Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bill Whittle: What Liberty Looks Like

His latest Afterburner:


"If America's not evil, then the Left is out of business."

They haven't gotten the memo, Bill.

"This is what Liberty looks like.  It is not and it has never been the default condition of mankind."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Flashback

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It's been ten years since I posted this:
As some of you may know, I grew up on Florida's Space Coast. My father was a Quality Control engineer for IBM, working on the Instrument Unit (guidance system) for the Saturn V rocket. I got to see all of the manned missions up through Skylab launch from just across the Indian River, except for Apollo XVII - the only night launch. I watched that one from my front yard in Titusville.

There were two dawns that day.

Consequently, I've been a space exploration enthusiast from a young age. I try to watch all the launches, or at least listen to them on the radio. I remember listening to the launch of the Challenger early in the morning here in Tucson, and thinking - as the station broke for a commercial - "At least this one didn't blow up on the pad."

Morbid, I know, but I'm also an engineer. I wasn't then - I had just graduated from college in December and didn't have a job yet - but that's been my orientation for most of my life. I knew that each manned launch was a roll of the dice, a spin of the cylinder in a big game of Russian Roulette, and that NASA had become just another government bureaucracy. (And I also knew just how close we had come to losing three men in Apollo 13 because a series of small, innocuous errors had cascaded into a catastrophic failure in a system that was almost neurotic in its quest for safety.)

It was just a matter of time.

Still, I was shocked when they came back from commercial to announce that Challenger had been destroyed in a launch accident just minutes after liftoff. I knew that all seven of the astronauts were dead. I knew that the "teacher in space" wasn't going to get there, and that a classroom of students had to be devastated by that realization. Many, many classrooms, but one in particular.

I watched the footage of the liftoff, now splayed in endless grisly loops on every network - all of which had previously declined to show the launch live and interrupt really important stuff like "Good Morning America." I watched as the flame bloomed out from a Solid Rocket Booster joint, impinging on the huge external fuel tank, and said, "That's what killed them. What the hell caused that failure?" I watched the Satan's horns of the SRB exhaust tracks as they trailed up and away from the epicenter of the blast. And then I watched it all again.

Over and over.

Later I discovered that the engineers at Morton Thiokol had tried to get the launch scrubbed, knowing the problems that cold weather caused in the O-ring joint seals of the SRBs, but they had been told to "take off their engineer hats and put on their manager hats" in order to make a launch decision. The launch had been delayed too many times, and President Reagan would be making his State of the Union address that night, with a call to Crista McAuliffe - Teacher in Space.

I decided right then that I didn't ever want to be a goddamned manager.

I also found out later that the crew, at least most of them, probably survived the destruction of the Challenger, and were alive and aware all the way to impact in the Atlantic. I like to hope not, but facts are sometimes ugly things.

And I wondered if NASA could regain the spirit, professionalism, and devotion to excellence it'd had during the race to the moon - and doubted it severely. As I said, NASA has become just another government bureacracy, more interested in expanding its budget and not making waves than in the visceral excitement and attention to minute detail that space exploration should inspire. (I'm speaking of the upper-level management, and many of the lower-level drones. I'm quite certain that there are still hundreds of people there still dedicated to the dream. They're just shackled and smothered by the career bureaucrats and the nine-to-fivers who punch the clock and wait for retirement.)

Anyway, all this is leading to a blog I found while perusing my sitemeter links tonight. GM's Corner, which linked to me last month, has a recurring "new blogs" post. This month's entry is Dr. Sanity, the blog of Dr. Pat Santy - who happened to be the flight surgeon for the Challenger mission. She has a post up about that day, and it's well worth the read: Challenger - A Flight Surgeon Remembers.

Highly recommended.

That link still works.  It's still highly recommended.

Monday, January 26, 2015

6.5 Gibbs?

Anybody out there own or shoot the 6.5mm Gibbs?  It's the 6.5-06 carried to its maximum case capacity.  I've been doing research into the various 6.5 wildcats and this one in particular has piqued my interest.

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That's a .270 on the left, 6.5 Gibbs on the right.

Ballistically, it's supposed to push 140 grain bullets to 3100-3200 fps out of 24" barrel, and the B.C. of the very good 140gr projectiles runs from about .580 to .612.

And it fits in a standard "long" action.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nah, That Can't Be It


OK, Who Ordered the Gale?

I got to the range this morning right at 0700. The gate was open and there was no one else there. It was also still pretty dark. I got my truck unloaded and started setting up my steel when reader Mike C. and his lovely wife E. showed up, followed by reader Brad all the way from Sierra Vista. The wind was blowing hard enough that I didn't bother to put up my regular target stand, but after about 8AM the wind dropped off and it was, while still cool, fairly pleasant.

