Friday, August 28, 2009

The Breda Fallacy: yuk yuk

"Let he who has never drowned a young woman cast the first . . . .well, actually, let's hold off on that . . . ."

The Breda Fallacy: yuk yuk

Even more accusations that Ted Kennedy was a heartless monster who joked about leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in cold, dark water . . . . except it's Joe Klein remembering, and he thinks it's a sign of Kennedy's broad-minded good humor.

You see, Joe, if the victim can laugh about it years later, that's a sign of a strong soul and the healing power of humor. But if the perpetrator can laugh about it, that means something entirely different.

This club looks like a tornado went through it.

Seriously, it looks . . . . oh, right.

This is Lefthanders Gun Club in Loami, IL (just outside Springfield.) I hadn't realized they got hit by the tornadoes last week until I got an email canceling the 3-Gun match this Sunday.
They're having a cleanup day instead . . . I wasn't planning to make it to the 3-gun match, but I think I might make it to the cleanup.
I'm not a member at Lefthanders, but I like the place and it's a good venue for Springfield Tactical Shooters events. I just never seem to get there!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stop, you're embarrassing yourself

You know what I heard on NPR yesterday? Some commentators were discussing Ted Kennedy's death, and they were all agreeing that he was a great man and an amazing legislator, and one of them just went a bridge too far. I don't know if he felt he wasn't getting enough attention, or what, but he brought up the Chappaquiddick "incident."

In praise of Senator Ted Kennedy.

Kennedy, he explained, really owned that incident. He really felt bad about it. In fact, Kennedy himself used much stronger language than the commentator has ever heard anyone else use in condemning his actions that fateful night . . . . words like "inexplicable."

We obviously travel in very different circles, because I don't think I've ever met anyone who thought Kennedy's behavior was "inexplicable." He was drunk, caused an accident that killed a young lady who had no business in the car with him, and found it more convenient to go back to his hotel than to deal with police and reporters. Most people I know aren't shy about calling Ted Kennedy a murderer for what he did that night . . . . and if you've never met anyone who thought Ted Kennedy was worse than "inexplicable" for leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in cold, dark water, you might want to take a good look at your social circle and think about whether you've truly lost touch with the real world. Lauding Ted Kennedy for taking responsibility for Chappaquiddick makes it sound like you're watching a different channel than the rest of us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New RSS Feed

Sorry about not fixing the RSS earlier, folks. The new feed is:

Larry Correia is Getting Old

When I began this blog, I started by slagging some people whose success made me jealous, in the hope that I might bring them down to my level, thus making myself feel like a Big Man. Now I've given this place a new name and a new look, so I figure it's time to pick a new target and let him have it.

You saw the title. Larry Correia is aging by the day . . . and today is his birthday. He's getting old. Death is creeping ever closer through tall grass, its tail twitching, nose to the ground . . . full of the scent of Correia blood.

You might think having a beautiful wife and delightful children and writing books that rescue the entire vampire genre from sparkly vegetarian irrelevance and sell like hotcakes would offer some solace, but trust me, it's just another day gone. Jealousy is an ugly thing. I'm glad I don't suffer with it; must be tough for people who do.

(All bullshit aside, Larry, happy birthday. Give 'em hell at the ITRC!)

Hurry Hurry Hurry! Supplies are Limited!

You only have until Monday to take on a new payment book and thousands of dollars in debt!

Well, actually you could go ahead and buy a new car on Tuesday if you want, but you wouldn't get the extra trade-in allowance that makes it such a good idea to go into additional debt during an economic event that seems to slide up and down the spectrum between The Greater Depression and an "economic downturn" on a daily basis.

Run, don't walk.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Longhorn Jeff found this Letter to the Editor in the local fishwrap; I'm actually kind of proud of this one. The editors didn't change it, as far as I can tell, except to change a "%" into a "percent" and add the world's worst title. That's something of an accomplishment.

I don't really know how many minds I reach with a letter to the editor, but I figure the paper has a respectable circulation, and it makes me feel better.

