The next K'lash

I made some mods to the 555th flat folding fixture today, the better to process receiver flats into beautiful sheetmetal carbines.

Flats usually have holes stamped in them at fore and aft so they center themselves on the fixture. That's only if the fixture has pins to engage those holes. So I marked and drilled holes and fitted pins that align with the holes. The bottom plate of the fixture needed some relieving so it would fit over the pins. Now I just set the flat on the center piece of the fixture and press it upon the pins.

Flats have dimples struck into them to align the magazine, to put tension on the selector lever, and to align the hammer and trigger axis pins. My fixture is relieved for the mag well dimples but none of the others. I made shallow drills at the right spots, then hogged them out somewhat with good buddy rotary tool, so the fixture won't damage the dimples. Below, the selector lever dimple on the op side.

Then I figured out that I could pre-bend the sidewalls of the receiver box by using the side plates of the fixture in a sheet brake. Yup, got one of those from Harbor Freight some months ago, so I clamped it all together and got the sidewall bends started. Below, the op side fold.

Since I was this far along, I figured I'd go ahead and bend the flat the rest of the way. This is a flat from AK-builder, and it's far superior to the Tapcos. I'm seeing great things in this K'lash, which is a Polish underfolder from the good people of Gunthings.

Like a Braille keypad on a drive-thru ATM

Why do you think socks are offered for sale in a resealable bag?

Do the makers think I'll wash my socks then put them back into the bag? Better yet, that I won't wash my socks, then put them back into the bag all stanksome? Like, this is a way to get them home from the gym without stanking up my car?

HS Reset time again

My valued Palm m500 once again gave me the Gray Vibrate of Death.

It could have been one of those little static shocks when I get out of a parked car---they happen all the time in the arid high plains---or it could have been a static hit from putting her in the pocket of my fleece jacket. But it's all it takes to put a Palm m500 into a death spiral.

The light in the on/off button illuminates, the vibrator sometimes runs, sometimes doesn't, and the screen goes as black as the waning voltage in the battery can stop it down.

The reset hole in the back of the unit won't revive her. I have to let her run the battery the rest of the way down, then recharge her and restore her memory from an SD backup. Good I had one less than 30 days old. I usually do.

But when this happens the USB port will not function, period. Palm's tech support, after about the fifth call on the same problem, sent me an SD card with a backup utility and an app called "HS Reset."

It backs the Palm up to the SD card, then runs the battery absolutely, positively dead dead dead. A soft setting of the USB port's clock speed gets erased---tech support says the static scrambles it so the USB port is inoperable---and then HS Reset puts the clock to the proper speed. Restore from the backup and you're able to HotSync again.

This is, IIRC, the seventh time I've had to do this in 3 years. The Palm is out of service for a full 12 hours while the reset app runs.

This got me to thinking, wouldn't it be nice to upgrade to a Palm that didn't have this problem. After a quick stroll of Amazon's new and used Palm offerings, it seems not only that I'm lucky to keep this m500 operating, I'm lucky I got the tech support that I did at the time---they sent me that SD card with HS Reset free, in Spring of '03.

In fact, I appeared twice in their database so they sent me two. I encountered a friend (Hey, TK!) who had the same problem with the same model, so I gave him the spare. These days, Palm charges bux just to take the phone call, and they are probably far less forthcoming about potential glitches like ESD sensitivity.

No LifeDrive in the immediate future for me. No Tungsten E2 either. I'll keep this m500 limping along until one of my offspring units drops it and cracks the screen.



Migration to the former Blogger Beta turns out to have been a big mistake.

Dammit. I want rid of that NavBar, and my archives are missing.

Update 22 Dec: Okay, okay, RTFM. I'm still using a Blogger template dating from 2002. There are more than a few pieces of code in that template that haven't been supported since '04, archives being one of them. A quick cut and paste . . .

I just padded the BlogTitle down from the top of the blog with a sh17load of breaks so the NavBar doesn't walk over it. Might take some of them back out.

Hmmm, can I post photos from a Mac now?

Guess so. Alright, I'm not angry now.

Add South Carolina

to the list of states where I've CCW'd.

Time for a new advocacy group

All you need to know about the potential for abuse of dynamic entry is on display in the first 7 minutes of Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Life imitates art.


Damn you, Publicola

I can't get Sade out of my mind now. I've had to play her Is it a crime off my swell little player several times and still I can't quit her.


Another way to say "not a dime's worth of difference between them"?

My view: If the American Right ever establishes a fully fascistic government (not likely, not impossible) it will be done using the governmental institutions created by the Left. That's one of the reasons distinctions of Left and Right mean little.

Quote for the day, hat tip to Walter in Denver

A bunch of other people you don't have to worry about either

Ninth Stage graciously comments on my immediately preceding post, and makes a point about "just driving through."

So shall we put a finer point on it? Only those states where you carried a concealed weapon, in accordance with the law, as a private citizen, and did so by getting out of your car (no peaceful journey qualifications or McClure-Volkmer) and entered a place of business open to the public. Typically a mall or a home-improvement store.

I left Arizona off my earlier list because that was open carry.


It's not me you have to worry about

I have now packed heat lawfully in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Kentucky.

No lives were lost.

Update, 21 Dec 06: South Carolina.

Update, 30 July 07: Arizona.

15 March 09: Florida.

Update, 6 March 10: Missouri.

Update, 23 Sep 10: Nebraska.

Update, 20 Mar 11: Georgia and Alabama.

Update March 2015:  Arkansas, Utah.  

Too cheap to meter so the bastards just charge by the night instead

Is it just me or are hotels charging for wifi access again?

This is plain bu11sh!7, and makes no economic sense. Full - service hotels, even Marriotts, are charging for internet access. Meanwhile their down-market cousins, Marriott properties in particular, give it away.

Perhaps some beancounter noticed that high-speed access is no longer a luxury but an essential good for business travelers. If so, one would think access would be charged across all properties, not just at the top end properties, where its marginal cost would least affect the bottom line. Meanwhile I see burger joints and pancake houses offering wifi. Hotels, IMO, are bucking the trend where there seems to be no dollar incentive to do so.

Similarly, I'm wondering what other costs wifi access would impose on those who provide it. COPA enforcement? Spammers who check into a hotel just to use the IP address? I just can't see it.

And I won't keep paying for it if I don't have to. That means finding other places to stay, and/or finding other places to connect.

We'll start building the case again soon to direct all my soldiers to downmarket properties, even when the host of the function blocks rooms at the top end at government rate. I can't spend taxpayer money that way.

It may even make economic sense for me to investigate 1RX access over my soldiers' cell phones for longer TDYs.

What I wish there were: widely distributed wifi operated for a profit, paid by the hour with prepaid wifi cards, that I could load up with hours to burn at the airport, and at dumbass hotels that charge by the night (if I'm forced to stay in them).

I've got 4 prepaid phone cards that I just don't use. I carry two mobiles, there may be a third in my future, and payphones are a fading memory. But cards that get me into a wifi access point when I need it? I'd carry one and I'd get them for 21 other men. Where are micropayment infrastructures when you really could use one?


When in Wyoming, . . .

The weather here isn't going to get any nicer, whether the global warming is really taking place or not, whether it is anthropogenic or not. We thought it would be useful to upgrade the Pundit Sedan to a Pundit 4x4 of some kind.

The Primary Pundit Offspring Transporter is the only new car permitted in the household, so I had to work with used-car dealers.

I originally had my heart set on a Toyota 4Runner, but those things are priced like p00#t@n&. It's as if they are made of gold.

After 5 testdrives and some discussions with Mama-san over goals, objectives, strategies, criteria, and finances, I threw all caution to the wind and chose a vehicle in a matter of seconds, on the basis of how it felt as I drove it to Chez Fûz's garage to see whether it would fit.

I made it fit.

Say hello to Fûz's daily driver and huntin' wagon. A '99 Dodge Dakota with the V6 and a greatly appreciated 5-speed.

Is this unusual?