Mike C. also brought some steel, so with our various firearms (M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, .458 SOCOM AR, PS90 carbine, a .300BK AR and a .300BK Handi-Rifle, various and sundry handguns) we rang steel for a while. Finally the wind dropped off enough that we decided to set up our target stands.

It was a trick.

A bit after 0900, reader DC and a friend showed up, followed by Primeval Papa. And somebody turned on the wind machine. Nothing that wasn't steel remained standing.

That's not to say the firing line wasn't full - it was. There were a lot of hardy people out this morning to throw lead downrange, but by 10AM I was pretty much done. I shot until the next cease-fire, packed up my stuff and was off the range by 11:00.

So, the Central Arizona Blogshoot had seven attendees, two of us actually bloggers.

Sorry, but I don't think anyone took pictures. When we weren't shooting, we were trying to keep our hands warm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Your (Cold) Moment of Zen

It's been a while:



(Click for full size)

Book Bleg

Since I cut back on blogging, I've gone back to reading novels in a big way - 1-3 per week.

I'm a relatively eclectic reader, though I love Science Fiction the most. Not a huge fantasy fan, but there's some I like. Mysteries are OK, though again not a huge fan. Let me list some of my favorite authors in no particular order:
Robert A. Heinlein,
David Drake
S.M. Stirling
John Ringo
Lois McMaster Bujold
John D. MacDonald
Robert B. Parker
Larry Correia
Larry Niven
Elizabeth Moon
William Gibson
Jerry Pournelle
Eric Flint
David Weber (most of the time)
I've said elsewhere, my personal and political philosophy is in large part due to Robert Heinlein's entire catalog, John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, and Robert B. Parker's Spenser. I think if I had to pick one very finest Sci-Fi novel ever written, it would be Frank Herbert's DUNE, though I don't think much of the sequels or really anything else he wrote.  I've read most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, all of Jim Butcher's Dresden books to date, all of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books, most of Isaac Asimov's Sci-Fi and much of his non-fiction work (not a big fan of the Foundation trilogy).  I've read (I think) the entire Berserker catalog from Fred Saberhagen, but liked his Empire of the East series much, much more.  I've read all of Sue Grafton's "Alphabet mysteries" so far.  I just finished all of Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder mysteries, and a couple of months ago I finished all of Lee Childs' Jack Reacher novels.  (Good, but don't hold a candle to Travis McGee.)  I've read W.E.B. Griffin's Brotherhood of War novels through The Generals, and his The Corps series.  Liked those, but the repetition got a bit old.  I've read the entire Stephen Hunter Bob Lee Swagger catalog, and a couple of his non-Swagger novels.

So, anything out there that's knocked your socks off?  Couldn't put down?  I'm pretty open to anything short of bodice-rippers and Mack Bolan knock-offs.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Blogshoot!

Just a reminder to my Arizona readers that there'll be a shoot in Casa Grande next Saturday, 1/24 at the Elsy Pearson Public Shooting Range in Casa Grande beginning at 0700 and running until we get tired and go home. 

Same as last year, the range opens at 7:00AM. There are no rangemasters. There are no chairs - bring something to sit on. The firing line is covered and there are concrete shooting benches, however.


The city has porta-potties out there on a permanent basis, so we don't have to rent our own (but bring your own TP just in case.)

The rules are pretty simple:


No explosives, no .50BMG rifles, no tracers, no incendiaries, clean up after yourself, don't be a dick.

The rifle range is 300 yards deep with the first berm at 200.  The mountains that form the ultimate backstop are another 300 yards out and farther.  The ground there is reinforced concrete disguised as sun-baked clay. Forget about any target stand that needs to stick into the ground, it ain't happenin' short of bringing a sledgehammer. Steel and targets that don't need taping are best, but if you bring something frangible be prepared to clean it up after it's blown to pieces. And the benches are funky-shaped. Regular camping chairs are marginal, stools and folding chairs are better. I bring a folding chair, a target stand made of 2" PVC pipe, and my 1" thick AR500 plate steel swingers. I also have some .22 rimfire rated rolling targets made of steel, and some polymer self-sealing targets.  I think I still have a case of bowling pins, and some clay pigeons.

It appears turnout will be light - I've gotten five confirmed replies so far, and a couple of maybes.

I recommend you bring:  water or other non-alcoholic beverages (no alcohol on the range), sunscreen, ear and eye protection.  Ladies, don't wear anything low-cut or open-necked.  Yes, I'm sure it looks lovely, but you don't want to catch hot brass down in there.  OPTIONAL:  Something to shoot with, and something to shoot AT.  If you're a reader or a non-gun blogger interested in coming to a off-the-cuff funshoot, please come on down!  I imagine most of us will be bringing multiple firearms and lots of ammo, but if you don't, well, I'm willing to let people shoot my stuff (with my ammo), and I'm willing to let them shoot at my targets.

