I'd have to rate local police support as 'questionable' or 'disloyal'

Riots in Minneapolis, shots fired outside Capitol in Denver, Phoenix cops warning pedestrians out of certain areas, and the Ohio Capitol being overrun.

Reminds me of my days as a Physical Security Officer for my alma mater.  In accordance with AR 190-13, I had to be briefed by the State intel guys about the reliability and effectiveness of local police departments, in case I needed their diligence to protect our modest arms room of 22 sidearms and so many (few?) rounds of 9mm ball for each. 

If intel thought the local constabulary had a good handle on local threats, and could respond to them if they showed a hankering for my unit's 22 Berettas, I could rate them as a 5 or better, and didn't have to work so hard with other measures to protect them. 

I can think of four cities where the rating would have to be 1 or 2, and arms rooms should be issuing those sidearms instead of keeping them locked up, because the only thing to make sure those pieces didn't fall into the hands of gang bangers were my own frigging Soldiers and Airmen. 

In related news, I commented over at Instapundit that the Left's boogaloo is underway.  I failed to note that the only thing missing was AntiFa.  I'm reluctant to ever again say or even think, 'Damn, they've been strangely quiet.'


Elections are sortition, in a limited government

'Sortition' is proposed as a better way than elections to choose government officials, who will then make critical, less-critical, decisions for the entire government.
Some political theorists and others have long argued that we should at least partially replace conventional democratic elections with decision-making through "sortition"—using randomly selected groups of voters to either elect government officials or make at least some types of policy decisions directly.
Our Founders already addressed this, building on our inheritance of English law.  They determined that most decisions affecting Americans' daily lives would be taken by, um, Americans, not a monarch.

Some decisions have to be taken collectively.  We empower a government, in fact several governments at different scales, each accountable in some way to the people governed by them, but empowered to take certain actions in only certain matters.

We also empanel randomly-selected juries to make very specific determinations: guilt of a specific charged individual for a specific crime.  One could dispute how well that random selection is working, and what constitutes a 'peer,' but there that is.

Yet sortition proponents suggest that a model nation-state use it to select its chief executive:
If, for example, ... they were part of a carefully chosen (albeit random) group of, say, 2000 Americans, to pick the next president, and if in addition there were "hearings" at which the candidates would speak and be subject to careful cross-examination concerning their views, there is every reason to trust that the choice would be well within the "margins of error" . . .
Academic study of the virtues and disadvantages of sortition versus election assumes that government officials are routinely making decisions of nation-state scale and importance, and by golly if we've elected a Bad Orange Man---or a community organizer groomed by the corrupt Chicago political machine---that constitutes an error with a wider margin than we sober contemplative folk can accept.  You in Flyover Country have to concede you're not very good at this.  Let's instead select better people to make these world-shaking decisions for us all, using a process less dependent on name-recognition, and the fund-raising necessary to achieve it, to select them . . . .

. . .instead of leaving more of those decisions, and allocations of resources, to individuals or to emergent orders arising among individuals. 

The posters being law professors and perhaps political scientists, it's not surprising that the solution they propose sounds a lot like a university's search committee.

Of course thumbs will be pressed on the scales:  who will be carefully chosen, how to disqualify members on what criteria after having been chosen, how the "hearings" are conducted, who cross-examines, which questions are out of bounds, how to strike sustained objections from the record but not from the memories of the empaneled.  The thumbs will never be held accountable.  Who chooses the thumbs? 
 . . what might be termed a certain kind of "fetishism" that views our standard reliance on certain forms of election as the one true way of selecting leaders in a "representative democracy…."
Arguments for sortition are to me a fetishization of the powers of government, much like fetishization of socialism, or of universities.  If only the right people were put in charge.


as a blizzard moves into SE Wyoming . . .

TWTR is bouncing between $22 and $23 a share.

We'll have a whole new generation of preppers, now that toilet-paper hysteria has shifted into shelf-life staples, generators, and chest freezers.  And a new subpopulation of gun owners.

Downside: one older fellow at Big Box yesterday was prying his debit card out of his wallet.  He licked his thumb to get more traction on the card, then showed it into the pinpad.  The manager was initially resistant to my idea of using a marked-down pressure washer to decon all the shopping carts, but maybe is warming to it.  The pinpads won't tolerate that treatment. 

Maybe UV will kill everything on cash.  Wouldn't be hard to rig a UV diode and biscuit fan in the tills to handle that long-term. 

The Rock Chucker is back from depot overhaul with a few new parts and fresh lube, and a brand new primer catcher.

