Thursday, January 31, 2013

Might Be Worth Getting Binoculars Out To Watch

It's going to be close.  From January 31, 2013 Fox News:
An asteroid about half the size of a football field will zoom past Earth on Feb. 15, closer than the man-made satellites that power GPS, says NASA....

At its closest point, the asteroid will only be 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface.
It should be 8th magnitude, and moving fast -- " traveling at a speed equal to twice the width of a full moon every minute."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Schwarzenegger's New Film

I saw the poster for his new movie (which looks like a great action movie, if you are a Hollyweird gun control hypocrite), and I had no choice but to parody it.

British Rape Rates

This is a spreadsheet of crimes detected in England/Wales 2010/2011. There were 54,982 sexual offenses reported, but this web site belonging to a UK rape crisis group indicates that the British Crime Survey indicates about 80,000 rapes per year. (As in United States, there are many rapes not reported to the police, which show up in surveys of victims.) The current United Kingdom population is 56.1 million.  That would mean about about 142 rapes/100,000 population.

 Table 1 of Uniform Crime Reports for 2011 shows the United States has a reported to police rape rate of 42.8/100,000 rapes. The 2010 National Crime Victimization Survey shows 188,380 rapes in the U.S.; the U.S. population in 2010 was 308 million.  That gives 61.16 rapes per 100,000 population, our about 43% of the British Crime Survey victimization rate.

I certainly will not claim the United Kingdom has more than twice the rape rate because American women are allowed to own guns while British women for practical purposes are not, but it does make you wonder, doesn't it?

UPDATE: A reader says that the British Crime Survey figure that RapeCrisis uses is, not contrary to their claim, a count of rapes, but all sexual assaults (which would include unwanted touching of a sexual nature).  I don't find that claim implausible, because groups that call themselves whateverCrisis are not generally terribly objective, but RapeCrisis make a clear distinction between sexual assaults in general and rape in particular:
Around 400,000 women are sexually assaulted and 80,000 women are raped each year (British Crime Survey).
Worse, the reader who makes this claim cites a document that does not seem to support his claim.

Convicted Rapist: Gun Control Advocate

A man who runs a gun control organization in Ohio turns out to be...a convicted rapist.  From Buckeye Firearms Association:
After reading the article, a Buckeye Firearms Association supporter decided to contact McCorry, the apparent protest organizer, to inform him about the inaccuracies in his statements about firearms (it isn't illegal for private individuals to sell a gun at the show without a background check, people aren't selling M16s or fully-automatic AK47s at Hara Arena, modern sporting rifles are used for hunting, gun shows are rarely used by criminals as a source for guns, rifles [of any type] are used in murders far less than fists or baseball bats, etc.).

The supporter quickly found more than he bargained for. A simple Google search for Jerome McCorry reveals that the man trying to tell the public what weapons they should be allowed to own is a convicted felon.
Nor is this a name coincidence:
As can be seen in the WHIO-TV video, Anti-Gun-Protestor Jerome McCorry is wearing a jacket and identified in the on-screen graphic as the President of The Adam Project. The Adam Project's website lists its address as 1426 Home Ave., Dayton - the same address as Rapist-and-Convicted-Felon Jerome McCorry.
And of course, convicted rapist McCorry also organized a "hoodie" demonstration to protest the death of Trayvon Martin. Gee, can you imagine any reason that a rapist might be upset about victims owning guns?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Tactical Assault Rock

Now being auctioned on eBay:

Tactical Assault Rock from CroMagnum Arms International(CAI) NOW IN BLACK!


The assault rock is back. These have been flying off the shelf since Cain first took the tactical advantage against Abel.

Get this low speed, high drag assault rock while you still can. This is next on Dianne Feinstein's list.


-enhanced grip texture
-easily concealable
-can be thrown as fast as you can swing your arm
-low tech tactical black spray paint


Lots of Upcoming Talk Shows

I will keep updating this, and keeping at the top of the blog.  By the way: I am putting out $350 a month to a PR firm to keep talk shows around the country (and in some cases, across the country) keeping this problem of mental illness at the forefront of the discussion.  The very modest increase in book sales does not even come close to covering the cost of the PR firm, and I no longer have a highly paid private sector job.

If you think that this is an important topic that needs to be on the national agenda, it would help to have some money coming in to help cover those costs.  I have added a PayPal button at the top of the blog if you would like to contribute.


11:00 AM ET, Cody Talks (not clear if this is a local or a national program)


1:00 PM ET (45 min.), Dr. Robert Rose's "Rewiring Your Brain"


11:00 PM ET, Jim Bohannon Show 


9:15 AM ET (15 min.) on WELI 960 AM, Hartford, CT

11:15 AM ET (15 min.) on the Josh Tolley Show (seems to be syndicated)


Sometime in the afternoon...not clear yet if this will be live or this is tape time, but for The Blaze TV


3:30 PM ET, WDRC, Hartford, CT


8:50 AM ET, WTIC, Connecticut

1:00 PM CT, WKYX 570 AM, Paducah, KY

3:00 PM ET, WBZW 1520 AM, Orlando, FL


6:20 AM ET (15 min.), WFLA 970 AM, Tampa, FL

8:10 AM (15 min.), KXYL 102.3 FM, Brownwood, TX


7:40 AM ET, WDUN 550 AM, 102.9 FM, North GA

8:50 AM ET, WTIC 1080 AM, Hartford, CT


5:00 PM PT, KSFO 560 AM, San Francisco, CA


11:35 AM (15 min.) The Scott Hennen Show (national)


