20111121

QFTD

The first generation of kids who grew up using hand sanitizer every 30 seconds and everyone gets a trophy is currently Occupying Whatever.


Says Uncle

If you can't protect it, don't collect it

Chez Fûz just received two identical letters from a company that does IT work for TriCare. One addressed to Her and one addressed to Him.

We are sorry to inform you that a backup tape of many healthcare transactions, while being transported by one of our employees, was stolen from the employee's vehicle. This tape includes sosh-scurty numbers, addresses, names, and piles of other information prone to compromise. Your information may be among those records lost, we aren't sure. Because we feel so very very very very very sorry, we're telling you about it more than 2 months after our employee notified us of the theft, and encouraging you to monitor your credit reports very carefully for the foreseeable future, in case the guy who went to such extraordinary effort to steal this data tries to use it.

And by the way, we have arranged for a fourth party company to watch your credit reports for you, for free, for one year. All you have to do is send them your sosh-scurty number, name, address, and much of the other data that we already have, but have allowed to become stolen. Just fill out the attached form and put it in the postage-paid envelope.


If I were the guy reading this letter, my first thought would be that this is a mother-schtupping phish. Sainted wife will call TriCare tomorrow to rule that out.

My next thought would be, DOD cannot transition from the SSN to a randomly-assigned service number fast enough. As the DOD's successes, failures, and lessons-learned accumulate, the rest of the Fed Gov should be compelled to follow suit.

The next thought after that would be, let's adjust all future contracts between DOD and TriCare to require them and their subcontractors to apply the same risk management practices over these records that GIs are required to use when they plan anything more dangerous than the company picnic. Make them liable for costs plus penalties for the abuse of the lost data. The dollar signs will probably tell them that they should catalog and encrypt every backup volume that ever leaves their data center, and use a courier service to transport those volumes.

Then let's require TriCare and their subcontractors to identify the clients whose records were on the lost volume, and notify only those clients. Within 48 hours of the loss.

And I was the guy reading that letter. How many thousands of other letters just like it have been read tonight?

Nervous reflex

Congress punts the spending-reduction deal. All of Europe, not just the PIIGS, at risk of collapse. I missed National Ammo Day. Bennetton pulls its ad with the photo of the Pope and the imam swapping spit. My knee-jerk reaction?

I ordered more shelf-stable stuff from Honeyville Grain, and am adjusting the shopping list for Sam's Club. Buying in bulk.

20111115

third-world visual impression in DFW

Passing through a major airport this weekend, my eyes fell on a wall-sized ad for Christmas toys. Except for the name of the retailer, there were no other English characters, just pictures of the toys, each with its QR thingy beside it. It made me feel like I was back in Barrigada, or Bizerte. Don't people here read English, dammit? Well, uh, no they don't.

C33 at DFW, BTW.

higher education bubble visible to the military

One of the biggest pushers of higher education is the United States military. They encourage it among their enlisted, they require it of their officers, and Congress lets them craft myriad ways to shower money on it. I myself am a shameless beneficiary in my own modest way.

This week, for the first time, I heard an education counselor for the military admit that there are perhaps too many Masters degrees in circulation. "How would your life be any different if there were fewer" higher-degree holders, he asked. It wouldn't, he answered for us. Then, "how would your life be different if there were fewer engine mechanics, chefs, or plumbers?" Insert vague reference to Occupy Wall Street encampments here.

He was hinting that fields needing advanced degrees are saturated with graduates, and reminding his audience that GI bill education benefits also are eligible for the trades. The benefits taper off quickly over time in such apprenticeships, because the GIs receiving them are drawing steadily increasing pay.

Makes me want to drop out, again, and go to gunsmithing school.

CCW bleg

Anybody fly through Dulles with checked pistol recently?

IAD is supposedly on D.C. soil.

20111107

It has arrived

It has arrived.

Update: We didn't make it while it was playing in theaters. Sainted wife and I watched it, and I was delighted with how it was done. Wife at once dug out my 32-year-old paperback copy and started in on it.

