Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Kipling: Macdonough's Song

I spent so much time dealing with unimportant technical stuff (such as software upgrades and blog errors) that I almost forgot Kipling Night!

Thankfully, I have on tap a timely poem, because I'm hoping to get to bed before midnight tonite. The data entry is easy, because I found this already transcribed on an Australian website called Whitewolf.newcastle.edu.au (click on the article title above to go directly to the original).

I found this poem in the forepage of a Tom Clancy novel: The Teeth of the Tiger. The book is about terrorism, the poem is about terrorism, and unfortunately our current era is all too much about terrorism. This poem was written sometime between 1899 and his death in 1936. Kipling is writing about 'coersive collectivism', but here he demonstrates Cassandra's gift, fortelling issues which we now face in our daily lives and fears.

Interestingly, this can be interpreted in more than one way. Who are the Holy People? Are they the Radical Islaamists, or are they the Evangelistic Christians in America? Your answer to this question fairly defines who YOU are.

Macdonough’s Song

WHETHER the State can loose and bind
In Heaven as well as on Earth:
If it be wiser to kill mankind
Before or after the birth—
These are matters of high concern
Where State-kept schoolmen are;
But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
Endeth in Holy War.

Whether The People be led by The Lord,
Or lured by the loudest throat:
If it be quicker to die by the sword
Or cheaper to die by vote—
These are things we have dealt with once,
(And they will not rise from their grave)
For Holy People, however it runs,
Endeth in wholly Slave.

Whatsoever, for any cause,
Seeketh to take or give,
Power above or beyond the Laws,
Suffer it not to live!
Holy State or Holy King—
Or Holy People’s Will—
Have no truck with the senseless thing.
Order the guns and kill!

Once there was The People—Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth.
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, O ye slain!
Once there was The People—it shall never be again!

The Smallest Minority

Sunday, as I was reading my email, I noticed that Kevin Baker had commented on my article about internet browsers (This Blog Condemned)

Later, while surfing through my links, I hit on kevin's website and saw that he had included a link to Cogito Ergo Geek.

I can do no less than to elevate his link to "Links To Me" from "Visit Frequently".
It's a courtesy thing, of course: you link to me, I link to you.

But I'm happy to provide him the highest accolade possible in Blogdom, because of the inherent quality of his contributions.

Go look at Kevin's blog; The Smallest Minority. Everything he writes about is meticulously researched, and supportive links abound.

This is truly a "Geek-Length" blog. I hope you visit him often and enjoy his contributions to general knowledge as much as do I.

Monday, June 06, 2005

AGS - One Hand Clapping

On April 14, 2005, Americans for Gun Safety applauded the efforts of the notorious anti-RKBA Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to undermine the constitutional rights of gun owners. Of course, they don't express their agenda in such clear terms:

AGS - Press Release Detail:

Illinois Governor Announces Groundbreaking Gun Trafficking Program

Americans for Gun Safety Praises Governor Blagojevich’s Efforts to Stem the Tide of Crime Guns

WASHINGTON – Today, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced the formation of a groundbreaking effort designed to stop the flow of illegal weapons into the hands of criminals in his state, of Illinois. This program addresses the central, yet ignored, aspect of the gun debate, the methods by which criminals arm themselves.

“Americans for Gun Safety has worked very closely with Governor Blagojevich on this program, and we are very pleased to see him take these crucial steps,” said John Lacey, Communications Director for Americans for Gun Safety, a centrist gun policy group. “The Governor has studied Illinois’ gun problem and formulated a response which we are confident will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. We urge all communities affected by gun violence to follow the Governor’s lead.”

This program is designed to go after the sources of guns used in Illinois crime before criminals have a chance to use them. The majority of crime guns in Illinois come from states with weaker gun laws. More crime guns flow into Illinois from Indiana and Mississippi than from any other state. According to recent data, 777 crime guns from Indiana and 532 crime guns from Mississippi were located in Illinois. Crime guns from these two states alone nearly equal the total number of crime guns from the next 10 states combined.

Nationwide, close to 90 percent of guns used in crimes are trafficked.

