Thursday, March 17, 2005
'This is not going to be terribly interesting to most of you.
Looking at my statistics, I have readers from Texas, Washington, New Jersey, Florida, New Zealand, France, England, Hong Kong, Nigeria, The Phillipines, UK, UAR, and 431 hits from the U.S.A. alone.
This suggests to me that I'm not read only from Benton County, and most of you don't really care that the Albany (Oregon) Rifle & Pistol Club has a website describing activities which are not specifically related to IPSC shooting.
But I'm feeling a littly giddy tonite. It's not only Saint Patrick's Day, but this is also the day when I've receive over 2500 hits since last December, when I started this Blog-thing.
So first of all, thank you for visiting my IPSC related blog. I received an email today from a reader who stated that he enjoyed my writings because I discussed not only RKBA=related issues, not only firearm-specific related issues, but I was the only one who talked about "gun games". (Thank you, Cowboy Bob!)
[I admit, I would be writing less about RKBA issues, and more about IPSC, had I received more feedback about ... well ... IPSC issues. But that's just me. I need feedback to learn what people are inerested in, and I don't quite get enough from The Unofficial IPSC List.]
Second, even though you are probably not really interested in IPSC shooting in Oregon, the website mentioned above DOES give you a pretty good idea abou the kinds of activites at ARPC. There's a bunch of pictures, which is always popular. Several photos of people shooting Full-uto (including at least one which appears to be am M2 .50 caliber machine gun.) There's a photo of a guy who is obviously shooting a CAS stage, and a CAS group-photo.
To my egocentric interest, there are two photos of SWMBO, and one photo of The Geek, shooting eiher IPSC or Speed Steel stages. You can tell which they are, as these are the only pictures of people shooting pistols.
I'll let you do the exploring. The photos are in a 'slide-show' format, and they're not very big so they don't take long to load.
Go check 'em out.
Also, if you live in the mid-Willamette valley area, you might consider going to the Albany Rifle and Pistol Range to shoot.
It's probably one of the best ranges, for the money (membership fee) ranges in the country, considering the amenities which they offer.
Do check out the photos.
Monday, March 14, 2005
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Looters systematically removed tons of equipment from Iraqi weapons facilities, including some with components capable of making parts of nuclear arms, in the weeks after Baghdad fell in 2003, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.(Hat Tip to The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweller)
This, after the NY Times had assured us that there WERE no WMDs in Iraq.
Will wonders never cease. The NYT manages to be both all-right, all-the-time, by taking both sides of an issue. I wish I could be as flexible.
This reminds me of the "All Elvis, All the Time" radio station here in Oregon.
Nobody listens to them, either. Heaven only know where they get their advertisers; one assumes a body of rich sycophants.
I wish I knew a few rich sycophants. If you are a rich sycophant, please email me. Better yet, just send me lots of money, and I'll write whatever I want anyway. It seems to work for the NYT, and Reuters.
The US Congress is supporting their supporters by attacking the Blogosphere by applying the McCain/Feingold bill to Bloggers. The M/F bill requires 'professional public media' to desist from campaining FOR a candidate or issue within x days of an election, and the definition of 'professional' is based on $50 or more invested in the publication process.
SEC. 304. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS OF $50 OR MORE.
Section 304(b)(3)(A) of the Federal Election Campaign Act at 1971(2 U.S.C. 434(b)(3)(A) is amended--
(1) by striking `$200' and inserting `$50'; and
(2) by striking the semicolon and inserting `, except that in the case of a person who makes contributions aggregating at least $50 but not more than $200 during the calendar year, the identification need include only the name and address of the person;'.
(2) FEDERAL ELECTION ACTIVITY-`(A) IN GENERAL- The term `Federal election activity' means:
(i) voter registration activity during the period that begins on the date that is 120 days before the date a regularly scheduled Federal election is held and ends on the date of the election;
(ii) voter identification, get-out-the-vote activity, or generic campaign activity conducted in connection with an election in which a candidate for Federal office appears on the ballot (regardless of whether a candidate for State or local office also appears on the ballot); and
(iii) a communication that refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office (regardless of whether a candidate for State or local office is also mentioned or identified) and is made for the purpose of influencing a Federal election (regardless of whether the communication is express (sic) advocacy).