1:09 PM PT, KPRL, San Luis Obispo, CA

8:15 PM CT, KBMV 107.1 FM, Springfield, MO


3:35 PM ET, WPTF 850 AM, Raleigh-Durham, NC

9:30 AM CT, WIBA 1310 AM, Madison, WI


2:05 PM, WLW 700 AM, Cincinnati, OH


8:05 AM ET (15 min.), WIS 1320 AM Columbia, SC


6:50 PM ET (15 min.), WYSL, Avon, NY

9:00 PM ET (15 min.), CJAD, Montreal, Quebec


5:00 PM PT (15 min.), KFIV 1360 AM in Modesto and KWSX 1280 AM Stockton, CA


1:00 PM ET (20 min.), The Todd Veinotte Show, 88.9 FM, New Brunswick, Canada

2:00 PM ET (15 min.) on CJNI, 95.7 FM, Halifax/St. John's, Nova Scotia

7:30 PM ET (60 min.), WBZT 1230 AM, West Palm Beach, FL

8:00 PM ET (45 minutes), Reese on the Radio, carried nationally

8:30 AM ET, WNRR, 1380 AM, South Carolina


4:30 PM ET, WAPI Birmingham, Alabama


1:15 PM ET on the Josh Tolley Show (seems to be syndicated)


8:30 AM ET WPTF (apparently, 850 AM) Durham, North Carolina


7:50 AM ET WSYR 570 AM, 106.9 FM Syracuse, New York

10:55 AM ET (or perhaps slightly thereafter) Price of Business on KTEK 1110 AM, Wall Street Radio Network, Houston TX

noon ET SuperTalk Mississippi apparently carried on a number of stations across Mississippi


7:50 AM ET on WDRC Radio 1360 AM (I am pretty sure the AM, not the FM station)Hartford, Connecticut.

7:15 AM ET (6:15 AM CT) Michigan's Morning ShowHosts:  Steve Gruber & Jo Anne Paul, 14 Stations Across Michigan

6:48 PM ET, 93.9 FM Columbia, MO

10:15 PM ET (9:15 AM CT) CJOB 680 AM, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Wow: Arm Transplants

When I was young, this would have been science fiction.  From January 29, 2013 ABC News:
A team of surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital has performed the hospital's first successful bilateral arm transplant -- giving two new arms to Brendan Marrocco, an Iraq war veteran.

One month after getting his two new arms, Marrocco tweeted on Jan. 18, "Ohh yeah today has been one month since my surgery and they already move a little."

Members of Marrocco's surgical team, led by Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, were expected to give details today in Baltimore on exactly how the doctors did the rare transplant and prevented Marrocco's body from rejecting the new limbs.
Sad to say, but war is among the greatest promoters of medical innovation.  I am skeptical that Sgt. Marrocco's replacement arms will ever work as well as the originals -- but even this has to be a big improvement over prosthetics.  Wow.

1913 Liberty Head Nickel Up For Auction

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of the rarest of rare coins, as this article about an upcoming auction explains:
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, but it's the coin's back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then found to be the real deal....
The nickel made its debut in a most unusual way. It was struck at the Philadelphia mint in late 1912, the final year of its issue, but with the year 1913 cast on its face - the same year the beloved Buffalo Head nickel was introduced.

Mudd said a mint worker named Samuel W. Brown is suspected of producing the coin and altering the die to add the bogus date.

The coins' existence wasn't known until Brown offered them for sale at the American Numismatic Association Convention in Chicago in 1920, beyond the statute of limitations. The five remained together under various owners until the set was broken up in 1942.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Voting With Their Wallets

I went into Sportsman's Warehouse in Meridian Saturday to buy a replacement belt.  (The belt that I bought a few months back at Cabela's suffered a catastrophic belt buckle failure -- the metal casting broke.)  While I was there, I went over to the gun section to see what the state of things was.

Let me explain that when we first moved to Idaho in 2001, Sportsman's Warehouse was one of those "Wow! We moved to America!" experiences.  I am used to gun stores with dozens of handguns under glass -- but usually one each for a particular model and finish.  If they had a Colt Government Model in blue, they also had one in stainless steel, and maybe in nickel.  But at Sportsman's Warehouse, they did not just have them under glass -- they had dowel rods sticking out of the wall with multiple copies of the same model and finish waiting for sale.

When I wandered over to the gun counter Saturday, there were only a few handguns available for sale, and all of the "assault weapons" (or in preferred terminology, "MSRs" for "Modern Sporting Rifles") were gone.  There were signs explaining that MSRs were now one to a customer, and any ammunition was a maximum of three boxes per type to a customer.

Major Chords vs. Minor Chords

Major chords are generally bright and happy; minor chords are often somber and depressing.  An interesting example of the difference is The Doors' Riders on the Storm  redone with major chords.  Note: the video is marginally not safe for work at the end.

The Bogus Theory Of The Second Amendment

I'm glad to see my friend Nicholas Johnson point out some of the flaws in Carl T. Bogus' bogus theory of the Second Amendment.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Myths About The Dick Act of 1903

I have been receiving emails concerning the Dick Act of 1903 which are simply wrong.  David Hardy does a good job of pointing out the errors.  There are serious constitutional problems with the proposed assault weapon laws, but the Dick Act isn't one of them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Someone Needs To Tell Biden What The Law Is

From January 25, 2013 ABC  News:
The vice president reported the panel had reached “pretty broad consensus” over what criteria they proposed should deny a sale, including “mental capacity.”

“One of the problems that was pointed out here was that there was an adjudication of the young man that committed the crime at Virginia Tech, and yet he was able to go out and purchase two weapons,” he said.

In April 2007 student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 at the Blacksburg, Va., campus using two handguns. Cho had purchased the weapons legally, but subsequent investigations following the deaths found Cho had a well-documented history of mental health issues.
He was never involuntarily committed, which is the existing standard for denying firearms purchase or possession under federal law.
Biden also said convicted felons and those found guilty of domestic abuse should be denied the ability to own firearms.
Guess what? That is already the law and has been for many years. Convicted felons and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence are already added to the firearms background check and it is unlawful for them to possess a firearm or ammunition, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  Perhaps Biden needs to learn the law.

We Already Knew This About Our Cat

A New Zealand economist is proposing genocide for cats, but in a very nice, gentle, New Zealand sort of way -- requiring all existing cats to be sterilized, and prohibiting anymore from entering the country -- for the birds, of course:
Morgan points out that your cat “is actually a friendly neighborhood serial killer.”
The other morning, our cat was trying to catch a mouse.  We thought we had saved it from a gruesome end, but later, my wife found the cat doing with the body what orcas do with seals that they have killed: throwing it up in the air again and again.

