Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Frequent fliers

Frequent flyers are the bane of EMS systems nationwide. A woman in South Caroliina was just charged with abusing 911 after calling them with bogus medical complaints more than 100 times since 2005, according to deputies. That sounds extreme until you think that this case is not even the average for abusers.

In my first due area, I had a patient (let's call him Jimmy) that used to call 911 4 or 5 times a week. I once ran on him 5 times in one day. (That is the record for my system: 5 in a day for one patient. The previous record of 4, to a patient we called Miss Cleo because she looked like the celebrity, was also mine.) The reasons for this vary.

In Jimmy's case, he would call to get a ride to his sister's house when he was out of money after having spent it all drinking, or he would call 911 to be taken to the ER, where they would give him a sandwich and a Gatorade, and he would walk out.

Miss Cleo was a different story. She had psychiatric problems. The first time I ran a call on her, she was lying on her back trying to do CPR on herself because she couldn't find her own pulse.

There is Kevin, the homeless guy that just needs a place to sleep. There is Eric, who knows the ED staff will feed him. The list goes on.

The problem is multiplied nationwide. Indianapolis. Also in Washington, DC. In Louisville.

Some measures, like the one in DC help, others won't. For example, in Houston they are charging a $13 per mile fee. The problem is that this won't stop the abusers: Medicare and Medicaid won't pay that rate, and neither will the abusers who won't pay the ER, either.

EMTALA and legal liability are at the heart of this issue. EMTALA says that everyone has to receive treatment, even if they can't pay. Legal liability is the fear of being sued of you refuse to transport a person and they turn out to actually be ill. The frequent flyers know how to play the game: feign chest pain, go to the head of the line.

This is a problem that has no easy answers.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Since Newtown

I have signed up two people for Life memberships, and four people to annual memberships in the NRA. While I don't agree with everything they do and every stance they take, the NRA is the 800 pound gorilla in the room where gun rights are concerned.
I also have donated to the SAF and to Florida Carry. What have you done to protect your rights? If each gun owner just sent in the cost of what one AR15 magazine is going for, we could raise billions for the cause.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I finally was able to make my first contacts. Saturday was a contest day, and this meant that there were plenty of HAMs looking for contacts. I worked the 40 meter band for about half an hour and made three contacts.
My antenna is simply a 1:1 balun hooked to an 80 foot long piece of wire that runs out the window and through the trees, and the other side of the balun is hooked to the downspout of the gutter. I made contacts with this in Miami, Bradenton, and New Orleans. I will take what I can get for now.

On the down side, the tuning dial on my rig has a bad encoder after only a week. I bought it at AES, I called them, and they said that I could return it for another.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Government destroying the auto industry

I was recently looking for a compact pickup truck. Something small. After looking, what I found was that the smallest trucks are what used to be called mid-sized trucks. I wondered why the smaller compact ones were no longer made. It turns out that the answer is: government.

The biggest stumbling block is the chicken tax. Passed in 1963, this law is a protectionist tariff imposed by the U.S. in 1963 after Germany tripled the duty on frozen U.S. chicken products coming into that country.If a small truck is imported into the US, it is subject to a 25% tax. This has a big effect on not only "foreign" car makers, but the domestics as well. Why? Because it is a tax based on where the truck is MADE, not where the company is based. (After all, Toyota USA is a domestic company.)

One is Ford Motor Co.’s Transit Connect small van, which the firm builds in Turkey and wants to sell in the US. Another is a compact diesel pickup truck that Indian manufacturer Mahindra wants to offer U.S. buyers. The problem is that small vehicles that are subject to this tax cannot compete with larger, midsized trucks, because a $12,000 truck when imported becomes a $15,000 truck, and is now in the price range of the midsized trucks. 

The tax started in a classic trade war between nations but now is a powerful protectionist tool for U.S. interests. The hefty levy forced Honda, Nissan and Toyota to build trucks here, but Ford and Mahindra have other ideas until they can prove the market is ready for their products.