TCM and I were busting caps the other day, and my FAL stopped ejecting its empties.

After looking the rifle over a bit, I saw threads where threads did not belong. Through a crack in the gas regulator ring.

Now how often does this sh17 happen?

We figured out how to get the split one off, and there is no shortage of replacements online. But is this gonna happen again?

UPDATE: often, if the ring was made by Imbel rather than FN, and mine was. The finish that Imbel applies insulates the ring from the spigot it is threaded on to. The ring heats less quickly than the spigot. The spigot expands, the ring doesn't. Pop.

I'm told lapping compound will remove enough of the finish that a new regulator will be my last.


Crossroads and taking offense

TCM and I met Jed Baer at the Crossroads show this weekend.

I laid in another tin of 7N6 for Jadwiga and inhaled the sharp tang of the pheromones of gunowners all discombobulated because Democrats are back in power.

FAL mags were on the shopping list, but I didn't find any priced near what I could claim new-in-cosmoline from some online suppliers, so I passed them up.

On the way home, I stopped in at a shop open for its last day of business, everything must go. All the magazines FIFTY PERCENT OFF!

He had a little box of 5 mags, clearly FAL, but some of them marked for AR-10. Hmmmm. All of them were marked for $19.95 each, and half off put them at around $10 each. That sounds a little high for used mags with some wear, mixed provenance, and the guy wasn't quite sure what they were, FAL or AR-10.

I offered him $30 for the box, he said "I don't think so" and slid them back under the counter and turned away. OK fine, he's the one going out of business, not me. I'd rather be swabbing cosmo out of cherry $9 mags than sandblasting and rebluing and Teflon/Molying $10 mags. I'll eat the shipping, I would be anyway.

You think I offended him?

You think I care whether I offended him? Truth be told, I do care a bit; gun dealers are some of America's greatest heroes in my book and they have to put up with a lot of shit from many sources (ATF, zoning, protesters, threats of lawsuits, etc) to keep doing what they've been doing. None of them are making a fortune at it. They have to be doing it for the love of it.

One can never have enough love, so this fellow apparently either had had enough shit, or just wanted to retire and go do the things he's been selling gear to other people to do. It's finally his chance. I wish him well.

But I am not paying $10 and sales tax for used mags when I can pay $9 and shipping for new.



I come up briefly for air from my election-imposed navelgazing, to promote NZBear's solicitation of questions for the GOP's new minority leadership, over here.

Please pile on. I have two questions there and I'd appreciate it if some buds went over and jacked mine upward in the popularity polls.

Some moonbat questions have been posted there too; a few Strongly Opposes are richly deserved.

That, sadly, may be the only good that comes of the enterprise.

Meanwhile I'm pondering what ammo and optics to buy for the kids.



Nadia now has a cousin, built from a Wz88 "Tantal" kit bought from the good people of Gunthings. The receiver is vanilla Tapco, as are the trigger pack. She has a stack of Bulgarian brown 5.45mm magazines from Copes, equipped with domestic followers and floorplates offered by a fellow on one of the boards. Manson supplied the headspace gauges. Another guy on the boards supplied a domestic piston to take me over the Federal domestic content minimum.

After 3 ugly attempts to plug-weld the rails to the receiver, I gave up and ran to the nearest Harbor Freight for a proper spotwelder. Close-up photos would reveal the attempted plugs, so I won't show them to you. Sandblasting and some bench grinding cleaned them up as well as will ever be.

TCM's good results with Brownell's Teflon/Moly Oven Cure Finish, plus his offer of the remaining portion of his can, suggested that I give the same treatment to Jadwiga. While they were still disassembled, the rear sight base, receiver, receiver cover, bolt carrier, and folding rear stock all got a coat and were cured in a barbecue grille set carefully to the right temperature. The gas block and front sight base were treated with common barbecue paint. Final assembly created several dings in the finish, but she'll get a second coat after she's run in.

The bolt carrier meets some rough spots and won't spring closed every time, and the trigger pack needs proper retainers to hold the axis pins in place; the rubber bumper on the sidefolder needs a new rivet. But all can be tuned up right.

She's purty, I think, and she is the reason I got the jones to build a Kalashnikov. I understand now how the jones becomes a regular hobby.

How she shoots? Dunno. Jeez, man, I have two tins of 7N6 and I need range time. But I have to get out to Area 46 and 39 for speedgoat first.


A $300 weekend

The POS dishwasher we got with this place began tripping the GFCI outlet we put in a year ago. It tripped the GFCI with increasing frequency until, last Friday night, the damned thing wouldn't even run, just trip the outlet as soon as it was turned on. The GFCI even arced when I reset it with the dishwasher on and ready to draw current.

Mama-san insisted there might be problems with the wiring. I dug through it, even replaced the GFCI outlet in case the arcing had ruined it. While I had the unit out from under the cabinet, I noticed corrosion gunk all over.

The house wiring looked OK though the dishwasher's didn't. I plugged the dishwasher itself into another circuit (I dragged an extension cord in from the garage) and it blew that GFCI instead.

So off to the local big box to bring home a replacement.

This is the third dishwasher to have been in this house; the water supply line had an extra length spliced to it with compression fittings for the unit I removed. With that extra length gone, the original supply line reached the new unit comfortably. So a house built in 1973 goes through two dishwashers in 33 years, meaning a dishwasher lasts about 16 years?


Surprising, not fascinating: No Liquids Aboard edition II

Mr Keillor would never have made his eloquent pronouncement on the farce of airline security had he still been able to bring his Starbuck's aboard the plane.

Most people will not speak out like this unless and until they can visualize their own ox being gored. In his case the ox is a latte, but, well, we knew that.

His wit is the only thing he brings to the table, and he can turn it on and off like a spigot. The spigot itself has not changed: "'I'm a liberal and we love ridiculous government programs that intrude on personal freedom." I wonder whether he heard his own irony there?

"But where are the conservatives who used to object to this sort of thing?" A little more telling, that.

He'll have his answer to that question here.

No news here, kids. Certainly no new ally.


Three alternative angles of approach, or Second meet Ninth

Aim_Small_Miss_Small discusses a grand strategy to restore the Second Amendment of the Constitution to a fully-protected civil right:
. . . we must start and then move [non-committed antis] along gradually with the kinds of things they will find persuasive . . . we need to meet them (on the rhetorical and philosophical battleground) where they are instead of where we wish them to be.

I agree, but maybe we also need to look at other places where they already agree with us. Note the poll on the right sidebar of The Gun Blogs, where I found the post: which strategy should we RKBA types emphasize to what should the focus of gun rights activists consist of next? Expanding CCW, repealing "sporting purpose" language, et cetera. As you look at the poll results, you'll see there's not enough consensus for us RKBA proponents to concentrate and achieve one of them.

For example, many staunch gun rights activists argue that a national CCW would be a step backwards, because we'd be subordinating a right to a nationwide (read Federal) system of licensing.

Similarly, should we support BATF reform? Bullshit, some of us (including me) will shout back---shut it down instead. No good can come of it.

Between the poll and Aim's post, it occurred to me that we should explore other options that foster divisions, or just as good, doubt, among the antis instead of arguing over the divisions among us. Our options should not discuss guns openly either, because the antis will smell such tactics coming from far, far away and circle the wagons. Focus on collateral, apparently unrelated issues.

It will readily become clear to the gun rights activist that he or she ought to be fighting for other rights anyway, because the infringement of those other rights makes gun control that much easier---standing the old bromide "the Second Amendment is the right that guarantees the rest" on its head.

Recent events supply many possibilities.
  • Asset forfeiture. Read the travails of the owner of KT Ordnance and you'll see that ATFE---the force-initiation arm of the anti-gun movement---doesn't need gun control per se to screw people over. They didn't charge Mr Celata with any crime. But they did raid him, copy his hard drives, seize his inventory, and then . . . nothing.

