Saturday, June 30, 2012

My long review of the MTAC holster system

Nearly three weeks ago, I announced that I would be buying an MTAC holster from Comp-Tac so that I could carry my new M&P handguns with a tucked in shirt. To go with the holster, I bought a list of products, and I have spent the last three weeks putting them through their paces. I bought an MTAC holster, several Kydex bodies, a belt, a magazine pouch, and a few odds and ends like c clips, etc. I tried them all out with three different handguns: an M&P40, an M&P45, and the M&P Shield.

First, the holster. It cost $85, and comes with one Kydex body and your choice of two belt clips. I wore this holster while performing daily activities with a tucked in dress shirt, a tucked in polo shirt, and an untucked t-shirt. I hwas pretty happy with the way that handguns disappeared under a dress shirt. All that is visible is the two small plastic clips that hook over the belt, and they blend in with the belt, as long as you get clips that are the same color as the belt. I tried wearing it with a tucked in Polo shirt, but I was printing too badly to make that one work.

I was holding seminars in front of a crowd, and afterwards I asked several attendees who also carry (one was a SWAT medic) if they had noticed any printing, and they did not. If fellow gunnies (men and women) who were staring at me all day didn't notice, then I call that a concealed success. Here is a picture of the holster, containing an M&P40, in place on my waist:

The holster has a slight forward cant, and it was very comfortable for all day wear. The body shield prevented even my M&P45 from digging in, and when I was carrying the Shield. At the range, my draw was still quick enough, and the shirt wasn't that difficult to clear out of the way.

There are spare clips available for the holster, and being attached to the holster with a single Allen screw, they are easily changed out. Each holster requires two of them. They even include the wrench with your order (along with instructions and a pack of Smarties). If you are going to use the regular clips and wear belts of different colors (brown, black, etc.), I would suggest getting clips in different colors, to aid in making this system blend into your wardrobe. There is also a C clip available (which I also bought), but I didn't see where those were any better than the standard clips. They are the same price as the regular ones, so it doesn't matter which ones you get. The C clips are available in black and brown, and the regular ones are available in four different colors.

I wanted to see if I could get the clips to disappear, so I bought a Kydex reinforced belt with a Velcro lining, and I got some V clips to use with it. The belt was $105, and the clips were the standard $8.50 each. The belt is pretty stiff, so you have to play with it a bit to get it to work. The V clips eliminate any chance of seeing the system, as they attach by the Velcro to the side of the belt against your body, thereby invisibly securing the holster to the belt. The only complaint that I have is that the sizing information is wrong. The instructions say to measure the belt that you currently wear and subtract two inches. Don't. I did this and wound up with a belt that was too small.

The spare Kydex bodies enable you to own one holster and fit it to several handguns. At only $38, it allows one holster to fit several weapons at a fraction of the cost. I bought two spares, so that I had bodies for each of my M&P pistols: the M&P40, the M&P45, and the M&P Shield. They were fairly easy to change out (one of the nuts on the body for the M&P45 had to be grabbed with a pair of long nosed plyers- it was free spinning) and it took just a couple of minutes to do so. I like the concept, but changing the bodies out is just bothersome enough that it is not something that I would want to do on a daily basis. Still, it isn't that difficult.

My only real complaint with the MTAC system is with the magazine pouch. It was $38.50, and when I tried to wear it, it tended to tilt forward to the horizontal position, because it is attached to the belt with only one clip. I only used it for a single day. I didn't like it, and I will have to find something else.

So, what is the bottom line? You can spend $189 and get the holster, two bodies, and a spare set of clips (black and brown) and have a good tuckable holster that fits three handguns.Cost effective, I think. I also like the holster. If you decide to get the belt with the Velcro lining (which is what I recommend), you can order the holster with the Vclips already installed, and with the two spare bodies and the belt, the total cost will be $276.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shut up

The next republican that tells me how important it is to vote for Republicans because of the Supreme Court nominations, I am going to flip the fuck out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An M60?

The Chicago police are claiming that someone turned in an M-60 during their last gun 'buyback.' Are they kidding? Anyone have any more on this? I am not sure that I believe it.

Even so, this proves how futile gun control really is. It is illegal to own any firearm in Illinois, especially a belt-fed full auto. It isn't like they can claim it was brought in from another state where gun controls are more lax- machine guns are heavily regulated, and extremely expensive. The last time I saw a transferable M60 for sale, it was selling for six figures.

If this story is true, then the gun HAD to have been stolen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arbitrary and stupid

Did you know that there are certain holsters that are considered to be in the same class with machine guns? These holsters are controlled by the National Firearms Act, and are called 'any other weapons.' They require a $5 federal tax stamp to own one with the gun.

