Sunday, March 31, 2013

There Are Headlines That Make You Not Want To Read Further

From March 30, 2013 Fox News: "Justin Bieber's monkey quarantined in Germany"

The good news, however, is that there will not be any lawsuits demanding a right to different species marriage.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Well, At Least They Identified His Party

I have long suspected that much of the often bizarre rhetoric about gun control that comes from many Democratic legislators was some sort of projection: we're unstable, likely to kill someone because we are unable to control our tempers, so everyone else must be that messed up.  Shall Not Be Questioned often publishes items about members of Bloomberg's gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, being arrested, convicted, removed from office, etc. for a variety of criminal charges.  Here's another Democrat in trouble.  From the March 29, 2013 Los Angeles Times, a news story about the first member of the Nevada legislature to expelled since 1867:
LAS VEGAS – Former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks was arrested near Barstow after a high-speed chase, hours after being expelled from the Legislature because he was “potentially dangerous.”

Brooks, 41, was arrested about 7 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 15 at Stoddard Wells Road, officials said. He was being held in the San Bernardino County Jail in Rancho Cucamonga on $100,000 bail, jail officials told the Los Angeles Times.
He was apparently throwing stuff out of the car at California police during the chase, including a handgun.  Here's a hint: handguns are normally more effective weapons if you keep the gun, and fire bullets from it.  As clubs, they are not even as good as rifles or shotguns.
 In January, Brooks was arrested on suspicion of threatening a fellow Democrat, Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Just days after Brooks’ alleged threats against the speaker, he was accused of grabbing for an officer's gun during an arrest in Las Vegas on suspicion of domestic battery.
Apparently Brooks has a rather interesting history, including psychiatric observation, and attempting to buy a gun in a Nevada gun store.  Attempting?  This is not normally a difficult procedure, but perhaps since he was kicked out of a casino restaurant recently, perhaps there are some behavior problems.  It does make you wonder how messed the voters of his district must be, if they elected someone a few fries short of a Happy Meal. 

Of course, that does not surprise me much.  I mentioned last year one of the Democrats trying to get the nomination for U.S. House in my district here in Idaho had an unfortunate incident involving brandishing a firearm, while asking employees of a place that was printing campaign flyers for her if they were ready to meet God.  Yes, she had a mental hospital lockup history, and even better, she only came in 7 points behind the former pro football player who was also seeking the nomination.  Of course, Jimmy Farris, while he would not have been a great Congressman, did not get arrested and involuntarily hospitalized in the middle of the campaign to high publicity.  This tells me a lot about either how carefully Democratic voters in the First Congressional District pay attention to news, or how they feel about crazy people waving guns around at innocent people.

The Only Local Gun Shop....

is Ponderosa Sports and Mercantile, just north of Horseshoe Bend.  I have not been inside since the great gun buying crisis started, and since my wife and I were headed back from a romantic weekend away in Cascade, I thought we would stop.  They have some nice jewelry in the left wing of the store, and I thought it would be interesting to see the state of things in the right wing (where the guns are).

The last time I was in Ponderosa Sports, it was either a dream or a nightmare, depending on how you view "assault weapons": almost a buyers' list (if you like them) or a banners' list (if you don't).  This time?  There was not a black rifle (except for some .50 BMG rifles) in obvious sight.  There were actually many empty slots behind the counter!  Handguns?  There were still some very concealable handguns for sale, some revolvers, and several M1911s, often at very reasonable prices.  (There was a new Rock Island Armory .45 for $425, and an M911 in .38 Super as well.) But you could be forgiven for thinking it was 1975 again, based on the sort of guns present.

NPR And How Same-Sex Marriage Opens The Door For Polygamy

From March 28, 2013:
SIEGEL: Polygamy is still practiced in Africa and the Middle East, and there are immigrants here from societies that accept it. If Washington were to defer to the states in defining marriage, could legalized polygamy make a comeback? Well, Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Welcome to the program.


SIEGEL: And let's set out first, you are representing clients who are seeking to overturn a Utah law that effectively, bans polygamy.

TURLEY: That's correct. What the Brown family is doing is, they're challenging a law that criminalizes cohabitation, which is the law that governs plural families, including polygamists. And it is that law that says that even if you don't have multiple marriage licenses, if you simply live with someone - or multiple partners, you can be criminally charged....
SIEGEL: Is there anything germane in either of the arguments, either of the day's cases and same-sex marriage that relates to your case?

TURLEY: Really, what this case reflects is where the gay and lesbian community was almost exactly 10 years ago, before the ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. That was the ruling where the Supreme Court said you could not criminalize homosexuality. The polygamists are a decade behind that. And when we talk about polygamists, you have to remember that cohabitation statutes really apply to a vast array of plural families that are often ignored.
 Two problems: if they "defer to the states" then same-sex marriage bans (such as Prop. 8) stay in effect.  But NPR doesn't have the sharpest knives in the drawer.  And remember when Senator Santorum said something similar several years back, and was castigated for the suggestion of where this would lead?

Here's an article from March 30, 2013 USA Today which is clearly making fun on the same-sex marriage argument, but he makes a valid point: why is "one-man, one-woman" bigotry, while "one-man, three women" remains unlawful?
Those arguing for "marriage equality" at the U.S. Supreme Court this week should be ashamed of themselves.

They're just as guilty of discrimination as those dastardly conservatives still bitterly clinging to their guns and their religion. Why no argument for polygamy, polyamory and other forms of diversity? Why are they only defending their exclusive definition of diversity?