    They can bankrupt him by continuing to do . . . nothing. While his inventory sits in their vaults, or ships to the scrapyard, Mr Celata goes without the income it could have gotten him, and has to come up with even more money from elsewhere to petition to have his property returned to him. If he does nothing, he loses.

    No doubt the same tactic has successfully shut down a number of other businesses serving us gun folk, many of them not even needing a license from ATFE to be businesses because they weren't making firearms or ammunition in the first place.

    Asset forfeiture has been used to take cars from beneath the butts of guys looking for prostitutes, other guys looking for abuse drugs, and even more guys merely being accused of looking for prostitutes, accused of looking to score drugs, and accused of numerous other victimless crimes. The City of Denver has used it to seize cars and guns from ordinary folk who've been silly enough to drive through that city with certain models of gun aboard, in spite of Colorado's peaceable journey law and McClure-Volkmer.

    Don't argue about the victimless crimes themselves. That's a non-starter among our own community, and it will lead only to failure among the antis. If this were not so, there would be Libertarians in the Oval Office. There aren't, so don't. (Plenty of libertarians like me in the RKBA movement, granted, but we're part of a coalition and we have to cooperate.)

    But you definitely can argue about how asset forfeiture is unjust, how it makes the owner's innocence (or absence of being charged) irrelevant to the case the State is making against the property. Sure, it's a long-standing tradition of English law to charge a piece of property, rather than the owner. So what? Why should we even tacitly support a law that allows the State to get away with theft? Do we want our courts, cops, and prosecutors to be corrupted by it?

    Taking asset forfeiture away from the Man means taking an arbitrary and frequently-abused power away from anti-gunners. How to sell the dismantling of asset forfeiture to the antis? That could be tough, I haven't an idea yet. Perhaps by linking it to the campaign to end eminent domain abuse, which seems to be trending positively.

  • Dynamic entry. I don't know whether KT Ordnance's raid was a peaceful, knock first, "hey we got a warrant, let us in," wait for Mr Celata to answer the door kind of raid. If it was, it's rare. Radley Balko will tell you more than you want to know about the overuse of forcible SWAT-type raids, in the dark of night, on the wrong house. He'll also tell you about the trend in using dynamic entries to carry out what used to be plain old police work.

    The bodies are piling up. Lawsuits to recover damages from mistaken raids are failing, justice is being denied. Puppies and kittens are not being blended, but shot, stomped, and Tased.

    Gun owners aren't the only targets of these raids. They started with the War on Drugs, but now that dynamic entry is becoming the default method of serving a warrant, gun owners are getting their share.

    How to sell this to people who are inimical to gun owners? The same way you sell it to the non-libertarian gun owners: Cops are dying in these raids too. And if only a percentage of the lawsuits by innocent victims succeed, you'll see cities and counties in deep financial trouble to pay the judgments.

    If you want to appeal to the feminists, call it an outrageous example of testosterone poisoning.

    Dynamic entry must be restricted only to saving the life of a hostage. This can, and should, happen state-by-state, much like liberalization of CCW is taking place.

  • Marginalizing the weird. I have to be careful with this one. Consider: more people believe that extraterrestrial astronauts visit our planet, than that they will ever draw money out of their Social Security accounts. I'm not that sure of the latter anymore myself. That says more about Social Security than about the existence of UFOs.

    Lots of people think homeschooling is weird; I definitely do not, but many people do, and I'd wager a good number of them are part of the giant government apparatus that spits out search warrants and arms men to execute them. An animus against homeschooling, or unusual religious practices, can easily be exaggerated into a claim of child abuse. An animus against guns in a home with children is less of a leap.

    Unwholesome attention to weirdness easily becomes an intense desire to look for infractions of the law. In case you haven't noticed, there are more than enough laws now to blindly infract.

    How to sell this one to the antis? There are lots of other weird people in the world, and we need not give them respect, but they demand to be left alone unless they make real flesh-and-blood victims. The biker, the furry, the kink, the performance artist suspending yourself in midair by hooks through your flesh, the addict to plastic surgery. Leave weird people alone. You might be one.

Well, there are three ideas, in matters where gun rights activists can expand the effectiveness of their efforts and divide the antis, without even having to utter the word "gun."


Holding his nose cannot be enough

How can Glenn Beck stand to have to talk to Nancy Grace?

Let alone have to hear her voice?

It must be the magic of production, like how the Beatles could record an entire album with only one Beatle present in the studio at any one time. Ringo laid down the percussion, all else could be tweaked by engineers.


Mlle Sklodovska and I had the house to ourselves today. I scratched an itch---homemade pretzels.

Reminds me of this article that TCM pointed me to recently.

Quote for the day

You say you are worried about your kid getting run over? I dealt with that concern by taking [offspring unit] for a ride in the country and stopping by the side of the road to point out roadkill racoons, particularly three day old gas-bloated ones buzzing with flies. "This is what happens if you play in the street."

The Wheat / Rye Guy


Medicine Bow Peak on Labor Day 2006

On impulse, I drove all of us up into the nearest mountains I knew, the ones I saw in the distance on my last speedgoat hunt. The offspring units behaved themselves quite well and seemed to enjoy the 10,847 feet above mean sea level.


Oh, I'm full

Dinner at Sal Grosso off Powers Ferry Rd this evening. Excellent, Smithers.


Nadia debuts

Nadia is a Romanian AKM with laminated furniture, built from a non-matching kit from Classic Arms.

I folded a Tapco receiver flat for her, gave her a Tapco piston and G2 ignition group, and refitted the magazines with Falcon Arms domestic floorplates. A domestic muzzle protector sits out front.

Work to create her was spread out over several weeks, including a couple abortive attempts on the receiver. Some work remains, such as a replacement disconnector spring, a replacement safety lever, and a better rivet fixture for the trigger guard, which is screwed on presently. More sanding and oil for the wood, and another coat of flat black paint for the receiver, after she's been shot in.

She is unfired, waiting for me to find a good place to try her out. I ran the bolt carrier in repeatedly until it's as smooth as I remember Kalashnikovs ever to be.

The cheapest kit I could find was chosen for a reason: if I was going to dick this up, I didn't want a lot of money in it. In retrospect it wasn't difficult, it just demanded patience and a willingness to consult the gods on the bulletin boards.

Everybody should try one before the kits dry up; ATFE knows this homebrewing is going on and they're bent on stopping it the one way they can, by blocking importation of the parts kits unless key components, expensive to make domestically, are destroyed.


An Army of Davids will still need its slings

The biggest reason for the slack posting of late is that since KT Ordnance was raided, I've been obsessed with building my own blaster from parts.

Not just any blaster. A Kalashnikov. An AR will come later, when KT is open for business again and can sell me an 80% receiver blank. But dammit, something had to be done now.

TCM and I discussed it---normally I'd keep my mouth shut and avoid the attention, but if I have the huevos to post on the KT mess, I ought to have the huevos to do what ATFE raided KT to try to stop. Otherwise the domestic terrorists ATFE will have won.

A plain-jane Romanian AKM copy, with the laminated furniture and vertical foregrip, is almost complete. A few dollars have been sunk in Harbor Freight goodies such as a 12-ton press and a fluxcore wire welder. Pictures to follow.

And a few more Klashes, in particular a wz88 and a Polish AKMS.

I can stop whenever I want.


Quote for the day, no-liquids-aboard edition

From a highly placed source in the API list:
I heard a Department of Homeland Security public service announcement today asking Americans to report anything suspicious. If I were to call and report that I find it suspicious that we're in a war but we're not controlling our borders, I don't think I'd be well received.


a little closer to reality, perhaps?

Usually, my posts titled "Idea number xxx" are flights of fancy, if-wishes-were-horses proposals. If I could finance them, I suppose they would be feasible, technologically, but they'd need someone with completely different skillsets to find the willing market and make the sale.

It pleases me that STOL airships are far closer to reality. Of course Dynalifter does not list medium-haul domestic passenger airlift as a potential market, as I had wished. By the time such craft and services are available, if ever, I will have little need to go to the East Coast anymore.