Of course, in the Middle Ages, Europeans killed cats, Satan's familiars, and look where that took them: gobs of rats, and eventually, Black Death.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Liberals At Work

The left wants marijuana legal not only for medical but even recreational use. But this isn't an ideological support for freedom.  See this January 23, 2013 Fox News report from Oregon:
Rep. Mitch Greenlick, from Portland, is sponsoring a bill that makes cigarettes a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it would be illegal to possess or distribute cigarettes without a doctor's prescription.
Under the proposal, offenders would face maximum punishments of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine or both.
Other drugs and substances that are considered Schedule III controlled substances are ketamine, lysergic acid and anabolic steroids.
"The State Board of Pharmacy may adopt rules placing requirements and limitations on the sale or transfer of products containing nicotine," the bill's text says...
"I hope it passes and I hope people actually think about it," said Rick Cannon of Salem. "You know there's less and less smokers everyday because they know how bad it is for them, so I just hope people wake up and realize how bad it actually is for them."
I have mentioned before how liberal controlled governments are pushing for bans on smoking in private homes--but exempting marijuana

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scammers Of Limited Intelligence

Among the sadder emails of the day:
Hello There,
HAPPY NEW YEAR.I will like to make an inquiry on what you sell. Before i proceed,
Please inform me if you accept Credit card as mode of payment ? Also can you allow
my shipper to come for the pick up of the order?
Please include your website where i can pick item needed.
I would be awaiting to receive the reply as soon as possible.
Thank you and God God bless you.
John Bless.
Blessed store Ltd
Address:46 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue,
11528, Greece
+30 21 0728 8392
Web:Under construction
You don't know what I sell but you want to know if I accept credit cards for the order?  What if I sell something that you really don't want, and you could not possibly resell?  Perhaps chunks of basalt at $500 per pound?  Not too worry, this guy will be happy to overpay me for them, and then ask for a check for the amount he overpaid me with his bogus credit card.

Is anyone stupid enough to be taken in by stuff like this?  Even President Obama wouldn't be taken in by this.

Monday, January 21, 2013

More Consequences of Obamacare

A few weeks back, I linked to an article in one of the Pittsburgh papers about community college that was cutting back hours for adjuncts and other part-time staff to less than 30 hours per week so that the college would not have to provide health insurance to these employees starting January 1, 2014.  Unsurprisingly, other colleges and universities are taking the same path: reducing hours of adjuncts to less than 30 hours per week. The net effect is that many adjuncts, who already are very poorly paid, will have even less money with which to purchase health insurance that by law they will be required to go and find at the beginning of next year. Via Meadia points out:
Universities are citadels of blue model thinking and most faculty members are relentlessly liberal in their politics. But the reality is that these same universities are some of the nastiest and most exploitative employers in America. The exploitation of adjuncts is an ugly feature of contemporary American academic life, and the smug complacency about it among many beneficiaries of the two tier system should remind us all that moral hypocrisy can co-exist with impressive degrees.

2012 Hottest Year On Record

I've seen a lot of news coverage referring to 2012 as the hottest year on record, and some are more careful to say hottest year on record in the United States.  Click here to see a graph of temperatures for the United States from NOAA.  Even assuming that the temperature records do not reflect problems with weather station siting (like the end of jet runways and urban heat island effects), you can see that 1934 was distinctly warmer than 2012.

UPDATE: A reader points out that graph is for May; if you include July or August, 2012 is the warmest.  I don't immediately see a way to get a whole year average there.


Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has taken over as Purdue's new president, and his opening letter to the university is full of gutsy statements.  From January 21, 2013 Inside Higher Education:
  • "College costs too much and delivers too little. Students are leaving, when they graduate at all, with loads of debt but without evidence that they grew much in either knowledge or critical thinking."
  • "Administrative costs, splurging on 'resort' amenities, and an obsession with expensive capital projects have run up the cost to students without enhancing the value of the education they receive.”
  • "Rigor has weakened. Grade inflation has drained the meaning from grade point averages…."
  • "The mission of undergraduate instruction is increasingly subordinated to research and to work with graduate students."
  • "Too many professors are spending too much time 'writing papers for each other,' researching abstruse topics of no real utility and no real incremental contribution to human knowledge or understanding."
  • "Diversity is prized except in the most important realm of all, diversity of thought. The academies that, through the unique system of tenure, once enshrined freedom of opinion and inquiry now frequently are home to the narrowest sort of closed-mindedness and the worst repression of dissident ideas."
  • “Athletics, particularly in NCAA Division I, is out of control both financially and as a priority of university attention."

Even better: he came in at a lower salary than his predecessor.  There has been a lot of criticism from the faculty of administrative bloat:
The focus in the Daniels letter on cost-cutting and doing things in new ways comes after several months in which faculty members have captured press attention with concerns about "administrative bloat" at the university. Indeed a Bloomberg article in November made Purdue the prime example of that problem. "Purdue has a $313,000-a-year acting provost and six vice and associate vice provosts, including a $198,000 chief diversity officer. It employs 16 deans and 11 vice presidents, among them a $253,000 marketing officer and a $433,000 business school chief,"
 You don't have to be at a top level research university to find this administrative bloat problem, either.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One Of Those Conversations That Just Makes You Cry

I spoke to a woman today whose oldest son is 35 and is awaiting what is likely to be a life sentence. He has been in and out of jails, prisons, and mental hospitals for most of his life. Now it is recognized that he has bipolar disorder, but for many years he did crimes that involved robbery and threats on police officers, and this woman was afraid that he was going to end up as a suicide by cop. She sent him My Brother Ron a while back.  He read it, and was overwhelmed by how much it described what his life has been like, and how his mental illness problem caused him to do crazy and criminal things.