If you're coming, please let us know in comments.

UPDATE:  Looks like seven or eight of us so far.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Won't President Goldman-Sachs Prosecute Wall Street?

Glenn Reynolds interviews Joel Kotkin on why Obama's administration, which campaigned on being tough on Wall Street, has instead bailed it out and protected it.

Recommended.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Still Playing at Quora.com

The question was asked,
How realistic is the average gun rights enthusiast about their ability to use their firearm for self-defense/ home protection without being a danger to themselves or bystanders?

I have a friend who is a gun enthusiast, and while he is otherwise intelligent (PhD), I simply don't trust his judgment or competence with a firearm. He is paranoid, can't read situations well, and is not particularly coordinated.

If I was present at bank robbery, I would feel *less* safe knowing he was armed.
Is this an unusual case?
I responded to one of the comments.

There was a response from an anonymous user.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Überpost!

Just not here.

Over at Quora.com a while back, someone posted the question "Why is the National Rifle Association so influential in American politics, and how did it become so?"  I answered.  You can read the whole thing and all the comments, but for the purposes of this post, just scroll down to the comment thread started by one Jason Lancaster.  I'm sure Billll will have something to say about it.

I have to admit, it's been fun.

Terrorist Nation

Bill Whittle's latest Firewall:


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Only Thing that Stops a Bad Guy with a Gun

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He either decides he's finished, or a good guy with a gun decides for him.

ETA:  Found on the Book of Face.  Don't know who to credit, but it's damned accurate.

Suck on This

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Edited to add:
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Esoteric Gun Pr0n

The 480 Achilles.  Quote from the link:
The 480 Achilles is the product of 5 slightly warped minds, Lewis Ballard, Aaron Bittner, John Killebrew, Doug Mann and me, Jim Taylor.  The project was a collaborative effort upon which we pooled our brains.  The puddle which resulted from this pooling may have been shallow but at least it was slippery.
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Monday, January 05, 2015

Quote of the Day - Mike Rowe Edition

Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame, and the HMFIC of mikeroweWORKS.com and Profoundly Disconnected) often posts at Facebook.  From one of his more recent comes today's QotD:
Q - Last month on NPR, I thought I heard you say negative advertising was a serious threat to democracy. Did I hear you right? Tony Libonate

A - I don’t recall saying that, but I don’t disagree. Negative ads are dangerous because, in spite of all the vitriol, they’re actually very passive. They don’t ask us to vote for Candidate X; they ask us NOT to vote for Candidate Y. It’s basically a call to inaction, and the unintended consequence is killing us. Consider:

If Coke spends a billion dollars trying to convince America that Pepsi has shit in it, fewer Americans will buy Pepsi. Likewise, if Pepsi spends a billion dollars saying the same thing about Coke, fewer Americans will buy Coke. When the dust settles, one brand will still outsell the other. But along the way, millions of Americans will conclude that Pepsi and Coke are BOTH tainted, and stop drinking soda altogether. And so it goes with the electorate. Over the years, Republicans and Democrats have convinced us that the other side is full of shit. Now, congressional approval is under 15%, and voter turnout is at an all-time low. That’s not a coincidence.
As others have observed, "Democracy works for those who show up."  Making sure as few as possible show up, as Mike says, is not a coincidence.  It's a strategy.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Central Arizona Blogshoot?

It's become a sort of tradition, at least since 2010.  Here's a short list of Arizona bloggers I know of who are still active.  If there's anyone I should add, let me know.  Want to meet up at the Elsy Pearson Public Range in Casa Grande on Saturday, 1/24 and throw some lead downrange?


That's fifteen.  Remember, they don't all have to be gun bloggers, just bloggers who might be interested in going to a shoot. And you don't have to be a blogger, either, just a reader.

So who wants to go shooting?

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Provides Too Little Opportunity for Graft

...as Instapundit puts it.

Bill Whittle's recommendations as we enter 2015:


The 2014 TSM Year in Review

And this may be the last one of these.

Posting in 2014 was the lightest ever.  In 2003 when I started this thing, 697 posts, and I didn't get started until MAY.  Highest year ever, 2008, 818 posts.  2014, just 223.  (Ha!  223.  I see what I did there....)

I have to say, after eleven years of blogging, the Blogger interface is much, much better, its reliability is excellent, and it's still free.  Not bad.  But like most things in the modern world, culture is passing blogging by.

So, The Year In Review.  January had 22 posts.  I still like this one best.  We had a Central Arizona Blog Shoot the first weekend in January, but now that The Other Kevin has moved to parts East, looks like I'll need to set this year's up myself, unless someone volunteers.  Longtime reader and outstanding commenter GOF lost his home to a fire and his mother to illness.  And in the comments to this post, reader Matt set him up with a new (to him) computer.