That sounds fairly 'centrist' (previous quote's emphasis is mine) , doesn't it? All they want to do is to get prevent guns, which are 'trafficked' from 'states with weaker gun laws', from falling into the hands of criminals. To do that, Blagovijevich has announced a 'program' ... but I don't see a reference to a law. I'll have to look that up ... more later. (Without legislation, this is nothing but smoke and mirrors.)

So far, this is a disengenuous attempt to restrict 'trafficked' guns from being imported into the state.
(Note that there are already federal laws which prohibit the purchase of guns out-of-state. )

Then, on May 18, AGS addressed the question of 'criminals with guns' in the state of Pennsylvania:

AGS: PA Gun Commission Moves Beyond Divisive Gun Politics to Address Problem

Report Includes Key Recommends Made by Americans for Gun Safety

WASHINGTON – Americans for Gun Safety applauds the Pennsylvania Commission on Gun Violence’s report outlining a comprehensive approach to the problem of gun violence. The Commission’s report, released yesterday, represents an honest look at the problem of gun violence and gun policy, and includes solutions that can taken at the local level.

“With this report, the Commission was able to accomplish something rarely seen when it comes to guns” said John Lacey, Communications Director for Americans for Gun Safety, a centrist gun policy group. “They moved beyond the traditional divisive politics of guns to focus on the real problem: criminals and the ease with which they can access firearms.”

The report highlights law enforcement, legislative, and public education recommendations submitted to commission by Americans for Gun Safety. These recommendations include: increased use of gun tracing by all levels of law enforcement; legislative steps designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children; and, the Felon Warning Project, a public education initiative designed by Americans for Gun Safety Foundation in partnership with the American Probation and Parole Association to warn felons they are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

The report also recognizes the local nature of Pennsylvania’s gun problem, and proposes local solutions.

“The vast majority of guns used in Pennsylvania crime come from Pennsylvania,” said Lacey. “Gun violence solutions need to address the local aspect of this problem, otherwise criminals will continue arming themselves unabated.”

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives data show that the majority of firearms in Pennsylvania are first purchased at retail within 10 miles of where they are used in a crime. While the firearm may changes hands several times between retail sale and crime, the close proximity of the two events clearly indicates the local nature of Pennsylvania’s crime gun problem and the key role local Pennsylvania officials should play.

Apparently, in Pennsylvania, the problem isn't with gun 'trafficking' from other states. The problem is that guns are purchased in-state.
So the problem is either that guns are available from other states, or that guns are available locally.

Ultimately, according to that great 'centrist' organization Americans for Gun Safety', the problem isn't where the guns come from. The problem is that guns exist.

There's nothing 'centrist' about that, folks. This may come as a surprise, but AGS puts up a front about being 'centrist' (or 'moderate') but the truth is that they are 100% totally anti-gun. They adopt the camoflauge of a group of people who just want to get along, but their agenda isn't very cleverly hidden.

They want to remove firearms from American Society. It doesn't matter whether they take guns from criminals, or from immigrants, or from you. They want them OUT.

The truth is, of course, that Criminals will ALWAYS have guns. Ultimately, they aren't campaigning to remove firearms from the hands of criminals. They're campaigning to deprive you of your right to defend yourself, or to hunt, or to engage in shooting competition, or just to have guns because it's no damn business of the AGS whether you have firearms and they don't LIKE that!


In another unrelated incident, Pittsburgh (Pa) police were recently involved in a shooting in which nobody was injured. One hundred three rounds were expended, but nobody was hit.

Sounds like a reasonable argument for Gun Control. As in: the police need to learn how to control their guns.


On the other hand, here's an anecdotal report from a member of the Unofficial IPSC List:

Well.....after all the reports of Law Enforcement having itchy trigger fingers and expelling a few more than req'd amounts of ammo, our local sheriff came into the gun shop the other day and said " before I tell you anything else....I only took 2 shots!!" (smiling)

Then he proceeded to tell us how he was called out to dispatch 2 cows that were unning thru and raising hell in a near by town and the owner refused to do anything about it. He shot them both with his .308, dropped them on the spot and the meat went to the local food shelf. He wanted to make sure that we knew this irst, before it made the newspaper ... of course ... it never did.
The Americans for Gun Safety would be proud of him. Of course, PETA thinks he exercised undue force.