Calls into question group’s gun statistics
In his recent letter to the editor, “Glad Durbin voted against concealed-carry proposal,” Thomas Mannard stated his opinion: Unlike marriage licenses, drivers’ licenses and most business licenses, licenses to carry concealed weapons from one state should not be recognized by all states. Fifty-eight out of 100 senators disagreed, but it’s Mannard’s facts that demand a closer look. Perhaps he should have checked them at before he wrote . . . .

If You're reading this . . . .

Then you're either here for the first time, or you've found me again. Many people who read this blog (well, if there were many) might wonder what's going on. Simply put, what's going on is that I've decided that the old title of this blog caused me too much heartburn when I had to deal with people who didn't appreciate the fine distinction. I'm a school teacher, and I'm also a gun-rights activist and an avid shooter and collector, but none of that means I would carry a firearm onto school property. My professional life and my personal life are separate.

Besides, I've always thought there should be a blog called "Pull the Push Door." I don't really know why.

I'm not saying that Gary Larson's classic Far Side cartoon on the right (heh heh . . . we can call that fair use, right guys? Right?) Larson captured so many things that seemed unearthly weird, but a man could generally relate to each piece in some way. Well, I could, anyway. I was never like that kid, though. I mean, I went to a lot of "gifted" classes and such, and I pushed on a few pull doors, but never actually one at a school for the gifted.

(However, I did spend a weekend at a "School for the Gifted" that shall remain nameless, where the sales pitch included an explanation that automobiles were prohibited, the suicide rate was still enormous but really starting to come down, and then we all went to a pep rally for the soccer team at which the school's own mascot was burned in effigy.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cheerful news on the cooktop front

Sadly, the old and busted cooktop is old and busted. The new hotness cooktop, provided by the internet, will arrive in about a week. Everybody wanted at least a few days to get one I liked from their warehouses, and Lowes actually told me two weeks. Do these people not realize that it's 2009? I could have my robot butler drive up there in my flying car and pick one up in a couple of hours, guys. Step up your game.

The circuit it blew is back online now as well. As so often happens in my household, it was a
simple matter of taking another look at things and making no assumptions. My dad observed that my grandfather's house has the same steampunk fuse boxes as mine does, and the last time they blew out a circuit by plugging in their new miracle space heater from the TeeVee, they went crazy trying to figure out the problem. In the end, they replaced all the fuses just in case, and it started working--even though they'd all been checked.

You see where this is going? The plug fuses, which look like this, were just fine. You can check them easily; if the circuit shorts, they fill with black smoke and you can't see the element. If they overload, the element breaks. If you can see the intact element, they're still passing current.

But the cartridge fuses, which look like this, are more difficult. I put a continuity tester on those, and they were dead, so I bought a couple of new ones and voila! The power, she flows. Now we have an oven again.

Semi-Crazy Idea for Laptop

OK, I asked awhile back about a device that was supposed to prevent a problem I already have: the power cord on my Toshiba laptop has been yanked around too much, and the port on the machine has worked loose. I've already had it repaired once at considerable expense, but it's already worked its way out of joint again--as the computer tech warned me it was likely to do.

Someone helpfully suggested a docking station that would power the computer through a different port while it was being used, and that sounded great--but I can't find one that says it's compatible with a Toshiba Satellite A75-S206. I don't know enough to really know whether there's a dock out there that I could use . . . I really just want to be able to power the thing, the other features don't make any difference to me.

Then I thought about something else--what about a way to charge the battery outside the computer? Surely that's doable, right? Nope. Apparently the Li-ion batteries in these things are excessively 'splody and they're all completely different, so there's no generic charger and a homebuilt unit would be beyond my tech skills.

This leaves me with opening it up and re-soldering the power jack--again--myself. The prospect is frightening, yet strangely exhilarating. And if I completely screw it up, the case is large enough for several Shoot-N-C targets to stick.

Monday, August 17, 2009

240v Wiring Bleg--Don't know what I'm doing

So, if you read the last post entitled "Why is the smoke coming from under the stove?" you know that we had a power surge during a storm last night and the electric cooktop in the kitchen succumbed. I tried to figure it out between EMS calls last night with little success, and at 1:00 in the morning I ended up just disconnecting the wiring pigtail for the cooktop from the junction box. I really don't get 240v wiring, but I figured it was connected red/red, black/black, white/white, bare/bare, so how hard could it be? As I understand it, the only big difference from 120v is that there are two 120v feeds, so both the black and white are probably live with 120v.