Here is the funny part: you can own the holster, and that is legal. You can own the gun, and that is also legal. Own the holster AND the gun that fits in it without the form and the tax stamp? Federal Felony. 
Can you tell them apart? One of the following pictures is an AOW, and one is not:

There is no real difference in form or function, but if you should buy the wrong one at your next gun show, or make one yourself, you will get five years in club fed as a result.

Gun control laws are stupid and arbitrary. (and it is the top picture that is the AOW)

First gators, now sharks

In keeping with yesterday's photo, Tampa, Florida received 21 inches of rain over the weekend. This resulted in flooding. A tiget shark took advantage of the flooding to take a swim down Bayshore Blvd in the Channelside district.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gators in the streets

As if the bath salts fueled naked zombie attacks weren't enough, we now have had non stop rain here for the last 5 days. Even the alligators have taken to the streets in protest.
At least they know to properly use the crosswalks.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

TSA does it again.

So a terminal at JFK had to be evacuated because a TSA screener forgot to plug in his metal detector. Funny thing is that he is (judging by his name- Alija Abdul Majed) an Arab/Muslim. It took hours to re-screen passengers. Of course, the entire exercise was a waste of time, as anyone who was intent on doing anything could have easily hidden a weapon in the sterile area, left to be re-screened, and then retrieved the item once he was back in the supposedly sterile area.


I really dislike lawyers

When I was a teenager, Michael Jackson was undeniably the king of pop music. His thriller video is still hailed as the most successful music video ever. His costar in the video is still receiving royalty checks. Or should be.
Ever since Jackson's death, the lawyers handling his estate have been screwing the poor woman out of the money that she is owed.
So the lawyers for the recording industry keep complaining that people who download music are destroying the music industry by stealing the music that the artist produces, while they themselves are busy stealing the money itself. Why do the lawyers, who produce nothing, always seem to be the ones who wind up with the money?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ammo standardization and Paqlites

I have been working on a plan for TEOTWAWKI as a part of my continuing prepping hobby. Of course, there are many things that we need to consider: Communications, food, water, transportation, etc. Bug out kits.

In the area of defense, we have selected the 9mm cartridge as the defense round of choice. Although there are handguns in the house that are capable of firing all of the popular pistol ammunition: 9mm, .357Sig, .40S&W, .45ACP, we felt that the 9mm was best for a number of reasons: it is light to carry spare ammo, recoil is manageable, and it is available in firearms that everyone in the family will carry. The round is also widely available. This doesn't mean that I will be selling the other guns, but this is the round that I will plan our BOBs around, with each BOB containing a 20 round box of 115 grain +P.

I have selected the M&P40 as my personal handgun, and have fitted it with a 9mm conversion barrel from KKM. That gives me the capability of .40S&W, .357Sig, and 9mm in one handgun, with only a quick barrel change.

Also, for room and area lighting, we have elected to go with the UVPaqLite. It needs no batteries, doesn't break, and provides excellent light for dark-adjusted eyes. Take a look, it is a good product for a reasonable price. It is easier to cart this around than a pile of batteries.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stand your ground and Martin: opinion shifts

Interesting developments in the public's opinion of the Zimmerman case. In March, when the agitators were busy trying to circumvent the intent of the 'stand your ground law' by misrepresenting the facts in the case, 33 percent of the country thought that Zimmerman had murdered Martin, and 15 percent thought it was self defense.

On April 17, the polls were showing that 41 percent said it was a justified shooting, and 59 percent felt that it was either murder or manslaughter.

On May 18, the photos of Zimmerman's head was released, and it became known that Martin had no injuries, except the gunshot wound and injured knuckles. Public opinion shifted. On May 20, the polls showed that 40 percent felt that this was a justified self defense shooting, and 24 percent felt it was murder.

So as people got out from under the information that was being manipulated by the mainstream media and saw the facts for themselves, public opinion changed.

 In a related poll, we also see an interesting result for the 'stand your ground' law. The press and the anti-gunners (Redundant, I know) are using the shooting to attack 'stand your ground.' The  public isn't buying it. 56 percent of Floridians support stand your ground laws, while only 37 percent feel that you should have to retreat before using force to stop an attack.

Here is the story on the feelings about the charges.
Here is the story about the public's attitude towards 'stand your ground.'

