Thursday, March 03, 2005

Annual Credit Report

Here's something really scary:

If you haven't checked your credit rating lately, it might be a good idea to do it now.

You can get a FREE credit rating from three different companies, right now in real- time online, for the low-low price of (have I mentioned this already?) FREE!

A recent federal law requires credit-reporting services to make this available to you, once a year, for free.

This is especially important if you are thinking of making a MAJOR CREDIT PURCHASE!

you can get this report from a number of websites, by the way.

What do you need to accomplish this?
If you want to receive the TransUnion report at least (the most extensive of the reports I reviewed, and regularly priced at $29.95) you need at least four identifying pieces of information. They can be anything among the following:

  • A revolving charge-card (Macy's)
  • A credit card (visa)
  • A previous residence address, which may go back as much as 10 years

Yup. That's right ... four items of personal identification in three categories.
If you're like me, you will have to scramble for some of this stuff. For example, I had to dig out documentation which listed my address in 1992, and my car-payment which I had paid off last year.

You'll have to decide whether it's worth the effort, and if you want to know your "Credit Score" it will cost you another six bucks, too. (I didn't pay it ... I don't anticipate a major purchase, such as a new house, in the immediate future.)

The good news is (a) you can get the results immediately, on-line; and (b) the price is free Free FREE!

Also, the credit companies do have a plan to get money from you, but it's always an opt-in process. That means that if you choose not to receive their mailers, it's usually a painless process.

Did I mention that it's Free?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Get The Lead Out

My friend, Randy S. (who provided the incentive for my last post) included another RKBA related "heads up" which deserves some mention. Thanks to our mutual friend Bobby W. who informs us:

Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-32) finally filed her lead shot tax bill. The bill imposes a $0.24 PER OUNCE excise tax on lead shot, either loaded in shotshells or bagged for reloading. That's a $6 INCREASE in the price of a box of 25 shotshells at one ounce per shell, or $7.50 a box for 1 1/4 ounce loads. A 25 pound bag of lead shot will carry an additional $96 charge. Oh, don't forget the sales tax increase because of the increased price at retail. That $0.50 tax on a box of reloads at the trap range just went up to over a dollar.

The excise tax collected will be deposited into a new "wild swan recovery account." Sounds like it's going to be party time for swans!

And, the bill contains an "emergency clause." That means the tax takes effect the minute the governor signs the bill. No time to stock up on shot or shotshells.

The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
Oregon (where I live) is one of the very FEW states in the Union which doesn't have a Sales Tax. Kagi is a state senator in Washington State.

A reading of recent bills introduced in Washington shows that this bill (HB2211) was introduced Feb. 23, 2005.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 (1) A tax is imposed on the privilege of handling toxic shot for sale in this state. The rate of the tax shall be equal to twenty-four cents per ounce of toxic shot. Fractional amounts shall be taxed proportionately

This followed another bill introduced by Kagi and refering to the subject of "Toxic Shot" :

HB1822 - Read first time 02/07/2005. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources, Ecology & Parks.
The bill includes the following verbiage:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 A new section is added to chapter 77.15 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Beginning January 1, 2006, it is unlawful to possess or use toxic shot on any land owned by the state that is located in department game management units four, five, or six.
(2) Beginning January 1, 2007, it is unlawful to possess or use toxic shot on any land owned by the state that is located in department game management units one, two, or three.
(3) Beginning January 1, 2008, it is unlawful to use toxic shot when hunting with a license issued by the department under chapter 77.32 RCW.
(4) A violation of this section is a natural resources infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.

Brief Summary of Bill
  • Phases out over the next three years the use of most shot ammunition that contains lead.

Essentially, Kagi intends to make lead-based shot illegal in the state of Washington.
"Toxic shot" means shot ammunition, either packaged in shells or loose, that contains more than one percent lead, by weight.
In the meantime, she's going to tax the britches off anyone who uses lead shot. Consider this in incentive provided courtesy of your friendly neighborhood politico.

Well, a lot of states are working toward this end, and it's not an entirely 'bad thing' except for the innefficiency of steel shot in making a humane kill of game birds.

Bismuth doesn't seem to be any more dangerous to use than lead.
And apparently it's widely available.

Of course, copper-plated lead shot costs $25.99 for an 11-pound bag, and bismuth shot from the same supplier costs $104.99 for a 7-pound bag. Let me see: $15/lb for Bismuth, $2.27 for copper-plated lead. That only costs you $12.73/lb more to shoot bismuth. Figuring a 1-1/2 oz. charge per shot it's a mere fourteen cents per shot difference in price.

Don't miss.

Are we seeing a trend here? Perhaps. Read on.