I figure I need a new cooktop; it's an ancient Kenmore, so parts are probably worse than a new one if I keep it simple. But I don't want to have to go buy the first one I see this morning, so I thought I could cap the wires in the junction box and get the other appliances on the same circuit working again. That didn't work; the circuit is dead now.

What do I have to do to cap that junction safely and still have the rest of the circuit live? I'm tempted to wire the two 120v "hot" wires together, but I don't really see the point and I'm afraid of damaging the wiring because (I might have mentioned this before) I don't know what I'm doing. I just wanted to do the monkey-smart part, pulling out the old appliance and connecting the new one exactly the same way.

Luckily, my wife is smarter than me, and she called me awhile ago to tell me I should just plug the refrigerator into one of the working outlets in the kitchen with an extension cord until the circuit can be fixed. Thank God I'm pretty.

It's hard to see what's going on in this photo on the right, but this is one of the rheostat switches on the cooktop. This is where the smoke came from. One side of the plug is completely severed and the whole thing is covered in black, greasy crud. The cooktop was old and impossible to clean anyway, so I won't miss it. I just don't want to buy one, plunk it in and then watch it go up in smoke, too.
(I guess the advantage would be that parts should be available for the new one . . . as long as it doesn't burn the house down.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why is the smoke coming from *under* the stove?

Well, that was exciting. The storm raged, the rain slammed the house in sheets, and dinner was on the stove. Then the lights flickered, the radio roared with static for a moment, everyone wondered what had happened.

Then we noticed that the stove was smoking. To be precise, the wooden drawers under the stove were smoking, and switching off all the burners failed to extinguish either the big red "ON" light or the smoke. My Bride grabbed the fire extinguisher as I ran to the basement to pull the fuses.

We left the smoke to clear with the fuses cut out while we have dinner. I will go back and look it over, if only so I can disconnect the stove from power and replace the fuses (the refrigerator and the oven are on the same circuit.) I'm still not sure what happened. It seems like a surge, but the computer and other other delicate electronics didn't get fried, and the fuses look brand new, even on the "bad" circuit. We noticed some flickering in the refrigerator light before we saw the smoke from the stove, so we figure there's something going on in that circuit, but I can't figure out how a surge went through 20-amp fuses without breaking them. It makes me wonder whether some metal object from the junk drawer worked its way up into a switch or some other wiring.

I don't know if this gadget works . . . .

But I wish I'd seen it before my wife's very expensive Toshiba Satellite Paperweight made the transition from laptop computer. I liked it better when it was a computer.

In all fairness, though, it can hold down a lot of paper.

What do all you computer geeks think? Is this thing worth $9.95 (to people who haven't already lunched their laptops?)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Your gun buy-back amuses me.

WNEP 16 did a report on a gun buy-back (they haven't transitioned to the term "gun turn-in event" in Pennsylvania, apparently) called "Operation Safe Guns." I'm really beginning to think they name these things with a dartboard.
"Let's see . . . I got 'guns,' that's good . . . 'safe,' one more . . . ."
"Ooh! 'Operation!' That's a good one, Chief!"
"Thanks, Lou, I like your mustache. So what's our catchy new name?"
"Hmm . . . 'Guns Operation Safe' is nice."
"No, it's nonsense. How about 'Operation Gun Safe?'"
"We did that three years ago, and the gun nuts came out of the woodwork demanding free gun safes. Never again."
"OK, how about 'Operation Safe Guns' then?"
"Uh, Chief, are we doing anything about making the guns safer? I thought we were just collecting them and destroying the cheap ones Ralph doesn't want to take home?"
"You have a point . . . maybe we should throw the darts again and settle in. Might miss lunch,though."
"You know, Chief, 'Operation Safe Guns' is growing on me."
Then there are the big claims. They got 110 guns "off the street" including "two illegal guns." Wow. Here's a screen cap of WNEP's Jennifer Borrasso holding one of the "illegal guns" the program took in. Don't be afraid to look, it can't hurt you through the internet:

In the video, Borrasso explains that this is an illegal sawed-off shotgun. Notice how conveniently she places the barrel of the gun against her shoulders so we can estimate the length. If that barrel is less than 15or 16 inches long, I'd be very surprised. What we actually have here is a single-shot, break-open shotgun with a barrel that is technically too short according to federal law. Someone apparently cut it off shorter than 18 inches, but not by much. I'm surprised they gave it to a reporter to hold up on the evening news as their example of an illegal gun, because it would take an expert to tell it apart from a perfectly legal shotgun being used to hunt rabbits on railroad tracks somewhere in Pennsylvania right now (well, maybe during rabbit season.) Actually, Elmer Fudd carried something very similar.

