Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: What are you fighting for?

Today, are you fighting for your rights, or for the right gift for yourself or others?
Are you braving the chemical sprays of a Government that won't cede power, or those of a demented consumer who grew tired of battling crowds while she tried to shop?
Are you putting gasoline in a bottle, or gas in your car so you can hit every store on your list, and a few that aren't?

I'm sure this Black Friday will be a frustrating experience for most Americans, but remember that at the end of the day, you'll have just about everything you started with this morning - your car, your home, your family, your rights.  Perhaps a bit less cash and gasoline, but the important things will still be there.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, but today might not be a bad day to be thankful for what you have, and to think, even for just a second, about what others do not have, and are putting their lives in peril to obtain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

He who shall not be named...

  I'm not invoking the Cthulu mythos here.  I'm referring to a rather unpleasant fellow who has gone on record with public YouTube postings declaring his utter contempt for society.  He brags about dressing up in a manner that implies he has served in the military, and describes how he soaks up whatever "freebies" veterans are given at restaurants, by passersby, etc and how easily we are all apparently fooled by his act.
  He's dumping not just on the men and women of our Armed Forces that have actually served, but everyone who goes out of their way to recognize their service with an extra bit of kindness.
  Sadly, this person is probably accomplishing a secondary goal - that of grabbing a LOT of attention.  People like him are looking for that more than anything.
  There are a lot of message boards where active and former servicemembers confer, and in these fora, this  person is receiving a tremendous amount of hate, bile, and veiled threats to harm him physically.  His home address and a phone number have been posted, in case anyone wants to give him a piece of their mind.
  It's actually rather unfortunate in a way.  The language being used to describe him sound like third-grade taunts.  The talk of punching him out sounds like stuff I heard at the lunch table in high school.  Is it me or are people letting themselves be pulled down to his level?  Don't you think that if you call his house and curse him out, he'll hang up, but experience a warm and fuzzy at the acknowledgement of his effect on you?  Or that if you strike him, he'll get up, grimacing and pain but again, smiling on the inside that *someone has listened to him*?
  Every time someone talks about him, how he makes them feel and what they'd like to do about it, gives him more and more power.
  I think the wisest course of action is to tune him out.  Stop watching his videos, and posting the links.  Don't call, write or talk to him in person.  What I think this person fears more than anything is becoming a nonentity.  And if we take the high road here and simply move on to other, more positive topics, he'll dry up and blow away.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fiddling while Reno burns...

I was astonished to catch a headline about wildfires outside of Reno, NV.  This picture probably best sums up the peril that area is in.  Luckily my personal experiences with wildfires are close to nil.  A bit over ten years ago, Orange and Sullivan counties in New York State were aflame with smoke that I could smell over 50 miles away.  And about six years before that, I took a late night drive out of Pasadena, and as the greater LA area sprawl receded, I saw the cherry red hellish glow atop the San Gabriel Mountains.

I am quite taken with the state of Nevada, especially points north of Las Vegas.  I found Reno to be homey and charming, and the area around it to be filled with the quiet beauty of the high desert.

My headline isn't meant to impugn anyone's firefighting efforts, only my helpless inability to help them put out the flames.  The folks out there battling these blazes are up against terrain that's rough and tinder-dry year round, with winds kicking up to speeds of 30 miles per hour and higher.

God, watch over these brave people and the residents they are working so hard to protect.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Reflection

 Just finished voting... small slate of candidates, no initiatives.  Nothing exciting, and very, very few voters at the polling station.
 When a candidate says the following, this is what they really mean:

 "I care about you/the little guy/the taxpayer."  - even if they do care, all that "caring" really means is allocating forcibly redistributed money.  There's really no personal sacrifice on their part.

 "I want to get things done." - even if they do want to be productive while in office, "getting things done" means, for the most part, passing new laws or harshening existing ones.

 "I want to see justice done." - even if they care about punishing the guilty, this really means passing feel-good laws, harshening existing sentencing guidelines, and stepping up enforcement of petty offenses.  "Law and order" candidates typically boost their record by lowering the bar of what's considered criminality and snagging these increasingly low-hanging fruit.