But that's not the point. Maybe I'd buy stock in it.


at VC

An interesting post by Ilya Somin, about the divide among libertarians on the US occupation of Iraq. Milton and Rose Friedman are quoted.

Please don't challenge me on the choice of "occupation" for what the US is doing in Iraq. By plain-English definition, that's what we are doing, and I use it with no intent to challenge the intent or wisdom of it.

I left a comment there, after wading through mounds of libertarian blather about abstraction versus the concrete, moralism versus consequentialism or utilitiarianism, and walls of flame. Plus some gems. It deserves the rare, vaunted Second Reading.

It isn't enough to simply oppose or support this conflict. Slogans such as "oppose the war but support the troops" and "regardless of how we got involved, we still have to win" don't even scratch the surface. In a way that transcends foreign policy or the face Uncle Sugar puts on diplomacy, regardless of whether American boots marked Saudi soil, this war was coming to us one way or another. Why we fight it predicates how we fight it, and how we fight it determines whether we will win it. If we are not fighting for the right reasons, we will lose.


Why the DoD will not switch from SSN to random service numbers

Bruce Schneier:
We generally think of computer security as a problem of technology, but often systems fail because of misplaced economic incentives: the people who could protect a system are not the ones who suffer the costs of failure.

DoD will not suffer if my SSN is compromised and my identity is stolen. I do.

Unless the incentive can be turned on them, they have no reason to change.


Mideast, short and sweet

James Rummel prompts me to remark that the face-packing in the Levant is a bit overdue.

One newsreader earlier this week referred to Israel's defending herself against Qassam rockets and UCAVs as "perpetuating the cycle of violence."

Madam, this is no cycle. The violence over the last few weeks all seems unilateral to me. We can hope that the Lebanese government, if there is one (or if a sensible one is in waiting) will see this as an opportunity to eject unwanted puppeteers and determine their own future, and set their own relations with neighbors.

If the US intervenes as a so-called nation-builder, let them learn from recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do not value democracy so highly that this new democracy you build can merely vote down the rule of law, the right to own oneself, and the right to be equal before the law regardless of one's practice of this or that religion. Talk to the speechwriters and find some word other than democracy to bring tears welling in Americans' eyes.


And speaking of James, I'll be taking dinner with him this evening.


To the finish line!!

I know, I know, I haven't posted in a bit. But see, I'm better at being a Gear Guy than I am at waxing politic. So here's a gear post for you.

Background first. I snagged twenty-two (that's 22...) HK-91 steel mags off of GunBroker a couple months back for cheap. They were advertised as having "minor surface rust". I figured, what the heck, a little elbow grease and they'll be as good as new. I posted the winning bid at $42 and they appeared on my doorstep about a week later. Well, lemme' tell ya', minor surface rust, my ass!! They were nasty!! Now I had a decision to make: toss them or continue throwing money at the problem. Being that I am The Cabinet Man, throwing good money after bad has never been reason to stop while I'm ahead. Now, I've never done anything like this before -- never even held an airbush -- so this was uncharted territory for TCM.

So, I had the local headstone/memorial shop sandblast the buggers inside and out for $50. Then I ordered two kinds of finish: Lauer Weaponry's DuraCoat "Black Oxide" and Brownells' Teflon/Moly Oven Cure "Dark Park Gray". Not knowing how much would be required, I ordered a pint (16 ozs) of each. I also ordered an airbrush kit from Lauer that included a 1/4"-to-1/8" adapter so that I could use my air compressor for this task.

When back from the sand blaster, the mags had a nice gritty surface. They were so clean, they were silver colored!! I degreased them with acetone and then used a new toothbrush and compressed air to get rid of the cotton fibers left behind from the cleaning rags. I connected all of the airbrush goodies and was ready to go. (NB: the "instructions" -- and I use that term loosely -- for the airbrush were non-existant. I had to figger' the whole thing out myself. Not impossible mind you, but it didn't leave me with warm-fuzzies. Remember: newbie here...) I cranked down the line pressure off the tank to 45 PSI, pulled on some latex gloves, and was ready to go.

Brownells first.

The directions on the can specify that the metal to be sprayed should be warmed to ~100°F. To do that, I just laid them on a piece of plastic sheeting in the driveway for a few minutes. It worked great. I sprayed on two coats about 1/2-hour apart. The finish dries very quickly to the touch. In the case of bare steel, it was a matter of seconds (literally!!) until the freshly sprayed mag could be handled. After letting the second coat dry another 1/2-hour, I put them in the oven at 300°F for -- you guessed it!! -- a 1/2-hour. And that was that.

Now here are the negative details. First, there is no indication on the Brownells can of what to use for cleanup. Nothing I tried worked. Acetone, kerosene, mineral spirits did nothing. I finally disassembled the airbrush and scraped it clean with rags and pipe cleaners. I got it cleared-out enough to use later with the DuraCoat. Second, since the Teflon/Moly stuff dries so quickly it was tough to keep the airbrush clean and running. I was constantly fussing with the flow nozzle just to keep it clear. Third, the baking process is very stinky. Make sure you have a way to properly ventilate. I opened all the windows and ran the attic fan the second I smelled chemicals. There's a slight lingering odor but not much.

The good. The Teflon/Moly goes on very smooth and even. It's easy product to work with, needing no hardener or reducer. The color is a perfect match to the gray parkerizing I've seen on mil guns. As far as I'm concerned, the Brownells Teflon/Moly is quite idiot proof. (Thank God...) I used just over 1/2 the can of finish (~8 oz) for eleven (11) magazines inside and out.

DuraCoat next.

DuraCoat has no special requirements for preheating the item to be sprayed. Unlike the Brownells stuff, DuraCoat comes with a reasonably clear set of instructions. (It wasn't until I read them that I discovered the need for their reducer for clean-up. I went back to the Lauer site and it does state this, but it's not obvious...) The DuraCoat finish comes with a small bottle of hardener that needs to be mixed at a 1:12 ratio (hardener:finish). Throughout the DuraCoat phase, I mixed the hardener:finish in the color bottle a few tablespoons at a time. Not so good for consistency but it was all I had. Using the DuraCoat proved to be quite a challenge.

First, the DuraCoat is much more like a paint than the Teflon/Moly. It sprays on OK but remains wet for almost a 1/2-hour. This slow drying process made it difficult to spray the entire mag -- inside and out -- in one pass. It's also a very "sticky" finish. After the first couple of magazines, my gloves would stick to everything: the mags, the sprayer, the drop sheets. By the time I finished the eleventh mag, the airbrush was a sticky, globbing mess and my gloves were useless. It was very frustrating.

I also had trouble with paint "blobs" from the airbrush. I don't know much about them so I'm not sure if this was a "feature" of the DuraCoat or of the airbrush. (You can see one of the blobs in the center of the mag pictured below. This is actually one of the minor blobs. There are worse...)

One thing the DuraCoat does have going for it is that "a little goes a long way". I used very little product, less than half what I did for the Teflon/Moly. I also got the sense that a second coat wasn't needed. I still applied two coats to the feed lips and the areas that will contact the rifle (basically the upper third of the mag). Perhaps someone more skilled in such things would have put on two thin coats but my setup wasn't working well enough for me to do that. In hindsight, perhaps a bit of reducer in the mix might have helped with the blobs. I dunno'...

So here is the final result, DuraCoat on the left, Teflon/Moly on the right:

In my opinion -- at least for this application -- I would definitely choose Brownells Teflon/Moly over the DuraCoat. Sure, I had to hassle over the airbrush clogging while using the Teflon/Moly but it produced a much smoother, more even finish. And it was just plain easier to work with. Only time will tell which will wear better. In hindsight (#2), I should have experimented with just a couple of mags for each finish. That way, I'd have 20 mags in Teflon/Moly rather than just 11. Maybe DuraCoat works for other folks (those with better equipment?? with more patience?? with actual training??) but it didn't work so well for me. YMMV...

Thumbs up, Brownells Teflon/Moly Oven Cure!!