20110916

an addition to the if-wishes-were-horses wish list

I'd like to see R. Lee Ermey do I Like to Move It as a jody call. Lyrics should be adjusted to suit the messenger.

Friedrich Hayek on the Military Decision Making Process

Compare this:

The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.

. . . in any society in which many people collaborate, this planning, whoever does it, will in some measure have to be based on knowledge which, in the first instance, is not given to the planner but to somebody else, which somehow will have to be conveyed to the planner. The various ways in which the knowledge on which people base their plans is communicated to them is the crucial problem for any theory explaining the economic process, and the problem of what is the best way of utilizing knowledge initially dispersed among all the people is at least one of the main problems of economic policy—or of designing an efficient economic system.


to this:

The peculiar character of the problem of battle command is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which that command operates does not spring into being in a concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the various members of the command's staff possess, and must consciously concentrate and integrate under the command's leadership.

. . . in any military organization . . . planning . . . will in some measure have to be based on knowledge which, in the first instance, is not given to the planner but to somebody else, which somehow will have to be conveyed to the planner. The various ways in which the knowledge on which a battle staff bases its plans is gathered is the crucial problem for any theory explaining the staff process-—thus the main problem of designing a coherent operation.


Such problems, consequences of how information is distributed among line units and staff agencies, appear even in very small organizations.

20110903

bugger

it appears that blogrolling is tango uniform now too. What next?

20110823

for a friend and valued reader

Cancer strikes another person near me. Please visit TheFatGuy, find the tipjar, and donate.

how high definition television has made my life worse

Watching HD programming on a good HD set now enables me to see the blemishes that stage makeup erased before.

Today, a fairly attractive 30-something woman spoke about finance on a cable news network. Her blouse was sleeveless and exposed all of her neck and some of her chest. The makeup on her face, under her chin, and going halfway down her neck was flawless. The digital compression of HD video also tends to smoothe out made-up skin.

But right about where the first wrinkle on her neck would be, the makeup stopped. Abruptly. From there down, it almost looked like a rash. The same fine texture also appeared on her shoulders and upper arms. It moved consistently with the limb and the skin upon the limb.

So that's what real skin looks like in HDTV under studio lighting. Gals, HD television cameras add a lot more detail than earlier cameras did. Cover up with either clothing or foundation, not just halfway down the neck.

20110808

Notes found in the Comments window

of the Training Schedule for Period 47 in DTMS:

The Commander has an agenda. The Deputy Commander has an agenda. The Sergeant Major has an agenda. Hell, S6 has an agenda. They're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I have no agenda. So when I say that the S4 not making captain's career course this FY was nothing personal, you'll know that I'm telling the truth.

It's the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had an agenda. . . . and, well, look where that got you.

I just did what I do best. I took your little agenda and stood it on its head. Look at what I did to this unit with a couple of MFRs and FM 7-0! Hmmm?

You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to their agenda. Even if the agenda is horrifying. If tomorrow we're cancelling thirty days of leaves in the brigade to catch up on AWT, or we're changing lanes dates because of the availability of airlift, nobody panics, because that's all part of the plan. "Embrace the suck" or "everybody gets a bite of the shit sandwich" or "would you rather be in the Stans?" or some such, all just attempts to distract you from their failure to make good plans and adhere to them.

But when four of our Soldiers have overdue travel cards because they're waiting for airfare refunds, well then everyone loses their minds!

Introduce a little FM 7-0. Upset their agendas, set them against one another until they all collapse. Then the only agenda that can prevail is no agenda at all: doctrine.

I'm an agent of doctrine. Oh, and you know the one thing about doctrine?

It's fair.

20110718

Anime characters that really look Japanese

Aside from Mushi-shi, what other anime series draw their characters to really look Japanese?

I like the heck out of Mushi-shi. Damn near everything about it.

20110615

why indeed?

The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow concealed weapons in the state Capitol and other public places, but not in ... specifically exempted locations.

"If this bill helps make Wisconsin safer, then why are there any exceptions?" said Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.


Because your party introduced the exceptions. You would have added more if you could have gotten away with it:

Before Tuesday's vote, Democrats introduced about 20 amendments that would have expanded the number of locations where concealed carry wouldn't be allowed. Those sites included the Capitol, polling places and places of worship. Those amendments were all voted down.