But what about building them here? Well, you can thank CAFE for that.  CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) came as a result of the 1973 oil embargo, as a means to mandate fuel economy targets for cars and light trucks. Over the last four decades, the standards have evolved, with the latest iteration being the targets set for fuel economy in the year 2025. The 2025 targets were released this summer, and comprise 1,944 pages full of legalese.

One of CAFEs biggest impacts in recent times has manifested itself in how auto makers classify products. Under CAFE, vehicles can be labeled “passenger cars” or “light trucks”, with the latter category required to meet less stringent standards for fuel economy and CO2 emissions. A decade ago, the Chrysler PT Cruiser was the most egregious example of this. The PT Cruiser was designed to meet NHTSA standards for classification as a light truck, for the express purpose of raising Chrysler’s light truck average fuel economy. At the time, the minimum fleet average for passenger cars was 27.5 mpg CAFE, while for light trucks it was 20.7 mpg CAFE. A small, four-cylinder vehicle like the PT Cruiser was effectively a “ringer” for Chrysler’s fleet average. The year 2000 CAFE targets discussed above translate to 21 mpg IRL for passenger cars and 15 mpg IRL for light trucks.  A “light truck” like the PT would obviously have no trouble surpassing these standards.

 On the surface, the footprint requirements can be viewed as logical; a compact, fuel-efficient car like the Honda Fit, should be able to hit tougher targets, by virtue of its small size, aerodynamic profile and powertrain choices. It manages a respectable 28/35 mpg. The Ford F-150 has a very different mission; it must be large, durable, powerful and able to meet the needs of a full-size pickup, and will naturally be less conducive to achieving the kind of fuel economy that a Fit can.

Unfortunately, the footprint method has the opposite effect; rather than encouraging auto makers to strive for unprecedented fuel economy in their passenger car offerings, it has incentivized auto makers to build larger cars, in particular, more car-based crossovers that can be classified as “trucks” as used to skew fleet average figures. Compact trucks have become nearly extinct as a result.

 Because of these regulations and taxes, it costs $1 billion at minimum to design and test a new model. So this is why we get so few new cars that are truly new. What we mostly get is minor changes to existing designs, and they slap a new name on it. So the small truck has either been taxed or regulated out of existence. Now you know...

Friday, April 26, 2013


High frequency on this HAM set is turning out to be more problematic and frustrating than I counted on. I have had this rig for a week, and still haven't made my first HF contact. I tried to use a G5RV antenna, but all of the bands seemed dead. Then I figured the problem was that the antenna wasn't optimal, so I looked for another solution.

I ran a coax to a 1:1 balun, and ran a piece of wire from that to the aluminum downspout outside of my window, and connected it with a sheet metal screw. The spout runs some 35 feet from the ground to the roof, where it connects to about 60 linear feet of horizontal gutter. Now, I receive some stations, but most of the bands are dead most of the time. Last night, I was receiving some traffic on the 18 meter band, but no one could apparently hear me.

So here I sit, trying to figure out what to do next.

I'm moving from this apartment in three weeks, and back into my house. I will have a bit of flexibility there. Maybe I will try to erect my Cushcraft R7 vertical there.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Foolish opinion of armed citizens

Many anti gun people claim that there is no way that an armed citizen could resist the modern US military, armed with fighter jets, machine guns, and armored vehicles. Of course, they are right. It would be foolish for a solitary gun owner to "take on a platoon of Marines." However, to think that this is how it would go down is to be ignorant of history.

In 1776, the British Army was large, well equipped, and had not been beaten on the field of battle in generations. The Colonists were a guerrilla force of lightly armed farmers and shop keepers. How, then did this group of shopkeepers win a war when they were so outmatched?

They changed the rules. At the time, the rules of war were such that shooting officers was deliberately avoided when firing weapons. The theory of the say was that the men were savages, and the officers were gentlemanly enough to prevent a greater slaughter by keeping the men under control. The targeting of officers was just not done. The colonist militia men hid from incoming fire, and deliberately targeted the officers.