Since it's Disney Channel Games week, . . .

Screw the games with guys racing each other inside inflated balls. The sidekicks on Disney's shows are, shall we say, more interesting. Since as a father I have to watch this stuff anyway---otherwise the offspring units will be Very Pissed and not eat their broccoli---throw us dads a bone.

Mix it up with the Spike crowd and expand your viewership, Mickey. Work the studio system to the full extent and make sure these properties actors have a future once they are old enough to check themselves into rehab. Not every one of them will be a Kurt Russell.

Alyson Michalka represents Phil of the Future.

Anneliese Van der pol shouts it out for That's So Raven.

Wrestling in vanilla pudding.

Old gray mare ain't what she used to be

My sister-in-law's Volvo sedan has rolled its odometer twice. Not sure what's wrong with it now, but many of the motorized electrics don't work, such as a window or two, and other maintenance items are adding up to the conclusion that it needs to be replaced.

SIL wants a hybrid. I stress that hybrids' price premiums will not break even on the saved fuel unless gasoline prices climb above maybe $5 a gallon and stay there, or much of that price premium disappears in 6 months. She's also 6'3" or so, and of, er, ample proportions. The little streamlined monocoques of the Prius or the hybrid Honda will probably not fit her.

She has a loooong commute from Herndon VA to Frederick MD every damn day. Any place she'll move to early in the life of this car will create a commute of comparable distance.

If she wants the fuel economy and the long engine life, and the option to use a biologically derived fuel, I'm thinking diesel, as I am thinking of it for myself. Will a woman of SIL's proportions fit into a Jetta TDI? (yeah, they take a price premium too---ever price a pre-owned TDI? Still, it's manageable.)

Are any other carmakers offering or planning performance-diesels for passenger cars?


We are with in-laws in Western NY, and took in Six Flags at Darien Lake yesterday.

Firstborn enjoys the fast coasters, though she becomes a sobbing mess while waiting to get into the car. "Is she OK?" ask concerned riders just before we climb in. "Is she gonna be alright?" Makes me feel like a child abuser. But the sobbing is gone after the first steep drop.

Predator was very good, but Ride of Steel is the shiznit. After that, two turns on the Viper and she was done with rollercoasters for the day.


Now that we live within a couple hours' drive of this place, all I needed was an afternoon free as the excuse to get there.

More on this later when I craft a satellite overhead comparison of this to the original. How faithful were the builders? Have differences in its location on the Earth been compensated for?


Idea 437

The problem is that, in meatspace wargames such as at Ft Polk, there is an explicit trade-off between MILES gear that is utterly digital, or simulated munitions that possess real external and terminal ballistics. The digital gear supports extensive automated systems to characterize the armed engagement, at the cost of significant loss of authenticity.

The laser systems can also teach the wrong lessons. Lasers can’t penetrate drywall or foliage; bullets can. The laser vests, according to the RAND report, “equate concealment and cover, a dangerous lesson for ground forces who sometimes demonstrate a frightening ignorance of the difference between the two.” (The JRTC sometimes uses paintball-like “simunitions,” but they don’t have the information-gathering capabilities of the lasers.)

The solution would add the support for scalable automation (position, time, operator, manner of impact, option for umpiring or other mediation) to the physical entity of a moving, material, nonlethal bullet that will penetrate enough concealment (but not body armor) to drive the point home, like paintballs do.

How cheap are RFID tags nowadays?

Develop a plastic bullet containing an RFID and an impact-activated transponder.

  • When the round is fired, it squawks a timestamp and position coordinates provided by the rifle.
  • When it hits something, it squawks its identity and a timestamp.
  • When it hits a trainee, the trainee's load rig (containing a compatible transponder) hears the identity, estimates how near the bullet came to vital organs, and barks out a hit, wound, or miss, and so forth. Even a bullet impacting a tree or rock in front of the soldier will register with the soldier's rig.

Develop a cartridge around that bullet, that either cycles the service rifle or cycles a training top-end for the service rifle.

When the ammunition is issued to the soldier, a transponder interrogates it so the supervising system knows which soldier is carrying it.

Without knowing much about RFID tags and their RF capabilities, I'm guessing that the location of a given tag or swarm of tags could easily be triangulated by a limited number of networked location-aware transponders. I'm also guessing that the tag can be interrogated in milliseconds. And that it can be powered by the acceleration of a small magnet through a wire coil, both packed comfortably aboard the bullet, so the tag gets an ample shot of DC both when it is shot down the barrel and when it bounces to a stop.

At the end of the exercise, golf carts equipped with transponders and vacuum cleaners scour the play area and sweep the spent bullets up, either for re-use or disposal.

Nothing in this concept is incompatible with the existing MILES gear. Both systems can overlap, and probably should, because the RFID-tagged bullets will not duplicate the exterior ballistics---the range and accuracy---of real rifle bullets. If they did, they would be real rifle bullets and carry the lethality of real rifle bullets.

Merry f^c%in8 Christmas to me and a cast of millions

This greets me in my work inbox:
You are receiving this e-mail as a secondary means to notify you that your personal information was among that stolen in the recent theft of Veterans Affairs electronic data. For more information please contact the Veterans Affairs contact center at 1-800-333-4636 or visit the VA Website at http://www.firstgov.gov/veteransinfo.shtml.

Maybe I'll have grounds to sue, inspite of being still alive and not depending on portable oxygen. But to sue whom? DoD? VA? SecDef? Congress?

Please view the project of dismantling the Social Security system not as an economic objective but as a matter of simple criminal justice. Our government practically requires us to create and maintain a vulnerability to identity theft to simplify their governance over us. In this policy this government is insubordinate to us.

The vulnerability is made even sharper and more prevalent, the exposure to risk greater, for persons who have served in her defense.

This is intolerable.


Weck up to Dave

Dave and I got some dinner the other night, had a great time.

We have differences: he's atheist, I'm a lapsed agnostic, for example, but we share a love for and commitment to the American West. We just had trouble putting our fingers on exactly what about the American West evokes that love.

And Dave, go for the Bresnan phone. It costs more than the Vonage, but it coexists much better with the pipe it's connected to.

David is only the second blogger I've made my way to meet, WalterinDenver being the first. But that might not count for some of you, because I met him before I launched WUTT!.


Big Sky

It ain't no fooling, this is Big Sky Country. I'm TDY at Malmstrom AFB, hoping to sip coffee with David MSC sometime in the next few days.

It's prettier than I thought it would be, though colder and wetter.

A lot is running through my mind as I write. So much I want to do. But my day job as dragon soldier and rest-of-the-time job as father really do interfere. Shameful.

KISS: I have a real and tangible animus toward the notion that things should be kept simple, Stupid.

Stateless places: Both a CSI episode and a Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode remind me of Bill Bradford's Liberty poll some years ago, demonstrating that the State's reach is by nature and of right ought to be limited.


f^ckerz r out of control

ATF has raided KT Ordnance, a maker of lawful 80%-complete firearm receivers.

This agency needs to be shut down. Baby steps would be OK but eventually they need to close their doors. The few agents in that organization that are worth a sh17 can find work in another agency where they are needed to, oh I dunno, find goddamned militant islamicists in the US?

JPFO asks rhetorically why KT was singled out. It wasn't because they were supporters of JPFO. It was because KT embraced JPFO's assertion that the ATFE is a rogue agency.

They can't let that go without comment, now can they?


Number Two

It is now official, a second gifted-talented kid inhabits our house: Boy.

The school district tested him and qualified him for their advanced program. God have mercy on them all. He starts K next year.

What will it take?

Does one need any further or better or more clearly-defined reason for the US Department of Defense to halt the use of the Social Security number as an identifying number, than this one?

This is an official announcement from The Enlisted Association of the National Guard, of the United States (EANGUS).

Theft of Veterans Affairs (VA) Personal Data

Monday, May 21, 2006. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee, a data analyst, took home electronic data from VA, which he was not authorized to do. This behavior was in violation of our policies. This data contained identifying information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings.