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The US is about to be bought out

Before I became a firemedic, I was a volunteer EMT in Virginia, then a volunteer firefighter in Arkansas, then a volunteer firefighter/EMT in Florida. During those times, I had jobs working on industrial automation equipment. I got tired of being laid off every few months because we kept exporting jobs overseas, so I became a full time firemedic.

Anyone who has worked in a manufacturing related field can tell you that the jobs have been disappearing for decades. Ross Perot predicted the 'giant sucking sound' of jobs because of NAFTA, and many said he was a kook.

Turns out, he was right.

And so, here we are, our economy teetering on the brink of disaster, and I am sitting here wondering when the Chinese will finally absorb us into their empire.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your tax dollars

Sheriff Grady Judd, the Sheriff of Polk County, Florida, has posted the following picture on the county sheriff's webpage:

Is this how he sees himself? Some sort of gunslinging wild west cowboy? Is hiring a professional photographer to take such a self promoting picture at taxpayer expense a good use of taxpayer funds? Or is this picture being used to help a certain Sheriff's reelection campaign?

Sheriff Judd is a lawbreaker himself. Maybe this poster means that he doesn't want the competition. After all, there was a deputy that was killed several years ago, and when Judd's deputies caught up to the alleged shooter, they fired at him 110 times, hitting him 68 times. When asked why they shot him 68 times, the sheriff responded with "That was all the bullets we had, or we would have shot him more!"

He also has previously engaged in arresting people who are critical of his policies, including arresting one woman for "lewd activity in the presence of a minor" because her neighbor and his child heard a "sexual sounding noise" coming from the woman's home 48 days earlier. Of course, it was only a coincidence that the woman had been critical of the sheriff and his policies. The charges were dropped, but the woman had to agree to stop criticizing the sheriff.

There was also the case of Christopher Michael Wilson, who ran a website that allowed people to post nude pictures of women on the site, and it required a credit card to access, so that the Wilson would know that people accessing the site were adults. Military men complained that they could not do so while in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, because the web servers in those countries blocked credit cards from being processed by companies who promoted pornography. Because of this, Wilson allowed members who posted pictures from the war zone to have access to the site. The site became a photo journal that chronicled the Iraq war. It was one of the first sites to publish the Abu Grhaib pictures that so embarrassed former President Bush.

Judd arrested Wilson on 301 counts of distributing pornography, even though Wilson did not post the pictures, he merely ran a site where people posted content, and the servers were not in Polk County (they were in the Netherlands). A plea deal was reached where Wilson had to turn the website over to Judd.

Even though the charges themselves were over pornography, according to Judd, the investigation was because of the Iraq pictures, also according to Judd.

Don't forget that Grady Judd is also one of the Sheriffs who broke the law last year when they lobbied the state legislators to defeat the open carry law.

There should be a caption on the bottom of that poster that says "unless you are Sheriff Grady, or one of his "only ones."


Monday, June 18, 2012

New addition to the family

I recently bought a Smith and Wesson M&P45. This means that I now have the M&P40, M&P Shield, and now the M&P 45. I have to admit that I am greatly enamored of the entire M&P line. I have (or have had) a collection of various handguns from different manufacturers: Third Generation Smith and Wesson 45's: The 4506, 4516. Sig Sauers: P220, P226, P229 Kimbers (since sold) Pro Carry II, Crimson Ultra Carry II, and Custom Glocks: 22, 19, 26, 27 and so far, I have to say that I think the M&P is the best that I have had so far. As long as you change out the trigger for the Apex trigger, this series is accurate, reliable, feels good in the hand, and seems to eat whatever you put into it. It is easy to repair and modify yourself, and I think that Smith as a real hit with the M&P series. The pistol that I am currently carrying is the M&P40 with a 9mm conversion barrel. I have 18 rounds of 115 grain 9mm+P Corbon ammunition ready to go, and with a muzzle energy of over 400 foot-pounds, I think that this makes a fine defensive piece.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tech support that isn't supportive

All day, we have been having internet issues. It goes down, it is out for awhile, it comes back up. It has been down at least 4 times today, once it was down for over an hour. My system is set up on a high speed cable modem, which runs to a Dlink router, and then to the home network. On the network is a television, two Roku boxes, two desktop PCs, an iPad, two iPhones, and a MacBook. (We are a relatively tech savvy house.) The last time the internet connection was down, we tried: 1. looking at the local network. I could see and access all of the devices on the network from my PC. Local network is working fine. 2. We then tried rebooting the modem. Didn't help, connection still down. 3. Then we tried sending a ping to It timed out. 4. We then tried sending a ping to the DNS server. It also timed out. I called tech support for my internet provider. By this time, the internet connection is back up, but for how long? The person I got tells me that she needs to reboot the modem. I told her we already tried that, but she insisted. No dice. Then she says that the modem is answering fine, and she thinks my router is the problem. She insists that I need to remove the router and connect the PC directly to the modem. I explain to her that I know that she is working off a script, but I tell her that I am sure that the router is not the problem. She insists, and wants me to disconnect it, and tells me that I need to pay extra for "home networking service" if I want to set up a home network. I hung up. I am not happy with the tech support that I got. Not happy at all.