This Kagli-sponsored bill was preceded by another RKBA bill sponsored by Kagi:

HB1627 - introduced January 31, 2005

Declares that no person in this state shall manufacture, possess, purchase, sell, or otherwise transfer any assault weapon, or any assault weapon conversion kit, except as authorized by this act. Any assault weapon or assault weapon conversion kit the manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, or other transfer of which is prohibited under this act is a public nuisance.

Provides that no person in this state shall possess or have under his or her control at one time both of the following: (1) A semiautomatic or pump-action rifle, semiautomatic pistol, or shotgun capable of accepting a detachable magazine; and

(2) Any magazine capable of use with that firearm that contains more than ten rounds of ammunition.

This is a LOT simpler than the complicated Oregon Senate bill introduce by Ginny Burdick.

It doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to the firearm; it simply states that if it is capable of accepting a magazine of more than ten rounds capacity, and it is accompanied by such a magazine .. it's an"Assault Weapon".

I have to admit, it's elegant in its simplicity.

No less egregious, of course, but at least it's easy to understand.

I haven't figured out yet what enforcement is likely to ensue. Burdick's Law stipulated that possession of an "Assault Weapon" was a Class-B Felony. I presume that Kagi's Law relies on a body of law which is conveniently applicable at will, which means that nobody really KNOWS what kind of trouble you could get into, in Washingon State, if you owned a S&W Model 59 and a 12-round magazine.

Oh, okay, I'm being facetious. If you read the text of HB1627 (link above) you will see that Kagi's Law is essentially the same as Burdick's Law. The difference is that instead of requiring a "Permit", including the serial number of the "Assault Weapon" as Burdick stipulates, Kagi specifically requires "registration".

At least she's more honest about it

As if that helps.

Relating to firearms; and declaring an emergency.


A member of the Oregon State Senate has authored a bill which would define and outlaw "Assault Weapons" in Oregon. The link to the bill synopsis, including details, is included in the title.
This bill is from State Senator Ginny Burdick. It is a massive list of banned guns. It also outlaws magazines larger than ten rounds and requires a police issued "permit" to continue to possess the semi-auto rifles and shot guns you already own and bans "transfer" of the listed firearms even to your children.

I've been told that Senate President Peter Courtney will control whether or not this and other anti-gun bills move forward. He can be reached at:

(Hat Tip to, and quote from, Randy S.)

There are a couple of ramifications to this bill which Randy didn't mention in his email to me and to a number of Oregon people who are interested in Practical Rifle.

First, the permit which he mentions is structured similarly to the Oregon Carry Concealed Handgun (CCH) license, except that it refers to the simple possession of an "Assault Weapon" , not to carry or usage.

Second, the Assault Weapon permit includes the description and serial number of the firearm. This is de facto registration. Why is this worthy of mention? Well, the New York State Assembly recently introduced A03371, a bill which rescinds permission to own even 'grandfathered' registered Assault Weapons, as I noted a few days ago.


To repeal the grandfather clause in the definition of assault weapon
which currently allows the possession of an assault weapon if the weapon
was lawfully possessed prior to September fourteenth, nineteen hundred
ninety-four or if the weapon was manufactured on of before October
first, nineteen hundred ninety-three; to provide for the surrender and
destruction of such weapons.
(All italicized quoted text in this letter is 'emphasis added')
The "permit" is only the first step to confiscation, which New York is now attempting in bill A03371:

Section 2 Paragraph one of subdivision a of section 265.20 of the penal
law is amended to provide that all assault weapons must be surrendered
to the superintendent of the division of state police within 15 days of
the repeal of the grandfather clause.

Section 3 Section 400.05 of the penal law is amended to provide that
assault weapons surrendered after the repeal of the grandfather clause
will be declared a nuisance and be destroyed.

Randy's reference to "guns you already own" is a 'grandfather clause', in the sense that the current owner of a firearm on the extensive list is not considered a Felon for simple posession IF he/she has applied for, and been awarded a permit in the "shall issue" process.

We see, from the New York example, how politicians respect the efforts of honest citizens to comply with this kind of legislation.

You may note that the context of the NY bill doesn't describe a 'buy-back'. It is simple confiscation, without compensation of any kind.

The proposed Oregon bill gratuitously includes an exception to the "possession" charge if the firearm is "lent" ...

(b) At an exhibition, display, or educational project that is
about firearms and that is sponsored by, conducted under the
auspices of or approved by a law enforcement agency or a
nationally or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in
or promotes education about firearms;
The supposition is that you can handle an 'assault weapon' at a gun show, as long as that show has been authorized by some official agency; however, since you would not be allowed to BUY it the weapon could not be offered for sale without turning both the seller and the would-be purchaser into a Class-B Felon. Make no mistake, this is not a "gun show loophole".

I can hear you saying:, "Hey, Geek! This has nothing to do me, I don't own an 'assault weapon' and I probably never will. I don't care, one way or another."