Not too happy with the FedGov eager to print a few more trillion to bail out people who are close to the edge from market tumbles---plus airlines and cruise lines---but you go with the FDR you have and thank G-d the Wilsonians are writing off the BernieBros and breaking their backs (or their SKEDCO) dragging Sundown Joe to the finish line.  Hillary is the chest-buster inside Joe, as Kurt Schlichter puts it, and she was with the Donkeys all the way. 

Trump is signing the package he can get out of a dysfunctional Congress.  That's where the work must be done.  CDC deserves a good spanking and a mass depopulation after we find that They Had Only One Job and they weren't ready for it. 


it's time to buy when blood is flowing in the streets (updated)

 . . . a wise fellow once said.

Gun Lobby:  

TWTR is loitering around $[correction: 29]. For the price of one box of premium cartridges for your carry piece, you can own a piece of the Left.

Then give your proxy to Neal Knox's son, or to Elliott Management.

I'm watching. Update:  Monday morning, it's around $26. 


today's panic buying, 20200311

Big Box Home Improvement Retail Operation put about 8 cases of a spray disinfectant on prominent display, at regular price. 

It began disappearing 2, then 6, cans at a time.  BTW we were notching off calls and requests for toilet paper.  By closing, we had about 70. 

Then one female customer loaded the entire remaining stock of disinfectant---maybe 3 cases---can by can into her cart and approached the cashier next to me. 

The partner was appalled.  "You know you're just hoarding this.  Other people might need some."

(HQ has taken the position that we'll not put limits on any product under these circumstances because it might signal panic or elicit complaints of price-gouging.)

The customer's simple reply:  "I don't care." 

Our partner needed some calming down.  We couldn't offer it.  We admit, we've never been good at that.  We also regard price as a signal, communication that must not be impaired, as sacrosanct as the freedom of speech.  My employer should consider pricing products according to shifts in supply and demand.  Such a shift has been staring us in the face, and if we don't respond to it, our suppliers surely will.  This alone ill-equips us to calm down our distressed partner watching the opportunism of human nature. 

Instead I told her about Gray Goose Nan's attempt to undermine the Hyde Amendment in the Federal coronavirus spending bill. 

Say what you will about the argued right to abortion, but the people have spoken that they do not approve of Federal funding for it, and when we discuss Federal funding for elective medical procedures, we're not talking about rights. 


Joe Huffman asks:

It really is a states issue to bring the Feds back in line with the Constitution [on individual firearm rights]. But it’s going to take more than one state to do it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it requires a constitutional convention of the states. And that gets us into scary territory. The second best approach I see is the sanctuary movement and related activities.
 Firearms Freedom Acts.  Enforced vigorously by the States.



We find that, sadly, we did not coin the hashtag #SundownJoe .  Somebody else on Twtr coined it about 24 hours before we tried to.  Meanwhile,

Commenting at Volokh:
“The court system should seek ways to shrink the cost of ending a failed marriage.”
Let’s not concede this too hastily. The costs of ending a marriage, failed or not, fall mostly on the rest of society, not on the two former spouses . .

A discussion on Instapundit regarding earlier action against rapid spread of a communicable disease, versus its consequences to businesses:
I'm old enough to remember when economics was taught to be a science wherein it is impossible to conduct experiments ('the dismal science'), so we had to test our models through study of real-world events. Well, here we have a few, regarding mobility of labor and/or capital, and nation-states, with varying levels of trust in their institutions, acting in various ways to prevent potential collapse. Let's pay attention and watch, say, Mercatus Center tease out the conclusions.


today's panic buying

 . . . at Big Box Retail Home Improvement Retail Operation is for toilet paper (yes, we carry P&G and store brands), paper towels, and bleach.  Customers disappointed with WalMart and the grocery chains got the tipoff that we too carry them, so they bought ours by the cartload.

One troubled young gent left with one cartload, then returned from the parking lot for an encore, while whispering into his phone about it.  Seems that Grandma was caught short too, so he was sent back in to supply her. 

I noticed that the store brand of TP is adorned with a picture of a playful puppy and his chew toy, a blue ball with spikes on it. 

I noted to my customer, "Hey, this even has a picture of a coronavirus on it.  They knew you were coming." 

My customer chuckled. 