This is the one time when I may be inclined to side with PETA.

What do YOU think?

This Blog UN-condemned!

A few days ago I wrote an article describing how Internet Explorer (IE)was a 'bad browser', and simultaneously extolled the virtues of NetScape.

Today I received my NetScape Version 8.0 Update Disk, and loaded it.

NetScape displayed my weblog in the same demented way as did IE.

I was outraged. NetScape has Let The Side Down!
Then I calmed down a little, and started checking out the webpage. I found a banner in my AirAmerica article which extended across the page. The old version of NetScape (7.2) overlayed the sidebar, which was sloppy but I didn't care.

The new version of NetScape (8.0) apparently allowed this to force the width of the text area to conform to the banner settings, and resulted in an 'ugly webpage'.

It's my fault. I was sloppy, the old NetScape version let me get away with it. Now the new version of NetScape will NOT let me get away with sloppy page design.

I suppose this is an improvement, and I'm sure that it will result in more careful construction on my part.

But I have to admit, I kinda miss the old NetScape. I only switched to the new version to ensure that the software vendor would continue to support it.

The good news here is that IE will now display the Cogito Ergo Geek website a neatly as does NetScape.

The bad news (if you're an IE afficianado) is that IE still loads slower, and MS still announces an average of one security breach every month.

I won't switch to IE as my primary browser ... ever! ... but you should be aware of some problems which I have encountered tonight after upgrading NetScape from version 7.2 to version 8.0.

The worst of them (I expect to find more) is that the upgrade process does NOT bring your password files to the new version. Therefore, if you plan to upgrade NetScape, be sure that you have ALL of your passwords (and user IDs) for EVERY website you commonly visit logged in a hardcopy file somewhere. I'm genetically paranoid, so I have all of my passwords logged on paper and I can build a new 'DataCard' (NetScape's new password file device) for each website as I visit it. It's a slow, laborious process and I can't imagine why NetScape wouldn't choose to transfer the password manager data to the new version ... but I can live with it.

Still, I can continue to use my new browser, and I'm sure I will become more comfortable with it as I go along. There ARE some very good features in the new NetScape browser version, but I'll let you discover them the same way I do.

This isn't easy for a guy who resists change as vehemently as I. Just ask anyone who suffered through my invective when USPSA issued a new competition Rule Book last year!

UPDATE: June 7, 2005

Life's too short to spend weeks trying to work around obvious new-release software bugs. Version 8.0 of NetScape has many more problems than I had originally perceived. One of them is that, when several windows are open, it activates windows I'm not currently trying to work in. Another is that it's difficult to access the Windows toolbar from NetScape 8.0.

Instead of reporting problems to NetScape (which doesn't have an obvious error-dialogue path) and waiting for them to release a patch, I restored my system to a previous date. This doesn't say much good about NetScape 8.0, but it speaks volumes for Windows XP.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

BROADBAND:IDF Releases video of missle hitting HAMAS terrorists

No comment, except that I've viewed the video several times, and I can't think of a more approriate response.

Although I'm inclined to wish that the IDF gunner had moved his cursur just a little to the left, to insure that he included in his blast-area the folks who had already dumped their mortar load on Israeli civilians.

Note: this is VERY broadband-friendly, not modem-friendly. The Bad Guys look like ants in either version, but at least you can keep track of the ant-ish movement in broadband.

Kalilfornia Bullet-Coding Scheme II: Senate approves!

Senate approves bullet-coding measure

(Another Hat Tip to John H. of The Unofficial IPSC List)

You may recall that last April, Cogito Ergo Geek fisked this bill and described several of the provisions which would make it impossible for any ammunition manufacturer to offer for sale any except custom-loaded pistol ammunition at great expense to the consumer.

Essentially, this is nothing more than a transparent attempt to impose gun control by making the purchase of ammunition economically infeasible to 99.9% of the population. The production controls would be so stringent, and the fines for failure of petty quality-control measures so unacceptable, no manufacturer would willingly accept the limitations.