This is an illegal gun the way a Mustang with the wrong engine parts is an illegal car in California, even if it passes the actual measurement of pollution output. It's a technical violation of an arbitrary regulation that no one but an expert would ever know is supposed to be "dangerous" or scary.

I can hear some of you saying I'm too negative. Why can't I think of the positive? OK, here's the positive: although "Operation Safe Guns" won't tell you this, I would bet $50 that the person who turned that gun in didn't know it was verboten by order of der mann. The average person would have no way of looking at that gun and knowing that it was worth ten years in a federal PMA prison. Therefore, we can all be glad that the unwitting federal felon turned this thing in at a "no questions asked" event and got $75 for his trouble. The gun was probably worth approximately that before the barrel was cut, but now it's radioactive; like a car sold at a police auction with two kilos of cocaine still hidden in the seats, it would have been a danger to everyone who purchased it.

The question I can't shake off is this: if that was the example they wanted to show the world of an "illegal gun" they "took off the streets," how innocent was the other one? It must have been less menacing than a well-aged single-shot break-open shotgun with a barrel a couple of inches too short.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paging Sandy Berger . . . .

Seriously, where's Sandy when you need him? David Hardy says ". . . . ."

I don't blame him. I'm trying to figure out what to say about Bill Clinton's Arkansas Chief of Staff smuggling shivs and tattooing needles into death row. It's such a complete Whiskey Tango F
oxtrot moment that I briefly considered simply believing her story.

Which is that she found a Doritos bag full of needles and a knife in a prison vending machine and passed it to an inmate without realizing what was in it.

It was a very brief consideration.

Update: Mark Kirk Senate campaign not helping

As I mentioned earlier, I called Mark Kirk's Congressional office on Monday to see when his "Downstate Swing" is scheduled. I want to be at the meetings, and since he's running for Senate, he's running to be my Senator.

The Congressional office took my phone number to forward it to the campaign office, which is only right--they have to keep those things separate. But it's now Thursday and the campaign office hasn't called back, so I gave them a call directly today.

According to the campaign workers, the meetings haven't been scheduled yet. Hmm. Well, they now have my address, phone number and email, so I should be contacted this time. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that someone clumsily put out a story about a "downstate swing" with public meetings in 14 specific cities before anyone had scheduled the meetings. But I can't help but observe that people all over the country are in full, screaming outrage over being shut out of "town hall meetings" and jerked around over the Obama healthcare plan.

The fact that Kirk is campaigning against the Obama health care . . . . thing . . . . means it would be unpleasantly ironic if his campaign managed to get him caught up in that same outrage.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waiting By the Phone . . .

I called the state board of education today to see where they are on the letter I sent them. Basically, I applied for an approval to teach special education with my certificate based on the classes I've taken. They sent me a deficiency statement with a deficiency I don't have--I sent them a transcript showing that I got an "A" in the class they say I haven't taken. Yesterday, the college confirmed that the class in question satisfies the requirement. So I called today, and the lady on the phone was very nice and very helpful, but all she could tell me was that there is a record that they received my letter on the 13th of July. Someone will call me back to discuss it, but it'll probably take "at least a couple of days."
They're just like everybody else in state government--5 people do the work of 10 because all the money went t0 redecorate some professional son-in-law's corner office.