Talking to his mother, she can now look back on his childhood and realize how terribly severe his problems were.  But they weren't recognized early enough as mental illness, and now rest of his life is going to be spent behind bars.

Such an utter waste, and I know that he is by no means alone.

A Day To Pray For America

From Mike Huckabee:
Join me for "A Day to Pray", where we will ask God to grant our leaders, from the local school houses to the White House, the wisdom they need for the road ahead. We will gather to ask God for forgiveness and healing of our land and to bless our Country and her people. This will not be a political rally but a spiritual event and hopefully one that can help bring us together as we move forward as a nation.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wished I Had Known About These Rallies at State Capitols Today

All across the country, and reasonably well attended.  My wife and I would have been there in Boise. No one tells me anything.

UPDATE: Apparently I did receive emails about this -- but I get so many, I sometimes don't read them all.

If MacGyver Didn't Have Chains

Does anyone have experience with a product called Snowbootz?

Friday, January 18, 2013


I am reaching the point where I either have to take some more risk, or I will be stuck at my day job forever, instead of doing something that really matters to improving our society.  I have been looking at some REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) that have pretty decent dividends, such as American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp (MTGE), which has a 14.02% yield as of the close of business today, and Apollo Residential Mortgage Inc (AMTG) with a 12.77% yield.  I realize that these returns imply some risk, and I would not buy more than 500 or 1000 shares of any particular REIT, and no more than 15% of total portfolio in REITs of all sorts.  Any suggestions on things to watch for?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

40% Of Gun Transfers Are Private Party?

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in any sort of debate is to assume that the statistics and claims the other side makes are both honest and accurate.  Sometimes people on the other side have not examined the origins or credibility of the statistics that they are using; sometimes they don't care. John Fund has an article at National Review Online today pointing out that the 40% figure is based on small sample group and old survey, and isalmost certainly far too high:
The dubious statistic of guns that avoided background checks — which is actually 36 percent — comes from a small 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, very early in the Clinton administration. Most of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks in early 1994.

If that alone didn’t make the number invalid, the federal survey simply asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all Federal Firearm Licensees do background checks, only those perceived as being FFLs were counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no idea that the dealer was actually “licensed.” Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and so the survey underestimating the number of sales covered by the checks.

Another reason for the high number is that it includes guns transferred as inheritances or as gifts from family members. Even President Obama’s background proposal excludes almost all of those transfers.
this article nicely complements the article that I had in National Review Online yesterday pointing to the evidence that private party sales, if they are a significant source of criminal guns, it doesn't seem to show up in homicide rates.

Finally Having Some Influence

I certainly can't take all or even most of the credit, but my friend Dave Kopel presented research that I had done concerning Colorado's involuntary commitment laws and the costs of the current system to Governor Hickenlooper after the Aurora shootings, and I would like to think that our efforts contributed to this.  From the January 16, 2013 Wall Street Journal via a blog:
As Mr. Hickenlooper continued, "It's not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons. We have to do a better job identifying and helping people who are a threat to themselves and others." His office spent the last five months developing a detailed $18.5 million plan to modernize civil commitment laws while expanding community-based mental health treatment.

The first leg would combine Colorado's three involuntary treatment laws into one streamlined, clarified process and lower the legal threshold to "substantial probability" from "imminent danger." This new burden of proof would protect civil liberties but also make it easier for health-care providers, law enforcement and the courts to ensure that the seriously disturbed get the help they need....

Mr. Hickenlooper also said that mental health commitment records would be cross-checked in real time with background checks for gun purchases. And all this would be coupled with better treatment options, including more public hospital beds, more specialists in the state's mental health institutions, and five 24-hour psychiatric crisis centers. The Hickenlooper plan would create a better off-ramp for people emerging from care such as more case management, counselling and behavioral rehabilitation.

Are Names Destiny?

Sometimes, you wonder, like Doctor Doctor, who used to be a public school superintendent for Los Angeles County, or Cardinal Sin of the Philippines.  But this takes the cake.  In an article about a survey by "American University professor Jennifer L. Lawless and Loyola Marymount professor Richard L. Fox" that found that 40% of high school and college students plan to buy a gun when they complete school and have their own home, and 20% are thinking about it:
Lawless told Campus Reform on Tuesday that in her view the findings were proof that President Obama should move swiftly, and without the permission of Congress if necessary, in order limit the availability of firearms.
Yes, Lawless describes her well.


I was actually thinking of selling my S&W Holding Company shares, since that stock doesn't pay a dividend, but darn it, it keeps rising!  (The Sturm, Ruger stock does pay a dividend, which is an incentive to keep it.)

Background Checks: Let's Be Realistic

"What Closing the Gun-Show Loophole Won’t Do" in National Review Online.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

That Sucking Sound

It is every gun in the country being bought.  Cheaper Than Dirt is always entertaining to visit; 30 round AR-15 magazines for $129.95?  At least those are in stock.  Semiauto .223 rifles?  There are 88 different models, all above $1000, and all out of stock.  Even the Barrett .50 BMG semiauto (in case blue whales ever come back on land), at $13,289.80, is out of stock.  Even the AR-7 .22LR survival rifles (which will almost certainly be exempt from any ban) are out of stock.

I'm so glad that I own S&W and Ruger stock.

If the goal is to get Americans to step back from their love affair with guns, Obama has achieved an epic fail.

Selling Heroin is Bad...

But someone seems to be a bit confused.  January 16, 2013 USA Today describes three men who apparently have confessed to strangling, beating, then dismembering a heroin dealer because they wanted to get rid of evil in the world.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"The Tragedy of Mental-Health Law"

In the January 11, 2013 Wall Street Journal:
After Newtown, there is widespread concern that laws regarding mental-health services need reform. Two places to start are the laws governing involuntary hospitalization, and the restrictions placed on communication with a patient's family.

Across the U.S. today, federal and state laws give people with mental illness the right to decide when, where, how, and if they will receive care. Yet some serious mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia or mania) can make it difficult for those affected to assess the reality of their own experiences or their need for treatment.
An individual with a mental illness that interferes with his judgment, self-interest, self-preservation and safety represents a profound challenge for families and clinicians. Doctors have remarked that when patient rights exceed truly necessary protections, individuals with mental illness can "die with their rights on." Sometimes they may harm others along the way.