I know a few people who act like this. Pretty funny.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Being outed

About a dozen years ago, as I mentioned in a previous post, I carried a handgun in a fanny pack. Fanny packs were the perfect carry method for concealed handguns. Everyone had them, especially the tourists in Central Florida. It made carrying a handgun more comfortable, as you could wear clothes that are suited to Florida's hot and humid summers, while still enabling you to carry a full sized handgun. It was during the summer of 2000 that I was dating this woman, and we decided to make the drive to Tampa with some friends, so we could visit Busch Gardens. Now, one of the first rules of carrying a concealed weapon is not to talk about it. It just isn't polite, and is rather boorish behavior, to run around and get in everyone's face about the fact that you are carrying a gun. For that reason, no one we were with knew that I was carrying a Glock 23, except the woman that I was dating. We were standing in line for a ride, when one of the women asked my date why I always wore "that stupid fanny pack" everywhere. She replied that I carried a gun in it. This caused the questioner to loudly yell at me, "You have a gun in that thing?!?" The rest of the conversation went like this: Divemedic: "Hold it down. Everyone can hear you." Distraught woman: "Why do you have a gun in that fanny pack?" DM: "Because it won't fit in my pocket." Woman: "That isn't what I meant, and you know it. Why do you carry a gun?" DM: "In case someone tries to attack me." Woman: "So you really think that someone is going to try and kill you in the parking lot?" DM: "If I thought that, I wouldn't be here. The best way to survive a gunfight is not be in one." Woman: "Exactly. The best way to not get in a gunfight is not to have a gun. No gun, no gunfight." DM: "I know you are smarter than that. That is like saying that you can avoid car accidents by not being in a car. Pedestrians get run over all the time. You might as well not own a fire extinguisher, either. That way, you will never have a fire." She wasn't even anti-gun, she was just conditioned like many people are, that they do not need guns, because only the military, police, criminals, and paranoid, uneducated nutjobs need guns. She eventually came around, and now owns a gun that she keeps at home. The way we win this argument is by being level headed, logical, and not losing our temper. By doing so, we convince those who are not true anti-gun believers into seeing things in a different light. As for the fanny pack, this incident, as well as the searches that resulted from 9-11, made me realize that it was no longer a viable carry method. I still have it, but I have not used it in over a decade.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stallone was a prophet

John Spartan, you are fined one credit for violating the verbal morality statute.

Handgun Pron

A Sig 229 Stainless in 9mm

A Sig 229 Stainless in .357 Sig, and Crimson Trace Laser Grips

A Kimber Ultra Carry II with Crimson Trace Laser Grips

Can't say it better

Penn Jillette, one of the people that I admire the most, has this to say about compassion:

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.
People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.
I have long held this position, and this, Mr Jillette, is why I am a fan.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Holster review

Like most people who carry a firearm on a regular basis, I own a plethora of holsters. I own holsters from Andrews Leather, Brommeland, Galco, and others. This is because we are always looking to find a way to carry our handgun in a comfortable way: inside the waistband, saddle holsters, pancake holsters, 4 o'clock, small of the back, shoulder holsters, cross draw, belly bands, pocket carry, ankle carry, fanny packs, day packs, you name it, I have tried them all.

Each carry method has its drawbacks, and its benefits. Some handguns are better suited to one method than another. Some conceal better, and all require a level of discomfort and a modification of our clothing choices. Not only that, but each time we decide to buy and carry a different handgun, we have to buy new holsters.

In 1988, when I first started to carry, I began like so many others: I bought a cheap nylon holster from Uncle Mike's for my Smith and Wesson model 59. I think it cost me somewhere around $8. Uncomfortable, not secure, and a pain, I was soon looking for something better. My S&W 4506 soon found a home in a leather fanny pack. At the time, they were ubiquitous. Everyone had a fanny pack, from Suzie Soccermom to the dad down the street. No one thought twice about seeing them. It seemed like I had found the perfect answer.