How dare those seeking to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Clinton, or Proposition 8 ratified by the people of California, stop at just redefining marriage to include two consenting adults of the same gender. Why do these people believe they have the authority to draw a moralistic line against any consenting adults, and thus force their moral standard upon the rest of us?

Washington Post Printing False and Racist Stuff Again

About how mass murder is a white male thing.  No, it really isn't.  As I point out in a comment:

The authors are clearly not familiar with the history of mass murder. A few women mass murderers (or at least, they tried): Sylvia Seegrist, opened fire in a mall in 1985 in Pennsylvania. She only killed two because a passer-by didn't realize the gun was real, and took it away from her. Laurie Wasserman Dann, using guns, fire, and poison in 1988. Jennifer Sanmarco, a former postal employee who went postal at her former place of employment in Santa Barbara in 2006. 

Non-white mass murderers? Plenty of those, too. Black mass murderers include David Burke, who killed 43 people by smuggling a gun onboard an airliner to kill his former boss, then killing the pilots, causing 43 deaths in December 1987 in California. James E. Pough, who murdered 9 people in a GMAC office in Florida in 1990. The Long Island Railroad Massacre, by Colin Ferguson. There have been several Asian mass murders as well, such as the Virginia Tech shooter, and one that happened in the 1990s in Western Massachusetts. Hispanic mass murderers includ Juan Salcido (although because he mostly used knives to murder 7 people, the authors probably don't consider him important), and Hector Escudero (murdered 96 people in December 1987 by setting a fire) and Julio Gonzalez (murdered 87 people by starting a fire to kill his girlfriend at work).

Why does the Washington Post publish such ignorant articles dripping with racial hatred? Because the goal is to distract attention from the real problem with murder in the U.S.: black on black murder in the inner cities, which are about half of all U.S. murders.

More Emails That I Like To Get

I'm still having very good success with the ScopeRollers. While I still have to polar align each time out, the benefits of having my entire rig mobile is awesome. I can set up in a fraction of the time as before, and break-down is as simple as rolling everything back into the garage - 4 minutes flat and I'm in bed for the night! Autoguiding is as good as I've ever had, so I know the ScopeRoller platform is stable. Here are two images taken with the casters in place:


Friday, March 29, 2013

Random Thoughts

On a recent car trip, my wife looked at the cattle, and asked herself, "What prompted the first human to try and milk a cow?  That sounds dangerous.  I mean, a goat wouldn't so scary.  What what about the first human who tried to milk a mammoth?  First time, last time."

New PJMedia Article

Do Background Checks for Gun Purchases Actually Work?

The Kind of Emails I Love To Get

Dear Clayton E. Cramer:

Your paper, "VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER'S CONCEALED CARRY KILLERS: LESS THAN IT APPEARS", was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: LSN Subject Matter eJournals.

As of 03/29/2013, your paper has been downloaded 878 times. You may view the abstract and download statistics at:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Any Orange County, California CCW Holders Out There?

I have a friendly Orange County Register reporter that wants to talk to on background.

Suppressing Freedom of Speech

Instapundit points to a proposed change in the Tennessee Bar standards of ethical conduct that are pretty clearly intended to provide a way to disbar lawyers who don't smile stupidly when you ask them to support gay marriage.  It makes it unlawful for a lawyer to engage in "words or conduct" that manifest "bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status."  There is some weasel wording that seems to protect "Legitimate advocacy" but it is also pretty clear that opposition to gay marriage is definitely outside the realm of "legitimate advocacy" of the left.  I am sure that a lawyer who represents the interests of someone opposed to abortion would be engaged in sexual discrimination, under the reasoning that the left now holds.

I am very pleased and impressed with most of the comments in opposition.  I think everyone with half a brain can see that this is yet another attempt to shut up those who do not accept current orthodoxy on homosexuality.

There is a strong fascist streak in progressive thought, and when you combine that with the inability of the gay activists to brook any disapproval, the result is stuff like this.

Google Search Is Your Friend

Shall Not Be Questioned points to this CNN article that breathlessly reports that:
Investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the house, and a holiday card with a check "made out to Adam Lanza for the purchase of a C183 (firearm), authored by Nancy Lanza," according to a search warrant.
Never heard of a C183.  But they do exist.  And you can buy one mail order, no background check required!   It is a 14 MP point-and-shoot camera.  As CNN would have discovered if they had done even a cursory examination using Google.

UPDATE: CNN has removed the discussion of the assault camera, and of course, reflecting their high ethical standards, makes no mention of their screwup.

More Data on the Relationship Between Child Sexual Abuse & Adult Sexual Orientation

Eskin MKaynak-Demir HDemir S., "Same-sex sexual orientation, childhood sexual abuse, and suicidal behavior in university students in Turkey," Archives of Sexual Behavior 2005 Apr;34(2):185-95

Self-reported childhood sexual abuse was associated with same-sex sexual behavior.... Being sexually abused by someone of one's own sex was related to same-sex sexual orientation in male participants but not in female participants. Childhood sexual abuse was found to be an independent predictor of both suicidal ideation and attempts during the past 12 months. Only identifying oneself as homosexual or bisexual was associated with an increased risk for suicidal ideation during the past 12 months. 
Here's a paper that rather studiously avoids answering the obvious question until nearly the end: Helen A. Smith, Ph.D.,corresponding author1 Nina Markovic, Ph.D.,1 Michelle E. Danielson, Ph.D.,1 Alicia Matthews, Ph.D.,2 Ada Youk, Ph.D.,1 Evelyn O. Talbott, Dr.Ph.,1 Cynthia Larkby, Ph.D.,3 and Tonda Hughes, Ph.D.2, "Sexual Abuse, Sexual Orientation, and Obesity in Women," J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010 August; 19(8): 1525–1532