 What would a truly effective candidate do, once reaching the office they're seeking?

 Show caring not by implementing new programs, but by tossing out programs that don't work, and making existing ones deliver the same results with less money spent.
  "Getting things done" should mean a focus on personally intervening on behalf of taxpayers caught up in bureaucracy.  Is a merchant's customers the seeming target of aggressive parking tickets?  Is a merchant in their district trying to expand their facility but can't seem to hurdle the red tape?  Is a taxpayer in arrears trying to make an honest effort at catching up, but the collectors keep calling and also tacking on new penalties?  These are all things most officeholders have the power to help with, and should.
  "Seeing justice done" should mean *eliminating* outdated laws, and seeing to it that civil fines and criminal penalties actually match the offense.  It also means not targeting decent people who accidentally violate some law, like forgetting to remove their CCW gun before entering a school zone, but instead making police work harder at catching violent offenders.  It also means not waiting until a pardon request makes its way to their desk, but actively looking for cases in which people were royally screwed by the "justice" system and doing their best to make it right.

  Just some humble suggestions, but hey, who am I, right???

Just vote, dammit

  Unfortunately, during "interstitial" elections, ie the ones that don't happen every four years voter turnout tends to be rather low.
  It's easy to dismiss these "petty" mostly local elections, but by voting (or not voting) you have more power than you think.
  Just about every man sitting in the White House got there by leveraging a career in public service that began humbly - alderman, state legislator, governor.
  By pulling that lever, filling out that OCR card, or punching that chad, you have the opportunity to keep another Obama from ascending to our nation's highest office - or help him along, if that's in accordance with your political beliefs.
  Whatever you do, go out there today and exercise your right to vote.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oooohhhh Canaduh....

Canadian reporter discusses the imminent demise of Canada's gun registry.

The antigun bias of this piece is evident within a second of clicking on This story

I mean, you have a picture of Rutger Hauer, star of the low budget grinder Hobo With a Shotgun, with an expression of total insanity on his mug, something Mr. Hauer has perfected over the course of his decades-long film career.  I guess that to the article's author, Stephen LaRose, every gun owner has an inner Rutger Hauer, waiting to come out at the slightest (or perhaps even no) provocation.

But I digress.

Mr. LaRose tries to justify gun registration by claiming it has reduced crime, and that it has been in place since the Second World War, back when according to him, it prevented Nazi sympathizers from formenting an insurrection. (Ah yes, the ol' "it's been around for decades, therefore it's a good thing" bromide)
The stats on gun control actually seems to point to increased violent crime when weapons are denied to everyday citizens.  And as for the WWII angle, does this Mr. LaRose really think that registering guns would prevent such a thing?  That these "insurrectionists" wouldn't simply go through the bureaucratic process and then use their lawfully acquired weapons?  Or that they wouldn't somehow find a way to acquire them by smuggling or some other method?  Or that they wouldn't simply ambush some mounties, and take their service weapons?  If someone has a cause they believe in strongly enough, or are being paid well enough to participate in, they'll try to accomplish their mission by any means available.  And why isn't Mr. LaRose appalled at the idea of anyone's rights being diminished by legistlative fiat, (mis)informed by war-era paranoia?

The author also describes his participation as an adult in his son's Beaver Troop activities, and how he apparently needed to clear his name before doing so, because his name coincided with that of a registered sex offender.  The process of doing that supposedly took longer than it takes to legally purchase a firearm in Canada.

He claims some sort of irony in that "deadly firearms" are being de-controlled, while his participation in a lawful, innocent activity is being hampered.

He's missing the very point he's making - that government is perfectly capable of interfering terribly with all of the activities we just about take for granted.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You're on notice...

Another asshole abusing our tort system.

Any service person with grey matter in their skull instead of rocks will steer clear of this guy.  Who's to say he won't sue them years later for some imaginary or exaggerated failure to perform?