I'm also waiting with bated breath for a call from Representative Mark Kirk's campaign office with the dates and times for his "Downstate Tour" town-hall meetings. There will be two local to me, and I intend to get to both. Kirk needs to understand that the gun-banning (and boasting about it!) that played so well in his yuppie north-suburban district won't fly statewide.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chicago GRE: Gun Rights Activists Reach Out At Black Women's Expo in Chicago

Recently, no fewer than four pro-gun groups cooperated to get two informational booths at the Black Women's Expo in Chicago for the second year. We're moving out beyond the gun shows now, folks:
"Anti-gun activists consider Chicago a stronghold. It's supposed to be their base of operations, the place where they can raise money, agitate the public to demand their anti-gun agenda, and rely on ignorance to keep everyone in line while they do it. "Dr. G" noted the effect a few key pieces of information could have: "Many people (maybe 50%) were shocked to find out that the police are not responsible for their individual safety, and that Illinois and Wisconsin were the only two states in the country without concealed carry laws in place." To pro-gun activists reading this article, that might sound like two trite soundbites everyone has heard a million times, but in Chicago, that's not the case. By bringing this information to people who would never have thought of attending a gun show or an IGOLD rally, these volunteers are putting down grass roots through Chicago pavement."
Read the whole thing, and if you like it, tell somebody!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Legally Binding Oral Contract

Overheard in the living room:
"Hey, you wanna move to Virginia? There are lots of special ed jobs in Richmond."
"No, really--"
"Oh, honey, we can't move. We couldn't sell this house."
"Why did you taunt me with the south if you didn't mean it, temptress?"
"When the boys are grown, we'll move."
"I promise, when the boys are grown, we'll move."
"To the south?"
"Yes, we'll move to the south."
"And drink RC cola and eat moon pies on the porch?"
"And sell all our shoes and buy banjos?"
"Actually, I was just going to say you might need a fiddle in some states."

If you're from the south, please don't puncture my dreams. I've listened to a lot of country music and Jeff Foxworthy routines in my life, so I have a pretty good idea what the south is like.

Oh, Paul Helmke, You Rascally Scamp, you

Sigh. So, this will not shock anyone who reads this blog, but Paul Helmke told another lie about buying guns in America yesterday. The usual. From the written article:

But the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence says it's not enough.

"Doing this on the internet allows someone who is anti-social to get those sort of arms, no questions asked, no suspicions raised... Allowing online sellers to never take responsibility for their actions, something is wrong with that system," says the president of the group, Paul Helmke.

I'll give Paul the benefit of the doubt and assume he must not have known that the reporter was going to put that quote right after the one where the owner of the gun shop tells the truth about interstate gun sales:

Thompson says all three sales were legal and says buying online doesn't mean it's any easier to get a gun. He says you still have to physically go to a registered gun store to pick it up.

"There's no skipping any steps... there's no mail order guns."

What really irritates me is not the fact that Helmke lied--that's what he does for a living. What's he going to do? Say that the guy only bought a magazine from The Gun Source, and that if he'd wanted to buy a gun he'd have had to have it shipped to a local FFL, who would have then followed all local, state and federal laws the same as any other sale? What's the percentage in that for anybody Helmke cares about? No, what irks me is hearing the reporter, Julie Huck of NBC26, observe in a clear abuse of the present progressive tense, " . . .that argument not flying with those campaigning against gun violence" and then playing Helmke's quote as if it were equally true. Helmke's arguing that there's "something wrong with our system of gun distribution" because "the same shop was involved in all three of these shootings." What he's not mentioning is what "involved" means. From the report, it's clear that Sodini bought one Glock magazine from The Gun Source, and something the TV report calls a "loader on his Glock." Maybe one of those execrable Glock thumb-savers? No guns, in any case, which means that The Gun Source has as much to do with any argument over "gun distribution" as they would if Helmke were arguing against lobsters or microprocessors--two other things TGS did not sell to Sodini.

One more time, TGS, just to be clear: if Sodini had purchased a firearm from TGS, then TGS would have taken his payment and waited for his local federally-licensed firearm dealer to send a copy of his FFL (Federal Firearms License) to TGS. Then TGS would have shipped the firearm, not to Sodini, but to the FFL. From that time on, the gun would be in the local FFL's inventory the same as any other. Then, for a fee, the local FFL would sell the gun Sodini--IF he filled out the federal Form 4473 correctly and passed the NICS background check.