Let me see, I have ... uh .. zero dollars invested in my blogging effort. But I suspect the burdon of proof is on me, not congress.
And the bill SEEMS to specifically reference people who either (a) spend over $50, or (b) over $200 for the privilege of naming a federal candidate. It doesn't matter if these people actually 'advocate' the candidate, it's enough that they MENTION a candidate.
Oh, sure, I spend almost $24/month on AOL, which is my IP. Blogspot is free. I can use IE as my browser, which comes with the compter and XP/Home (which I bought for non-blogging purposes and before I started blogging.)
Congress could conceivably count the >$600 I spent on the computer as publication expenses, and kick my butt for mentioning, say Gerald Ford as a candidate in the 2008 Presidential Elections. Not that this is likely to happen, but if I happened to mention Jerry in late 2008, my ass is grass.
If you have any interest in protesting this bizarre application of the bizarre McCain/Feingold law, you can sign a petition here. Not that it will do any good, one way or the other, but there are currently over 2500 signitures there and you might as well get in on the ground floor.
I KNOW that the Bill of Rights states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
... which suggests that McCain/Feingold is unconstitutional.
I'm PRETTY SURE that I've not received any contributions from a political party to support my free expression of opinion, or for any other purpose (when was the last time a political party pestered you to RECEIVE contributions?)
And I THINK that it would be difficult for the Department of Justice (?) to make a case that I was paid by the Republican Party to endorse Gerald Ford for president. In the first place, it would Be Just Wrong!
On the other hand, it's hard to tell how this law should be applied to non-MSM (Main Stream Media) sources of opinon.
Think about it.
Tell me about it. I disconnected my cable in 1996. Well, there was that thingie about not having paid my cable bill for several months ...
... or a reasonable facsimile thereof ....
Note: this article is "403 Forbidden".
I'm sure this means something. I'm just not sure what.....
During an address by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, members of the AIDS activist group ACT-UP staged a protest on the convention floor, Perez said. Traslavina, a vice president of his school's Honor Society and editor of the school newspaper, began taking photographs of the skirmish between ACT-UP members and security personnel when he was "whisked away by a Secret Service agent," Perez said.
Despite protests to authorities by ACT-UP members and an adult leader of the Junior Statesman Foundation Symposium that Traslavina was not part of the demonstration, he was taken into custody and eventually arraigned on charges of felony riot, his lawyer said. He was held in custody for a total of 28 hours before being released on his own recognizance, Perez said.
Security Cameras Will Not Save Your Life!
(And neither will the Sheriff)
ATLANTA — A surveillance camera captured Brian G. Nichols' surprise attack on a Fulton County sheriff's deputy, but no one in the control center noticed the assault and sent help, said a law enforcement official who viewed the security tape. The camera, one of more than 40 stationed through the Fulton County courthouse, showed 6-foot-1-inch Nichols overwhelming Deputy Cynthia Hall and escaping with her gun. Hall was escorting Nichols to a holding cell before his rape trial resumed. Moments after the attack, which occurred before 9 a.m. Friday, witnesses say Nichols made his way through the courthouse and gunned down a judge, a court reporter and one of Hall's fellow deputies. Hours later he killed a federal agent. Hall remained in critical condition with severe head injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital. "It's not just horrible, it was preventable," said Senior Superior Court Judge Philip Etheridge. Where's Big Brother when we really need him? Apparently, the cameras were installed for the purpose of catching jay-walkers, or some other class of misdemeanor-causing citizen. Who would ever have imagined that they could be used to see and stop a murder in progress? Of course, it's illegal for citizens to carry firearms in a courthouse. That law is to prevent someone from using a gun to kill judges, court reportes, and Law Enforcement Officers. It's a good thing that law, and the cameras, were in place. Otherwise someone could get hurt. On the other hand, if it was legal to carry concealed in the court house, a pistol-packing private citizen might have been able to stop the mother-raping murderer before he started killing helpless non-combatants. Can you tell I'm upset about this one?
More than 40 members of the House reported carrying at least $10,000 in credit-card or charge-card debt in 2003 and parts of 2004, according to a survey of financial disclosure reports conducted by The Hill.Don't we elect these people for their integrity? No? Then, tell me again why we need them.