Another First World Problem

You may be familiar with the category known as "First World Problems": these are horrible, tragic disasters in life that anywhere but in the First World would be recognized as joy:

“I have to get dressed so that I don’t look too lazy when I go out to pay the gardener.”

Now that I have a flatscreen HDTV, I can join the fun:
It is such a bummer that there is no remote control for the TV stand to move it left or right, depending on where I am sitting.
More seriously, it is very easy to feel sorry for yourself, and sometimes I find myself doing that. The last couple of weeks I have been part of the interview team for filling a position at my day job. We have interviewed quite a number of extremely qualified people for a QA test position that pays $14-$21 per hour.  Every time that I see employers complaining about a shortage of qualified people, and therefore we need more H1B visas, I get angry.  There is no shortage of people with many years of experience, with degrees in computer science (sometimes master's degrees in computer science), who have done some pretty amazing things, applying for low-level, low-paying positions. It would be like having Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Vermeer applying for a job painting your house.

UPDATE: Curious: I see in today's Idaho Statesman that the problem is a shortage of software engineers here in Boise:
What Boise startups really need is a bigger workforce.

Entrepreneurs, government officials and educators agree the city’s best path to becoming a thriving startup community is through software companies. Boise just doesn’t boast a surplus of software designers, constraining the growth of the city’s tech sector.

“There’s a whole number of businesses that have tried to start up in this Valley over the last 10 years that have either started here and moved, or they just flat couldn’t find the people to get started here,” Lokken said.

Read more here:

PJMedia Article Up

"Public Highlights Mass Murders, Ignores Most Murders: Racism?"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sold The Snowthrower

As the buyer pointed out: really too small for a place like ours, but a bit excessive for the average suburban homeowner.

A Question For Audiovisual Experts

I have my new HDTV all working, but when I attempted to attach a VCR, I ran into a problem. The last time I used this VCR, several weeks ago, it was working. I am using the RCA composite output to feed the similar composite input jacks on the Sanyo HDTV. I know that these jacks work, because I used them with the Wii, and they work fine there. When I get is audio only, and the message No Input Signal on the TV. If I had stopped on the VCR, I see the superimposed VCR information. I have tried two different RCA composite jack cables with the same results. Any suggestions what to try next?

UPDATE: I went back to the video capture box, and the VCR definitely works.  So I tried the set with the video capture box -- and it works with the TV.  Could it be that both of the RCA composite jack cables were bad?  No, they work now.  It appears to depend on the sequence of power up of the TV and the VCR.

Gun Show at Western Idaho Fairgrounds Today

I do not regularly go to gun shows, but compared to previous ones I have attended there, and according to other visitors who do regularly attend: this was certainly a record event.  I have never seen the parking lot so full; I have never seen the aisles so crowded; I have never seen so many guns and ammunition so marked up. The NRA recruiter indicated that yes, they are getting many new members.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Did A Time Tunnel Open Near The New York Times?

There is an article in the January 7, 2013 New York Times about the health risks associated with marijuana. Those who regularly read my blog will not be terribly surprised, although they do mention some new studies recently completed that show more general risks than the relatively tiny fraction that is at risk of schizophrenia:
Teenagers may be more vulnerable to addiction, however, and those who start smoking pot at a younger age are at higher risk. Approximately one in six will become addicted, Dr. Volkow said. Young adults who start smoking marijuana at earlier ages also tend to smoke much more, and more often, than those who start in their later teens, researchers say.

In users who develop a dependence or addiction, quitting can cause intense withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety, trouble sleeping, lack of appetite, mood swings, irritability and depression, experts say.
The article goes on to make some of the same points that I made to a newspaper reporter earlier today: the widespread social acceptance of marijuana and the overwhelming insistence by worshipers of the weed that it is essentially risk-free may encourage a lot of kids to use a drug that even if less dangerous than alcohol, is hardly without risk. (To say that a drug is less dangerous than alcohol is rather like saying that 9 mm Parabellum is less deadly than .223.)  

The article goes on to discuss recent studies concerning effects on brain structure development among young teenagers:

The most disturbing new studies about early teenage use of marijuana showed that young adults who started smoking pot regularly before they were 16 performed significantly worse on cognitive tests of brain function than those who had started smoking later in adolescence. They performed particularly poorly on tests assessing executive function, which is responsible for planning and abstract thinking, as well as understanding rules and inhibiting inappropriate responses.

Imaging scans also found detectable differences in how their brains worked, said Staci Gruber, the lead author of these studies and director of the cognitive and clinical neuroimaging core at the imaging center at McLean Hospital in Boston. Imaging scans found alterations in the frontal cortex white matter tracts of the brain in the early-starters, she said, that are associated with impulsiveness.

“The frontal cortex is the last part of the brain to come online, and the most important,” Dr. Gruber said. “Early exposure perhaps changes the trajectory of brain development, such that ability to perform complex executive function tasks is compromised.”
Finally, the article mentions a recent study that found that those who started smoking marijuana early lost IQ points, and this problem progressed over time. By comparison, adults did not suffer the same reduction in IQ points. Of course, neither individuals nor society suffer from being stupid when they grow up, right? Certainly the brilliance of President Choom in managing our economy demonstrates the benefits of early marijuana use.

Most amusingly, the comments section, as you might expect for the New York Times, was full of ferocious invective from the worshipers of weed for merely suggesting that there may be health consequences to these policy changes. There is a fanaticism there that makes the most rabid gun nuts look positively... mellow!

Watch For Ice

I took a nasty spill on an ice covered sidewalk today; I screamed loud enough that the person inside the office I was going to visit her dream came out. At work, I walk very carefully across the parking lot because it is often icy. In this case, it was just one small patch of ice on a piece of concrete that was not level, which aggravates the slipperiness problem. Unless you are fortunate enough to live somewhere where you have to go to the refrigerator to find something icy, be careful out there.

