Friday, August 14, 2009

Finance Committee to drop end-of-life provision - Finance Committee to drop end-of-life provision:

Here's good news for Olde Pharts:

"The Senate Finance Committee will drop a controversial provision on consultations for end-of-life care from its proposed healthcare bill, its top Republican member said Thursday.

The committee, which has worked on putting together a bipartisan healthcare reform bill, will drop the controversial provision after it was derided by conservatives as 'death panels' to encourage euthanasia."
Why is this "Good News"? Well, it saves you from a bunch of Socialist LugNuts who want to talk to you to, instead of that MRI your doctor says you desperately need? Just try taking Tylenol 3 for the rest of your short happy life.

The "Bad News"?

Well, they 'just aren't going to talk to you about it".

Instead, they're just going to deny your request for an MRI. Because it may not be available. Who's going to pay for it?

The Brits

The Brits like this, because under the rules of National Health Care (NHC), if you are too old and need 'special treatment', they just won't give it to you. And if you have 'retired out of country' (although you have contributed to NHC for your whole life), or if your drugs are "too expensive", they won't give it to you.

Perhaps you have paid privately for a drug which may extend your life, because can afford the payments for a specific treatment which the British NHC has denied you? Then you can (and apparently, WILL) be denied ALL other heath care benefits regardless of your previous participation and contributions to NHC.

The Canadians:
How about the many stories that Canadians pay less for health care?

We recently wrote about Canadian Health Care, and the summation (if you believe the source, which I find not entirely unreasonable), if you want to get 'fixed' in Canada, it won't cost you much money. On the other hand, actually GETTING the Health Care may not happen within a time-frame which meets your "immediate care" needs. That is, Health Care may be cheap, but if you can't find a doctor who can treat you before you lose a leg or two ... how much help is that?

The sad fact is that when you can't belly up to the bar, mates, the cost of the drinks is immaterial.

There are lots of articles suggesting that Canadian Health Care is superior to American Heath Care, but they're built upon the same fallacy: talk about the cost, not about the abundancy of health care plans which are available ... now ... when you need it.

There's one guy (Arthur Salm in San Diego, as a GOOGLE-chosen example), who claims that "Canadians Are Not Dying By The Milions").

Good to know, but misleading. Hell, we all die sooner or later. What counts is the Quality of ife.

Let's take a look at Mr, Sam's assertions:
... in Canada, everyone is covered. No one worries about how they’ll pay for medical care, no one is afraid to leave their job because they’ll lose coverage, no one is bankrupted by medical bills, no one has to choose between a prescription drug and putting food on the table. The Canadian government doesn’t mandate or guarantee health insurance; the Canadian government mandates and guarantees health care. Doctors receive payment from, but are not employed by, the state. No “government bureaucrat” determines what test or treatment a patient will receive; if a doctor orders it, the patient gets it. Period.

No Blood For Oil

Families Outraged Over Possible Release of Lockerbie Bomber - Political News -
Families of the victims of the infamous 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing are outraged that the Libyan man responsible for killing 270 people -- most of them Americans -- may soon be released.

Officials in Scotland said Thursday they are considering early release for Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi, who is the sole person convicted in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The former Libyan secret service agent, who is serving a life sentence in a Scottish prison, has terminal cancer and could be freed as early as next week on compassionate grounds -- much to the dismay of the U.S. State Department, which said Thursday al-Megrahi should remain in jail.

"It's absolutely grotesque and hideous," said Susan Cohen of Cape May Court House, N.J., whose 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, was aboard the London-to-New York flight.

"We have had nothing you would call justice for the mass murder of 270 people -- the worst terrorist attack before 9/11. And this has nothing to with compassion -- it's all about oil," Cohen told

She said Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi will feel vindicated if al-Megrahi is allowed to return to Libya -- and that the U.S. and other countries will do little to intervene because of oil interests in the Middle East.

"The powers of the world believe that Qaddafi has to be pacified, and part of that has to do with al-Megrahi's release," Cohen said. "The man is a tyrant, but he has oil."
Maybe it's just me, but it seems to me that Mrs. Cohen has a point here.

We have endured cries of "No Blood For Oil" since the Iraq war started over 5 years ago, and that was one of the catchphrases of those persons of the Liberal persuasion who demanded out support of the "Bush Lied, People Died" school of thought.

Yet here, in the early days of what seems likely to prove the most Liberal administration since FDR, a friendly government appears to be willing to release a proven terrorist and mass murderer .. and one cannot help wondering it this may just be an attempt to achieve the "most favorite nation" status in regards to a trumped-up despot of the middle east.