Among adult women an association between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and obesity has been observed. Research with lesbian women has consistently identified high rates of obesity as well as frequent reports of CSA, but associations between sexual abuse and obesity have not been fully explored.
The obvious question: does CSA have some connection to sexual orientation?  
Compared with heterosexuals, significantly more lesbians were in a committed relationship (74.1% vs. 66.8%, p = 0.012), and had a previous mental health diagnosis (51.7% vs. 38.6%, p = 0.0001). Also lesbians had completed significantly more years of education than heterosexuals (p = 0.022). Although heterosexuals had a higher rate of being overweight (32.4% vs. 26.7%), lesbians had a significantly higher rate of obesity (40.2% and 30.4%, p = 0.003). Lesbians also reported higher rates of SA compared with heterosexual women: lifetime SA (58.8% vs. 39.7%, p < 0.0001), intrafamilial CSA (29.6% vs. 16.2%, p < 0.0001), extrafamilial CSA (30.7% vs. 14.3%, p < 0.0001), and ASA (40.1% and 27.3%, p = 0.0001).
Almost twice the rate of intrafamilial CSA, and more than twice the rate of extrafamilial CSA.  Yet another reason that child sexual abuse needs to be treated as the very serious matter that it is.

An interesting review of existing studies of CSA of boys published by JAMA includes this assertion:
Studies of children and young adolescents reported that more than 90% of perpetrators were male.[38,46,82,121,143,151,154] Studies of older adolescents and young adults reported lower rates of male perpetrator abuse (22% to 73%), and rates of female perpetrator abuse from 27% to 78%.[53,84,106,140,159] Studies of adult samples reported intermediate male perpetrator rates of 63% to 90%.[24,72- 73,77,113- 114,132] These findings may suggest that males revise their perceptions as they age such that abusive sexual experiences with females become defined, retrospectively, as normative rather than abusive.
And yet the same would appear to be true of abusive sexual experiences with males -- which may explain why I have sometimes had conversations with gay men who were absolutely insistent that their first sexual experiences with much older men were not abusive -- but they were the aggressors.  (One said that he was 13 when he insisted that he seduced a man in his 30s who was the pool maintenance guy.)

One of the interesting aspects of the story that no one wants to examine is that there is a very strong association between CSA and later problems that are also commonly associated with growing up in a "homophobic" society, including suicide attempts and substance abuse.  Even though some of the CSA victims reported experiencing pleasure from it:

Studies of actual clinical outcomes (rather than perceptions), however, indicated that sexually abused males were at increased risk for negative clinical sequelae. These sequelae included increased rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, paranoia, dissociation, somatization, bulimia, anger, aggressive behavior, poor self-image, poor school performance, running away from home, and legal trouble....  The rates among sexually abused compared with nonabused males were 4-fold for major depression (P<.001); 3-fold for bulimia (P<.05); and at least 2-fold for antisocial personality disorder (P = .002), behavior problems (P = .03), low self-image (P = .04), runaway behavior (P<.001), and legal problems (P = .001)....  Rates of posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression among victims were 25% to 30% and 65%, respectively....   Paris et al116 noted that sexual abuse was a significant, independent risk factor for the development of borderline personality disorder.
The rate of attempted suicide was 1.5 to 14 times higher among sexually abused compared with nonabused males....
Substance abuse problems are again something that is common to both CSA victims and homosexuals:
A strong association between sexual abuse and subsequent substance use also was reported. Harrison et al63 found that sexually abused boys compared with nonabused boys in an inpatient chemical addiction center were more likely to report use of alcohol before age 10 years, marijuana use before age 12 years, and current drug use. Nagy et al110 noted that sexually abused compared with nonabused high school boys were 2 times more likely to use alcohol currently and 5 times more likely to use drugs currently (P<.05).
Similarly, this paragraph should make people ask questions about overlap:
Sexually abused males compared with nonabused males were up to 5 times more likely to report sexually related problems (including sexual dysfunction).63,71,73,83- 84,132,147 Abused males indicated greater difficulty controlling sexual feelings, were hypersexual, and were more likely to perpetrate coercive sexual acts against others.10,22,49,55,68,75,81,91,100,129,140,143,153 Those abused at an early age and the chronically abused were more likely to exhibit these behavior problems.100 Lodico et al95 reported that sexually abused males compared with nonabused males were 4.4 times more likely (95% confidence interval, 2.6-7.4) to have forced someone into sexual contact, and other studies reported that these forced acts typically were with boys.159,167 Becker et al9 measured the erectile responses of abused and nonabused men while they listened to descriptions of coercive and noncoercive sexual activities with children of both sexes. Abused men responded more to descriptions involving boys, while there was no difference in the responses to descriptions involving girls.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Those People Losing Their Health Insurance?

The gun blogger known as SayUncle is among this set:
The Mrs. has a part time job at a local health care concern and, basically, she goes there to work, get away from kids, and for the benefits. She was told today that, effective 1/1, she could no longer purchase insurance on their plan. Now, it’s a good plan but it’s not cheap. Us and the two rug rats runs just north of $1,000 a month. But even that rate won’t be affordable under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The College of Western Idaho has just announced that it is cutting all adjuncts back to three classes a semester, so that they aren't required to provide health insurance, or pay the fine, starting January 1, 2013.  Fortunately, I have a full-time government job.  The tales I hear from relatives who have recently taken private sector jobs tell me that the days when employers had good health insurance are fast disappearing.