Any Virginia Attorneys That Can Help?

A regular reader contributed some money to the PR campaign fund for the My Brother Ron effort.  Now he tells me that this is hitting close to home -- it is no longer an abstract concern for the public good.  His son has just finished college, and and has disappeared.  Text messages from him talk about voices.  His parents have contacted the police, who apparently know where the son is, but won't say.  My guess is that he has been hospitalized, but privacy laws prevent them from telling the parents that.  This is in Virginia (which modified its emergency commitment law after Virginia Tech).  Is there anyway to pry out of the police information that would at least put their minds at ease that he is being cared for?

The Care and Feeding of Jaguars

I was on the way into work this morning, and I noticed some wind whistle from the driver's door.  I then noticed that the window would not roll all the way up.  So I spent some time thinking about why.  Typically, power to a window crank turns off when it meets resistance.  Could there be ice in the channel in the door?  Didn't seem to be.  So I thought about it for a while, and I considered the possibility that some melting snow had ended up in the crank mechanism, and frozen into ice, preventing full motion upward.  So I turned the heat way up in the car, and kept rolling it up and down -- and finally, the problem went away!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Definition of Chutzpah

The traditional example of chutzpah is the kid who murders his parents, then begs the judge for mercy because he's an orphan.  Here's the new example, from the January 8, 2013 Christian Science Monitor:
The directors of insurance giant AIG plan to meet Wednesday to consider joining a lawsuit against the US government, arguing that federal officials imposed unfair terms on the company while rescuing it from collapse during the financial crisis.

Popularity Scale

I suspect that the poll says a lot about how much Americans are actually paying attention, but I still enjoyed a good laugh from this:
A new poll shows that Congress is less popular than carnies, root canals and colonoscopies, but more popular than the ebola virus, meth labs and gonorrhea.
Those findings are in a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released Tuesday showed that 9 percent of the respondents held a favorable opinion of Congress, while 85 percent held an unfavorable view.
"We all know Congress is unpopular," said Dean Debnam, PPP president. "But the fact that voters like it even less than cockroaches, lice and Genghis Kahn real shows how far its esteem has fallen with the American public over the last few weeks."

Read more: Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Walking While Black

I understand that New York City is a difficult place to keep the peace, but Mayor Michael "I never saw a Bill of Rights provision that didn't need subverting" Bloomberg has really gone off the deep end with this one.  From the January 8, 2013 New York Times:
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the New York Police Department’s practice of stopping people suspected of trespassing outside private buildings in the Bronx was unconstitutional....
The case was narrowly focused on police stops in front of the private residential buildings enrolled in the Trespass Affidavit Program in the Bronx. Under that program, which includes several thousand residential buildings, property managers have asked the police to seek out trespassers and arrest them on sight.
But Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled Tuesday that the Police Department was routinely stopping people outside such buildings without reasonable suspicion that they were trespassing.
What I find really distressing is how many liberals in this country will cheer Judge Scheindlin's decision, and criticizing Bloomberg's police state tactics, while supporting Bloomberg's equally dangerous police state approach to guns.

Monday, January 7, 2013

As Instapundit Likes To Say: "Unexpectedly"

From the January 5, 2013 New York Times:
Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.
Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.
In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.
Did I miss something?  Or wasn't the whole point of Obamacare to make health insurance available and affordable?  I heard a reporter on NPR this morning start the same discussion with "In spite of."  No, I don't think so, unless you the reporter would also say, "In spite of the approach of summer, temperatures are rising."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Yes, Restrictive Gun Control Must Be Very Popular In California

Received from someone who attempted to go to a gun show in Ontario, California:
The show started at 9:00 AM. Before 9:30 AM they stopped letting in ticket holders due to the capacity crowd being larger than the fire codes allowed. We did not know this. Nor we were told this by an show official.

We arrived right at the start of the show. We waited for 30 minutes to park in an outer parking lot for a parking fee of $9.00. We walked to the convention center and got in line for our tickets.  Twenty minutes later we had tickets. Next we had to get into the ticketed line.  The line started at the front door, went out to the street, down to the corner, back up the side of the entire convention center, around that corner, and on to nearly the third corner of the convention center.  It took 10-15 minutes to walk the line and as we passed we checked with people, is the line moving?  No, it’s not was the answer.  We walked past over a thousand people waiting in line, waited an additional 10 minutes at our spot in line, whereupon it came to us that the line could take anywhere from 2-5 hours to get in the show and we weren’t guaranteed getting in at all for the day.

We decided to seek  refunds and leave  before everyone else figured there was no guarantee they would get into the show.  Retracing our steps we were cheerfully refunded both our ticket monies which by the way are now $14.00 admission.  We even got our parking fee returned.

Soooo,       We never made it in!    Lesson learned, in these frenzied hysterical times if you are thinking of going to a gun show and you want to get in, you might think about arriving 2-3 hours before the show opens.
I realize that a convention center that can only hold thousands of people may not be representative of a society with 300 million people. But this was in California, one of the more liberal states. I am suspecting that opposition to restrictive gun control is not a fringe phenomenon.

Boise Area? Need A Light Fixture For The Bathroom?

My wife wanted me to update the look of one of the bathrooms, so if you need or want a satin nickel finish vanity light fixture...

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Next Time Someone Calls You Clown...

Think of this incident involving this clown fighting with a police officer:

Thanks to Arms and the Law for the pointer.

Some Of The Radio Interviews

Here.  (Click play at the top of the page to hear it.)


Here. (Ignore strange opening.)



Here.  One of the more interesting interviews, with an apparently not gun-friendly Canadian who survived the Rwanda genocide.  You can hear her attitude change as the interview continues.

Here. (Latter half of the 60 minute segment.)