Muammar al-Qaddafi
(the infamous terrorist-supporter, agent of terrorism, supporter of Arab Nationalism, supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, author of the 1986 Berlin Discotheque Bombing and the terrorist bombing of the 1988 Pan Am 103 flight explosion over Lockerbie Scotland (which killed 270 people and led to international sactions) and the 1987 bombing of French Flight 772 which lead to a further 170 deaths... is not a nice man.

The West has no reason to love him, or his agents.

Yet here we see that The Brits is prepared to release one of his terrorist agents "on compassionate grounds.

How much "commpassion" has Qaddafi -- or his agents -- shown the West?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crystal ball sets unforeseen fire

Crystal ball sets unforeseen fire | The Sun |News

The 20 (British Pounds Sterling) ornament refracted the rays straight into the back of Kim Yeates's TV which overheated and exploded, igniting a nearby sofa.

Kim, 53, who lived alone, was out visiting a friend and returned to find 10,000 (British Pounds Sterling) worth of damage caused to her first-floor flat.

Firefighters blamed the 4in-diameter glass sphere she had kept in her window in Worle, Somerset.
I am posting this because, as bizarre as the situation seems, I have some familiarity with the phenomenon.

In the mid 1980's, I was married to a lady who was a believer in many New Age philosophies including the metaphysical healing powers of crystals. She brought with her two daughters (8 and 10) from a previous marriage.

One Christmas my wife bought a six-inch diameter crystal ball for her younger daughter, for purposes which were perhaps meaningful only to her. The crystal ball came with a small stand, and the daughter placed that stand on a mirrored dressing table in her bedroom.

There it stood through the long winter, into the spring and nearing summer.

One Saturday morning in May, we were all at home having breakfast when I noticed the smell of burning wood in the house. Since we were no longer using the fireplace, I was concerned. There was no reason to smell smoke; our house was closed, and even if the neighbors were using their fireplace we were unlikely to be aware of it.

We investigated, following the smoke smell from the dining room to the living room, down the hall, to the daughter's bedroom at the end of the hall.

When we entered the bedroom, we saw the morning sun shining through the east-facing window. The early morning sunlight was refracted by the crystal ball and focused on the back-board of the dressing table much as a magnifying glass will focus the rays of the sun. There was a perfect circle burnt into the maple backboard, less than a quarter of an inch in diameter, and so much smoke was curling from that circle it was obvious that it was near to the point of ignition.

Obviously this had occurred within a few minutes of the sun striking the crystal ball, because over time the burnt spot would be elongated to an oval by the movement of the sun.

I stood in front of the crystal, blocking the sunlight from the window, and the intensified sunbeam blinked out.

We removed the crystal ball and put it in a drawer, making sure that all of us understood that the object should stay in the dark unless it was brought out for ... whatever purpose crystal balls serve. It should never be left unattended or on display.

Because we were all witness to this phenomena of nature and refracted light, the crystal ball was no longer a fire risk in our house.

Still, it's very easy for me to understand how this young lady in Somerset passively burned her own home down.

Yes, it's a long and boring story. The point is that it's not a matter of Brit governmental incompetence at work, but something which could happen to everyone.

If it could save just one child ...

... and is it meaningful that the article was posted by a newspaper called "The Sun"?

(Can you hear the theme song from "The Twilight Zone?")

Monday, August 10, 2009

Microstamping Ammunition in California: LAW

I've spent 3 days, and exposed myself to no small amount of embarassment trying (and failing) to establish whether a current California law exists which mandates "Microstamping Ammunition".

I have finally established that such a law exists. It was difficult to find because the actual law does not include the word "Microstamping".

Search Parameters
I searched "California Law" for "Microstamping", with no hits.
Then I brought up all California Laws under the google "Find California Code" and got a list of the 10 most recent bills.

From that list, I worked from the top down and searched each for the literal "MICROSTAMPING". Because I typed the search argument (CTRL/F) as I typed the literal, I got a hit on "MICRO" under the category "PENAL CODE SECTION 12125-12133".