On top of that, Washington raised a navy of privateers (legalized pirates) that raided incoming British supplies.

Thus, by attacking the British where they were weak, and avoiding them where they were strong, they managed to hand the British army and navy a stunning defeat, and win their independence in the process.

This is the question that any citizen militia that is trying to win freedom against a larger, better equipped force must answer: Where is the enemy the weakest, and where are our strengths?

The citizen militia's strength lies in the fact  that the government cannot possibly know who they all are, and will have problems rounding them up. The government in this case will attempt to identify and cull the ringleaders. The militia would be foolish indeed to muster on the battlefield and open themselves up to attack by the larger, well equipped force.

Instead, the wise militia commander will attack weak points: Leaders, the factory workers where equipment is made, electric distribution that powers factories, the political masters, and other soft targets. This accomplishes a few objectives:
- It causes the larger force to devote a portion of their own military forces to security operations, and cuts the size of operational forces.
- Attrition of supplies. If the factory that makes the oil filter that your armored vehicles' engines require is burned down, the tanks become stationary pill boxes.
- Demoralizes the leadership. If you are a despotic ruler, and you and your cabinet are facing possible attacks, you tend to be a bit more circumspect when moving forces around.

History is full of examples of one motivated individual changing the course of a nation, armed only with a personal weapon. To think that technology makes this impossible is to be foolishly arrogant.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


A second post in answer to Dan's comments. This one:
Ah, I see -- so it's an attempt to remove pensions in favor of something a bit more modern. Pensions are an anachronism, and public employee pensions are pretty much screwing the states and localities that are holding on to them. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. As long as the pensions aren't just tossed out -- that is, that no money is put into the 401(k)s or 403(b)s of the public sector employees, it seems perfectly reasonable.

Death benefits aren't normally part of a retirement fund -- that's what life insurance is for. Any organization that gets rid of the pensions will no doubt need to replace the death benefits with some form of life insurance if they want to attract and keep their employees.

The problem here is that pensions, at least for fire personnel, I cannot speak for others, were intended as a bargain made to firefighters in lieu of pay. The problem is that the average hourly wage for a starting firefighter in Florida is somewhere around $13 an hour. It costs about 20% of payroll to supply a pension. This raises effective pay to about $15.60.Similar professions with similar education requirements get over $30 an hour.

To those out there who claim that firefighters should be treated the same as everyone else, I agree. You can eliminate pensions and go to a 401(k), OK. But what about the fact that firefighters are exempt from overtime requirements under the FLSA, and do not get overtime until they hit 56 hours of work in a week?

Now that the bill is coming due for the pensions that were promised, they don't want to pay up, and I for one grew tired of hearing how my pay wasn't like everyone else's pay when it came to pension, but no one cared when it came to a firefighter working 54 hours a week for straight time.

My last employer started me at $8.23 an hour in 1997. When I retired in 2011, I was making $19.27 an hour. Adjusted for inflation, this was equal to $10.79 in 1990.  

The reason why they want to eliminate pensions is to get out of paying us the money they promised us if we agreed to pay cuts and no raises back in the late 80s and 90s. Now that they are supposed to pay up, they are refusing to do so.

and the threats and cuts to pensions is why so many of us are leaving.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ask for it...

Dan asked for copies of bills that eliminate death benefits for public employees in a comment to a recent post, so here it is:

HB7011 eliminates the pension plan for all employees hired after January 1, 2013. This includes death and disability benefits to cops, firefighters, and EMTs that are disabled or killed in the line of duty. From this article:
Closing the current pension plan would also end benefits such as life insurance or death benefits if employees are hurt or killed in the line of duty. Rainey said death benefits of a newly hired firefighter killed in the line of duty under the 401(k) plan could offer his or her family less than $1,000.