And this:
Sen. Spencer Coggs, a Democrat from Milwaukee, . . . said the way to deal with violence in cities wasn't to encourage people to carry hidden weapons.

"The solution is less guns, not more guns," he said.


Prove it, numbskull. Do you have one of those CoEx1St bumper stickers too?

20110605

Gary Johnson writing clearly

If you get the deadtree of American Spectator, the one that just hit your mailbox has a good Freedom Watch column by Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and Ilya Somin's kinda-preferred libertarian candidate for GOP nomination for President of the US.

Not available today, but go buy the deadtree if you must not wait: Government Spends Too Much Because It Does Too Much.

"you cannot limit government spending with an unlimited government."


"Truly controlling spending demands much more than juggling numbers on spreadsheets: it demands a long overdue return to the proper role of government."

20110504

20110424

GOP Presidential straw polls

I notice ads posted by Townhall.com, polling readers' opinions on GOP Presidential candidates. (Update: I navigated back to it, here).

I picked Herman Cain, just to back the dark horse as I usually do (no pun intended) (no, really, no pun intended) (honest).

What was missing, especially at this stage in the race---it's too early even to call it a race---is the option to pick which pre-candidates do not deserve further interest. Instead of picking "your favorite Republican candidate", Republicans (and I am not one) should be winnowing the field.

The usual suspects were all there, even Santorum. I don't recall whether Trump was there (going to Townhall.com's home page didn't even cough that ad up, either, so I still don't know whether Trump is there). Trump can stay, for right now, just to give the Donks something to throw tomatoes at. Update: No Trump. Maybe Townhall takes the Presidency seriously.

It was refreshing to see "Name YOUR Favorite for 2012" where the reader could supply another dark horse name if I could think of one. Well crap, I can think of five. Fred Thompson, Dick Armey, Steve Forbes, Walter Williams, and Bob Barr. But that's not the problem. The ad/poll listed, well, there must have been at least 30 potential candidates (Update: 18 plus Fill in the Blank). This many candidates being proffered, or launching exploratory committees, is a sign of a vacuum, a dearth, a void.

The GOP needs to be told who they should keep on the back benches, who they need to bring in from outside, and who they need to bring forward from the shadows. Some folks who were listed on this poll need to stay where they are and actually achieve legislative goals there before being groomed for higher office: it's too soon for Ryan and Bachmann, for example. And, frankly, Governor Palin too. Too early for Christie, and I wouldn't vote for him anyway given his RKBA stance. We're all better off with him keeping New Jersey afloat.

Besides, the office of the President isn't where the problem or the solution lies. It's Congress---the Senate most urgently, the House only less so. They're hosed and they are where discipline will do the most good.

20110411

After-Action Report: Gunsite's "Battle Rifle" Class

OK, folks, long post here. Thought I'd jot down a few (hundred?) thoughts about the Gunsite "Battle Rifle" class I attended last week.

Background

I've been slinging around these things called "battle rifles" for a decade or so now. I bounced around the spectrum of them -- FALs, HKs/PTRs, M1As, M1 Garands -- and finally settled on the M1As. (Don't worry, I kept the Garands...) I've been shooting the local CMP matches with the M1As for about five years and doing . . . . . OK. (High score so far: 465-10X) I also shoot 3-Gun matches with the M1As, running in the "Heavy Metal" -- aka, "He-Man Irons" -- division. Again, I do OK, albeit slowly. Last year I scored a Rifleman patch from the Appleseed folks using my iron-sighted LRB. So, needless to say, I can hit with an M1A.

But one thing I'm not with an M1A is fast -- and the thought of having to use iron sights in an "expedient fashion" always gave me the wiggins. So I decided to attend Gunsite's "Battle Rifle" course with an iron-sighted M1A with the hopes of remedying that.

This was to be my fourth trip to Gunsite, having taken Pistol 250, Arizona CCW, and Carbine 223 previously. I'd been warned by an attendee of the inaugural Battle Rifle class that it was heavily derived from Carbine 223 and that there'd be overlap. That didn't phase me. Carbine 223 helped me get a lot faster with that platform; I expected the same from Battle Rifle.