My doctor tells me that the medical group of which he is part owner is seriously considering dropping health insurance for their employees.  It is far more profitable to dump them on the health insurance exchange, pay the penalty, and hand out the money as bonuses to the physicians who own the group (and who make enough money that they don't qualify for the state health insurance exchange) to pay for individual health insurance plans.

I wonder how the lamestream media are going to blame this on George Bush?  And how will all the low information voters going to rationalize that free birth control is more important than having a job or having health insurance?  I am sure that they will.  Perhaps the gay marriage mandate will be the shiny pretties that will hold their attention.

LED Bulbs

I ordered nine LED flood lamps equivalent to 65W incandescent bulbs a week or so ago from Amazon (actually, Clearance Outlet, an Amazon merchant).  These are made by Feit Electric (never heard of them).  The reviews were quite positive, and they were very reasonably priced -- $160 including shipping.  (If that does not seem reasonable -- you have not priced LED bulbs yet.)

There were three reasons for LED lights:

1. Reduce energy consumption, both to save money, and to simplify perhaps going self-sufficient in the future.  These consume 13W of energy.  I figure that we are going to save about $22 a year by having these instead of incandescent bulbs, which will require about eight years to pay for themselves.  (What to do with the old bulbs that are still good?  We'll find a place at some point for them -- a museum?)

2. These flood lamps were to replace lights in our kitchen, which has a very high ceiling.  To give you some idea of how high, we had to roll the warehouse ladder we use for Big Bertha into the house -- a very involved process.  These are the original bulbs from when the house was built in 2005, and while we have replaced one or two of them in the last several years, the rest were beginning to fail.  If I have to bring in the rolling warehouse ladder to replace them, I don't want to do it again for a long time.  LED bulbs are supposed to be good for 25,000 hours of use.  In a kitchen that gets perhaps two hours of use a day (more in winter, less in summer), that's more than 30 years.

3. They consume less energy than the equivalent CFL bulbs, and while not instant on, like an incandescent bulb, the LED bulbs are on, and full output, in less than a second.  You can see it takes a moment for the bulb to light up, but it is really not an issue -- unlike CFLs, which can a couple of minutes to reach full intensity.

I am pleased to report that these LED flood lamps are very noticeably brighter and whiter than the 60W incandescent and equivalent CFL bulbs.  My wife kids that we can do surgery on the island in the kitchen now.  I suppose that we could have bought 11W (60W equivalent) bulbs instead, and saved a small amount of money at purchase and use, but too bright of a kitchen is seldom a problem--even if a bulb or two fails some years from now, it won't be a problem.

Conduct, Not Status

“Mr. Olson, the bottom line that you're being asked -- and -- and it is one that I'm interested in the answer: If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what state restrictions could ever exist?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked.
“Meaning, what state restrictions with respect to the number of people, with respect to – that could get married -- the incest laws, the mother and child, assuming that they are the age -- I can -- I can accept that the state has probably an overbearing interest on -- on protecting a child until they're of age to marry, but what's left?” she asked.
“Well, you've said -- you've said in the cases decided by this court that the polygamy issue, multiple marriages raises questions about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody, it is an entirely different thing,” Olson said. “And if you -- if a state prohibits polygamy, it's prohibiting conduct.
“If it prohibits gay and lesbian citizens from getting married, it is prohibiting their exercise of a right based upon their status,” Olson said.
 Right.  Homosexuality is a status, not a conduct; polygamy, incest, are conduct, not status.  What's the difference?  The claim that homosexuality is immutable -- unlike other sexual preferences.  At the ACLU has admitted that polygamy is their next goal after gay marriage.

UPDATE: Saw the picture somewhere, but it seems to have disappeared (perhaps too honest for American media to cover), but the Japan Times reports on it:
Thousands more who supported gay marriage held signs that read “Marriage is a constitutional right.” One man in devil horns danced in pink heels and a rainbow tutu, holding a sign that said “I bet hell is fabulous."
 No, I don't think it will be.

Here's the picture:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Moving Up In The World

I have been invited to participate in a symposium at the University of Connecticut School of Law in the fall concerning the Second Amendment.  Naturally, I will be presenting a paper about the evolving problem of involuntary commitment, murder, and how this has affected the perception of the right to keep and bear arms.  The date has not been set yet, but likely October or November.


I have been trying to get asphalt contractors out to convert the chip seal surface that sits between the asphalt driveway and the telescope garage into asphalt.  Unfortunately, some of them are indicating that it just isn't worth their while to drive the ten miles or so that we are beyond Eagle doing 1000 to 1500 square feet of asphalt.  Weird.

It is possible to make your own asphalt, but remember that in Britain, DIY stands not for Do-It-Yourself, but also Disaster Is Yours.

One other possibility is to replace the 4" diameter hard plastic wheels under Big Bertha with these 8" diameter, 3.5" wide pneumatic casters.  (Actually, these with the swivel and brake would be better, although about $25 each.)  It would be a bit of work, but I was meaning to disassemble Big Bertha to weigh components are part of the rebuild, anyway, and these casters would only be about $90 with shipping.  It still would not be as elegant as having an asphalt layer poured, but if I can't find someone willing to do it at a reasonable price, that may end up being the solution.