And since you mentioned the Northern Illinois University shooting, I'll just go ahead and mention that all state and local laws are also in effect. If the buyer lived in Illinois, then his local FFL would follow all Illinois laws as well, which include recording the buyer's Firearm Owner Identification information and making the buyer wait three days before he takes possession of handgun (one day for long guns.) I'm sure the fact that Illinois has much more restrictive gun laws than Wisconsin while at the same time having much higher levels of violent crime involving firearms has not escaped your notice, since you're a professional Authorized Journalist and all, but if you'd spent a minute or two on Google you wouldn't have to air a report containing two mutually exclusive claims about how the system works.

Shooting, shooting, shooting

I don't know what's gotten into my dad, but he's been shooting more this summer than the previous 20 years altogether. He's not competing or playing any gun games, he just screwed a long board onto a sawhorse out at his fishing pond and set it in front of a small hill. He plinks bottles and cans off that board for hours at a time from a range of roughly 10 yards, and the boys and I are usually invited. It's been awhile since I just plinked rather than practicing for USPSA or highpower, and it's a nice change of pace.

Just the other day dad brought out his old Winchester in 5mm Magnum. These things were made in the 1960's, but the caliber never caught on and it all but died out. Dad bought a few of the rifles when the ammo was impossible to find and stuck them on the wall. Now the 5mm ammunition is being made by a few companies, and he's got enough accumulated to feel comfortable shooting some of it up. It's a rimfire round, but you can tell it's hitting a little faster than .22 Magnum (dad's first love) even at such close range. Recoil is still nil . . . . it's a nifty little round. I can see why it was designed, but I can also see how .22 Magnum killed it off the first time. My guess is that without the internet, no one company would be able to make enough money on this caliber to justify producing it today, but happily, customers can find the stuff from across the country nowadays, so the relatively few people buying it can be exploited by one or two companies. Welcome to the future, where your dead old calibers are resurrected as terrifying rimfire zombies.

Today dad took his trap thrower out to the pond, and when his mowing was done, he taught Kane to shoot clay pigeons with a sweet little Stevens .410 SxS that's just about his size. He also stopped in at the local Military Surplus/Shrine to John Wayne (just look for the place with the 8-foot-long M16 on top of the sign) called "Birds and Brooks" to get more plinking ammunition. This time he came away with .32 Long for his MAS 1935 and 7x57mm for his funky little cut-down Mauser 1893 carbine.

And that's why grandpa's house is more fun than home, kids. ;)

Friday, August 7, 2009


Illinois Carry and the Examiner publishing tool are both down . . . and I have the shakes. I guess I have to go do more actual work.

Obama "Kenyan Birth Certificate" Hoax

Why, it can't be! I'm SHOCKED, I tell you!
No, wait, no I'm not. This was completely predictable and widely predicted. Sorry, I forgot for a minute there.

Fine cotton business paper: $11

Inkjet printer: $35

1940 Royal Model KMM manual typewriter: $10

2 Shilling coin: $1

Pilot Varsity fountain pen: $3

Punkin' the Birthers: Priceless
Before you get your panties in a knot, observe that those aren't my words. I'm quoting the person who used a few dollars worth of office supplies to expose Birthers as what they are: people who really, truly believe in the power of magical thinking.

Hat Tip to Little Green Footballs.

Chicago GRE: SAF and Heller attorney file new suit over D.C.'s ban on bearing arms

over D.C.'s ban on bearing arms
Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation are headed back to court, this time suing the District of Columbia to force it to issue concealed carry permits. They've got four plaintiffs who should all have standing. If you're keeping track, this is three current lawsuits by Gura and the SAF that could all end up back in the Supreme Court before we're through.

Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman has a piece on the same subject from a different angle; Dave writes from Seattle, near the home of the Second Amendment Foundation.
"Sotomayor confirmed as SAF sues District of Columbia over gun rights"

And the Gun Rights Examiners welcome a new GRE today, Grand Rapids Gun Rights Examiner Skip Coryell. Skip is an author and firearms trainer who founded the Second Amendment March and is active with MCRGO, the organization that inspired much of the current pro-gun movement in Illinois.

So there you have your daily assignments . . . . go read!

Back off, Montag!

Piss Tam off any more than she already is, and you might not live long enough to worry about the Mechanical Hound.