I was not to be disappointed.


The Curriculum

The class is one of Gunsite's 5-day "total immersion" affairs. The schedule was roughly (and with some probable ordering/sequence errors on my part):

Day 1:

Introduction, safety briefing, syllabus, and rifle fundamentals
Sight alignment and trigger control
Natural Point of Aim
Zeroing at 100 yards and 200 yards
Shooting positions

Day 2:

Introduction to the "school drills"
Ballistics
School drills
Tactical reloads and ammo management

Day 3:

School drills
Speed reloads
Movement and turns
Shooting from cover
Transitions to a sidearm
Non-standard response (moving beyond "two to the body, one to the head")
300-yard shooting

Day 4:

School drills, school drills, and more school drills, with time pressure
El Presidente
Moving targets
House clearing
Field courses: walking and running
Night shoot

Day 5:

400-yard shooting
School drills, school drills, and more school drills, with time pressure
El Presidente
School drill, El Prez "final exam"
Shoot-off
Graduation

Each day began with a quick confirmation of our 200-yard zeroes.

The school drills were:

One shot to the head @ 25 yards in 2 seconds, off-hand, starting from low-ready
Two shots to center-of-mass (COM) @ 50 yards in 4 seconds, off-hand, starting from low-ready
Two shots to COM @ 100 yards in 13 seconds, dropping to kneeling/squatting from low-ready
Two shots to COM @ 100 yards in 13 seconds, dropping to sitting from low-ready
Two shots to COM @ 200 yards in 15 seconds, dropping to prone from low-ready

Depending on your experience level, those times may seem too fast or too slow. For me, running irons, they were just barely long enough, with the targets typically turning away just as I was recovering my sight picture from the final shot.

The El Presidente was:

One shot to COM on each of three targets @ 25 yards, off-hand, starting from low ready, followed by
A speed reload, followed by
One shot to COM on each of three targets @ 25 yards

The goal was 10 seconds. My best time was 11 seconds.


Results

Well, I can say one thing for sure: I'm a lot faster now! Gunsite is all about repetition and establishing muscle memory. We performed the school drills until I couldn't stand it anymore. While it was difficult to do them quickly with iron sights, by the end of the week, I was doing them in half the time I was at the start of the week. We were taught a very clever trick to perform a speed reload on the M1As and the FALs. (Basically, lever-out the empty mag using the full mag that'll replace it...) On a full-sized Pepper Popper, I was able to make 90% of my hits at 300 yards and 2/3rds of them at 400 yards. And, yes, that little range knob on the left-hand side of the M1A's rear sight really does work! Me and my M1A -- dubbed "Mindy" (aka, "Hit Girl") -- gelled into quite a team.

On the final day, we did a "rotating" shoot-off with all of the students in the class, shooting from indoor ready against a 100-yard Popper (off-hand) and a 200-yard falling plate (prone), with a movement of firing positions in between. I was the only student in the class with iron sights and I had to haul-ass to keep up. I won 6 of the 8 initial pairings, putting me in a three-way tie for first place. Unfortunately, I was eliminated in the first round of the final shoot-off and had to be content with 3rd place, not that I was upset about that. I was congratulated by my fellow classmates, all of them impressed that I was keeping up with iron sights. Upon graduation, I received a grade of "Marksman I", the Gunsite the equivalent of a "B".

And, man, was I exhausted!


Equipment

Rifle: Springfield Armory M1A Standard, green composite stock, iron sights

Ammunition: German DAG mil-surp

Sidearm: Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911 (not the GI model)

Rifle Mags: CMI 20-rnd mags (I brought 35 of them)

Rifle Sling: Specter Gear "Two-Point Tactical" for the M1A

Tac Vest: an old Blackhawk MOLLE

Mag Pouches: three Tactical Tailor single-mag pouches, attached to the vest

Sidearm Holster: Blackhawk "generic" drop-leg

Hearing protection: ear plugs and Peltor electronic muffs (LOUD! I was double-protected all week...)