And here, in an (undated, of course) section 12126(b)(7) I found the following:

12126. As used in this chapter, "unsafe handgun" means any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 12001, for which any of the following is true:
(b) For a pistol:
(7) Commencing January 1, 2010, for all semiautomatic pistols that are not already listed on the roster pursuant to Section 12131, it is not designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol, etched or otherwise imprinted in two or more places on the interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol, and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired, provided that the Department of Justice certifies that the technology used to create the imprint is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions. The Attorney General may also approve a method of equal or greater reliability and effectiveness in identifying the specific serial number of a firearm from spent cartridge casings discharged by that firearm than that which is set forth in this paragraph, to be thereafter required as otherwise set forth by this paragraph where the Attorney General certifies that this new method is also unencumbered by any patent restrictions. Approval by the Attorney General shall include notice of that fact via regulations adopted by the Attorney General for purposes of implementing that method for purposes of this paragraph.

The microscopic array of characters required by this section shall not be considered the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's number, or other mark of identification, including any distinguishing number or mark assigned by the Department of Justice, within the meaning of Sections 12090 and 12094.
I leave it up to the reader to search for the cited sections of California Law. And I wish you luck, because that entire range of bills which should include 12090 and 12094 are missing from the website.

12131, however, IS available:
12131. (a) On and after January 1, 2001, the Department of Justice shall compile, publish, and thereafter maintain a roster listing all of the pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person that have been tested by a certified testing laboratory, have been determined not to be unsafe handguns, and may be sold in this state pursuant to this title. The roster shall list, for each firearm, the manufacturer, model number, and model name.

To summarize, it is indeed not legal in California to purchase (as of 2010) a firearm which
" not designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol, etched or otherwise imprinted in two or more places on the interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol, and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired, provided that the Department of Justice certifies that the technology used to create the imprint is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions.
Whether the Attorney General (and/or the Department of Justice) can certify that the technical requirements are able to be met ... well, that remains to be seen. Given the current political climate in California, one may be forgiven for assuming that the qualifications will be judged on the widest possible criterea. That is to say, the DOJ will not insist on rigorous testing to confirm that the tracking of handguns based on Microstamping will be 100% infallible, only that it be shown that a certain percent (whichever prevails after cursory testing) be demonstrated 'on occassion'.

If I seem dubious as to the rigor of application of criterea, that's only because I assume that the Great State of California is less concerned with "apprehension of criminals" than with "eliminating private possession of handguns by insuring that law-abiding citizens are denied access, by fiat".

In the meantime, I do heartily render apologies to those who have asserted that "Microstamping" requirement have been enacted into law in California. In particular, I offer "Mea Maxima Culpa" apologies to the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association (PAFOA) for a comment doubting a 10/13/2007 thread on "CA: Microstamping Bill Passed"

KiethPA was right; I was wrong.

Sorry about that.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Microstamping Ammunition in California: 2007 vs 2009

Okay, I'm following up on a LOT of websites which state categorically that the Microstamping Bill has been "passed" in California.

I don't believe itg.

Here's the skinny:
The microstamping bill in the CA 2007-2008 session is AB1471, and it has been given the status of "inactive".

That has been confused with the "procurement of materials for Los Angeles Transit Authority" bill for the CA 2008-2009 session, also labeled AB1471, which may or may not have been passed.

You may notice that the URL for each bill is identical, but the destination of each URL is entirely different.
(Note: don't copy & paste, but click on the actual links. If this confuses you, let me know and I'll later provide the links which lead to the links for the appropriate legislative session. It's a Geek Thing, you wouldn't understand. In fact, I don't understand except that I suspect the California webmasters screwed up by not being careful about how they build their links.)

I thnk a lot of commenters and bloggers have confused the two links with the result that they think the Microstamping (2007-2008) bill passed, when actually the" Metropolitan Transit" (2008-2009) bill was the one that passed.

There may be more on this later, because there are a LOT of articles which clicked on the 2007-2008 bill to discover the contents of the "passed bill", and that clicked-link referenced the wrong (2008-2009) bill comment from, among others, the Governor of California.

Strange that there has been so much commentary, even in the MSM, stating that the Microstamping bill has been passed in California ... and the link they refer to has been the MTA bill.

So much for the MSM claim that they are "more reliable than bloggers" because they have this "backup for facts-checking" thing going for them.

New Jersy Microstamping: V_2009

It's a New Jersey Day, and I 'blame' it all on Cemetery's Gun Blog who replied to a recent Cogito Ergo Geek blog article in a comment.

You should see our handgun microstamping bill that our public safety commitee has. It affects **ALL** handguns. Yup. Revolvers. Muzzleloading pistols. Cap and Ball. Self loaders. In NJ, a handgun, is a handgun. No if's, and's, or but's about it.
(He also posted the information on the [] New Jersey Hunter forum.)