Here is the FOPs opposition letter to HB7011 (pdf warning)

Not only that, but the system as is requires no tax increase, but switching to a 401(k) system will force the state to contribute money to the system to fund the pensions of those already retired, which will require tax increases.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

L&R Armory

I am writing this post about a local gun store, the L&R Armory in Kissimmee, Florida. I had a friend that was in search of an AR-15. The store's Facebook page claimed that they had some in stock, so we went down there. I discovered why they had them in stock. They were selling stripped lowers at $900 each. Not complete ARs, just the stripped lowers. We walked out.
Yesterday, they put up a post on Facebook, announcing that they had received a case of PMC .223 ammunition, and urging people to come on down to buy it before it was gone. The first commenter asked what the price was, and I replied: "If the $900 they are asking for a stripped lower is any guide, I would bring a credit card with a high limit." My comment was deleted, and I was banned from commenting on the page.
Well, fuck you L&R Armory. You are the one that chose to jack your prices up, and there are better ways to respond to that. I am about over the poor attitude and general jack assery from gun stores. The only reason you get away with poor customer service and high prices is that the government requires that we use your services. That is why so many gun store owners support universal background checks: monopoly.
As for L&R Armory, I will remember you.
It seems that the only decent gun store in Central Florida is an hour away from me...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

HAM geekery

So I got me a new rig: A Yaesu 897D. I put an autotuner on this thing, and I am using a G5RV jr antenna for the high frequency side. It took about 2 hours to get everything rigged up, and I was slowed down by some rain, so I have only been playing with it for about the past hour. With that said, I got it to tune up on 40, 15, 12, 10, and 6 meters. I am happy with it. Now to see if I can make a few contacts.

(I am getting the HF beacon in Atlanta at 50.065 mHz with it.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pardon me

When the bomb went off at the Boston marathon this past week, the films of the event showed many bystanders fleeing the danger, and responders running towards the bomb site to render aid. Every responder in the country has had to attend terrorism awareness classes, and are all aware that a common tactic is for bombers to use a secondary device that detonates a few minutes later, in an attempt to injure responders. Yet, time and again, you see the people that are our first responders running towards the danger.

There were more than a few reporters and commentators that took note of this. Borepatch even shows the crowd at a Bruins game singing the national anthem and showing respect to the responders of Boston.

I'm not impressed.

I remember that exact show of national pride and support for responders in the days after 9/11. It was nice to feel like people knew about the sacrifices that we as responders make every day. It isn't just the big events like 9/11 or Boston. It isn't about the exploding fertilizer plants, or the idiots that ambush and shoot responders. It is the every day dangers that they face. Nearly 300 responders a year lose their lives in the protection of others.

Within 6 months of 9/11, the signs of respect stopped. By 2008, I was hearing about how we were the greedy people who got overpaid and under worked and were ripping off the taxpayer. They cut our pay, our pensions, and there is even a bill that would keep my family from receiving death benefits if I am killed in the line of duty.

So excuse me if I am not impressed with your show of support. I know it will fade in about six months, and you will go back to watching Kim Kardashian make $80,000 a week and complaining how firefighters, police, and paramedics are overpaid.

FCC license

I recently posted that I was going to take the next HAM radio exam. As of today, the FCC has upgraded my HAM license to General class. Go me!

His Royal Orders

Obama couldn't get his gun control bills past Congress, so he figures that he will do it by Royal proclamation. I don't think that the Constitution ever intended the government to work like this....

Thursday, April 18, 2013


So a cop that I know posted this video to Facebook:

With this comment attached:

I think this cop didn't know what to do because he spit out some legal crap.

Here are the replies from the posters fellow officers:

1:  I agree..he had probable cause for the stop....the 911 call for a man with a gun...duh....

2:  And he wouldn't have gotten that gun back till he proved he could legally carry it...for ya know...public safety. ..lol...

3:  your walking around with a gun..... we are going to stop you dumbass get used to it. smh

4:  Time to cuff and stuff!