The Law

To parody Anatole France: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids principal and mass murderer alike from bringing firearms into public schools."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Something's Not Right

Unfortunately, it seems to take multiple massacres before anyone is prepared to step in.  This report from WNYT in Albany, New York, concerns a Bennington, Vermont schoolteacher who was taken into custody because of mental health concerns. To read the newspaper account, the AR-15 he had was part of the problem, but watching this series of YouTube videos by him gives me the distinct impression that the concerns were legitimate. It appears that at least two of his neighbors, one of them his doctor, were sufficiently concerned about his odd behavior to contact police.  In some of those videos, he makes reference to his wife leaving with the kids, and obtaining a restraining order against him; in others he refers to having been a schoolteacher until last October, and apparently has some negative views of his former employer. As a general rule, school teachers do not lose their jobs in the middle of the semester without pretty good reason.

This man apparently went into a mental hospital voluntarily, and it is no longer voluntary. This used to be the way we did things in America, before random acts of mass murder became something that we were just used to: neighbors looking out for neighbors, not only because of concerns about murder, but concerns about suicide.

National Review Online's The Corner

"Why Panic Gun Buying Is a Bad Thing" by yours truly.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Maybe It's Time To Sell Some High-Capacity Mags

I just received the shock of my life: I visited Cheaper Then Dirt's website to see how ridiculous AR-15 magazines have become.  Everything is out of stock except the utterly useless hundred round drum magazine ($599.97) and some 30 round magazines for $99.97. Each.  I have a large stockpile of 30 round AR-15 and 20 round and M1A magazines left over from the last time this madness hit in 1994. Perhaps I should put some of the excess in a backpack and go to the gun show this Saturday. I don't think I have enough brand new spares to pay off the mortgage, but perhaps the last few months of payments on the Jaguar?

UPDATE: On eBay, more reasonable prices appear: a lot of ten slightly used AR-15 30 round magazines has reached $152.50 -- which is close to a sensible price.

UPDATE 2: It turns out that instead of dozens of the 30 rounders, I have a dozen or so of high cap magazines for a variety of guns, so I think I have enough, but certainly not an excess quantity -- not enough to sell.

Soak The Rich (Except the Entertainment Industry) and ABC are reporting about the little special deals included in the budget deal to avoid going off the cliff.  Not surprisingly, various interest groups received extensions to their special tax breaks -- including the entertainment industry, which will continue to enjoy a tax break that lets them expense production costs instead of treating these as a cost that is depreciated.  The original provision apparently only applied to productions of less than $15 million ($20 million in "certain designated zones"), but according to Breitbart, it now applies to all productions, including individual television series episodes, so you get to expense the first $15 million (or $20 million) in the year that you spend the money.

The justification for this is that it only applies if "at least 75 percent of the total compensation of the production is compensation for services performed in the United States by actors, directors, producers, and other production personnel."  This is to encourage U.S. production, rather than making movies in foreign countries.  But this is clearly a gift to the industry that does Obama's propaganda.  According to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the effect is a $266 million dollar revenue reduction in 2013.

Of course, there is no requirement that a film has to be promoting leftist propaganda to enjoy the tax break.  So, all those rich Americans who want to use film as a tool for promoting our point of view can take advantage of it as well.  (As soon as we find such persons, we'll let you know.)

The Beer Made Me Do It

Remember Flip Wilson's "The Devil made me do it" routine?  From the January 2, 2013 Idaho Statesman:

Keith Allen Brown shot a man to death in Priest Lake five years ago, leading to a 15-year prison sentence. But the 52-year-old says his problems started long before that, when he was just a boy and tasted alcohol for the first time.
Brown and four other inmates at Idaho’s Kuna facility are suing major beer companies, blaming their crimes on alcoholism and claiming that the companies are responsible because they don’t warn consumers that their products are addictive.
Reminiscent of lawsuits filed against major tobacco companies in the mid-1990s, the litigation targets many of the same companies named in a lawsuit filed last February by an Indian tribe in South Dakota. In that case, the Oglala Sioux accused beer companies and a nearby store of contributing to rampant alcoholism on the reservation by disregarding the tribe’s no-alcohol policy.
The fact is that alcohol (like other intoxicants) is a real problem.  I suppose if this were a deep, dark secret, something that we don't talk about, they might have a legitimate complaint about the lack of warnings.  But is there anyone who doesn't know, especially by the time they have developed a drinking problem, that alcohol is addictive and leads to stupid, often horrible results?

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Something Well Made Is Never Too Expensive

Long ago, when we lived in Sonoma County, a woman with whom we had gone to church in San Jose gave us an electric rest warmer. For those not familiar with it, an electric rest warmer is rather like an electric blanket, except that it goes on to the mattress, so that the electric heat is rising up from the bed. I suspect that it is more efficient than electric blanket.

It has dual controls so that you can set the left and right sides of the bed to different temperatures. One of the controls started to give me trouble a few days ago so that the off/on switch would sometimes not stay on. If you pressed it firmly it would temporarily go to on, but not stay on. Sometimes if you pressed it hard it would stay on, but not always.

I decided to figure out what the problem was, so I unplugged it, and then disassembled the control unit. I then noticed the manufacturing date on the control unit: August 15, 1990. This control unit and the rest warmer are more than 22 years old. This is the first problem that it has ever given us. The manufacturer is listed as Chatham Manufacturing Company, Elkin, North Carolina. It also says, "Made in USA."

Once I disassembled it, I discovered that a copper contact had flattened out and only needed to be bent a little bit to solve the problem. It is now working perfectly. Will I get another 22 years of service out of this rest warmer? I do not know, but I'm always so thrilled to see a product that is so durable and reliable. That it is made in the USA just adds to the pleasure.


I mentioned a few weeks back that I had ordered a larger hard disk that used a very large cache to get some of the benefits of SSD drives. And as some of the reviews pointed out, performance of a large cache disk drive improves over a period of days or more, as it learns which are the most commonly used parts of the actual hard disk, and leaves those preloaded in the cache.

The other big improvement was purchasing AVG PC Tuneup.  There is no question in my mind that it cleaned up a lot of broken stuff in terms of registry entries and unused components. This six-year-old dual core laptop now screams!