Fashions change, and soon the fanny pack was out of fashion, and wearing one just screamed "I have a gun!" I tried baggy shirts and OWB rigs, but the outline of a gun, and the fact that my shirt rode up, made that a less than optimal mode of carry. Inside the waistband is good, but is uncomfortable, means you have to have larger pants, and you usually have to wear an untucked shirt.

I have been carrying a J frame in a pocket holster for awhile now, because it is difficult to dress in a businesslike manner and still carry a pistol. I also have an ankle holster for the J frame, but ankle holsters take too long to draw from.

That is how I decided to buy an MTAC holster from Comp-Tac. The holster itself is an inside the waistband holster, and it also allows you to wear a tucked in shirt. Now even though tuckable IWB holsters have been around for awhile, this is the first one that I have bought. It has a kydex holster mounted on a leather backing. You get the comfort of leather, but also have a secure kydex holster. The beauty of it is, it only costs $85. The MaxCon V is more than twice that much. Another advantage, is that the kydex portion of the holster can be changed out, with the spares costing less than $40. The clips that go on your belt can be changed to different colors, and they can even be exchanged for different styles that are more inconspicuous.I bought mine for an M&P, and also got the spare shell for the Shield.

I tried it on with a tucked in dress shirt, and my full sized M&P40 was comfortable and didn't show outlines of a pistol. The draw wasn't noticeably slower than usual, and we will see how it feels when I wear it all day. Disclaimer: I was given no payment or discounts for this review, and it was done entirely because I felt like it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Such a good idea, we made it mandatory

I once had a woman tell me that low carb diets can't be healthy, because they allow you to eat bacon, but not an apple, and that was why she would never go on one. I pointed out to her that I had never seen her eat an apple, but I had seen her eat donuts and candy bars.
My brother owns a large vending business that operates hundreds of vending machines throughout the state. He says that customers constantly tell him that they want healthy foods in the vending machines. Every time he has stocked healthy foods, they sit in the machines and rot, while the chips, sodas, and candy continue to sell.

Grocery stores have the same problem, especially convenience stores. People generally buy foods that are easy to prepare and eat, stay fresh a long time, and taste good, and vegetables aren't it.

Of course, that is not good enough for the city of Philadelphia. They are making the sale of certain government approved foods mandatory. If the idea is so good, people would do it without being forced. The government is saying that they know better than you, and will get you to make the right choices, by force if necessary.People should be able to make their own choices, even if that choice is one that you do not agree with.

The government doesn't make choices based on what the facts are, they make them based on lobbying, and on money thrown around by lobbyists. Let's face it, there is a lobby of people who advocate for fruits(pdf alert), so they can sell more fruit. Where is the "no fruit" lobby? There isn't one, because no profits are there.The companies that produce foods like milk, fruits, and eggs pay government officials millions of dollars to lobby for their products. (incidentally, they also lobby in favor of illegal immigration)

In the past two years, however, groups such as the United Fresh Produce Association, the Western Growers Association, the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association and the National Potato Council started to band together. Their goal: to make sure peaches, strawberries, limes and the like get a larger slice of the federal pie. This year's farm bill will lay out more than $700 billion over the next 10 years on programs including food stamps and commodity-based payments.
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a sprawling 90-member coalition, has been asking lawmakers to add to the bill a few billion dollars a year in benefits. It is seeking not direct payments to its growers, but rather indirect goodies such as block grants to states to help its farmers locally, expanded funding for scientific research and enhanced promotion of U.S.-grown produce abroad.

The idea that fruit is automatically healthy, simply because it is "natural" has no basis in science. If you look, many fruits have high amounts of carbohydrates, which are not good for people who are insulin resistant. The banana is 23% carbohydrates by weight. The main reason for pushing bananas is that they are low fat. Insulin resistant people, being less able to burn sugar for fuel, burn fat for fuel. (Fruits like avocados, 5% carbohydrates by weight, are healthier for insulin resistant individuals)

Now I am not saying that bananas are unhealthy  for everyone, just as I am saying that they are not always healthy for everyone. I am saying that there is no answer for all, and we should allow people to decide for themselves.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Drug pushers

My sister recently got the same news that I got less than a year ago: She is insulin resistant, and prediabetic. The doctor told her to eat the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association: A diet low in fat, but high in carbohydrates. This is a diet that is recommending that you take in more of the substance that is killing you. Doctors are so afraid of heart disease and cholesterol, that they are recommending a diet that is increasing the incidence of diabetes, and instead prescribing medication to control the disease as it advances.