Stuck In The Past

I received a fundraising solicitation from Mike Shields at the Republican National Committee that really show how hopelessly behind the times these people are:

Dear Clayton,  We are currently gearing up for the largest voter outreach program the Republican party has ever seen, and we need your help.  This summer we will begin this process of putting hundreds of boots on the ground in communities across this nation. No one individual, demographic, or state will be overlooked, or taken for granted.  This expansive program is going to change the way we do business, reshaping and rebuilding our party from the ground up.  These plans are going to cost money, but we truly believe that this is going to change the face of our party, and in time our nation.  
That is why we need your help TODAY! 
The work we do this year is critical for laying the foundation for many years and elections to come. We can't afford to wait. 
Contribute $10, $25, or $50 or whatever you can afford today and help us spread our party's message of prosperity to every single American. 
Mike Shields  RNC Chief of Staff 
My response:

You still haven't figured it out, have you? Much of the electorate pays no election to politics until the last few weeks before the election.  We are wasting our money on elections until we start to work on the real campaign: entertainment that subtly influences and educates the low information voters. The Democrats are great at this, both because it works, and because it actually MAKES money. As long as the GOP is stuck with the old model -- responsible citizens that do their civic duty -- we are doomed to lose national elections.
Clayton E. Cramer

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Knives Article

This is the first paper published in...probably forever...about knives as constitutionally protected arms.   It will be published in University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform.  Co-authors are David Kopel and Joseph Olson.

When Engineers Have Dogs

I found this over at Kids Prefer Cheese:

For Your Californians Wondering Why Your Taxes Keep Going Up...

The March 25, 2013 San Francisco Chronicle reports on the chief administrator of Alameda County's upcoming retirement:
Muranishi has been with the county for 38 years, and she’s 63. When retirement day comes, she’ll be getting a lot more than a gold watch.

That’s because, according to the county auditor’s office, Muranishi’s annual pension will be equal to the dollar total of her entire yearly package — $413,000. She also has a separate executive private pension plan, for which the county chips in $46,500 a year.
There's no suggestion that Muranishi has does anything improper to get this, and one of the comments from a member of the Alameda County Grand Jury has high praise for her competence in running county affairs.  But it does seem like a pretty impressive pension, don't you think?  It's not like she is doing one of those unimportant jobs, like President of the United States, which only pays $400,000 a year.

The Continuing Righthaven Exercise in Bad Lawyering

It appears that Randazza Group, which represented a number of Righthaven's victims (including some who could afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting these crooks, rather than settle out of court), has achieved a rather remarkable victory of sorts.  But rather than quote the article at Techdirt, let's just use this hysterical comment summarizing what happened:
So, to make sure I'm getting this right....

1) Stephens Media decides to get them some of that awesome copyright trolling money.
2) Stephens Media spawns Righthaven.
3) Stephens Media takes their box o' copyright, dumps out all the contents, then sells Righthaven the empty cardboard box.
4) Righthaven brandishes the empty cardboard box in a threatening fashion demanding money.
5) Court says that's fscking retarded, demands Righthaven pay back legal fees.
6) Righthaven puts the empty box over their head and pretends they can't hear.
7) Court takes Righthaven away and starts auctioning it off. Realizes it has no assets except an empty cardboard box.
8) Randazza takes the empty cardboard box and sells it back to Stephens Media for $80k.
I am sure former Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson still thinks he's the smartest guy in the room.

Why Static Analyses of Social Problems Don't Work

From the generally liberal Atlantic Monthly, on why Amsterdam is beginning to tighten regulation of prostitution:
Holland legalized prostitution in 2000 as a way of stopping exploitation, but evidence suggests that more women than ever are being forced into brothels against their will. A study from the London School of Economics published this winter found that in countries where selling sex was decriminalized, human trafficking has increased. While the number of women entering prostitution voluntarily grows under legalization, demand grows yet further, creating a shortfall filled by women trafficked and run by pimps.
Yup.  No surprise.  Make something legal, and the price drops.  Price drops create increased demand for the service or good.  Increased demand leads to more supply by profit-maximizing entrepreneurs (in this case, by trafficking of women and often, girls).  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Very Clever Gadget

My friend Brian at Cool Stuff We Like has a piece about a new gadget that uses the leftover heat from campstove cooking to recharge cell phones and other USB connected devices. 
The Power Pot consists of an aluminum pot with a Seebeck Effect module built into it, and a voltage regulator module that functions as the battery charger. The voltage regulator is connected to the output of the Seebeck module with a high-temperature cable. The voltage regulator's output is a standard USB power connection at 5Volts supplying up to 1Amp; i.e., 5Watts. Fill the pot with water, heat it over a campfire or campstove, plug your mobile device into the charger with a USB cable, and it'll be good to go in awhile.
Interestingly enough, this product was funded through Kickstarter.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Bargain Not Made in China

My wife's TrailBlazer turned on the Check Engine Light a few days ago.  Usually, this means either a dirty air filter (and do we have problems with that where we are) or a loose gas cap.  I replaced the air filter (it needed it), but the light stayed on.  I was not looking forward to taking it to the dealer, but then I saw that the price for the basic OBD-II readers that plug into the electronics on the car have dropped a good bit.  I picked up an Actron OBD-II reader from AutoZone for $59.95.  With it, I could see that there was only one code, P1400, which often indicates dirty air filter or input restrictions, cleared the code -- and the light has not come back.  This is such a useful product for effectively all 1996 and later cars, because there is so much information available through that interface under the dash!

You can buy the same unit from Amazon for $49.95.  Shockingly enough, Made in Mexico, not China.