He pulled out his debit card a bit too soon so I had to back out of the order and get him to reinsert it to complete the sale. 


activist investor seeks to buy enough TWTR to oust Dorsey

My alter-ego posted at Instapundit:

reminds me of Neal Knox's bid to get 2A folks to buy shares of CBS, then give their proxies to him, to counter CBS's antigun propaganda. One could buy TWTR to the same end. But buy low and don't treat it as an investment.
 Even a handful of nagging votes in the boardroom would be better than we get right now. 


commenting at Instapundit

on a post about how Hispanic support for DJT is surging in spite because of his interest in honest labor:
I talk to my plumber, and my customers. In Castilian when I can. They pay cash. If only I could get them to hold on to their receipts.
They avoid holding receipts, or using credit, or keeping detailed records on their purchases, *in my opinion* because they have a cultural inclination to avoid anything---records, receipts, banks---that El Gobierno can exploit to find their money, because El Gobierno that they came here to get away from has screwed them over on the basis of such records, and they assume all governments do that. It's distrust of the Sheriff of Nottingham, plain and simple.
They keep inventory instead of cash when they can. A truckload of plumbing parts is harder for the Highway Patrol to seize than a wad of cash. Sharkbite fittings and Google Nests are the current favorites.
Trump could leverage this distrust, damned hard. While he's at it, he can challenge asset forfeiture, for the same reason.
I assume they'd also be more successful in their businesses if they kept better records and knew better where their money is going.  Lack of these records probably leads them to devalue their own labor in pure dollar terms.  They could charge more if they knew what their labor was truly worth, and I'm confident they'd rather charge more.  


More on coronapanic

A fetching woman visited Big Box last night, inquiring about sanding respirators.

The word choice alone was telling. 

I showed her our empty shelves.  They're right next to the Tyvek coveralls, and she loaded her arms with about 10 packages of those.  Then she asked about concrete-mixing troughs. 

"You're assembling a decon."

I wish I were better at reading faces, because hers changed. 

"You could get the same function with lower shipping and storage costs by using sheet plastic to line a cardboard box or a hole dug in the ground.  Next aisle over, 4 and 6 mil thickness." 

Then I showed her the pool chlorine. 



Of course, in a situation like this, money can only go so far. As the CDC has demonstrated, containing an outbreak is more about decision-making and hard choices.

ZeroHedge, CDC Reports 6 New US Cases Of COVID-19 As Total Hits 59; Italy Surpasses 400: Live Updates

and this:

Are we the only ones who feel that this sounds like justification for closing the border? 
 Big Box Retail Home Improvement Operation is out of N95 masks.  A caller inquired last night.  



AI is famous for imitating the biases of the decisionmakers it learns from – and for then being conveniently incapable of explaining how it arrived at its own decisions. No conservative should have much faith in a machine that learns its content moderation lessons from current practice in Silicon Valley.
Stewart Baker, Volokh Conspiracy, What should we do about Section 230?


I'm of two minds on this

A gentleman arrived yesterday at Big Box Home Improvement Retail Operation to pick up his online order of a household appliance.  Because it was paid for, all I needed to see was a valid photo ID. 

The gentleman produced a motor vehicle operator license that expired in 2014.  He could produce no other that was valid.  He went away with no appliance, and with a pocketful of my sincere apologies. 

On the one hand, it is somewhat heartening that an adult can go six years without having to cough up identifying papers to anyone.  Here in the Western redoubt, if one keeps his head down and goes about one's business, one may never contact a cop. 

On the other hand, it's a little disturbing that one can blithely ignore some responsibilities.  Should a person so disconnected from the operations of the State be allowed to, say, vote?  Is he keeping up his auto insurance?  Had he been the subject of a mere traffic stop, I'm not sure what humiliation he would have suffered.  A traffic accident would have had him at fault even if he had done everything right and some tweaker, uninsured, or illegal had negligently rammed him. 


An afterthought

Am I the only guy out here who thinks that DJT's one-line shout-out for the Second Amendment in the 2020 SOTU speech was an afterthought?

I would have appreciated at least a paragraph, and maybe a Presidential award for the man who saved a church full of Texans in White Settlement. 

Maybe next year. 


N95 respirators

I sold 150 of them this weekend. 


Screw it, imma . . .

cut down any 9mm Para cases I have laying about to 18mm, neck-expand them for 9mm Makarov, FL-resize them, and load .365" Hornady XTP in them over some Unique, Unique-ski, or AA#5. 

The Radom P-64 will be fed something.  The single-action trigger pull on my sample is quite crisp at 4 lbs. 



" . . what 'natural right' could border controls possibly be a defense of? The obvious one is that they might be justified as a form of collective self-defense. If you’ve got a peaceful, prosperous libertopia going, you’d really prefer not to have a bunch of people who haven’t signed on to your social contract walking in. Because you’re likely to have to kill or expel a lot of them in self-defense, and who wants that aggravation?

 . . . I now understand that the core complaint of the anti-immigration Trump voters isn’t even about illegals low-balling them out of jobs, although that’s certainly a factor. It’s “I want to keep the high level of social trust I grew up with, and I see mass immigration – especially mass illegal immigration – eroding that.” They think the political elites of both parties, and corporations profit-taking in the labor market, are throwing away that intangible asset to plump up a bit more power and profit.

