, is it a massive extinction as some are alleging. Although I do miss each of the species we hunted to extinction, I realize it probably would have each been impossible to have them in great numbers and still have modern agriculture, which supports Earth's large human population (which is good).

Global Warming Climate change has done nothing to cause even one species to go extinct. Or so the IPCC is apparently prepared to admit, say the Germans, to which admission the alarmists are quick to add "yet!"

It's not warming and that's becoming impossible to deny and not look completely looney (some don't seem to mind seeming completely looney). It's not warming, yet all the pre-1998 climate models said it would so the only so-called evidence the alarmist true believers have (and computer simulations are NOT evidence) are looking ever more worthless. It's not warming and the ever more desperate search for an explanation that doesn't degrade the central alarmist tenet has again and again come up empty. (My favorite was hidden warmth in the deep seas measured not in degrees but in terawatts or gigajoules of energy, which sounds massive until you do the math and realize the temperature equivalent is about .07 degrees C higher which is too small for the Argo buoys' temperature sensors to measure, Oopsie).

As Dennis Miller said, one man's Global Warming is another man's "it's nice out."

But I see I've strayed from the over-hyped subject of species extinction.

UPDATE: Anonymous points out my simple math inability. Thanks. Fixed now.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014


Alien Art



It's a Mystery to Me

Real Nimitz class aircraft carrier.

Fake, 3/4 size mock up of a US carrier in an Iranian shipyard. Little narrow at the prow and stern.

What's up with that?


Friday, March 21, 2014


Question of the Day

If non-anthropogenic influences are strong enough to counteract the expected effects of increased CO2, why wouldn’t they be strong enough to sometimes enhance warming trends, and in so doing lead to an over-estimate of CO2 influence?

The Quadrant

(h/t Steve Hayward)



Cool Literary Photograph

Eric Blair, with the puppy, and Hemingway, the one with glasses looking to Blair's left, fighting for the wrong side in the Spanish Civil War. Blair, who took the nom de plume George Orwell, was later shot in the throat and nearly lost his voice. The rifles look like Moisin-Nagant 91/30s to me. So, Soviet rifles were the weapons of the anarcho-syndicalists losing to the fascists overthrowing the 2nd Spanish Republic.

I almost always root for those least-to-the-political-left in 20th Century fights. The only exception is with the National Socialists fighting the International socialists 1941-1945.

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Monday, March 17, 2014


We're On the Road to Nowhere

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)



OMG--Andrew Sullivan Making Sense

It's been a long time since I read him but this is a very good article and good on Mr. Sullivan for writing it. As he says, money quote:

One of the worst traits of some left-liberals is their easy resort to calling those who disagree with them bigots or racists or worse. There are some sites on the web that seem almost entirely devoted to patrolling the discourse for any sign of sin. This one’s a homophobe; this one’s a racist; so-and-so said this and that could be – shock! – prejudiced. It can sometimes be a way to avoid engaging arguments rather than tackling them. And so, on cue, Paul Ryan is taking heat for these remarks:
We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.

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Friday, March 14, 2014


The Universe Is More Strange Than We Imagine

And at times it is more strange than we can imagine.

We all get the idea of a spiral galaxy from watching water spin as it drains away down a pipe. But what outside force could cause a flat spiral galaxy to rotate in a flat plain but also have the flat plane rotate or spin on its axis, yet all the while the spiral galaxy remains intact?

I wonder if the new narrator of the revamped Cosmos series, Mr. Tyson, could explain this one, NGC 2685?


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