Sony CEO Wants Hollywood to Eliminate Gay Slurs and Stereotypes

From Deadline Hollywood:
Last night at a sold-out LA Gay & Lesbian Center gala that raised $1 million for homeless gay and lesbian youth, honoree Amy Pascal asked the industry to scrutinize its depiction of LGBT characters in film and television: “How about next time, when any of us are reading a script and it says words like fag, or faggot – homo – dyke – take a pencil and just cross it out”.
Wow!  A speech from 1970!  How did this get delivered?  I can't recall how many decades it has been since I saw a slur against homosexuals in film.  Was it Cruising (1980)?  And as for stereotypes: was it that long along that La Cage Aux Folles (1978) was regarded as a fabulously positive image?

From her speech:
The images that impacted me as a teenager had lasting influences on my entire life and I bet that is true for most of us. What we see in the media today affects everybody, whether it’s film, TV, radio, magazines or the internet. What the media says about your sexual orientation, and the color of your skin, and the shape of your eyes, and your ethnicity… what you look like, what you weigh, what you wear, how poor you are, how awkward you are, how educated you are, and how different you are… this stuff really sinks in. What we see teaches us about how to feel about ourselves and how to feel about each other.
Let's see: violence in movies doesn't contribute even a little to the violence in our society...but negative stereotypes in films about homosexuals are a big problem!  How does that work?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Upcoming Interviews

3/25: 5:05 PM, WPTF 850 AM, Raleigh, NC

3/20: 10:10 AM MT, KXLO 95.9 FM and KLCM 1230 AM, Lewiston, MT

3/20: 7:45 AM CT, KMAR 95.9 FM, Winnsboro, LA

3/14: 9:00 PM ET, WOND 1400 AM, Atlantic City, NJ

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hierostratic Behavior Meets Video Gaming

From the March 17, 2013 New York Daily News:

It has been reported previously that law enforcement found research about previous mass murderers at the Newtown, Conn., home the shooter, video gamer Adam Lanza, shared with his mother, the first victim of Dec. 14.

It was more than that, and worse than that.

What investigators found was a chilling spreadsheet 7 feet long and 4 feet wide that required a special printer, a document that contained Lanza’s obsessive, extensive research — in nine-point font — about mass murders of the past, and even attempted murders.
It appears that Lanza was intent on making it to the top of the list -- you know, like getting the top score on a video game in an arcade, so that you have bragging rights.

I am not saying that video games made him do it.  But it sure says something tragic about his disconnect from the rest of the world.

Microsoft Excel Used To Be Easy To Make Charts In

Not any more.  I don't understand why they killed the chart wizard.

I can't believe it.  I have three columns of data: year, murder rate, avg, and year, and two columns of numbers.  I can't seem to beat Excel into producing a graph plotting the two columns of numbers vs. the year.

Finally figured it out.  What a pain.

Indicators That You Really Do Not Want To Open An Email

The subject line says that your direct deposit was disallowed -- but the reply-to address on the email is a mixture of Cyrillic and Latin alphabets:

Democrats Aren't As Stupid As Gun Control Advocates Had Hoped

From March 19, 2013 The Hill:

The gun control bill headed for the Senate floor bears little resemblance to the far-reaching proposal President Obama unveiled after the deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided the federal assault weapons ban will not be a part of the base bill, and warned Tuesday an expansion of background checks to cover private sales might not make the cut either.
Read more: 
Elephants never forget, but neither do donkeys.  They remember losing control of Congress in 1994 over this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Statistics Question

I think I know enough about statistics to be trusted with this, but I suspect some of you who do this day in and day out can check my method.

A particular state's murder rate per 100,000 for 1999 through 2010:

1999 6.6
2000 6.2
2001 6.6
2002 5.8
2003 5.1
2004 6.1
2005 6.9
2006 6.3
2007 6.2
2008 7.7
2009 6.5
2010 7.0

There was a change in state law for which the first full year was 2008.  The average for 1999-2007 was 6.2; for 2008-2010: 7.1 (rounded).  Std. dev. is 0.494 and 0.492, respectively.  Using Student's T (appropriate because n is so small for both year ranges), for a 95% confidence interval, .380 and 1.222 respectively.  This indicates that the 13.9% increase in murder rates for the years 2008-2010 is not statistically significant; the uncertainty range for 1999-2007 is 5.82 to 6.58; for 2008-2010, 5.84 to 12.91.  In short, it is impossible to determine at the 95% confidence level if the change in law caused the changed the increase in murder rate.  You have to get down to the 80% confidence level before you get statistical significance -- which isn't terribly impressive.

Interestingly: enough the firearms homicide rate, which may or may not include justifiable homicides, rose 25% -- far more than the murder rate.

Do I have this right?

UPDATE: I ran it by a nationally known economist who confirms that the methodology is right.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords Showing Her Disapproval of AR-15s

Apparently, trying to improve her pro-gun image several years ago:

Java Question

The project that I am currently working on has an interesting issue.  We just started using a tool called YourKit Java Profiler, and it shows that we have 26 MB of duplicate copies of the empty string "".  My first reaction was shock: I thought all compilers were smart enough to recognize that immutable strings (such as string constants) that are identical should reference a single version of that string.  But if YourKit Java Profiler is to be believed, that is NOT happening.  I asked the question here, and the answers that I received indicated that Java does create only a single version of a string constant -- but that the problem might be:

String str = i + ""

which is a very common Java construct for converting an integer to a string, is turning into something like:

String str = new StringBuilder("").append(i).toString();  

The implication is that the new StringBuilder("") is producing a distinct object each time, because that is a mutable string.  The solution is to use the somewhat less easy 


to produce the string version of i instead.  Does this seem like a plausible explanation of how we end up with 26 MB of "" copies?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blast From a Further Past

After California repealed the statewide ban on concealed carry, counties and cities were still free to ban concealed carry, and some did.  Here's an 1879 San Francisco City and County permit.