If you own ANY semi-automatic pistol which is fed by an external magazine ... you may be a Felon.
Here's one definition of an "Assault Weapon" in the Oregon bill:
(D) A pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable
magazine and any of the following:
(i) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor,
forward handgrip or silencer;
(ii) A second handgrip; or
(iii) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely
encircles, the barrel that allows a person to fire the weapon
without burning the person's hand, except a slide that encloses
the barrel.
If you own an IPSC Open-division pistol with a compensator, and the compensator is not an integral part of the barrel (as is the case in a large number of 'older' Race Guns), the compensator is probably screwed on. Which means that you are screwed. Even if your Race Gun is an STI, they only began making the compensators as an integral part of the barrel a couple of years ago.

Do you feel REALLY paranoid? Then you'll like this clause defining other sorts of Felons:

SECTION 3. { + Any person who manufactures or causes to be
manufactured within this state, who imports into this state or
who offers, exposes for sale, sells or transfers an assault
weapon in this state is guilty of a Class B felony. + }
The questions here are, first, does "exposes for sale" include someone in another state who offers for sale an "Assault Weapon" on an internet website? Can this law make Bushmaster a potential Felon for displaying their product on their website even if they have no intention of selling it to anyone in a state where it is specifically forbidden? I don't know. Do you? Stranger things have happened.

The other question is, suppose you own a firearm on the banned list, and you have applied for and received a permit. What happens when you die? Your wife, your children, arguably can't even TOUCH the firearm without becoming, by the act of touching it, "in posession of it". Does this sound far-fetched? Remember the clause cited above, which carefully makes an exception of touching an "Assault Weapon" at an "exhibition" which has been held "under the auspices of" an outside authority before you call me paranoid. Under the strictest interpretation of the law, your widow would have to call the polilce and have them come to your house to take the firearm out of the gun safe. If she takes it out of the safe, and she doesn't have a permit, she's breaking the law if she just carries it to the police station to turn it in after your death.

I don't believe that most people would consciously understand all of the implications of this law, and how it could make criminals out of honest people.

I DO believe that some politicians in my Blue State understand them, and would feel no remorse if an Oregon citizen accidently fell afoul of this most foul law.

I've already written to my state senator.

(Find out who represents you here.)

If you're an Oregon resident, you should take Randy's advice and contact your state representative (senator) to tell them that this is a BAD law which has no redeeming features. It addresses an issue which has nothing to do with reducing "gun crime" ... it only expands the definition of crime and will only affect honest citizens.

And there is no "emergency".

Sunday, February 27, 2005

IMAO: Who the Hell Do You Think You Bloggers Are?

IMAO: Who the Hell Do You Think You Bloggers Are?


That's what I'm talking about.

Frank J., of IMAO (does anyone know what this acronym stands for?), asks some tough questions. Lots of people are trying to answer them. I'm not sure I have good answers myself, so here's my off-the-cuff responses to ...


1. Who the hell do you think you are?

Who, ME? [squeak!]
I'm Jerry the Geek. Father, Diplomat, Soldier, Blogger, Computer Programmer, mediocre IPSC competitor, writer of Geek-Length Posts to The Unofficial IPSC List. Defender of the truth (as I see it), opininated, obnoxious, intrusive, argumentative. Fearless warrior in defense of my mom, writing letters to the judge to get out of traffic tickets, and pumpkin pie!

Okay, so I lied about the "Diplomat" part.
2. So, other than blogging, what's your job? Do you work at some fast food joint, dumbass?
Well, not this week. By day I'm a Systems Analyst for a blue-state University; by night I'm the scourge of the hell-room (the upstairs bedroom where my computer sits amid piles of paper and overflowing ashtrays. Damn! I have GOT to clean this mess up.)
But all of that may change, if my friendly neighborhood Democratic governor can't get a handle on the state budget, and I mean like Real Soon Now! He's still pissed 'cause we voted down his tax measures last November and ... well, you know how that goes. I'm back on the street, looking for another job. Do you know, is Burger King hiring?

3. Do you have like any experience in journalism, idiot?

Uh ... I took a couple of journalism courses in college. Does that count?
No? Okay, then I don't.
I DO "Have An Opinion" on almost any topic, whether or not I know anything about it. I figure that makes me roughly equivalent to Maureen Dowd, anyway.
And I read Best Of The Web almost every day, so I know what Opinions are suppose to look like.
4. Do you even read newspapers?

Did I mention Best Of the Web?
And of course, there's World Net Daily, which I also read ... uh ... daily.
Well, then, I get a check-off in this category, right?
Okay, so I don't read newspapers. Considering that all the major papers in this blue state are heavily lefty slanted, I'm not missing much. Still, I read their web version; I'm hardly likely to actually BUY their defeatist rags, am I?