I now think that is a serious – and justified – complaint."

---Eric Raymond, A libertarian rethinks immigration


something else is bugging me about Gene Healy's article

Gene Healy's article . . . about how come we don't impeach Presidents more often.

“Almost alone among industrialized democracies, the U.S. hews to the old-school regime of employment at will, which means most of us can be frogmarched out of the building at any time—for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all.”
What the fuck is he talking about?  There are more than a few people I'd like to have seen fired---some firings that would have benefited me and my career, most that definitely would not---who could be removed from their positions only after painstaking cataloguing of their failures and fair warning that the cataloguing was going on.   Most, of course, were never removed.

In this we will include an ANG Major who, by the end of her six-month rotation to a sinecure in SW Asia, had not one but two members of our Group who demanded a witness to be in the room with them should they ever have to face her in private.  One of whom was her own First Sergeant.  Consequences to her?  She received a decoration that was below the level expected of her rank.  I can even visualize the C-5 pilot, who commanded the Group above her, grinning and saying to himself, "That will show her!"  Had an enlisted man behaved that way, he or she would have been on a rotator  back to the donor unit at about 45 days, and the donor unit would have been on the hook for a replacement. 

The old-school regime of at-will employment is a myth. 

Comments from my alter-ego Aubrey were left to that effect at the article.

While we're at it:  "This is the country that pioneered the idea of firing people as entertainment. For 14 seasons of NBC's reality TV game show The Apprentice, Americans tuned in eagerly to see which contestants would be shown the door with the signature line 'You're fired!'"

Because that's probably the only place where ordinary blokes get to see genuine accountability.  Don't confuse reality TV with reality. 

(updated)  After some reading, it seems that 'employment at-will' is legal shorthand for the opposite of prior English law, which supported seasonal employment, renewable for a year at a time. Even legal descriptions of the current state of at-will employment concede that employers can't fire without cause.  'At-will' is a misnomer.  


splitscreen for today

Contrast Kay Hymowitz's take on the ramifications of sexual liberation . . . 

with Meaghan Daum's,


Reason Feb2020

"On a global scale, inequality is declining.  While it has increased in the United States . . . "

Sounds like a long tail to me, and the sort of thing that a long tail entails. 

---David R. Henderson, in Reason, The Truth About Income Inequality, February 2020 (not yet available online)

If you're bitching about the broad, 'unitary' power of the Executive, blame Congress

Gene Healy (same guy who I used to read in Liberty? yep) in Reason:

"the more fundamental problem is the office, not the man. The presidency has grown far too powerful to entrust to any one fallible human. Will the current impeachment drive do anything about that?"

The unitary executive has grown excessively powerful because Congress has passed legislation that hands that power to the Executive.  Congress should not bitch when that power is abused.  Write legislation that the President can execute.  By the way, do we yet have a Federal budget for FY2020? (Continuing resolutions do not count)

And be prepared to argue that legislation's Constitutionality when the Executive asserts its own power to decide what is Constitutional and what isn't, what is discretionary for the Executive and what isn't.

In the same article, he praises Nixon-era Congressional reforms that would limit future Presidents, including (ahem) "the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

Wonder what Mr Healy thinks about FISA abuses, or whether he sees them as, in fact, abuses? 

Marketing study 403: Progressive presses

Dillon introduces a new press with the sole purpose of preparing cases for its other progressive reloading presses.  I didn't read the article yet, but it reminds me of Cabinet Man's recent inquiries about my RL450.

It's a four-station press that has no separate powder-check station, which kinda concerns him.  To be fair, those four stations don't reflect what I'd really want in a progressive press either.  The first station is meant as full-length resize and decap, and priming.  With GI brass, I have to decap separately and then swage the primer pockets, so I prep cases on a Rockchucker anyway.  The Dillon's first station is used only to prime. 

So if somebody wants to cleverly realign reloading functions for volume with GI brass, with resize, pocket swage, shoulder and case length checks on a separate platform, the four stations of an RL450 or 550 need to be rearranged. 

I can't visualize one station that both drops a powder charge, and verifies that the case has received its charge.  I also very much like seat and crimp as separate stations.  So move the powder charge to first station, right after the primer is seated. 

1:  Prime and powder charge.

2:  Powder check.

3:  Seat.

4:  Crimp.

The manual of arms changes from case-bullet-up-down-back-rest-rotate to case-bullet-back-up-down--rest-rotate so the case gets primed before the charge drops.  Some mechanical warning that there's no primer in the seater plug might also be useful.