Blast From The Past

I have been going through stacks of old files from my writing and gun businesses, shredding many hundreds of pages of documents that sometimes include sensitive information.  Some of it is bittersweet memories of a time when as much as the U.S. was headed down the wrong path concerning gun policy, at least the country had not completely lost its mind yet on everything else, and I was just starting to get stuff published in scholarly journals, and trying to get my second book published. There's no point in holding on to all this paperwork -- no one is going to be writing any biography of me.  Perhaps, just perhaps, I might merit an entry in an encyclopedia of early 21st century thought criminals, but I rather suspect that the direction followers of Obamessiah are taking our civilization, there will be more energy being spent on figuring out how to blame George Bush for massive starvation and Beyond Thunderdome activities.

Some of it is just painful -- stack after stack of new laws from the California Department of Justice, most of which were pure and simple just harassment of lawful gun owners, because Democrats in the legislature were not interested in pursuing criminals with guns.

And some of it memories of how cheap everything used to be!  This cashier's check copy made out to Barrett Manufacturing was for two Model 82A1s.

And here are a couple of invoices from 1993 for ammunition.  And yes, the pistol ammunition was 50 rounds to the box.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Illinois Residents: Time To Melt The Phones Of Your State Legislators

Shall Not Be Questioned pointed out yesterday that a magazine limit bill was defeated on the lower house floor 57-59 -- close enough that we can reasonably expect the gun controllers to try again.

If This Is Real...We Have A Crazy Man in the White House

The March 14, 2013 Daily Caller quotes Senator Snowe (R-ME) about a lunch that the Senate Republicans invited President Obama to -- and why he did not eat any of it:
“Unfortunately, you know, the president can’t,” said Collins when asked if Obama ate at the lunch meeting.
“He looked longingly at it,” Collins continued. “He honestly did look longingly at it, but apparently he has to have essentially a taster, and I pointed out to him that we were all tasters for him, that if the food had been poisoned all of us would have keeled over so, but he did look longingly at it and he remarked that we have far better food than the Democrats do, and I said that was because I was hosting.”
Read more:
What?  This is something a medieval king or a Third World dictator would do, not only paranoid, but think about this in the modern age:

1. Why would you put someone's life at risk if you feared poison in the food?  There aren't devices that can test food for toxins available?

2. Is Obama this paranoid that he thinks Senate Republicans would poison themselves just to kill him?  And Democrats said that Nixon was paranoid.

3. There are plenty of slow-acting poisons that would not affect a food taster soon enough to be useful, but would certainly kill hours to days later.

UPDATE: The March 15, 2013 Daily Mail (not one of Britain's more impressive newspapers) reports that:

In November 2010, before the President landed for a state visit to India, the local media reported that a team of doctors from the JJ Hospital in Mumbai were called to serve as food tasters for the visit. 
'While the president will travel with his own food tasters, the protocol requires that we should also provide some from our end,' Dean TP Lahane, Dean of JJ hospital, told the Mumbai Mirror. 
One of the unnamed designated tasters said they would be tasting the food but would also be storing samples in the case of an investigation. 
When Mr Obama traveled to the City of Lights in 2009, a French waiter told the AFP that when la famille Obama turned up at La Fontaine de Mars restaurant, there was a member of the security team who tasted all the dishes.

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
UPDATE 2: I am seeing indications that this is not new to Obama.  It still seems like a pretty bizarre practice, however, just because there are so many slow-acting poisons that could be used.  As an example, some years back, a member of Mensa somewhere down South killed a neighbor that he didn't like with thallium.  The method by which he was caught is proof that arrogance often beats intelligenceThallium often takes 15-20 days for it kill.  I would think that this would be the case for many heavy metal poisons -- slow-acting, so a taster won't notice it, and relatively easy to test for in a food sample.

Senator Cruz vs. Senator Feinstein

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Really Weird Dream Last Night

My dream last night was, even for me, rather weird and wildly entertaining.  In the dream, my wife needed to get her pet mammoth to campus for her Western Culture & Ideas class.  (I mean, you have to admit, if you wanted to discuss Stone Age man, what better prop than your own pet mammoth?)  Anyway, she got away late, and rather than ride it along the highway, she was charging across the fields of Nampa, leaping over fences and small outbuildings, while it trumpeted loudly.  I was watching from above, suspended from a balloon which was tethered to the back of the mammoth, being dragged along as the beast charged full speed across the grasslands.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sinus Infection

I have been fatigued and a bit depressed for the last couple of weeks, making it difficult to get to some of the projects that I wanted to do.  Yes, it is my semiannual sinus infection.

The good news is my blood pressure is 127/77, and I have lost a few pounds since my last visit to the doctor.

The Corvette is also out of winter storage -- driving home yesterday with The Carpenters blasting and the top off the car almost made my day job tolerable.

At Least He Didn't Use An Assault Weapon

He used VP Biden's preferred weapon: a shotgun.  The March 13, 2013 USA Today does not identify the suspect as mentally ill, but the description from those who knew him does sound a couple fries short of a Happy Meal:
A bartender who served Myers for a decade described him as a loner who was pleasant to staff but "very jittery and nervous."

"He just wasn't a people person, and he would never talk to anyone else," Michele Mlinar, told the Observer-Dispatch.