IMO, that is ridiculous. There is an excellent article that explains the situation, found here. The ADA is recommending that diabetics set four goals:
  1. Normal blood glucose, blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and blood pressure -- or as close as possible to these.
  2. Prevention of complications associated with diabetes
  3. "To address individual nutrition needs," according to such factors as motivation and cultural preferences.
  4. "To maintain the pleasure of eating by only limiting food choices when indicated by scientific evidence."
This was the subject of my graduate study.During the data collection portion of my study, I spent a year tracking blood chemistry of a diabetic. The diabetic followed a low carb/high fat diet, and went from a BMI of 43 to a BMI of 32. During that period, fasting blood glucose fell from 120 to 102, and A1C fell from 6.7 to 5.8. Cholesterol went from 209 to 185, with triglycerides falling from 359 to 155. There was no change in HDL or LDL levels, but VLDL levels fell dramatically, from 72 to 32. What do all of these numbers mean? It means that blood glucose levels saw a significant improvement, while cholesterol levels remained relatively stable, and even showed a slight improvement.

The results I was seeing mimicked other studies that are beginning to indicate that the medical community has gotten it wrong on treating diabetes, and on the effects of diet on cholesterol and blood sugar. The problem is that there is little profit to be made by telling people to eat different foods in today's drug pushing medical community: so we tell them to eat a balanced meal and take a pill.

Let's hope my sister can see the improvements that I saw, instead of eating the diet the doctor is pushing.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Laser guided bullets

Sandia National Laboratories have developed a laser guided .50 caliber bullet. They claim accuracy to a mile or more.

Zombie apocalypse news

There are enough criminals getting into the zombie craze, that we need to seriously take a look at how we are going to react to people who are deliberately attacking people by biting them, as if they were actually zombies.

Story  1  Story 2 Story 3

I would think that biting a person's flesh off is 'serious bodily harm' and would justify deadly force. If a person gives any indication that they are about to bite you, serious consideration needs to be given to that option.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Judges are useless, too

Sebastian has a post today about judicial game playing. I have a few of my own experiences, but one in particular has always bugged me.
Several years ago, a local used car dealer sold my sister a car. She wanted to get rid of her car payments, and traded a new car that she was still making payments on, and applied the $4000 in equity to the purchase price of the car, which paid it in full. (The car was worth $9,000, but she owed $5000) The dealer turned in the title application to the state, unbeknownst to my sister, he had altered the application to add a $50 lien to the title, saying that the purchase price was $4050, and that my sister had made a $4000 down payment, and had $50 outstanding.
The state then sent the title to the lien holder (the dealer) instead of my sister. When the title arrived at the dealer, he went to her job and 'repossessed' the car. My sister went to my mother for help, and the dealer managed to con another $1,000 out of my mother in exchange for the car. Even though he gave them the car, he still refused to give them the title.That is when they called me for help. The police would not do anything about the case, claiming that it was a civil matter, even though we had copies of paperwork before it was altered, and could prove that the dealer had altered the title application. A clear case of fraud.
We sued him in small claims court.
On the day that we went to court, the dealer satisfied the lien, and took it to a title loan establishment, and got a $500 loan on that title, thereby encumbering the title with a third party lien. The dealer, who by now had gotten the car retitled in his name, countersued us for the return of the car.
When we got to court, the judge heard the story, and declared that there was no way that he could order the dealer to hand over the title, because that would cause the title loan store (a third party) to lose their money. He also said that this was not a civil matter, it was a matter for the cops. His exact words were "I am dismissing this case. There is too much fraud going on here." He then ordered us to return the car to the titled owner (the dealer), and ordered the dealer to return the second payment (the $1000 from my mother).
My sister was out the car that she used as a trade in, and the dealer got away with fraud.
So the cops wouldn't prosecute the fraud, the judge wouldn't order the dealer to return the money, and justice was never served by anyone. Hard to see how anarchy could be much worse.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Overheard in the gun store

1 A gun store employee telling a customer who wanted to buy an AR15 with a piston upper: "Those are unreliable. The piston is just one more moving part that can break. The beauty of the gas tube is that there are fewer failure points."

2  Another employee who told me that the M&P40 cannot be converted to fire 9mm. The only calibers that the M&P40 can fire are .40S&W and .357Sig. I told him that Storm Lake and KKM both made 9mm barrels for the M&P40. He said I was wrong. I left the store.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

24 hour shifts are dangerous

There are many fire departments (and some ambulance services) in the United States where each employee works a 24 hour shift. Most work 24 hours on, 48 hours off. This schedule works out to 56 hours a week and requires three shifts.There are others, but this one appears to be the most prevalent. I worked this shift pattern for the last 15 years of my career. It requires you to report to work at 7:30 in the morning, and work straight through to 7:30 the next morning.