Of course I had to follow it up, if only because (a) it was a guest comment and (b) we spent a lot of time reading about MicroStamping last year. Bedsides

Sure enough, New Jersey's Assembly Bill #3848, in the 213th legislative session (March, 2009) presented this bill.

Now March 9 seems a bit late in the legislative session to present a controversial new anti-gun bill, and I don't know how long the session lasts. But here's the search results on this bill number, which shows a comparable senate bill S498 introduced on January 8, 2008 --- which was described as "PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2008 SESSION".

Here's the 'statement' on S498:

This bill would require that all newly manufactured handguns sold by licensed retail firearms dealers be micro-stamped.

Micro-stamping is a laser technology that can engrave or etch minute identifying characters or letters on small, even exceptionally small, objects or items. In the case of a handgun, these engravings or etchings would be placed on the firing pin of the handgun in a manner to ensure their imprinting on each cartridge case when the handgun is fired. The array of characters or imprints on the cartridge could then be utilized by law enforcement to identify the make, model and serial number of the handgun.

The bill requires licensed retail firearms dealers to report their handgun sales to the State Police. The information required in this report is substantially the same information these dealers currently record in a sales register they are statutorily required to maintain. The bill directs the State Police to establish and maintain this information in a data base.

The verbiage on the Assembly is similar, if not identical.

There is nothing new in either the 1/8/08 Senate bill, or the 3/9/09 Assembly bill. While I haven't bothered to compare the two bills to determine whether one has more restrictions than the other, my experience has been that within a given state in which a "microstamping ammunition" bill occurs in both the Senate and the Assembly (or "House") generally they're both reading from the same playbook. Also, that playbook has been provided by the same external source, whether Gun Control NGO's, or the company which purports to provide the technology to support the bill ... at great expense, and with unproven reliability. But I digress.

Looking at the NJ Legislature BILLS BY COMMITTEE, I'm unable to determine the status of either the Senate or the Assembly bill. I haven't yet determined when the NJ Legislative Session ends, although the official website does not list 2009-2010 bills, which implies that the 'next' session has not begun. (Typically, State Legislative Sessions roughly parallel their Fiscal years. Bills which have not been acted upon, or which remain "in committee", tend to fail by default. They may be introduced in the next legislative session, but that requires that they go through the entire process of legislative review.)

I see no evidence that this bill has enjoyed any activity in either NJ house, and so I assume that it will die.

Probably, there has been so much effort in attempting (successfully) to pass Governor Corzine's pet anti-gun bill limiting individual firearm purchases to one-per-month, the Legislature has decided to put all of its anti-gun energy there and ignore all other anti-gun bills for the current (2008-2009) legislative session.

Still, that doesn't mean that New Jersey (or other stages) are giving up on Microstamping Ammunition entirely. In a July 26, 2009 article, NJ.COM "Real Time News" reports that

"Corzine calls for tougher gun control laws"

Gov. Jon Corzine convened a press conference today with his running mate and several Democratic allies to call for additional reforms.


The governor also is likely to stoke the ongoing debate between gun-control advocates and gun rights groups in New Jersey, where regulations are among the strictest in the nation, with his microstamping proposal.

Corzine called for the mandatory microstamping of new semi-autmoatic handguns, an emerging technology in which lasers inscribe numbers on firing pins. That means spent casings show a serial number that law enforcement can trace.

A bill introduced in the Assembly March and currently in committee calls for new handguns to be microstamped. The procedure has been adopted by one state, California, and is under consideration by several others. [CGE Note: it's news to me that California has made this law!]

Again, as of 2 weeks ago the Microstamping bill was in committee. That doesn't mean it's going to be passed, but it doesn't mean that it won't come up again.

On the other hand, in 2007 - 2008 Cogito Ergo Geek (CGE) has apparently underestimate the political "will to do harm" at the state level.

Still, regardless of the notions of the Main Stream Media, the latest OFFICIAL news from the Golden State suggest that the California bill AB1471 (introduced) status has not yet become 'enacted to law'.

I may be confused by the similarity of bill titles, or others may be confused by a blogger article dated February of 2009, which states that:

"One thing that has had many Californians fearful for their continued 2nd Amendment rights is the signing into law of AB 1471, Crime Gun Identification Act of 2007, effective January 1, 2010.

This law requires that new concealable weapons to have a means of imprinting the make, model, and serial number of the weapon on cartridge cases fired by that weapon.