5:  some stick time and a ride will solve that problem 

6: The cop should have arrested him for disturbing the peace

7: Stupid law students 

Not one cop posted in favor of the gun owner.

Let's start out with probable cause. The term probable cause means that the officer has reason to believe that more likely that not, the person is guilty of a crime. A 911 call that a man has a gun is not probable cause to believe that a man has committed a crime, if it is not a crime to have a gun.

Taking a person's property without a legal reason to do so is a crime. The only problem is that the cops (in many cases, correctly) believe that they are above the law.

The obvious disregard for people's rights and the law makes me fear the cops more than the criminals. They are just a legalized street gang. It is things like this that make me begin to think that anarchy could not be much worse.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


While we were busy watching the long, drawn out debates on Obamacare, the economy, and gun control, we all missed that Congress legalized insider trading for themselves. It was easy to do, though. They only debated and voted on the bill for 30 seconds.When Obama signed the new law, the announcement was only one sentence long.
So now a Congressman can legally profit from upcoming legislation. No conflict of interest there.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


A proper survival plan includes things like water, food, and light. One important thing that should be a part of your plan is communications. During the recent events in Boston, cellular communications were inoperable for hours. There is some question as to whether they were turned off by authorities, or if the heavy traffic overloaded the system, but the end result was the same: no phone communications were happening throughout most of the Boston area.
I have portable, handheld radios in the 2 meter band. There are 9 repeaters that are within 40 miles of my house, and each of these can be reached by the radios that I have on hand. This allows me to communicate across the majority of Central Florida with a large level of redundancy. In the event that all of those repeaters are non functional, we can go direct radio to radio on any one of hundreds of frequencies. These radios can be had for as little as $40.
If hundreds of available frequencies isn't enough, you can get a dual band radio that also works in the 70 cm band. That band is less crowded than the 2m band, and adds thousands of available channels to the possibilities.
Set up a communications plan: "If anything happens, we will contact each other on the 146.22MHz repeater at the top of the hour, and on the 145.52MHz repeater at the bottom of the hour. If both repeaters are down, we will try 433.62 MHz., additionally, we will monitor 146.52 MHz."

 The HAM license costs just $15, and no morse code test is required. Then you don't have to worry about the cell phone repeaters.


I stopped trusting anything that is reported by the MSM back in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, where I didn't see any of the things that were being reported.

Then I stopped trusting what the government officials had to say when it came out that the violence during Katrina was actually police officers settling scores and murdering the people that they were sworn to protect

That is why I am taking a wait and see approach.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It isn't the guns

A homeless man sets another man on fire in California by throwing a Molotov cocktail into the victim's car. We have a problem in this country, and it isn't guns. We are in the middle of what Heinlein called "the crazy years."
Making gasoline illegal, restricting high octane gasoline, restricting container size, or requiring a background check in order to buy gasoline, wouldn't fix this any more than the same restriction on guns will fix spree shooting.
It used to be that insane asylums and jails were for keeping dangerous people away from the rest of society. Now we use the jails to lock up people for owning the wrong plant, and we abolished the asylums.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The end of the Republican Party

The Republican party shows its true colors: No sell out is too large or too egregious, if it means that I can get enough lefties to vote for me. Selling out, the tactic of the Republican party. Too bad the rules are rigged to prevent another party from becoming viable.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Found in a parking lot

Here is a food receipt recently found in a parking lot by a friend, and emailed to me:

5 cases of diet Mountain Dew, 8 lobster tails, 2 Porterhouse Steaks, total grocery bill of $142. All paid with an EBT card.

About 100 million people in the United States are receiving some sort of government money. At the beginning of this year, only four of the 80-plus federal welfare programs had work requirements; the Obama Administration has now suspended the work requirements in two of these. After the Obama Administration suspended the work requirement from the food stamp program in 2009, the number of people on food stamps doubled. In fact, if you take the trillion dollars spent on welfare programs and divide it by the number of people receiving them (100 million), it comes to $100,000 spent for each person receiving aid.