The 24 hour shift is a relic of a time when EMS was nonexistent, and firefighting wasn't all that busy. Employers asked for and received an exemption from the 40 hour per week rule of the FSLA, using the excuse that late night fires were rare, and firefighters could sleep. This means that an employer can make a firefighter work 53 hours a week without paying overtime. The result is that the 56 hour work week costs the employer the equivalent of  57.5 hours of straight time pay.

Since the FSLA, fire departments have taken on many new roles: EMS, hazardous materials response, heavy rescue, rescue diving, and more. Call loads have been increasing steadily. In 1999, the station I was assigned to ran an average of 2,300 calls a year. By the year I retired, my station was up to 3,200 calls a year. My personal record was answering 23 calls in one day. That is not an unusual situation. The busiest fire unit in North America runs an AVERAGE of 16 calls per day. Not station, unit. There can be more than one unit in a station, which can see call loads of 50 or more calls per day. That call load is on top of all of the other duties like equipment maintenance, inspections, public education, and other routine duties.

Couple that with the staffing issues and employee burnout that causes frequent manpower shortages, and you create a large amount of mandatory overtime. For political reasons, firefighters cannot be seen sleeping during the day, so a paramedic firefighter may be 36 hours into a 48 hour shift, and be operating on no sleep. All of this means that emergency personnel are rarely as well rested as they should be, and this is aggravated by overtime.

That is why this incident comes as no surprise. You cannot expect that an employee that is 18 hours into a 24 shift to be making the same quality decisions that he did when he was just coming on shift. The IAFF, as well as many firefighters, will vigorously oppose a change to this schedule, mostly because it will cut into the 4-5 days off per week that many firefighters enjoy. Employers will fight changes, because it would mean having to hire more personnel.

However, there is no question in my mind that, as call loads and duties increase, this schedule becomes more dangerous and difficult to justify.

Diabetes and the law

There is a big discussion over the new planned ban on sugar filled drinks in NYC. One of the main arguments that people for the ban put forward is that sugary drinks are a factor in obesity, and that obesity causes diabetes. This is actually being shown to be false. The correlation between diabetes and obesity was actually the subject of my graduate study while I was in school. The data was interesting.

To understand why diabetes is not causal to obesity, we need to look at what diabetes is. There are two types of diabetes, one is a childhood onset, called type one, or insulin deficient diabetes. Type one diabetes is abbreviated as DM1, for Diabetes Mellitis 1. The old school abbreviation is IDDM, or insulin dependent diabetes mellitis. The other type is type 2, or insulin resistant diabetes. This type is the one that is frequently blamed on obesity. It is abbreviated as DM2, or NIDDM.

Studies over the past 15 years are showing that the obesity is merely a symptom of the disease that appears to have a genetic component. What they are finding is that to get Type 2 Diabetes you need to have some combination of a variety of already-identified genetic flaws which produce the syndrome that we call Type 2 Diabetes. Only one in five people who are obese have diabetes, and nearly one quarter of people who are diagnosed with type two diabetes are not obese.

A study done in 1998 of the prevalence of diabetes among twins produced some interesting results. What it showed was that identical twins have an 80% concordance for Type 2 Diabetes, but that non identical twins had much lower concordance. This kind of finding begins to hint that there is more than just bad habits to blame for diabetes. A high concordance between identical twins which is not shared by non-identical twins is usually advanced as an argument for a genetic cause, though because one in five identical twins did not become diabetic, it is assumed that some additional factors beyond the inherited genome must come into play to cause the disease to appear.

 Certain genes have been found that are markers for type 2 diabetes. In people of European descent: SHIP2, ENPP1, PPARG, TCF7L2, HNF4-a, PTPN, FTO, KCNJ11, NOTCh3, WFS1,  IGF2BP2, SLC30A8, JAZF1, CDKAL1, and HHEX. In non European descendants, there are different genes. The more of  these genes you possess, the worse the performance of the insulin producing Beta cells in the pancreas.

It has long been known that African-Americans have a much higher rate of diabetes and metabolic syndrome than the American population as a whole. This has been blamed on lifestyle, but a 2009 genetic study finds strong evidence that the problem is genetic.

In short, the scientific evidence is mounting that the medical community may have been mistaken in insisting that obesity was the cause of diabetes, rather than a symptom of a syndrome that results in diabetes. Using the law to remove the freedoms of individuals is a serious matter, and to do so by using a false premise is a tragedy.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Vote for the moon

A group in Orange county, Florida is circulating a petition to be added to the ballot that would pass a county ordinance to require that all businesses in the county give employees paid sick days. They are seeking one hour of sick time for every thirty seven hours worked. The law supported by the petition would also prohibit employers from disciplining employees for calling in sick. This will increase labor costs by 3%, as well as make it more likely that employers would have staffing woes, further increasing costs to employers.