Emphasis mine.

Will we soon have some veteran, with the plastic tubes shoved up his nose to deliver his life-preserving oxygen, bitching to Congress about how his identity has been stolen, how his mil pension is now redirected to a meth lab on the other side of the Mississippi? How about a Korean-era serviceman's widow dumped on the curb because she couldn't make her rent payments, because her identity was stolen?

Will it have to come to that?


Arm up!

Today, ladies and gentlemen, is Patriots Day.


Fa bene

One of the Christmas gifts from years past I finally got around to trying: pasta attachments that mate to the massive frigging power-take-off on the premium stand mixer I got for my Sainted Wife whom I do not deserve.

That was fun. Amazing how two cups of flour turns into a patch of noodle dough 10 centimeters wide by 10 meters long (though only microns thick).



TCM and I met at the Bike'n'shoot. TCM, avid cyclist and dedicated shooter, placed.

Fûz finished without dying. He's the guy sucking wind on your right. TCM remains incognito.


Gas piston upper for AR15

File this under Noodling.

One repeated criticism of the AR15 design is its direct gas impingement action. Propellant gas is tapped from the barrel and led through a tube backwards into the receiver of the piece, and into the bolt carrier itself. The gas pressure works against a piston which is a rearward-facing surface of the bolt. The pressure builds between that face of the bolt and the internal surfaces of the bolt carrier ('directly impinging' upon the bolt), forcing them apart. A cam translates that force into rotation of the bolt, so its lugs disengage with their mating surfaces, the bolt unlocks, and the bolt carrier can retract, carrying the bolt with it.

The propellant gas passing through the bolt carrier leaves a mess behind, as a carbon buildup that has to be cleaned out, or it will build up to the point that the piece malfunctions.

The upside? Fewer parts and less weight compared to a firearm that contains this gas in a cylinder up front of the receiver, and uses the pressure to move an operating rod. In an indirect-impingement firearm, the operating rod moves the bolt carrier without depositing burnt-propellant crud in the receiver.

So the noodling goal is to improvise an operating rod that weighs the least possible and fits within the AR15 footprint--or a footprint expanded to what the market will accept.

Picatinny-rail forearms are the rage. A free-floating tube takes the place of the original AR15-type forearm nowadays, and Weaver-type rails are fastened to or forged integrally with the tube at 12, 3, 6 and 9-o'clock positions. Plenty of room exists within to contain a few grams of extra hardware.

The extra hardware consists of a spigot and an operating rod, fitting into a replacement gas block. The photo shows the first two parts and omits the gas block.

The spigot is up front and the op rod is to the rear. The spigot's rear section has an outer diameter that just matches the inner diameter of the op rod's frontward cylinder; the spigot's rear is male to the op rod's forward female. Cannelures are turned into the spigot's rear section to reduce weight and give the crud someplace to collect until the rifleman has time to take it out and clean it.

What the photo does not show is the yoke ("gas block"), the part that is fastened to the carbine barrel and is bored to take the spigot. The forward, thicker section of the spigot has keyways milled into it so it quarter-turns into the yoke to fasten there.

The yoke has a port bored in it so a hole in the barrel lets propellant gas out, through the port, into a matching port in the spigot. The spigot then redirects the propellant gas rearward into the op rod.

As the gas passes through the port, into the spigot, it enters the op rod's cylinder, filling it and pushing it rearwards.

A spring surrounds the rear tail of the op rod, and that spring compresses as the op rod retreats. The op rod's tail has the same diameter, minus x, as the original gas tube of the AR15, so it easily passes into the upper receiver and enters the bolt carrier key. The op rod tail pushes against the bolt carrier key, so when the op rod retreats, it pushes the bolt carrier key as surely as gas pressure in the tube would.

When the op rod retreats far enough, the rearmost face of the spigot is exposed, and the gas that filled the op rod cylinder can escape. No gas is introduced into the upper receiver along this route. The bolt carrier, having more mass than the op rod, keeps going rearward. The op rod runs out of gas, so to speak, and its return spring pushes it home again, back over the rear tail of the spigot.

The spigot guides the op rod's cylinder back home; only a millimeter or two of the op rod's travel will not be guided by the spigot, so there will be no need of a tube or rail to guide the op rod.

When the shooting day is ended, the operator can turn the spigot a quarter-turn or so, pull the spigot forward out of the yoke, and clean it off. The op rod will also come forward, through the yoke, and out the front of the carbine so its cylinder can be cleaned out. The op rod's cylinder's outer diameter is less than the inner diameter of the yoke's spigot passage.

Reassembly is reverse of disassembly.

All of it should fit within the confines of the modern Picatinny-railed handguard. Some propellant junk will accumulate within that handguard but that won't interfere with operation of the carbine. A toothbrush will get it out. Some tuning of internal surfaces of the handguard may be necessary to guide the op rod on its travel, and to buffer the op rod's return spring.

The challenges? First, to make the parts very light. If the walls of the op rod's cylinder are thin enough, they'll heat up in protracted fire so propellant gunk will burn off rather than build up. Too thin, though, and the walls will rupture. The yoke and spigot have to be kept light too. All of it will have to be steel rather than aluminum alloy, to resist the burning propellant gases.

Another problem would be the bowing of the tail of the op rod under firing pressure. If it flexes or bows too much it will bind against the hole in the upper receiver instead of shoving the bolt carrier rearward. Maybe the tail could be peened with flats so it will bow at more nodes but with less amplitude. This will be less of a problem with shorter-barreled carbines, such as the M4, because the tail will be shorter than that of the A3 rifle, with same diameter, thus stiffer.


My car is my property, continued and revised

Please let me clarify some points about this earlier post.

I do not support a law that explicitly establishes a right to have a firearm in one's car while on an employer's property.

I do support a law that establishes an automobile as a person's property, protected with the same Fourth Amendment rights as one's papers, effects, and home.

I'm still wrestling with the idea that one can enter a contract that requires one to surrender a civil right. I've been wrestling with that idea for decades and probably will continue to do so in my grave. It's for greater minds than mine. Maybe Jed is right, interfering here is an impairment of the right of contract.

Some of my concerns arise from how one can be held to "enter a contract" by buying a house or entering a business, or taking a job. To me, it's not a contract unless it is for a fixed beginning and end dates, among person or persons identifiable, with consequences for failure to meet the stipulations of the contract on all parties, and a means to terminate the contract. There is only one entity with whom I have actually entered an employment contract, and it did indeed demand the circumscription of some of my civil rights, but that's because it's the frigging US military. They are a different animal entirely from being a grocery bagger, newspaper carrier, or cable geek, and ought to be. None of those other entities ran a contract past me. In the case of cable geekery, they tried: headhunters told me those attempts weren't contracts and are unenforceable.

Taking a job with a papermill is not necessarily entering a contract. Agreeing to take that job does not equate to implicit consent for the papermill's ownership to search my car while it is parked on their property in the course of my working there. Union work may differ.

What would make a "gun-free workplace" more palatable would be law or jursiprudence like that proposed for a "gun-free supermarket". Business A is welcome to assert its right to property over the building and grounds of its business, such that employees or patrons are forbidden from being armed while on that property. Business A knowingly surrenders indemnity for violence that occurs there, and maybe their insurer will note that fact and charge premiums accordingly.

Business A must also bear some costs---not directly financial, as in fines, but operating costs, signage, storage---to make sure its employees and customers know their choice and can comply with it at the place where they cross that boundary between public property and Business A's private property.

Business B chooses not to establish such a policy, and Business B is protected by law from any suit holding it responsible for violence that occurs there, provided Business B is not the perpetrator. Please read the comments to the post I linked immediately above, they illuminate.

Absent this kind of law, we have recourse only to public pressure. PR has discouraged businesses who were weighing "gun-free" policies for their customers: Burt auto dealerships in the Denver area, for example, responded positively to a call-and-write'em campaign; I've heard that Applebee's did also.

