Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ugliness Gets a Handout


Before I go any further, I accept without any hesitation that I am ugly.  Those of you who know me understand this to be true.  

The first thing I wish to mention is a fairly simple, yet profound, question that begs answering:  What makes ugly people more deserving of special treatment than attractive people?  The entire point of the American system is that we are all created equally, and as such no one deserves any special treatment over any others.  To say someone deserves special treatment for any reason is to say that they are a lesser person.  That's one of the largest issues I have with the concept of affirmative action.  By it's very nature, it's encouraging the thought that those benefiting from the program are lesser humans, and as such deserve more than the rest of the human race.

There are several excellent questions surrounding this issue which would need to be addressed as well.  Who determines ugliness?  Would there need to be yet another bureaucracy established for the purpose of determining that?  What will it do to the psyche of the people who are deemed ugly?  What method of qualification will there be?  Where will that line be?  What about the people who fall just on the fair side (pun intended) of the line? 

Once we get past those questions, we get into the social ramifications, the bitterness created between yet another two classes of people, more division between Americans, and the like.  If I'm offered a job because I'm ugly, how unfair is it to someone who is far more qualified, but is just too pretty?  Or too white?  Or too young? Or too healthy?  This is just more classism being created to drive wedges between the people of this land, and destroy any semblance of unity.  Quinn speaks of classism frequently, and has some excellent thoughts.  

How do you feel about the ugly class?  Do you hate us?  Do you want to see us be given a chance to get ahead?  Please share your thoughts.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Personal Experience: Kayak Trip Gone Wrong (And how the Anti's are Wrong Again!)

On 8/20 I took a group of 14 of my friends on a kayak trip in Western PA, a place called 'The River's Edge'.  I've not worked with them in the past, but had read some good things about them.  To get the full story, we need to go back about a week prior to the trip.
I had sent an email to a different outfitter (further upstream, along the same river) that I have used in the past with a great experience, and left a voicemail to make a reservation.  Several days after both of those were sent, I received an email from them that they were booked for that day, and would be unable to meet my needs.  So, I found another outfitter (River's Edge) and made a reservation there.   I did this after reading several comments online stating that people had great experiences with them.
We arrived in time to get setup, sign the waivers, load the shuttle, etc and have plenty of time left to get to the put-in.  When my kayak ('my' meaning 'owned by me, brought from home to the outfitter) it was loaded on the bottom of the trailer.  I normally would have no issue with this, however there was a missing fender on that side.  One of my friends also pointed out the obvious issue, and I went over to inspect it.  When I asked the gentleman loading the boats onto the trailer, he said 'The straps will hold it, and it will be fine.'  I pushed my boat toward the center of the trailer, and it seemed as though he was right, I was able to push it several inches away from the exposed wheel.
Upon arriving at the put-in, we hopped out of the van, I walked around behind to the trailer, and my heart dropped.  I saw this:

I saw this hole, and realized that not only had the straps NOT held my kayak in place, but it had shifted, and laid on top of the tire.  The friction generated by the tire rubbing against the boat was sufficient to burn a hole clean through the boat.  Obviously this kayak is completely ruined.  The bodies do not lend themselves to repair of this sort of damage, and it is clearly not water-worthy as is.
I was upset.  One friend took my fiance aside immediately as she exited the second shuttle which arrived behind ours, and told her she needed to speak to me right away, and it was urgent.  She looked at me across the parking area, and realized something was wrong.  Her calming influence was sufficient to prevent me saying anything terrible, or making a total fool of myself.
One of the co-owners of the outfitter was in that second shuttle, and the fellow who had loaded my kayak so terribly pulled her aside before I was able to talk to her.  He explained what happened, and took her around to show her the damage.  Not only did the tire destroy the side of my boat, it also destroyed my bilge pump.
They returned to their store-front in order to get a boat for me to use for the day, and brought it back.  We waited about an hour for that to happen.  I had told my friends to get started, as they should not lose time on the water, and enjoying the beautiful day because of my problem.  Without exception, they all said they'd wait for me.  They are awesome people.
When the outfitter returned they had a boat for me to use, and a bilge pump as well.  I helped everyone else get into the water, loaded my loaner, and off we went for a day of floating down the river.
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves well, and I tried to as much as I could under the circumstances.  The highlight of the day was finding a rope swing, and having a blast swimming and falling into the water.  Ironically the youngest people on the trip, and one of the oldest were the ones to enjoy it most.  I did not trust the rope, the platform, or anything else there with my weight.  The others seemed to have no problems with it.
When we returned to the shop, I went to see the owners.  They were both surprised that such a thing had happened, they'd never had a problem in their 5 years of providing livery service.  They did, however, make it right.  They offered to pay me what it would cost to replace the boat.  Without going into the details on that end, they did send me a check for the cost of the boat I had, plus shipping and tax, so I am now able to replace the kayak I had with an identical boat.
They made it right.  I received the check 1 week to the day after the incident, and while the time without a boat is going to be frustrating and aggravating, I do understand that things in life DO happen, and we have to deal with issues as they come up.  They handled themselves professionally, and provided me with fair remission for the incident.  They made it right, and I look forward to doing business with them again, probably next season at this point, as it will be some time until I'm able to receive my new kayak (3-4 weeks minimum delivery time, according to the website).
On a side note, and because I have to get politics involved, I have to point out one thing in this:  The antis are wrong.  According to those who would restrict our freedoms, and take our guns, as soon as someone becomes even slightly upset about something, and they are armed, there will be bloodshed on the streets.  People will shoot each other over parking spaces, traffic jams, and the like was something we heard often recently.  Here in PA we heard it recently because of the Castle Doctrine passing.  We heard people saying such things as a method of using fear to attempt to get their way.
When I saw what happened to my boat, that someone else destroyed it through their own ineptitude, I was angry.  The fact that my property was damaged beyond use, and that my investment of money, time, effort and everything I put into that boat was gone, because of one person's mistake, I felt angry.  I wasn't just angry, I was downright livid.  I also had one of my firearms on me.
Not once did the thought of drawing my weapon ever enter my mind.  Not once did the thought of causing injury to anyone else enter my mind.  Not once did any of the things which the left and the antis claim will happen in that scenario even enter into the mind of the person in that situation.
Not once.
Sounds to me like I had more reason to be upset than over a parking space, and it also sounds to me like they are so far off base with their ideas that gun owners are violent people looking for a reason to start killing that they can not relate with ordinary people.
The important lesson to take from all this?  Be involved when someone else is handling your property, and point out issues, and don't be afraid of expressing your concerns.  At best you avoid the headache I have had, at worst you have a falling out with whomever is handling your property, and have to find a resolution.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Zo is no Dummy


I've enjoyed AlfonZo Rachel for a while.  He has a great sense of humor, and watching him stand for his faith, and what he knows to be true about our history, and conservative values is fantastic.  He's gone after the black community as a member of it, pointing out so many of their bad choices, mostly due to believing the lies of the left.  It is well worth watching his archives to better understand what I mean.
This particular episode is from a little over a month ago (7/19/11).  The best part is his correct interpretation of 'Render unto Caesar' which he explains shortly after 3:30.
In this particular video, he is destroying the concept of income tax, and pointing out why it's such a bad idea, why the founding fathers did NOT include it in the constitution, the questionable ratification of the 16th amendment, etc.  It's classic Zo, saying exactly what's on his mind, and pulling absolutely no punches.  My hat is off to you, sir!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tased Man Awarded Damages


I live far too close to this city for my comfort.  The short version of the story is that a police officer used excessive force, a jury found in his favor, but yet he was only awarded a couple hundred dollars compensation for it. 
The man had to go to the hospital, and we all know how cheap that is.  This is insanity.  Get me out of here.

Part of a Greater Whole


When I started this blog, all I knew was that I had a lot to say about various things.  As I started writing more, I learned what grabbed my attention most often, and ran with it.  Today, I consider this blog to be a mashing of several topics, but primarily Liberty, Politics, and Firearms.  It's only over the last several weeks that I've come to realize just how many other people are passionate enough about these topics.  It's intimidating to try to read everyone.
Last night I attempted to read all the 'current' posts listed on the Black List.  I fell asleep long before I get far into it.  The worst part, I felt badly about it.  This community is filled with people who have a passion for these things, and really understand what it means to be American.  And as I look through this list, and find other similar blogs, I realize how much of an honor it is to be included in such company.  At the same time, I am also humbled and a little intimidated as there are people far more talented, many who have been writing far longer, and those who are able to find stories and information far more efficiently than I am.
Weer'd says it best:
Meanwhile Gun Blogs you simply have to play favorites, because there is too much for any one person.
 The opposite side of the issue (I would say the "wrong" side of the issue) seems to have the opposite problem.  Take a look at the information Weer'd provides.  Quite enlightening, and frankly a bit amusing.  I know it's not polite to laugh at the expense of someone else; but sometimes I just can't help myself.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog List

I have finally joined the 2000's and added a list of the blogs I read daily in the sidebar.  There are a few others I read less regularly, but there's a reason these blogs are in the bookmark folder called 'daily.' 