The California State Senate approved this bill last week, with few modifications, and passed it on to the State Assembly for consideration. If passed by the State Assembly, California private citizens might as well throw their handguns into the San Francisco Bay because only Criminals will have ammunition after mid-2007.

Here is the Legislative Counsel's Digest of the bill, as modified May 18, 2005:

SB 357, as amended, Dunn. Ammunition: serialized handgun ammunition.
Existing law generally regulates the sale of ammunition.
This bill would establish a program requiring serialization of handgun ammunition, as defined, to be enforced by the Department of Justice. The bill would require, commencing July 1, 2007, that handgun ammunition be serialized. The bill would specify the nature of the serialization and provide various exceptions to certain prohibitions in the bill. Manufacture, transfer, and possession, as specified, of nonserialized handgun ammunition after that date would be an offense, as specified. The bill would require ammunition vendors and manufacturers to register with the Department of Justice, as specified. The bill would require specified information in connection with handgun ammunition transactions be recorded and maintained by the vendor and manufacturer. Willful failure to comply with certain record requirements by a vendor would be an offense.
Provision of false information to a vendor by a prospective ammunition purchaser would be an offense.

The bill would impose a fee of $.005 per bullet or round of ammunition, and a $50 annual registration fee for handgun ammunition vendors. The Department of Justice would be authorized to adopt regulations relating to assessing and collecting those fees. The fees would be deposited in the Serialize Handgun Ammunition Fund, which would be established by the bill. Manufacturers who fail to comply with certain registry and recordkeeping requirements would be liable for civil penalties, as specified. Persons who obliterate the serialization on assembled ammunition or bullets would be guilty of an offense. By creating new crimes, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.

You can figure out for yourself that this would essentially make ammunition too expensive for most people, when every bullet in a box of pistol ammunition must contain an unique serial number ... and many ammunition manufacturers don't make their own bullets.

The 'digest' provided doesn't mention some of the more subtle provisions which have been cunningly slipped into the bill. (The format of the bill, as published on the Internet, makes it difficult to follow the sections and sub-sections, paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. I have modified the text of the bill into a msWord document, and can also provide a *.txt version, which shows the true organization of the bill. I will be glad to provide these files to anyone who is willing and able to host them.)

First, while there are exemptions for "members of the California National Guard during the discharge of their official duties ...", and for "...peace officers from other states during the discharge of their official duties in California", there are no exemptions forCalifornia Law Enforcement Officers during the normal performance of their duties. However, the bill DOES require the state to reimburse local departments for expenses added because of the requirements of this bill:

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

In other words, if you are a citizen of California, your state taxes would be used to pay for the ammunition used by all Law Enforcement Officers (and perhaps Rent-A-Cops private security agencies) during performance of their duties, which includes the hundreds or thousands of cases of ammunition used every month for training across the state! No exemptions are specified for members of federal agencies in the performance of their duties, such as the FBI, DEA, or Army Reserve. We assume that the outrageous cost of ammunition used by these agencies in California would be paid by federal taxes.

Next, the California State Attorney General's Office may require registration of handguns (based on dealer sales records per Section 1[b]), with the following restrictions.
(2) A peace officer, the Attorney General, a Department of Justice employee designated by the Attorney General, or any authorized local law enforcement employee shall not retain or compile any information from a firearms transaction record, as defined in paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of Section 12071, for firearms that are not handguns unless retention or compilation is necessary for use in a criminal prosecution or in a proceeding to revoke a license issued pursuant to Section 12071.
(All italicized emhpasis added)
The State of California is permitted to determine when registration is 'necessary'.

If a California agency decides that such registration is 'necessary', does the registration disappear after the period of necessity (eg: a criminal investigation) is completed?

No. Also included in Section 1:


(1) The Attorney General shall permanently keep and properly file and maintain all information reported to the Department of Justice pursuant to Sections 12071, 12072, 12078, 12082, and 12084 or any other law, as to handguns and maintain a registry thereof.