But if workplace violence is as prevalent as some say (well, is it?), and workplace violence succeeds in spite of "gun-free" workplace policies (leave the "because of" argument for another day), then employees are at greater risk than patrons. What about them? Failing to protect employees' RKBA is, in my view, implicit acceptance of the principle that the presence of a gun causes crime regardless of the character of the people involved: 'It doesn't matter who you are, or who your co-workers are, doesn't matter how well I checked you out before I hired you. If the gun is there somebody might get hurt.'

Distinctions regarding what really constitutes private property take on new meaning here, and I stress them.


Jed and I, and all five of my other regular readers, should be so lucky that someday the individual RKBA receives the respect and juridicial deference that are implied in this discussion. We are still trying to secure an uncertain and tragically disrespected RKBA in our own homes and on public streets; the right answers for RKBA within places of employment, worship, and commerce, at some presumed distance from the purely public sphere, depend on agreement that an individual RKBA exists. Such agreement cannot exist in a nation and at a time where mere possession of the instrument in private without State permission can be a crime, or in a city whose civic leaders or sworn peace officers can unilaterally call for the instruments' wholsale seizure.

Perhaps it is a sign of progress that our legislators and courts are now weighing the RKBA against other rights, without obvious intent to use that balancing act to short-sheet RKBA. Perhaps the RKBA can be defined, in part, from the outside in---where must it recede in importance versus other rights?


Piranhas in Cheyenne

HB78 failed last week, and HB46 didn't make it even that far. The local paper's editorial pages argued strongly against 78, though I doubt that's what did it in. NRA's emails suggested that it competed with other bills regarding what Wyoming would do with its revenue surplus, and lost; the website for the Wyoming legislature also listed at least two other bills in the House that aimed to liberalize concealed carry. HB78 just went the farthest of them.

As I have said in other venues, concealed carry is liberalizing and expanding rapidly, such that I predict in 10 years all but two States will offer shall-issue CCW permits at the most restrictive, and many will have permit-free carry like Vermont has always had and Alaska recently adopted. Those two hold-out States will be at risk of losing Federal monies because they do not allow uniform CCW for their own citizens nor reciprocity with other States' CCWs. What Wyoming failed to get in HB78 this year will be back, again and again, until it is law. Permit-regulated concealed carry leads the way and makes permit-free laws palatable, passable, and therefore possible.

And someone will always be unhappy with it, even with the very idea of it. Since Wyoming Tribune Eagle does not load much of its content online, I can point you to neither their editorials nor to the lettitors they spawned. As I receive WTE only on Sundays, I can't riffle through the back issues to recreate the dialog either. Their copyright feathers might also get ruffled if I OCR'd them for reproduction here.

But what little I see still shows stark and embarrassing illiteracy on the part of concealed-carry opponents.

In particular, one Roger MacDonald-Evoy seems to have jumped the shark, by misidentifying the Second Amendment as the States' Rights Amendment, and arguing that the Second Amendment is a State or collective right.

I didn't know that anyone had designated one of the articles of the Bill of Rights as a states' rights amendment per se---as a Federalist, I assert that a) States have no rights, merely powers, which were intended to be broad, and b) the Federal government's powers were enumerated---relying on just one article to set this principle forth seems redundant on the one hand, and pitiably inadequate on the other. But we Federalists, though outspoken, are scarce. Other Constitutional philosophies, and even unconstitutional ones, prevail.

Don't get me wrong, I like Mac-evoy, as he calls himself; I've worked a little with him, and he shares some of my tastes, such as Firesign Theatre and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. He's a witty fellow, and I'm a little surprised and disappointed he didn't prepare himself better for one of the blogosphere's best-illuminated topics.

The letters to WTE's editor today lit him up, including one from HB78's original sponsor. Again, I apologize that I can't link to them, because WTE doesn't put their content on-line. Mabye Macevoy thought this would be a simple appeal to logic, no more effort or trouble than stepping gently across the swamp of irrational redneck gunlove. Instead, he has piranhas roiling the water up to his 'nads and no firm place to stand.


The employer's parking lot is his property but my car is my property

I disagree with Jed:
Any law which deprives a business of the right to control access to their private property, and the terms thereof, is a blatant violation of property rights. We cannot, and should not, defend gun rights at the expense of something so fundamental.

I'm not arguing for gun rights in this instance, but indeed property rights. My automobile is my property. The State has an interest in knowing what's in my car only so long as it is moving on a public road. They can require that my car bear identifying marks for several reasons, including the possible recovery of my property if it is stolen, as well as the enforcement of requirements to insure it for operation on public roads. The State can search it under (too) many circumstances, usually in connection with it moving on a public road.

I disagree that my property rights in my vehicle, and my rights in the other property my vehicle may contain, are conditioned by where that vehicle may be, whether moving or parked.

If I keep a piece in my car, and the car and the piece are lawfully mine, it's nobody's business whether I have a piece in it.



Those rare times that I get to see HBO, it can still surprise and titillate.

And disturb. The teaser for this show suggests, at least to me, that it is aimed at religious fundies, and the kind of world the left thinks they'd like to build if they ever came to grasp the levers of political power.

Ha ha laugh oh that's funny he's got three conservatively-dressed Stepford milfs and he worries there's not enough of him to go around {it's not for every man!} ha ha isn't that just precious and the milfs fight over who's in charge and they have to work out a schedule where they pass him around like a bowl of Fritos y'know? salty greasy and corny

The live trailer included remarks from the producers, about how the show is not about polygamy, it's about LOVE. Ok sure. Sometimes a Frito is just a Frito.

How to get mugged in the sterile area of an airport

We are paying $8 plus for 24 hours of 802.11g internet access in the airport terminal. I may ultimately use about 10 of those hours, given last night's weather. But couldn't SBC sell their connectivity in realistic increments?

Who in an airport would order 24 hours of WiFi unless he's setting up a kiosk to sell fake Rolexes?


Could this law have helped Cory Maye?

From HB46, now passed out of Wyoming's House and headed to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary:
A person who uses force as permitted in W.S.
6-2-602 is justified in using such force and is immune from
criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such
force, unless the person against whom force was used is a
peace officer, who was acting in the performance of his
official duties and the officer identified himself in
accordance with any applicable law or the person using
force knew or reasonably should have known that the person
was a peace officer.

Of course it always hinges on what a DA asserts that a person "reasonably should have known," and on how well a defense counsel can counter to a jury what that DA asserts. But would Cory Maye be on death row if this law had been in effect at that place and time?

The only loophole that I see in this bill is the 'applicable law' standard for how a peace officer must identify himself. Should shouting "police", even repeatedly and through a bullhorn, suffice?

Regardless, reforms like this one still don't address the root of the problem---the overuse of dynamic entry.


and on your right, the Bridge to Nowhere

I drove past the Clinton Library this afternoon. Wow.

It does look just like a gigantic aluminum-sided trailer.


now that's country

I just found a Jim Reeves collection. His He'll Have To Go reminds me of the satire treatment of same by Homer and Jethro. I'd kill to have that.

None of this Toby Keith sh1t. Friggin tin-foil cowboy hats.


A chem detector rang the cherries with a false positive for nerve agent at the Russell Senate Office Building.

It could have been a cleaning lady spilling a large quantity of Simple Green. Some molecules that feature an ether linking to a glycol will trigger nerve agent detectors.


What I should have done in the first place

The scanner has been a Canon LiDE 20, bought at bargain-basement price at the BX on Golfball Prairie AFB a year ago.

The printer has been an Epson Stylus Color 740i, bought not long after we brought the G4 PowerMac home in '99.

A lot of water has passed under these bridges, in the form of emails to Canon's tech support to get their scanner to work on the Classic emulator on OS 10.2.8, then their upgraded drivers to run directly on OS X; emails to Epson to get their printer to play nice with a Linksys Ethernet print server; emails to Linksys to get their print server to play nice with the Epson.