I'll keep saying it:  I have the best damned readers in the world, and I'm honored that you spend your time here.  Thank you.  (Especially you, John Hardin, for recovering lost comment threads!)

February also saw 22 posts.  I bought my first firearm of the year, a Mossberg 930 JM Pro.  To be completely honest, I still haven't put a single round down the barrel.  In the best post of the month, I put up Bill Whittle's Afterburner entitled "The Unmarked Matt-Gray Crown Vic."  It pretty much anticipates events of later in the year, and it inspired commentary you might want to look back at.

March brought only 17 posts.  Not a lot to choose from.  I was spending a lot of time over at Quora.com - a target-rich environment.  I put up a couple of cross-posts and if you really want to read them, the archive is over there on the left sidebar near the bottom. I did do one überpost that month, R·S·P·E·C·T for and the Rule of Law, in part inspired by that Bill Whittle piece from February. That one drew some excellent commentary and a few links.

April?  Eleven posts.   Lots of time spent over at Quora, so most of April's content is cross-posts from there.  And I got stalked by Markaphasia who just seems fixated on me, my readers and this blog.  If I had to pick a best post from the month, it would have to be I Got Called RACIST™ Again!

May, the anniversary month for this blog, generated fourteen posts, one of which was The Secret to Happiness wherein I announced my semi-retirement from blogging.  To wit:
I'm not completely hanging it up here. I'll still post from time to time - mostly in the near future I suspect about the upcoming Rendezvous - but I doubt seriously that there will be any more überposts.
I'm convinced I made the right decision.  I have spent more time with my wife. I've read a BUNCH of books.  I've fixed a couple of things around the house but have lots more that needs work.  I've not made it to the range anywhere near as much as I'd like (see February).  My mom's still with us, but not doing well at the moment and now Dad is having some issues with his heart.  I helped Mr. Completely organize the 9th Annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous (which may have been the last one, no thanks to me.) 

June brought 21 posts, so I obviously didn't retire immediately.  As previously mentioned, I DID read a lot more - the entire Dresden Files collection in 15 days.  Highly recommended.  Helps explain the mere 14 posts in May.  Presidential candidate shoo-in Hillary Clinton opened her mouth, and I had something to say about it.  Remember her words when she starts campaigning for real in a couple of months.  One thing I've noticed about this year is that I've promoted a LOT of Bill Whittle's work in lieu of writing something myself.  Four of those 21 posts are his videos.

In July the post count edged up to 25.  I was still playing over at Quora, which gave me the Quote of the Month.  Savor that one.  My parents (mentioned above) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  Still a fine looking couple, though mom's short a head of hair these days.  Lots of Bill Whittle content, some good QotDs, and I started hawking the Rendezvous.

August saw another bump in the post count to 30, with a lot of Whittle content.  The Quote of the Month was another example of why I'm so bummed out that the GeekWithA.45 stopped blogging.  Robin Williams took his last bows in August, and spurred a lot of discussion over whether people should be able to end their own lives when they decide they've had enough.  There was also a lot of retrospection over Robin's career, and I was struck by an excerpt from a speech he gave in the 1996 film Jack.  Give that a read, if you haven't already.

Reader GOF (remember GOF, the guy whose house burned down and one of my readers got him a new computer?) used his new computer to excellent effect in the aftermath of the Ferguson MO debacle.  Can I get an "AMEN!"?

September brought the Rendezvous and fourteen posts.  Wait, what?  Perhaps I was shocked to inactivity by the threat of Tam hanging up her Empress of Snark crown.  The cat my wife and I ended up with when her daughter moved out passed after almost twenty years.  Still miss that furball.  At least he waited until I was home.

October saw posting dwindle back to eleven pieces, and Bill Whittle represented three of them.  One of those was about the film Fury, and I posted an email from my favorite Merchant O'Death in that piece.  Finally, more than eighteen months after I ordered it, my 8# jug of Unique came in

November brought us another election and I generated a whopping 15 posts (Bill Whittle starring in five of them).  My wife and I went to the Tucson ComiCon where I apparently contracted Ebola, and some dimwitted SOB hit my Mustang in the parking lot, causing $2k worth of damage.  The big news was that some undocumented journalist went through a lot of footage and found Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber talking about the stupidity of the American voter.  I don't believe that to this day ABCNNBCBS has given this story more than about ten minutes, tops, but it made the rounds of the internets.  And I wrote a short follow-on to March's überpost that drew some comments.

And, finally, December.  Twenty-one posts for a grand total of 223 for the year.  Quote of the Month goes to Non Sequitur of the Day.  Read that again and savor the crazy. 

And that's all I've got for you.  Hope your New Year's Eve was everything you hoped it would be, and that 2015 is better than last year.