This applies, apparently, whether or not the original registry occurs in accordance with federally mandated guidelines.

What is included in this registry?

(2) The registry shall consist of all of the following:

(A) The name, address, identification of, place of birth (state or country), complete telephone number, occupation, sex,description, and all legal names and aliases ever used by the owner or person being loaned the particular handgun as listed on the information provided to the department on the Dealers' Record of Sale, the Law Enforcement Firearms Transfer (LEFT), as defined in Section 12084, or reports made to the department pursuant to Section 12078 or any other law.

(B) The name and address of, and other information about, any person (whether a dealer or a private party) from whom the owner acquired or the person being loaned the particular handgun and when the firearm was acquired or loaned as listed on the information provided to the department on the Dealers' Record of Sale, the LEFT, or reports made to the department pursuant to Section 12078 or any other law.

(C) Any waiting period exemption applicable to the transaction which resulted in the owner of or the person being loaned the particular handgun acquiring or being loaned that firearm.

(D) The manufacturer's name if stamped on the firearm, model name or number if stamped on the firearm, and, if applicable, the serial number, other number (if more than one serial number is stamped on the firearm), caliber, type of firearm, if the firearm is new or used, barrel length, and color of the firearm.

This is registration, pure and simple, and it will NEVER go away. If you (whether or not you are a California citizen) loan a firearm to anyone who is a California citizen, both you and the person to whom you loaned the firearm, and the firearm itself, WILL be registered.

And what if an appelate court should decide that the state erred in determination of such necessity?
(3) A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

This implies a fine on the order of $500 or less, imposed upn the state ... not upon an individual, even if he or she is acting within his or her assigned duties as a state employee.

On the other hand, what are the penalties for a private citizen who is found to possess non-serialized ammunition after June 1, 2007?

SEC. 3. Section 12314 is added to the Penal Code, to read: 12314.

(a) Commencing July 1, 2007, and except as provided in subdivision (g), any person who manufactures, causes to be manufactured, imports into the state for sale or personal use, keeps for sale, offers or exposes for sale, or who gives or lends any handgun ammunition that is not serialized pursuant to this section is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year or in the state prison.

Here are some of the implications of this law:

I, for example, a California citizen offers (or "exposes for sale", as in a display when the item is not specifically identified as "NOT FOR SALE!") ammunition from the Civil War (not from a muzzle-loader) in a yard-sale, he or she may be incarcerated in a county jail or state prison for one year.

If YOU are at a shooting match, and a friend runs out of ammunition, if you loan your friend a handful of ammunition which is is NOT in a package marked with the serial number of the ammunition involved, you are arguably subject to similar punishment. In fact, even if you provide the ammunition in an appropriately marked package, you may be subject to punishment ... the law is not clear on that point because you are not a registered retailer of ammunition and you may have not have registered as, nor paid the $50 registration fee required of, an 'ammunition retailer'. This may or may not apply even though you do not receive recompensation in ANY form as a result of 'loaning' ammunition.

If you are NOT a California resident, and are attending at match in California; if you use ammunition which you brought with you (and which is therefore not 'serialized' according to California law), you are also subject to punishment consistent with a 'misdemeanor' infraction of the law. This applies whether or not you make this ammunition available to any other person, whether or not that person is a California resident.

On the other hand, if the California State Attorney General keeps your firearms purchase information ("Dealer Sales") whether or not it is related to an 'ongoing investigation', then the STATE (not the individual) is subject to fines appropriate to a 'misdemeanor' (about $500). The individual is not necessarily responsible for this fine; it may be payed by the State, which means it comes out of YOUR taxes.

Please, go to the link which describes the details of the bill. Decide for yourself whether it is economically possible to possess pistol ammunition in California and avoid incarceration, or whether it is possible to understand what is 'right' and 'wrong' under this law.

I'll say it again: this is nothing less than an attempt to impose gun control by making ammunition impossible to attain.

This is a transparent copy of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's attempt in 1999 to impose a 1000% tax on amunition, for similar and obvious reasons.

It has, surprisingly, been improved by the California State Senate. It will pass in the California State Assembly unless every California resident opposes the bill at the State Assembly level.