Welfare pays more than an $8 an hour job in 40 out of the 50 states, and this figure doesn't include food stamps and Medicaid. The government spends an average of $168 for each person on welfare.

Welfare now surpasses the government’s biggest traditional money pit, the Pentagon. “By 2022, there will be $2.33 in federal and state welfare spending for every $1 spent on national defense.” Our National debt, as listed by the treasury, is $6.5 trillion higher than it was when Obama took office.Our debt has been doubling about every 8-10 years for every president except Clinton. Clinton added 140% to the debt.

It gets even worse: Much of the spending and borrowing is being paid for by monetizing the debt. The Federal Reserve is busy buying US treasuries. This is called monetizing the debt.This will eventually begin to hurt the value of the dollar. The only reason that this hasn't already begun is that so many commodities (like oil) are pegged to the dollar, because the dollar is the reserve currency. One that changes (and it will) the days of runaway inflation will arrive.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It takes a village

In June 2012, a man named Joshua Hakken was arrested for possession of marijuana. Joshua and SharynHakken, who media outlets continue to describe as "anti-government" due to their anarchist/libertarian postings on firearm and homeschooling forums, had their parental rights terminated by a judge. At the time, according to investigators, the couple lost custody of the twoboys after attending an anti-government rally in Louisiana.Investigators now deny that charge.

One of the things he allegedly wrote was this:
"My name is Joshua Hakken," he wrote. "I am a father, a registered professional mechanical engineer and a veteran of the USAF. I am absolutely devoted to life, liberty, the rights of the individual and the Constitution of the United States of America. "
After saying that he had noticed that "things here in Florida have not added up for quite some time," he concluded, "in these crazy times, maintaining open communication lines for ideas, observations and news is absolutely crucial if the 'good guys' are to be successful in surviving to maintain the fight of ideas."
Not worse than what even mainstream people like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck are saying.

The police also claim that Joshua also showed up at a Louisiana state run foster facility with a gun and tried to gain access, and when unsuccessful, left. I find this hard to believe. If this were indeed the case, why wasn't an arrest warrant issued then? 

So Joshua and Sharyn began to activate a daring plan to recover their children. They bought a 25 foot sailboat and were seen loading supplies onto the boat in the John's Pass marina, located in the Tampa area.

In the early morning hours of April 3, Joshua and Sharyn entered the home of Sharyn's mother armed with at least one handgun, tied up Sharyn's mother, and took the kids. 

. The Hakken children were listed as the "victims" and their parents were listed as the "suspects" in an abduction. On April 4, acting on a tip, Hillsboro County Deputies found the Hakkens' SUV in a parking garage near the John's Pass Marina.On April 5, a witness came forward and said he spotted the boat passing under a bridge near the John's Pass Marina, and heading out to sea. The search expanded. Police tried to locate their cell phones, but they had been turned off. Police then expanded the search to the sea, and to four states.

Rumors circulated that the family had fled to Cuba. It was then confirmed on April 9 that the Hakkens were in fact, in Havana, Cuba. At least one Florida attorney believes that the children will not be extradited. I say good for them. Taking someone's kids for a marijuana arrest? MY hat is off to him for protecting his kids.

This is what it means when authorities say that your children are the property of the state. It takes a village...

Swiss Guard

When I posted about the Swiss Guard the other day, it caused me to get into a discussion with a Catholic friend, who accused me of posting a fake photo and lying about the Church. This caused me to embark on a research campaign throughout the Internet, looking for evidence of the modern arms carried by the Swiss Guard. That was not easy. The Catholic Church is largely run by people who know how to keep a secret. Ever meet a Jesuit that couldn't keep a secret?