5. Do you watch any other news than FOX News propaganda, you ignorant fool?
Actually, I don't watch news programs on TV. My television isn't even hooked up to a cable. I just use it for watching old movies on video tapes and DVDS. However, I DO watch TV at my girlfriends house on weekends, but about all we watch is old movies, cheesy house-renovation shows (I hate that!), disfunctional families building motorcycles, and Monk.
I haven't had cable TV since Crossfire went off the air.
Could be worse. I could be watching CBS news every night, and wearing a big ol' lapel pin stating "Dan Rather is GOD!"
6. I bet you're some moron talk radio listener too, huh?

Well, I would be if we could get any decent radio reception down here in the gulag. Unfortunately, all we get at night is Doctor Laura, and during the day I'm sitting at my computer at the office and do you realize how hard it is to get decent AM Radio reception when you're surrounded by LAN Workstations?
I admit, if I could get the local station, I would be listening to Rush, Michael Reagan, Sean Hannity (he of the cheesy grin) and Larry Elder every day!
But not that loudmouth Michael Savage. Anybody want to put up a big-money bet on which of these talk radio shows is available locally?
So, when is the NRA going to start up a talk radio program?

7. So, do you get a fax from the GOP each day for what to say, you @#$% Republican parrot?

No, my fax machine is broken.
(Actually, I don't even HAVE a fax machine. I'm just saying that so people think I'm important enough that someone, some day, may want to send me a fax. The truth is, I get all of my GOP instructions via email.)

However, I did receive some beautiful photos of GW and Laura Bush during The LateUnpleasantness (the 2004 Presidential Campaign.) They wanted me to send them money. I didn't. Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent the Lincoln Bedroom on a weekend night? Oh, but you do get a discount if you rent Thursday thru Monday. I bet you didn't know that.
8. Why do you and your blogger friends want to silence and fire everyone who disagrees with you, fascist?

Huh? Are you KIDDING? You cheeky monkey, if it wasn't for the people who disagree with me, I wouldn't have anyone to talk to at all.
Fortunately, almost everyone disagrees with me, so I have lots of people to talk to.
The bad news is, they don't want to talk to ME.
Maybe I ought to open that unused bottle of Scope. Do you suppose that would help?
9. Are you completely ignorant of other countries, or do you actually own a passport?
Actually, I'm cheerfully ignorant of other countries. How many of them are there, and should I be concerned? Why?
I don't own a passport ... never needed one.
The only 'other' countries I've been to are Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and VietNam.
In three of those countries, someone tried to pick a fight with me. In the other one, they just took my money. Perhaps my reputation preceded me, but I don't think these are good reasons for me to visit, although I kind of liked Taiwan. The folks there seem to have a good grasp of the Capitalist Principles by which I live.

10. Have you even been to another country, you dumb hick?

Are you paying attention? What kind of a quiz is this, where the only way to win is not to play? As our lawyer friends (do lawyers have friends?) say: "asked and answered".
You didn't realize ... no, forget that. I'm not going to make excuses for you, Frank. Just stick to the script, okay?
And remember, I HAVE been to Vietnam. If 'things' had broken the way they should, I might have been president today. Then I wouldn't have to answer your inane questions and embarass myself in public, in a vain play for attention from the sort of people I would never have as guests in my home.
(Well, I would have them as guests in my home, but I'm a terrible housekeeper and what if they wandered into my Hell Room ... the home of Marlboro Cigarettes and Jamesons Whiskey. We wouldn't see them for weeks, and eventually it would smell worse than it already does.
I wouldn't like that. Wouldn't be prudent. And it would be all your fault, Frank J.

11. If you're so keen on the war, why haven't you signed up, chickenhawk?

Hmmmm ... let me see:
(1) I'm 60 years old
(2) I could kick your butt, Frank, so don't start on me!
(3) Been there, done that, didn't like it 'cause they were rude to tourists.

12. Do you have any idea of the horrors of war? Have you ever reached into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face?

Yes, I did. It was in Viet Nam in 1970. We had just left the NCO club in Cu Chi when my friend suddenly retched, fell over on his side, and rolled onto his back clutching his belly. I fumbled in the dark to see what was wrong and ... I ... put ... my ... hand ... on ... his ... FACE!

Oh, the horror!

It was entirely covered in vomit.

After that, we kinda backed off on the twenty-five cent hard liquor drinks, ya know what I mean. At least, until the next night.

13. Have you ever reached into any pile of goo?

Well, the next night we went back to the NCO club. This time, I was the one who fell down with vomit all over my face. My friend was too plastered, so I had to put my hand to my own pile-of-goo face. Not a pleasant experience, I tell you.

War is heck.

14. Once again, who the hell do you think you are?!

Who dat who say 'who dat'?