It's been an expensive bargain and I'm not done paying for it. All I wanted was one multifunction printer/scanner/copier that runs on the home network with an IP address, and I can print to it from any of the menagerie of computers in the house.

The Linksys server has been yanked out and put in the box while I ponder tactics to return it for refund or credit. The Canon scanner is going to my workplace until we get our Sharp copier upgraded with a scanner and OCR. The Epson printer is perfectly mission capable.

But HP has found a place in our home. Their Photosmart 2575 connects directly to the home network. I installed its drivers on 3 machines---the PowerMac, a Win2k, and the Clandestine Blogging Platform's WinXP--and the only hitch I have is with printing from Mac Classic applications on the OS X emulator.

The support email is already sent to HP, with a $5 bet with any of my five devoted readers that they'll be unable to get that aspect of it to work. So I am holding on to the Epson printer, just to print from Mac Office 98.


Quote for the day

I have two replies when as a criminologist studying firearms issues I am asked would the world not benefit if there were no guns? First, 1200 years ago there were no guns. Yet, for excellent reasons, that period in Europe has been called the Dark Ages. Firearms are the only weaponry by which the weak can resist the strong. Their absence was characterized by oppression and massacre not peace.

Don Kates, quoted by David Hardy at Arms and the Law.

Kates's other reply is worth reading too.



We went for the Kia Sedona. USAA negotiated the price to about $800 over dealer invoice. The dealer had one equipped as we wanted, in the showroom. About 45 minutes after USAA told me about it, I called, brought over the paperwork, and offered the GMC for trade. They offered about what I expected. An hour or so after that, I drove the Kia home.

Mama-san very pleased. Very pleased.

Could I have done better? Probably, but I'm not terribly interested in knowing exactly how much better I could have done by dickering, haggling, and feigning attempts to leave the lot in disgust. During the testdrive a few weeks ago, the grizzled cowboy salesperson answered what questions he could, then just handed me the keys. "The gas gauge is near E," I said to him as I headed for Nationway. "You've got about 35 miles," he said. Them's balls. He let the car sell itself.

Well, sort of. He ticked off the warranty, the Michelins, the side curtains, the improvements over the 2005 model (thanks, Chaz, you were exactly right). But he was low-pressure like I've never seen. "We aren't going anywhere. Just give us a fair chance at your business."

Gawdddayahmm it's a 3.8L DOHC V6.

The hardest part about this car will be explaining to my UAW brother-in-law that I didn't buy (a) GM, (b) 'Murcan. That boy needs an exit strategy.

Damning with faint praise?

I was paid a compliment today, I think.

The lot of us were being bitched out, with some justification, and I sat and took it. I took responsibility for it. I was not leading, scarcely following.

Another of us later approached me and said she admired my ability to absorb the abuse.

Is that a compliment?


Making Swen's day

Swen weighs liberalization of Wyoming's self-defense laws.

FWIW, Swen, I didn't buy the leetle badge.


RFQ: blog software for inside the fence

I want to try an internal FOUO-only weblog for my organization. From what I have seen, AKO won't do it (Six months of watching my AKO site load "The weblog channel is coming soon!").

My immediate leadership is giving tacit support, and the DOIM will let me have space on a server. So which blogging application do I get?


  • Multiple posters.
  • Readers will have to log in to the site to read it. The admin (me) will issue userids and allow users to set passwords.
  • If a post links to content outside the fence, the outside content's referrer log must not capture the location of my server. As WUTT!'s own Sitemeter log says, "blocked referrer." That sounds more like a function of DOIM's firewall than of the blogging application.

Is this even 75%-capable in Microsoft Office/Outlook?

Anyone else doing this in a green, blue, or purple environment? If so, what are you using?


Bill Quick is thinking aloud about buying a Prius (no link; he's moved to a new hosting service and I can't find his archives). This moves the holders of Chez Fûz to blog about our deliberations of a new offspring-unit transporter.

My initial druthers were hovering around the Dodge Grand Caravan, because I've rented or borrowed a few and like the passenger room. The sticker isn't too nasty either, though I'd hoped with weakness in the industry they'd try harder to stimulate sales. We test-drove one today and it behaved like I expected it. Barbaloot is just elated to be looking at a new kid-hauler. But a conversation a few weeks ago with a snake-eater led me to consider the imports.

So we stopped at the Kia dealer just a few blocks away. We are very torn now. More car, more airbags, more horsepower, a little less passenger space. Way less money. Way better warranty.

A tool must be weighed against what it will be used to do:

  • Getting four kids about to swim lessons twice a week and Mass once a week. That includes one kid who needs no special seating, two in boosters, and one in a child seat with lap bar.
  • Taking the child and Boy to get groceries once or twice a week.
  • Three or four times a year, all of us to camping or a road trip to some scenic place.
  • Maybe once a year, schlepping all of us to the Great Lakes to see grandparents.
  • Three or more times a year, bringing lumber home from one of the bigbox DIY stores. Luggage rack will do it.

The majority of the miles will be in town. Compared to what the current vehicle did in Colorado, less highway and much fewer miles total per year.

Using USAA's comparison service, we considered a few other models. The model number profusion on Toyota Siennas discouraged me immediately. The number of Honda Odyssey models available was a turn-off too. The Hondas appear to be smaller than the Kia anyway, and their MSRPs were way higher as a class.

Disappointment: USAA's comparison service won't work on any platform other than IE 6 on Windows. God knows I've tried.

USAA's purchase negotiation service will also be interesting. "Give us the name and number of their fleet manager, we take it from there." The Dodge dealer people furrowed their brows when I asked them that. The guy at the Kia shop didn't know WTF I was talking about.

So Fûz's first reader poll!

Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, or Kia Sedona EX? Sorry, no fancy-schmancy drop-in poll in the post. Just leave a comment.

Arguments to buy American just for the sake of it will fall on deaf ears. If Detroit wants to sell to me, they have to compete the old fashioned way, price and features.


I don't do resolutions

But I do have a plan or two. They won't all be done this year.

  • Closing off our basement walkup in a new Bilco steel door. The door's here, we need the enclosure around it. Pressure-treated lumber and smoke-tinted plexiglas.
  • Get at least two bids for putting radiant hydronic heat into Chez Fûz. I hate hate hate forced-air heat. If energy prices are on a continuing upward crawl, if not an upward stair-step function, we'll recover the costs, estimated at $3 per square foot. We'll staple the PEX tubing to the underside of the subfloor (wreck out ductwork and acoustic ceiling to get at it), and heat both first floor and basement from each run. Would be awesome to run it all from two zones and a large water heater instead of a boiler. I'm groovy with using a strong glycol-to-water mix rather than straight water. I bought some books on designing these systems but they don't have the meat or I don't bring the mastery of plumbing potatoes. I'd like to know I'm not getting snookered by the contractor.
  • With all of the space liberated by removing the forced-air furnace, I'll put a water softener (back) in. There used to be one, it was disconnected and stuck in a corner. The resin bed is ironed up. That can be fixed with a few bucks of chemicals.
  • The main argument around here for forced-air heat is the relative ease of integrating air-conditioning with it. In this part of the prairie, I can't see air-conditioning being necessary more than two weeks out of the year. Better to me, active ventilation of the roof crawlspace. A 1600 cfm blower costs less than $100 and pennies to operate. I'll put it over the garage where the noise won't bother me. The problem: where to put louvers to let fresh air into that space? It's tight under the eaves.
  • Laminate floor in dining room. We already bought the materials.
  • Tile floors in kitchen, foyer, upstairs baths.
  • Graywater system to catch laundry and shower water. There's a huge crawlspace under kit and DR, adjacent to all of the plumbing, where that water can be caught and stored. Getting that water to the rear lawn is a cinch. Front lawn will take some craft.
  • A bat house. I'd fasten risers to the chimney but am afraid the wind will rip it down and trash the roof.
  • A new offspring-unit transport mechanism for Mama-san. A Grand Caravan would be awesome in a turbo-diesel. Too bad that product doesn't exist.