A neighbor on the close-knit block of South Washington Street also said Myers kept to himself and rarely exchanged pleasantries.

"Everybody says hi and waves and has small talk all the time," said Fred Randall, 42, a retired Air Force technical sergeant whose home is next to Myers' building. "But he would walk by. People would say hi, and he would never return the gesture."

Sounds LIke A Punchline To A Joke

Black.  Republican.  Female.  Lt. Governor.  She resigned because of questions about her involvement with an organized crime gambling operation:

During her two years in office, a former staffer was charged with violating state law, accused of giving a recording of a conversation with Carroll's chief of staff to a newspaper reporter. That former staffer then said she had once walked in on Carroll and a female aide engaged in a sexual act. Carroll has denied this. She gained national notoriety when she said in response to the aide's claim that black lesbians don't look like her, implying they aren't attractive.

Some News Stories Just Require No Comment

This March 11, 2013 Time article:

A Lack of Swordsmen May Lead Saudis to Abolish Beheadings

Is this what progress looks like in Saudi Arabia? The kingdom is considering ending execution by beheading in favor of firing squads, reports the Egyptian English-language news website Ahram Online. A committee consisting of representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Health says there are shortages in government swordsmen and argue that a change to execution by firing squad would not violate Islamic law, the Saudi daily newspaper al-Youm writes. According to an official statement from the committee, “This solution seems practical, especially in light of shortages in official swordsmen or their belated arrival to execution yards in some incidents.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Some News Stories Are Too Much Fun

From the March 12, 2013 CBS Seattle:
Three elite Ukrainian commandos have gone AWOL.
The dolphins are highly trained, intelligent, and can strike anywhere.
Ukrainian media reported earlier this month that three military trained dolphins didn’t return to their base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. The dolphins were reported to be out during a training exercise.
These particular dolphins are trained in the use of special knives and firearms to kill enemy divers. They are also adept in the use of explosives to sink enemy ships.
They are Iraq War veterans, and are apparently out looking for mates.  No word if they are armed.  The comments, however, are a riot:
Run, Flipper, RUN!
Underwater arms dealers should be on the lookout for these 3

and the line from Jaws:
We're gonna need a bigger boat. 

John Adams Describing What Is Going On Today

From John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, ed. The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States (1851):
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.
When Solon's balance was destroyed by Aristides, and the preponderance given to the multitude, for which he was rewarded with the title of Just, when he ought to have been punished with the ostracism, the Athenians grew more and more democratic. I need not enumerate to you the foolish wars into which the people forced their wisest men and ablest generals against their own judgments, by which the state was finally ruined, and Philip and Alexander became their masters.

Obamacare Draft Health Insurance Application Form: 15 Pages Long

Here's a March 12, 2013 AP news story about a draft of the health insurance application form for those seeking Obamacare subsidized help:

Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes.
The government's draft application is now on the Internet.
It runs 15 pages for a three-person family. The online version has 21 steps, some with added questions.
At least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application.
Keep in mind that most of the people who did not have health insurance, and for whom Obamacare was supposed to be a help, were not highly paid professionals.  I would presume that many were high school graduates (if that) doing blue collar jobs.  How many are going to be overwhelmed by this monstrosity?  What are the chances that the government will start funding "health insurance assistance corporations" that will hire college graduates to help ordinary people figure out how to fill out the applications?

I am reminded of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman's astute observation that when you asked college educated, middle class people to design a welfare system, they come up with something that puts college educated, middle class people to work administering it.

Nothing has changed.

The Rapidly Expanding Supply of STL Files That Should Make Gun Control Advocates...

into advocates of a totalitarian society, with Internet censorship, licensing of machine tools, etc.

At GrabCad  (registration required), there are STL files available for the AR-10 lower receiver, the MAC-10 receiver, and various other interesting objects.  You can display them in a 3D viewer, and at first glance, they look right.  There are a lot of CAM programs out there that will load these STL files and machine these parts on a CNC mill.  By comparison, the rest of the parts required to complete these weapons are easy to machine on a vertical mill, with the single exception of the barrel (and those are readily available to purchase online, no serial numbers).

As CNC mill technology gets cheaper, and as 3D printers start to work with better plastics, gun control will go from a delusion to obvious fantasy.

UPDATE: For those going old school: blueprints for making a MAC-10 receiver.  Obviously, the parts will need welding to put them together.

New PJMedia Article

Ban It Harder: Obama’s ‘Armor-Piercing Bullets’ Suggestion

Machine Tool Lust

This Bridgeport CNC vertical mill is currently at $1025 on eBay -- and it appears to be in astonishingly good shape.  Unfortunately, I don't have the space in the garage for it; it would take three phrase power to run it; I shudder to think what shipping something this heavy would cost.  But what a bargain!  I suspect that this cost $15,000 new.

UPDATE: Shipping charges would be $1575.  That turns it from a steal deal into a bit too expensive to justify.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Excellent: Bloomberg's High-Capacity Soda Magazine Ban Struck Down

From the March 11, 2013 Wall Street Journal:

A state judge on Monday stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration frombanning the sale of large sugary drinks at New York City restaurants and other venues, a major defeat for a mayor who has made public-health initiatives a cornerstone of his tenure.
The city is "enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations," New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling decided Monday.
The regulations are "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences," the judge wrote. "The simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole….the loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the state purpose of the rule."
I can see some other high-capacity magazine bans Bloomberg wants perhaps subject to this problem.

"You can have my 32 ounce Coca-Cola when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."