Anyhow, during my research, I found quite a few places where people made fun of the guards because of their quaint ceremonial uniforms, and people saying that they must be incompetent. I would point out that those uniforms are CEREMONIAL, were designed by Michelangelo himself, and are meant to be seen as non threatening. Pope Paul the 6th is said to have begun a campaign of making the Guard appear less threatening, to the point where it was suggested in 1968 that the halberds, chest plates, and helmets would be eliminated. That doesn't mean that the Guard doesn't know its business. They have guarded the Holy See for over 500 years, and not one Pope has been killed under their watch. That is an impressive record that no other security detail in the world can come close to matching, although they came close to losing that unblemished record when Pope john Paul II was shot in 1981.  

In order to be a member of the Swiss Guard, the applicant must be a Swiss citizen of Roman Catholic faith, be between 19 and 30 years old, have attended the Swiss military academy, unmarried, and at least 174 cm tall. New guards are sworn in once a year, on May 6th.

They carry modern weapons, and by all accounts appear to be a well trained, well equipped force. I may have a problem with the Church's policies, but the training and record of the Swiss Guard is exemplary.


Next time someone blathers to me about how Obama has turned the economy around, and that we have recovered:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Restricted rights

There is an old story from back in the days when states required people to take a test in order to vote. Back in those days, it was the sheriff of the county that administered the test in the state of Georgia. the test was simple: The sheriff would hand the applicant a newspaper, and simply read the headline aloud. 

Now the story goes that one day, a black man appeared at the Sheriff's office and wanted to register to vote. The sheriff handed the man a newspaper.

It was printed in Japanese. Without missing a beat, the man said: "Well, this is easy. It says here that there ain't no niggas gonna be allowed to vote in Georgia this year."

This is the reason that we do not restrict rights in this country: because to restrict a right is to allow people to deny that right to others. This is why THIS post rightly pisses me off. The racism that allowed that sheriff to deny the man his voting right is just as repugnant as the attitude being used to deny gay marriage or deny gun rights. How dare you restrict a right in order to force others to live as you wish them to.

Church hypocrisy

So the Catholic Bishops of the USA have recently come down on a position whereby they have declared that it is a sin to own weapons, and call on all Catholics to support gun control. Here is a copy of the actual declaration, as sent to the US Senate.(PDF Warning)

The money quote:
The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in their document, "The International Arms Trade (2006),"emphasized the importance of enacting concrete controls on the production, possession, and trade in weapons, including handguns,calling for them to be regulated" by paying due attention to specific principles of the moral and legal order.” 

This comes from the Church that owns a room full of swords, machine guns, and other firearms for the Vatican's Swiss Guard:

Also, this would seem to preclude the owning and carrying of swords by the Knights of Columbus:

One reader of this post on the subject pointed this out in comments, and the reply was:
I think it would depend on how many people have been killed by those K of C ceremonial swords when deciding whether to ban them.
 More people have been killed by swords than by privately owned firearms, and no one has been killed by any gun that I own. By that standard, my guns shouldn't be illegal.

Common use test

In the majority opinion of the Heller case, the Supreme court said:
“We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller (an earlier case) said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time”. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ” 
This has been called the "common use" test. This can be a dangerous precedent, because what is not in common use today may be the best thing tomorrow. Case in point:

 A doctor in London thinks that he can use psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, to treat depression. However, the problem is that the drug is a class I controlled substance, meaning that it is highly addictive and has no recognized medical use. For that reason, scientists and doctors cannot even use the drug in studies to investigate whether or not it has a medical use. In other words, since it is not in common use, no one may use it, even to find out if it CAN be useful. That is the problem with "common use" tests.

This line of reasoning means that the founding fathers meant for the Constitution to only protect muskets, as they were all that was in common use at the time of ratification. I cannot believe that the founders could possibly be so short sighted. If this were the case, the First Amendment would not protect your right to speech on the internet, over the telephone, or on the radio.

Here in the US, the Republican party is all for drug prohibition and fully supports this application of the common use test. Marijuana is itself a class 1 controlled substance, and the Republicans refuse to admit that it has, or ever can have, a legitimate medical use. The Republicans: for smaller, less intrusive government. Unless it involves drugs. Or sex. Or marriage. Or forcing people to learn about religion in school. Or making alcohol off limits during the hours that church is in session. Or...