UPDATE: Dragon Naturally Speaking can't tell "cash" from "cache."  Fixed it.  They are, of course, roughly equivalent at current prices.

Scanning Old Tax Returns

I am scanning 1992 through 2003 tax returns, so that I can throw away all the old file folders that contain not only the tax returns but all of the associated paperwork, spare IRS forms, and odds and ends it sort of fell into those folders. It is hard to believe: I used to be a highly paid professional.

The only consolation is that my tax returns used to run to 60 to 80 pages including the California tax return. I had several Schedule C businesses, schedules associated with AMT, and too much involving stock options.

SSRIs As An Explanation

It is very tempting to look at the apparent association of these various psychiatric medications and mass murder, and assume that one causes the other. But this is rather like looking at the association of hypodermic needles in the home and diabetes, and assume that hypodermic needles cause diabetes.  One critic of the website points out that many of the stories that they cover include examples of people with long histories of violence before they started on these medications.  My own reading of many of the mass murder stories indicates that there were long-standing mental health problems that the prescribed medications failed to correct.

I do not doubt that some of these medications create very real problems. Many years ago, I had a good friend who was very very depressed; his doctor prescribed Prozac. He started to have very vivid dreams, which is not intrinsically a bad thing; it means that he was getting quality sleep that should be a step out of depression. The nature of those dreams, however, was quite worrisome. He dreamed that he was lying in a box in a church, and then sat up, and started throwing grapes at people, and then threw a grape in his own mouth. Pretty obviously, the box was a coffin, and because my friend was a pretty serious gut nut, the symbolism of the grapes was worrisome. Once I pointed out the symbolism of the dream, he stopped taking the Prozac, and went after the underlying cause of his depression: a pretty miserable marriage.

One problem with SSRI antidepressants is that because they have been perceived as low side effect medications, they have been widely prescribed by family physicians who in many cases did not realize that the patient was suffering from bipolar disorder. The physician saw the patient only when he or she was depressed, because the patient in the mania phase feels really good. SSRI antidepressants without a mood stabilizer often increase the lows and highs of bipolar disorder. In addition, the warning information on SSRI antidepressants now includes the very real hazard that a person who is severely depressed, once taking the antidepressant, may now have enough energy to plan and carry out a suicide.

There are certainly too many people in America who are being prescribed antidepressants, rather than confronting the disappointment, hurt, and anger that they are having to repress, which is for many people, perhaps most people, the origin of their depression. While antidepressants may be a necessary step to help some people out of depression, I fear that they are far too often used as a crutch to avoid confronting the situation that underlies the depression.

There are also a lot of kids being prescribed various psychiatric medications because the alternative is to confront serious family structure problems. There are a lot of kids growing up in homes where Mommy and  Daddy have gone their separate ways, and the hurt those kids are suffering from watching the two people most important to their lives living in separate homes, is devastating. How do you tell, even yourself, that the two people that are most important in your life have hurt you by their selfishness?

There are also enormous pressures on teenagers from a culture gone astray. I can remember some years ago reading a very depressing article in the Wall Street Journal about how what had traditionally been a problem of teenage girls--poor self image because they did not look like fashion models--was becoming a problem for teenage boys, who did not have the abs of steel and bulging biceps that are the images of men in our increasingly sexualized and shallow popular culture. The hypersexualization of young people also means enormous pressures to conform to the popular culture standards of Hollyweird. Obviously, many young people do not conform; but the pressures are still there.

Film As Mechanism For Social Change

I am reading Robert McKee's Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting (1997), in the hopes of strengthening the screenplay, on the off chance that somehow I can find some way to make this happen as a movie. On pages 129-131 McKee makes the point that I have been making for some time to anyonesilly enough to listen to me:
In 388 BC Plato urged the city fathers of Athens to exile all poets and storytellers. They are a threat to society, he argued.  Writers deal with ideas, but not in the open rational manner of philosophers. Instead, they conceal their ideas inside the seductive emotions of art. Yet felt ideas, as Plato pointed out, are ideas nonetheless. Every effective story sends a charged idea out to us, in effect compelling the idea into us, so we must believe. In fact, the persuasive power of the story is so great that we may believe it's meaning even if we find it morally repellent. Storytellers, Plato insisted, are dangerous people. He was right.
From there, McKee points to the example of the Charles Bronson film Death Wish.  McKee is obviously a liberal, and compares Death Wish to Naziism.  Yet he also acknowledges that the film was powerful in its impact. I would even argue that this film played a major part in turning around American ideas about the legitimacy of civilians using guns in self-defense.

John Wesley, the author of many hymns that are still popular, asked the question in the 18th century, "Why should the Devil have all the best music?"  This quote has been echoed by one of the founders of Christian rock 'n roll, Larry Norman. I don't think that Larry Norman meant that the style of rock 'n roll music was intrinsically sinful; he meant that because Christians had refused to use one of the most powerful tools available for persuasion--popular music--Christians had essentially abandoned the field to the crowd for whom rock 'n roll was simply another tool towards casual sex and drug abuse. The same thing has been true with respect to film; Hollyweird is not entirely driven by progressive ideas, but it is certainly dominated by them, and the entertainment that comes out of it reflects that domination. Until conservatives get past their obsession with winning only political battles, while ignoring the cultural struggle that goes on 24/7, 365 days a year, and not just election years, we are going to continue to lose.

As result of reading McKee's book, I expect to make a few changes to my screenplay The Laws of Men to conform to some of the established rules of narrative filmmaking. There will be a little bit more motivation for the slaves to run away at the beginning; I think I will put a bit more into the screenplay that shows Charles Langston's unique background, as the son of a slave owner and slave, freed by his father and sent to college. His powerful statement at sentencing all the more eloquent because it shows the ironic aspect of his parentage and his actions.

I received a number of useful criticisms of the promotional video, of which the strongest was that I had let my desire to show some of the context of slavery take precedence over what should be the primary focus of the promotional video: the story I intend to tell about the Oberlin Rescue of 1858, and the great moral and legal conflict that the Rescuers trial produced.