Problems and Equipment Failures

Ammunition: The M1A started giving me problems on the morning of the second day, not going completely into battery on random occasions. Typically, the bolt would "lock-in" when the hammer dropped but it wouldn't fire the round. (And that's a Good Thing...) This happened independent of the number of rounds in the magazine, so they weren't suspect. The first diagnosis was too much lube, but that wasn't it. I replaced the recoil spring. That wasn't it either. We had the opportunity to chronograph our ammunition and the DAG was clocking-in at measly 2650 fps. That didn't seem right and a quick call back home to the wife confirmed it. She scoured my range notes and found that my "normal" ammo -- Aussie mil-surp -- was pushing 2800 fps. I should have caught this anyway since the ejected DAG cases were barely landing forward of the muzzle when shot from prone. So, the DAG was underpowered and I knew what to do: cleanliness is next to godliness! I performed a full cleaning of the M1A every night and again during lunch, and used grease only in the op-rod's roller channel. Break Free went everywhere else. The failures-to-go-into-battery (FTBs?) all but disappeared after that. (I could usually tell when it was getting close to lunchtime or the end of the day simply by the one or two FTBs I'd start to get...) I'll be using my remaining DAG for matches and save my (more reliable) Aussie for the zombies!

That said, the DAG ammo is *very* accurate, more so than the Aussie. And there were no duds.

Rifle: None, not even after 1050 rounds in 5 days! (Total round count on this M1A is now very close to 2000...) The composite stock sure took a beating, though, and I'm glad I didn't put one of my nice wooden stocks thru this torture. I had to keep tabs on the screw holding the rear sight's elevation knob. It had a tendency to back out. Lok-Tite is the cure, I suspect.

Mags: Nada. Not a single malf could be traced to the CMIs. I had a handful of those Korean mags and they worked fine, too.


Notes and Misc

Number of students in the class: 7

Age range of students: mostly 40-somethings, with a 30- and a couple 50-somethings thrown into the mix.

Number of instructors: 3 the first two days, then 2 thereafter

Knowledge level of the instuctors: on a scale of 1 to 10, an 11.

Patience level of the instructors: (see 'Knowledge').

Rifles: 3 FALs, 3 M1As, 1 AR-10. One of the M1As was a back-up to an AR-10 that was back-up to an AR-10. (Follow that?) At one point or another, all three AR-10s went Tango-Uniform, two of them down for the full ten-count. Not cool. Everyone -- except Yours Truly -- ran an optic of one flavor or another. Aimpoints and ACOGs were the norm. Both of the other M1As were "Scout Squad" models.

Ammo consumption: 1050 rounds.

Fitness: This is not a course for someone that's out of shape. I've been lifting weights 1x or 2x per week for the last three years and I'd really wished I'd done more. Gunsite teaches reloading "up in your workspace" and holding the M1A in front of my face with only my stong-hand for countless tactical reloads had me plum tuckered out! Workouts should emphasize biceps, shoulders, and lower back. Do your stretches, too. It'll help a lot while getting back to your feet from position. In preparation for the class, I'd lost 25 pounds since October. I was grateful for my sub-200 lb weight, especially when dropping into prone!

Lights: The night shoot involves using hand-held and/or weapon-mounted lights. Not wanting to mount anything to the M1A, I'd brought a 205-lumen Fenix light (AA batteries) only to discover that, unlike Surefires, the switch doesn't activate the light until it's released. Grrrr... Nice light, but not "tactical". Lesson learned.

Transitions: Switching between my M1A (with its two-stage trigger) and my 1911 (with what is effectively a single-stage trigger) had me all over the target with the sidearm. It was rather embarrassing, actually. Perhaps my XDM is a better companion to my M1A than the 1911. (Yes, I know: heresy.)

The assistant instructor had one of the new "heavy" (7.62x51) SCARs. All I can say is, "Interesting...."


So, tha-tha-that's all folks -- thanx for hangin' in there through all that verbiage! I loved the class, even though it took a lot out of me. And I certainly don't fear the irons any more! Hope this helps anyone else considering the class.