Sunday, April 7, 2013


This anti-gun screed is so full of fail, it is sickening. Drop by and give him your opinion.

Real inflation

I read an article yesterday that claims the rate of inflation in the US is 1.3 percent, and 10 year treasury yields are holding at 1.69 percent. The two are tied together, and they are both being manipulated.

The official inflation numbers are being massaged. They exclude energy and food, which is a major part of our expenses. Let's take a look at what energy and food are doing. This website began tracking the prices of 30 grocery items, plus a gallon of gasoline in 2008. What they found was the cost of these items was:

$54.11 in 2008.
$70.37 in March of 2011, an inflation rate of about 9%.
$76.86 in August of 2011, meaning an annual inflation rate of about 18%.
$79.28, in September of 2012, a 3% inflation rate.

The only thing that has slowed down inflation is the cost of housing from 2008-2009, with the crash of the housing market. That has since corrected itself. Look at the prices here.

Interestingly, average wages in the US are 20 times higher than they were in 1930.
A new house is 62 times more expensive
A new car is 47 times more expensive.
Gasoline is 21 times as much.
Bread 31 times.
Beef 33 times as much as 1930.

In terms of real purchasing power, this is the poorest generation in over 100 years.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Guns, hockey, and ass-whippin'

Sidney Crosby, known as "Sid the Kid" was a rising star player for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. In his first season in the NHL, he was the sixth most productive scorer in the league. In his second, he was the number one most productive scorer. His future was bright. Until the fifth season, when he took blows to the head twice within a four day period. He began showing unspecified "concussion-like symptoms," missed the rest of that season, the playoffs, and the first quarter of the following season. All from taking two blows to the head while wearing a helmet. Sid eventually recovered and is playing again, but remember that that head injury took nearly a year to recover from.

How is this related to guns? Dr. Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health claimed on January 13 that:
The gun is a great equalizer because it makes wimps as dangerous as people who really have skill and bravery and so I’d like to have this notion that anyone using a gun is a wuss. They aren’t anybody to be looked up to. They’re somebody to look down at because they couldn’t defend themselves or couldn’t protect others without using a gun.
Now some of you may see where I am going with this, and others will think that I am advocating that hockey players should shoot opposing players with handguns.

The reason I bring up Sidney Crosby is simple: There is this attitude in the United States that when a person attacks you, you should try to engage in some sort of boxing match, and if you are unable to adequately defend yourself from a larger, faster, or more skilled opponent, you should "take your ass whipping like a man." This comes mainly from the Hollywood fallacy that people can take a hit to the head that is sufficient to knock them unconscious and wake up with nothing worse to show for it than a headache. The fact is: ANY blow to the head is potentially fatal, as this article describes.  

The fact is that fists and feet are the murder weapons in over 700 murders a year. In fact, in 2011, an 11 year old girl killed a classmate with her bare hands. Taking away the ability for that homosexual to defend himself from the teens that want to beat him up, the woman who is the intended victim of a rapist, the senior citizen from the violent Burger King employee, or the man in a wheelchair from his attacker doesn't make us manlier, it makes us more of a "survival of the fittest" Darwinian society and society fails. For isn't the point of society to protect those who are unable to protect themselves?

Friday, April 5, 2013

HAM issues

I am studying to upgrade my HAM radio ticket from a Technician class to a General Class. One thing I want to do when I get the new ticket is buy an HF radio. I am wanting to get into the 20 meter band, so I next have to see what sort of antenna I can get in there.

The lot is 77 feet wide, and the house is 52 feet wide. I need to figure out an antenna that will fit nicely and be hidden behind the house, or perhaps something that looks like a TV antenna, so I don't run the risk of neighbors running to the HOA and complaining.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It isn't the guns

From Jon Gutmacher comes an excellent example of how it isn't guns that are the problem.