Personally, I have a large stash of old books of all stripes, including lots and lots of children's books. But what about the next generation? What are they supposed to read, Mama Voted for Obama! and a picture book with sissy, sparkly vampires in it?
Won't someone please think of the children?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chicago GRE:Yet another anti-NRA hit piece misses the mark

Newest Chicago Gun Rights Examiner piece is up here:
Yet another anti-NRA hit piece misses the mark
A Sun-Times columnist apparently figured she'd dash off a little hit piece decrying the NRA for standing in the way of Important Scientific Research on Gun Violence. She killed her credibility in a couple of ways, though:
  • She quoted Kristen Rand of the VPC approvingly and without questioning Rand's assertion that "information is the enemy for the gun lobby." Coming from someone who falsifies "research" and puts "IMPORTANT STUDY" labels on Google searches for a living--and makes high six figures doing it because the Joyce Foundation isn't selective enough to ask where their money is going--that's risible.
  • She quoted Todd Vandermyde of the NRA, but she completely ignored what he said and simply stated that it was an admission of guilt, as if saying it made it so. What he actually did was to explain the bias that has been practiced in so-called "public health research on gun violence" for the last 20 years. It may or may not be convincing, but pretending that it was never said is not terribly convincing on her part.
  • She conveniently didn't mention the numerous examples of troubled public health research ranging from bad methods to outright fraud that took me literally a few seconds to find and a few minutes to confirm. I didn't have room to mention all of them, either . . . . but the link is there. Reading them makes it obvious why the NRA would say that federal funding shouldn't be going to these quacks.
Go read the whole thing and tell a friend, please. I don't make much money on these columns, but I'm finding that they're important in other ways. If you think so too, then spread the word every chance you get.

Good Luck With That, Chi-Town

I doubt it'll matter much to the elderly widows turning in their husbands' rusty Iver-Johnson revolvers, but the Chicago Police Department is advertising that their gun turn-in next weekend will pass out Mastercard debit cards that can be used anywhere "except gun shops."

Three days after calling and being passed from department to department, I got a call back today . . . . it seems that they're simply "requesting" that people not use the filthy lucre in a filthy gunseller's den, because that would subvert the "intent" of the program.

Right. Have these people even met an American?

On the bright side, I think we're just about done with the polite fiction that they're purchasing weapons the state used to own (this is a "turn-in," not a "buy-back") and might even have seen the end of the old "criminals are turning in these guns" canard. I'd say they just admitted that they expect their customers to be people who take requests from police departments.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


UPDATE: Well, yesterday, after I wrote this and set it to publish on Saturday morning, Congress went to work on a $2 billion funding bill to make sure the program could continue. Good . . . . news? I guess?

Yesterday something over at Captain of a Crew of One caught my eye. It seems that The Revenuers have decided to suspend their "Cash for Clunkers" program. It was supposed to pay car dealers big money for older, less fuel-efficient cars taken in trade for newer cars. The Revenuers put up $1 billion for the program because it sounds like a lot, it's a nice round number, and the people who proposed it weren't paying the freight. What the good Captain noticed was that The Revenuers said they had paid out $9.6 million out of the billion on almost 23,000 "clunkers" and were now suspending the program because they were afraid they were out of money. How could they be out of money after spending less than $10 million out of $1 billion? Because it took forever to get the program started, and now they have a huge backlog of deals The Revenuers haven't processed yet. By my math, if roughly 1% of their money represents, conservatively, about 22,000 deals, then the remaining 99% should be around 2,178,000 deals they have backlogged right now. That's a lot of backlog.

The reason I'm posting this here instead of just in Captain's comments is that it reminded me of another story I heard on Thursday. It appears that the EPA has rather abruptly adjusted the fuel economy of a lot of old models upward (though, to be fair, they say they've adjusted many downward as well.) That move resulted in lots of people finding that their clunkers are no longer clunky enough to get some of that free federal money nobody pays for, and that's a problem. There are even reports of dealerships calling customers to give them a choice between paying the difference or returning their new cars and taking back their clunkers.

When I first heard that story (confession time: I heard it on Rush Limbaugh's show) I figured it was a weird coincidence that looked really bad from a PR point of view. Now I wonder. It seems like we're asking rather a lot of coincidence these days.