Ciao!

TCM
(who earns a living from neither Gunsite nor Springfield Armory...)

20110327

QFTD

Airports today are what a certain group of statists want to turn the entire U.S.A. into if they get a chance. These bastards have not captured a single terrorist, or stopped a single terrorist attack. American citizens have done that . . .

This is not America, at least not the America I want to live in.


WTQ

20110320

CCW far and wide

Fûz has now carried in GA and AL.

Remember when a State government was this big? Me neither



A plaque is set in the grounds in Tuscaloosa, where Alabama's former State Capitol once stood. The plaque shows the floor plan. This is the second floor with the House at one end and the Senate at the other.



The Governor, several of his Secretaries, and the Supreme Court shared the first floor.

In its time it must have been an opulent building, one that inspired pride in all Alabamians. Damn, even far-flung Wyoming's government has spread into many more buildings than this.

20110219

Do you know what time it is?

NRA BOD ballots arrived in the American Rifleman.

Any suggestions on voting for true friends of Liberty?

20110202

Dancing in blood is, well, what They do

Matthew Vadum reports in WashTimes:
Shocked staffers at the Nation report that the publication’s website has been flooded with angry comments, expletives and unprintable threats against Ms. Piven's person.

Of course there is a suggestion that these threats come from Tea Partiers or other friends of Liberty. Rubbish.

From what we have seen of the attempt on Representative Giffords's life, Piven's movement---not ours---is ready and willing to take advantage of martyrs.

Why would we wish to give one to them? Let The Nation look among its own for the source of threats against her.

I, for one, truly wish Frances Fox Piven a long, long life wherein she sees her philosophy abandoned, her beliefs discredited, and her health preserved by doctors taking their payment in cash.

20110128

goings on in the Middle East

. . . prompt talk of an 'internet revolution.' Apparently an internet revolution won't work, or hasn't yet worked in Egypt, because the internet can be seized by the thugs who'd be displaced by the revolution.

So maybe there needs to be development of a revolutionary internet. Hinted at here.

Small, low power, short-range digital radios that relay a short packet one to another. Make them small enough, and cheap enough, that they can be stuck quietly to motor vehicles, even those of the thugs, so they circulate. Each radio repeats a message until another radio gets it.

If enough of them are in close proximity, they can either speed up bandwidth to relay files (photos, for example), or dice up transmission timeslots smaller so more stations can participate. Or both.

Allowing a huge number of hops is acceptable.

The thugs would spend valuable time finding or jamming enough radios to impair the network, while you're deploying more.

For those of us outside the isolated country, we can smuggle or airdrop more of them in. Hell, fasten them to migratory waterfowl. This is something we could already have done for our liberty-minded friends in Egypt.

It's not the internet you grew up with. It won't be internet protocol at all, in fact. But it beats being deaf and blind.

20110122

recreational Facebooking, and more

We do maintain a Facebook account, connected to our real-world identity. Recently, it has provided me some amusement in the form of interacting with the metrosexual people I knew in my teen years.

They spasm at the very mention of Sarah Palin. So I defend her often, by linking to or 'liking' the articles that refute her post-Loughner accusers.

It makes them only more deranged. I giggle.

But then I remember it isn't funny. An innocent person is accused of fomenting hatred and inciting violence. A mentally-ill man is ignored by his local elected peace officer, and his sworn deputies, who could have initiated court proceedings against him. He could have received treatment; at the very least, he could have been kept away from firearms.

No, it isn't funny. And it isn't about a former governor of Alaska either. Nor about talk radio.

I take some comfort from the observations that the psychotic's target, a legislator, lives and struggles to recover; the sheriff, whose badge clots with the blood of the psychotic's victims, may answer for his failures by facing a recall; the nation seems to reject idiotic calls to punish the weapon. Some comfort, not much.

I also think of the torture that the shooter must have felt, years ago, as he sensed that his grasp of the world was failing. The greater torture of realizing that people around him notice that he has changed, but have done little or nothing to help him. What of the abandonment, the isolation, as friends, classmates, employers, even family gave up on him?