The findings come as the House is poised to take up a bankruptcy-reform measure that would give banks and credit card companies expanded powers to seek repayment from debtors who file bankruptcy.
Opponents of the bill drew hope from the data, suggesting that lawmakers who nurse high-interest debt might be more likely to sympathize with indebted consumers. High credit-card debt is often a factor in the decision to file for bankruptcy, although the root cause is usually related to a life-altering event such as a divorce, illness or the loss of a job, experts said.
"Members aren't that much different than regular Americans. Some run up high credit-card bills when they shouldn't. One would hope that it would make them more sensitive to regular Americans earning far less money that are threatened by this bill," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director at the Consumer Federation of America, which has opposed the bill on the grounds that it favors credit-card companies at the expense of average consumers.
Yet the 43 members identified in the survey were as likely to have voted for the bankruptcy bill when it came to the House floor in 2003 as were members without credit-card or similar revolving accounts.
ATLANTA — A surveillance camera captured Brian G. Nichols' surprise attack on a Fulton County sheriff's deputy, but no one in the control center noticed the assault and sent help, said a law enforcement official who viewed the security tape.
The camera, one of more than 40 stationed through the Fulton County courthouse, showed 6-foot-1-inch Nichols overwhelming Deputy Cynthia Hall and escaping with her gun. Hall was escorting Nichols to a holding cell before his rape trial resumed.
Moments after the attack, which occurred before 9 a.m. Friday, witnesses say Nichols made his way through the courthouse and gunned down a judge, a court reporter and one of Hall's fellow deputies. Hours later he killed a federal agent.
Hall remained in critical condition with severe head injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital.
"It's not just horrible, it was preventable," said Senior Superior Court Judge Philip Etheridge.
Where's Big Brother when we really need him? Apparently, the cameras were installed for the purpose of catching jay-walkers, or some other class of misdemeanor-causing citizen. Who would ever have imagined that they could be used to see and stop a murder in progress?
Of course, it's illegal for citizens to carry firearms in a courthouse. That law is to prevent someone from using a gun to kill judges, court reportes, and Law Enforcement Officers. It's a good thing that law, and the cameras, were in place. Otherwise someone could get hurt.
On the other hand, if it was legal to carry concealed in the court house, a pistol-packing private citizen might have been able to stop the mother-raping murderer before he started killing helpless non-combatants.
Can you tell I'm upset about this one?
Mon Mar 14, 1:58 PM ET
GENEVA (AFP) - The United Nations (news - web sites)' human rights chief, weathering heavy criticism of a body that itself contains many rights abusers, acknowledged the world has "fallen short" in protecting civil liberties.
Opening the annual session of the UN Human Rights Commission, Louise Arbour added that UN member countries were too selective in responding to rights abuses.
Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said the meeting of the 53-nation forum, which was scheduled to continue until April 22, was a "do or die" test of the credibility of the commission.
They said half the members of the commission, which is meant to scrutinize respect for fundamental freedoms and condemn abuse such as torture and disappearances, were themselves human rights abusers.
Peruvian Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez-Cuadros said the commission should be scrapped and replaced by independent experts. At present, he said, member states were both judges and parties to disputes leading to "the selectiveness or the political use of human rights."
Obviously, these people are not elected. It doesn't seem to matter. Integrity is a little thin on the ground there, too.
( ... And maybe they're right ...)
WASHINGTON -- Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down the juvenile death penalty, calling it the latest example of politics on the court that has made judicial nominations an increasingly bitter process.
In a 35-minute speech Monday, Scalia said unelected judges have no place deciding issues such as abortion and the death penalty. The court's 5-4 ruling March 1 to outlaw the juvenile death penalty based on "evolving notions of decency" was simply a mask for the personal policy preferences of the five-member majority, he said.
"If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again," Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. "You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility."
"Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?" he said.
Why is this important?
Well, for one thing, the gang-bangers in our culture will now find it even easier to recruit munchkins to do their drive-by shootings for them, because they absolutely know that the death penalty will NOT be applied.