The text of the law may be found here."

But the cited link (see above) refers to AB1471 of the 2007-2008 Legislative Session.

As nearly as I can tell, the AB1471 for the 2008-2009 Legislative session refers to materials procurement for the Los Angeles MTA:


BILL NUMBER : A.B. No. 1471
TOPIC : Procurement: Los Angeles County Metropolitan

Majority Vote Required
Non-State-Mandated Local Program
Non-Tax Levy

July 9 Read second time, amended, and re-referred to
Com. on APPR.
July 8 From committee: Amend, and do pass as amended, and
re-refer to Com. on APPR with recommendation:
To Consent Calendar. (Ayes 10. Noes 0.) (July 7).
July 1 In committee: Hearing postponed by committee.
June 29 In committee: Hearing postponed by committee.
June 4 Referred to Com. on T. & H.
May 21 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS.
for assignment.
May 21 Read third time, passed, and to Senate.
(Ayes 77. Noes 0. Page 1631.)
May 18 Read second time. To Consent Calendar.
May 14 From committee: Do pass.
To Consent Calendar. (May 13).
May 5 Re-referred to Com. on APPR.
May 4 Read second time and amended.
Apr. 30 From committee: Amend, and do pass as amended, and
re-refer to Com. on APPR. with recommendation:
To Consent Calendar. (Ayes 13. Noes0.) (April 27).
Apr. 21 Re-referred to Com. on TRANS.
Apr. 20 From committee chair, with author's amendments:
Amend, and re-refer to Com. on TRANS.
Read second time and amended.
Apr. 2 Referred to Com. on TRANS.
Mar. 2 Read first time.
Mar. 1 From printer. May be heard in committee March 30.
Feb. 27 Introduced. To print.

I may be wrong, and the NJ.COM and other internet sources may be right. But so far, I've been unable to find any evidence that the Microstamping of Ammunition has actually been enacted. If you have information to the contrary, I would be grateful if you would provide the evidence so that I can address what most of us would conceive as 'an egregious misapplication of the legislative process'.

When I am corrected, I'll post The Real Truth here. Immediately ... well, as soon as I verify the evidence.

New Jersey Governor Corrizone signs One_Handgun_a_month_law

Office of the Governor | News announcement of '1 gun a month' law

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine announced on August 6, 2009, the enactment of a bill which will limit the civilian purchase of handguns to one per month, with a limit of 13 per year.

The Philly Enquirer wrote about this measure:
New Jersey will become the fourth state in the nation to limit handgun purchases to one every month. Gov. Corzine signed the controversial measure into law yesterday.

Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer joined Corzine and called on Pennsylvania to become No. 5. The law, which is aimed at slowing gun trafficking, would make life safer in New Jersey and neighboring states by fighting trafficking, he said.

"I just hope Pennsylvanians would make it safer for us by passing this bill," Palmer said at a ceremony outside Trenton City Hall.

The law aims to impede "straw purchasers" - people who have clean records and buy guns legally, then pass them to criminals. The law will take effect in early January but could see some changes before then. A task force is reviewing its potential impact and will make recommendations this fall.


California, Maryland, and Virginia have similar laws.

Corzine announced the new gun-control bill during a classic "court-house steps" press conference, appearing backed by dozens of adolescents dressed in blue-over-yellow gym outfits.

The seven-minute press conference is available on Corzine's official web site, and is also presented here: [UPDATE: because the video begins automatically whenever it is referenced, and because it loads slow and runs long, the embedded version has been de-activated by Cogito Ergo Geek. Frankly, it's pedantic, ponderous, and boring. But the link will remain for those who wish to find the original source of the comments quoted below.]

Some of Corzine's most quotable statements include:

"Believe me, the advocates for the status quo, for no change, are willing to go to incredible lengths to make sure that we don't have the gun control laws safety regulations that we need in this state, and in this nation."

and -------
"It is a very simple concept. Somebody can purchase one gun a month, thirteen a year ought to be enough for anybody. And anyone who would argue otherwise, I think, is actually losing track of what is happening in our cities. Twenty-eight percent ... of the guns that get traced back in crime events are actually purchased in New Jersey. And many of those that are bought are bought in bulk purchases.
Corzine's office did not offer sources to support those statistics.

(H/T: Cemetary's Gun Blob Website; here and here. Also note his comment on the Cogito Ergohere. Details on his comment will be addressed in a future article ... say, in about an hour from now when I finish my research.)