As nearly as I can tell (too soon after the June 2, 2005, Senate vote which moved the bill to the State Assembly for a State Assembly Bill to have been assigned?) this may have been designated as AB352. You can track the bill using this link.

Here are some links to discussions of this egregious bill:

1911 Forum
Free Republic
S&W Forum
NRA: CA Legislative Councl (AB352)l
Gun Owners of California
North County (California) Times
KCAL Channel 9 in Los Angeles

(Here are some interesting quotes from KCAL9)

``With a simple magnifying glass (police) can read that identifying number ... and determine who purchased that ammunition,'' said Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Garden Grove, who is carrying the Senate version. ``This is a tremendous benefit for law enforcement.''

The Senate sent the measure to the Assembly on a 21-14 vote, while the Assembly proposal by Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, passed 41-37 despite heavy opposition from gun groups. Both passed by one vote.

Ammunition manufacturers said that Dunn's bill will either force them to abandon the lucrative California market or force them to install unaffordable technology to mark the 8 billion bullets they make each year.

The bill would punish anyone possessing unmarked ammunition outside their home after July 2007, though Dunn said he is working with law enforcement to amend the bill so owners could use older bullets at firing ranges.

"A law abiding citizen has nothing to fear,'' said Sen. Jack Scott, D-Pasadena, comparing the markings to the use of fingerprints or DNA in crime solving.

Dunn's bill would require purchasers to pay up to a halfpenny per bullet to fund record-keeping by the state Department of Justice on every handgun-caliber bullet made or sold in California. Vendors would pay up to $50 a year to register. Rifle ammunition would be exempted, though some calibers are used in both handguns and long guns.

Opponents of Koretz's bill said criminals could file down the guns to remove the microstamping or use revolvers, which don't eject shell casings.

Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, said Koretz' bill would make it easier to frame someone by spreading cartridges around a crime scene that hadn't come from the shooter's gun.

Just so you remember, you Californians: Jack Scott, Joe Dunn, and Assembly sponsor Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood). Also, remember the opponent Todd Spitzer ... well, he's a Republican named Spitzer; he should be expected to have a more rational perspective, because of his political affiliation and also because of his last name.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This Blog Condemned!

Our friend Barsoom notes that the Cogito Ergo Geek looks really really UGLY when using Internet Explorer (IE) as your browser.

Didn't use to be like that, until BLOGSPOT had a spot of trouble with their hardware last month. Since then, if you try to view this blog with IE, it spreads across two pages ... or more, if your display settings aren't fixed at 1024 x 768 pixels.

Funny about that. If you look at an individual article it shows up just fine.
(*click on the permalink, which is a timestamp at the end of each article on this blog.*)

But if you look at the jerrydgeek.blogspot.com whole-blog URL, IE can't handle it.

I'm working with blogspot.com to resolve this problem, but I have to say that IE is the only browser so far identified that has a problem with it.

If you don't like it, I don't blame you. However, there are things you can do about your browser environment to avoid the problem entirely. (No, I'm not telling you that your browser sucks, even if it does; I'm just saying there are alternatives.)

This blog, and all other websites I've viewed, show up just fine if you're using a Mozilla-based browser.

I would like to recommend Netscape. I've been using it for years, and among its advantages is the ability to open new webpages in a new 'tab', instead of a new window.

If you're interested, Netscape version 8.0 can be downloaded for free here. Or, you can spend less than ten bucks and they will send you the CD for version 8.0, which has just been released. (I pre-ordered the CD-only for $6.95 last month.)

In the movie "U.S. Marshalls", Tommy Lee Jones told Robert Downey Jr.
Get yourself a Glock, and get rid of that nickel-plated sissy-pistol. Put that back in your suit and don't take it out unless I tell you to.
I would never give that advice about pistols, but let me say this about browsers:
Get yourself a Netscape browser, and get rid of the nickel-plated sissy-browser. Put that back in your suit and don't take it out unless I tell you to.
I won't be telling you to use Microsoft products when there is a better software product available. And there is usually a better software product available.

But don't get me started.