But Scalia's point is, of course, much more fundamental. He says that the job of the Supremes is to determine the applicability of the U.S. Constitution to an enacted law. In this case, the constitution is not considered or referenced. There's just a bunch of old men and women deciding that "there oughta be a law" and, because of their power and prestige, they set out to make one.
You probably already know that it's the job of the Legislature to make the laws. We assume that the Supremes know that, too. After all, they must be some kind of 'Constitutional Scholar' if their job is centered about the Constitution. But because there are no checks on the power of the Supreme court, they can make a 'ruling' and it is now law even though the Legislature may never have considered, let alone enacted, the law. They've been doing that a lot, lately.
It's an old story. As the ancient Roman poet Juvenal asked, Qui custodiet ipsos custodes?
Don't worry about it. It's not just the Supremes. It's also policemen, the military, and the bureaucrats who are 'making laws' because they have the power to do so even if they don't have the authority.
Teen wins lawsuit about dress code
Judge found that the policy was “overly broad” and should not have prohibited Marine Corps creed.
From wire, staff reports
Fort Wayne Community Schools officials violated an Elmhurst High School student’s free-speech rights when they suspended him for wearing a T-shirt bearing the likeness of an M-16 rifle and the text of the Marine Corps creed, a federal court ruled Friday.
The district suspended Nelson Griggs in March 2003 for violating a provision of the school dress code that prohibits students from wearing clothing depicting “symbols of violence.”
Air traffic controllers jailed over crash that killed 118
JEREMY CHARLES IN ROME
FOUR Italian air traffic controllers were jailed yesterday after being found guilty of multiple manslaughter following a plane crash that killed 118 people - including two Britons.
Were they worried about the two Britons, or the 116 other people in the plane?
The trial came after a SAS MD80 jet bound for Copenhagen collided with a private jet in thick fog at Milan’s Linate airport before ploughing into a baggage warehouse and exploding in October 2001.
In the investigation that followed it emerged that the ground control radar at Linate had been switched off pending proper installation.
So, was it the ATCs who turned off the radar? We can't tell from the article, presented by the good folks at The Scotsman.
Perhaps the ATCs were being punished because they didn't understand the situation, and reacted inappropriately:
There was outrage when a tape emerged of air traffic controllers at the airport laughing and joking after hearing the dull thud of an explosion - unaware of the drama that was unfolding yards from them.(Emphasis added)
Yup. Those guys should have been mind-readers. Maybe they were. In that case, they are clearly guilty of ... something.
AIM Conversations Are Safe
March 14, 2005Let me see if I understand this.
America Online quells public criticism of changes to its AIM terms of service, insisting the controversial privacy clause does not pertain to user-to-user instant messaging communication.
"Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content.
You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the content or to be compensated for any such uses," according to the AIM terms of service.
AIM is an "Instant Messaging Communication", developed to facilitate communications between AOL subscribers and someone else, who may or may not be an AOL subscriber.
But if you're an AOL subscribe, and something ... anything! ... you say over AIM results in or contributes to a marketable commodity (such as a book), then AOL owns your work. They can publish it, and are completely entitled to any and all profits generated by their publication of that work.
Have I got it right?
So, whatever happened to copyright law?
UPDATE March 15, 2005:
Okay, I couldn't resist turning 'blogmeat' into an extended rant.
Maybe I'll try again next month.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Some of you may recall when I discussed "The Curse of American Automobiles" on December 14.
Well, things are looking up! Another Ford "Bites the Dust"!
I can't say I'm sorry. I've always referred to this particular (and I use the word advisedly) as "The Dove Beauty Bar Ford" because of its convex profile.
I admit, though, to a certain disappointment. The Ford Thunderbird was ever a sporty looking car
(I even liked the boxy four-passenger model.)
But Ford got away from its roots. Sure, they went back to the 2-passenger runabout concept, but they forgot to make it sexy. Instead, the best you could say for the latest model was that it was "cute".
What kinda guy wants a "cute" car? My best guess is that Ford was trying to compete with the Honda Del Sol , which was the Compleat Chick Car.
(Although, with the venerable 289 CC engine, the T-bird was far from wussie in performance.)
The good news, if you have to buy a Ford, is that the Mustang is back ...
... in a style which hasn't seen since the egregious Mustang II.