This stupid law will probably pass, because the idiots voting for this will not understand that employers will have only three ways to deal with this added expense (essentially, a tax):
1 Cut costs. This will happen through lower wages or lay offs.
2 Increase revenue. They will raise prices. This means that many of the businesses that currently do not offer sick time, like convenience stores and fast food places, will charge more. Hello, local inflation.
3 Simply close Orange County locations, and move out of the county.

This is the basic flaw of Democracy: Everyone thinks that they can live at the expense of everyone else by simply voting for it.


I wonder what it would cost to install ground surveillance radar at your bug out location?

Friday, June 1, 2012


Why do people go to school? What is the purpose? Nominally, it is for the student to learn certain things, as defined by the objectives of the course. When I was a student in public school, I found the actual learning process to be boring. I would seldom do homework, and I usually put my head down and slept in class. Yet with all of that, at exam time, I would get A's. Students and teachers alike would complain that I wasn't doing the work. I pointed out that the point of the class was not to do homework, but to master the course objectives, which I had done, as evidenced by the fact that I had passed the exam.

So teachers began making the completion of homework a substantial portion of the course grade. One of the things that I remember from a 7th grade world history class was that we were given assignments every day, and we were required to complete these assignments and place them in a notebook. This notebook would be collected at the end of the semester, and would be graded. The grade for this notebook would be 60% of the overall grade for the course. I remember one of those assignments. It was a line drawing of a Roman Gladiator, and the assignment was to color in the picture. I felt it was a waste of time, and I didn't do it. I scored 90% plus on every exam, and I failed the class. The girl who sat next to me failed every exam, turned in a stellar coloring book, and got an A in the class.

This is why we are turning out educated idiots. The focus in school is on obedience, not education. That is why I don't criticize this mom, who is under fire because her daughter didn't turn in her homework.

If I had to do it all over again, I would drop out of school as soon as I was able, and take the GED. Then I could attend a community college for an associate's degree. Public school is a waste of time.

Chavez gun control

So as Hugo Chavez, the Socialist leader of Venezuela, sees his lead in polls cut from thirteen percent to only five percent in only six weeks ahead of the October 7 election for his third term, the civilian ownership of guns is now outlawed. Socialism is such a good idea, that it has to be mandatory and backed by a monopoly of government force.

Hugo Chavez's government says the ultimate aim is to disarm all civilians, but his opponents say the police and government may not have the capacity or the will to enforce the new law.
Criminal violence is set to be a major issue in presidential elections later in the year.
Campaign group The Venezuela Violence Observatory said last year that violence has risen steadily since Mr Chavez took office in 1999.
Do you think that this was a manufactured crisis, just like Fast and Furious? The past decade has seen a consolidation of power by Chavez. Him being declared president for life is just around the corner.

Gun confiscation will be followed by dictatorship.


So today, I read about an 11 year old that is pregnant because she was at a sleepover, and the 36 year old man who lives there, while high on Lortabs and Xanny bars, mistook her for his wife and had his way with her.

Then I read about the Canadian 14 year old that is on her third pregnancy with her 35 year old boyfriend. Where are the parents in all this?

Before I was retired, I held the record for medics in the area, by transporting a 12 year old girl to the hospital who was in active labor. I just can't understand this sort of thing.

One thing I do  wonder, is why are girls hitting menarche earlier and earlier?

The Shield

I was told that they would be as rare as hen's teeth, but I got a telephone call from my brother on Monday. He said "Aren't you looking for one of those new Smith and Wesson Shields? They have one at the gun store."

I arrived at the gun store 30 minutes later, and we walked out the door with it less than 15 minutes after that. The advantages of a CCW in Florida.

It is indeed thin. Less than an inch thick. The reason I wanted one has more to do with another dimension: Most of the miniature pistols have grips that are so short that my last finger hangs out there in space, and isn't wrapped around gun. I have been told that you can get used to this, but now I don't have to. With the 8 round magazine inserted, it fits my hand just fine.

We took it for a test drive, and the female of this household loved it.In fact, if I ever plan on carrying a Shield, it looks like I will have to buy another one. This is her target:

All 12 shots that she fired were in the 'danger zone'. With 100 rounds through it on this test drive, not a single malfunction. No jam filled break in period for this pistol.