I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unusual Holster Design


First, let me clearly state that I am no expert of holsters.  I have (shamefully) tended to stick to cheaper holsters (Hello, Uncle Mike's), and of quality holsters, I've tended toward the cheap end.  However, I understand VERY well the concept of a holster.  The accepted definition is fairly simple and straightforward:  a sheathlike carrying case for a firearm, attached to a belt, shoulder sling, or saddle.  I would modify that definition by making this simple change:  a sheathlike device used for SAFELY carrying a firearm....

The goal of carrying a sidearm is to do so safely.  When one is armed, one must take reasonable precautions to verify that they are not taking foolish risks with their safety.  It's not very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which an object (arm of a chair, wooden dowel rod, etc) can apply pressure inside the trigger guard when it is only covered by a layer or two of clothing.  

I also have serious issues with inserting anything which doesn't belong into the end of the barrel.  It sounds like they attempted to make it a material which will do no damage, and it certainly sounds more delicate than the cleaning brushes I tend to use.  However, that is only done as needed, and only for a short time.  The motions which my body performs on a daily basis (walking, sitting, standing, laying, driving, breathing) will all cause motion in the pants.  This means more friction, more rubbing, and a greater possibility that it will cause damage.

Overall, while this is a very interesting concept, and I am definitely a minimalist when it comes to holsters, I do not think this is a good idea as is.  There are a couple variations which might make me more comfortable with it, however as it stands, I'd not want to carry my sidearm with it.

Union Thugs - Making Life Interesting

I received the e-mail alert below yesterday at work.  Names and locations have been altered to protect the innocent.

Picketers on [Company's Name] Road

We are aware that Glazier’s Local Union 751 is picketing today on public property along [Company Name] Road, near the entrances to Building 1, 2 & 3 and 4, 5 & 6.  Our understanding is the union is protesting a subcontractor's use of nonunion personnel to renovate some buildings on campus.  We respect the union’s right to gather and picket on public property.  [Company Name] is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in employment and personnel practices on the basis of race, sex, age, handicap, religion, national origin or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

Please refrain from engaging with picketers, and exercise caution as you enter and exit onto [Company Name] Road, as always.
Any safety or security concerns should be reported immediately to [Company Name] Security  at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

So, here I am, a lowly office drone when I see this e-mail.  My initial thought when I saw the headline was that someone was protesting some product or other that we manufacture.  Then I realized it's picketers, not protesters.   So when I read it, and realized it's a union thing, I couldn't help but laugh.  My company didn't not hire unions (intentional double negative), they hired a subcontractor who did not hire unions.  This is so that they could compete with other offers, and actually get the work done at an affordable price to us.

The part that really boggles my mind, however, is that a local union group would come protest that.  If your unions didn't artificially raise the cost of doing business the way they do, and understood the importance of a free market, you would have actual work to do, perhaps even here on our campus.  Instead, you get to go hold signs outside a business that couldn't care less about your petty squabbles, making yourselves look like nitwits who have nothing better to do than...well...stand around holding signs, annoying people. 

When will the unions realize that they have outlived their usefulness, and at this point are merely just digging their own graves deeper?  I absolutely understand the importance for the unions to have been formed when they were, and that they served a wonderful purpose.  However, laws in America have been changed, and there is such a foundation of precedent in court for employees rights that I would say the effort and intent of unions was a success long ago.  Since that has been the case, they have done nothing to better the system, and have begun to have a negative impact instead. 

Maybe we should all picket union shops, and demand that they go away.    Oh, right, the rest of us have jobs we have to do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gun Blog Black List

This is a great resource:

Carry Restricted in a Mall of Fear

I've been meaning to post this for quite some time.  Today, I have finally finished writing the incident in a way which I think is fitting for here.  This is purely a personal experience, so there is no source material today.  I hope this anecdote is useful to you, and you are able to benefit from my experience.

As you know, I possess a CCW in my state, and carry constantly.  One evening, I was doing so in a local mall.  Being in one of the more upper-class neighborhoods in the area, I rarely visited it.  As such, (and as is my habit) I checked the doors as I entered.  No signage.  In PA, if there's a sign indicating firearms are not allowed, you leave. If you don't, they are required to ask you to leave. If you don't leave at that point, they can charge you with civil trespassing.  So, no huge risk even if there is a sign posted. 
My fiance (then girlfriend) and I were in one of the kitchen stores when I reached to a high shelf to retrieve an item for her.  My shirt lifted, and one of the employees saw my weapon in my belt.  She just happened to be looking at just the right place she'd need to look to see it. 
As we continued perusing their goods, we were in a corner, to the side and fairly far back in the store.  I was in the midst of a conversation with my girlfriend regarding some item in her hands, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye mall security (unarmed, older gentleman, who I'm pretty sure couldn't fight his way out of a burlap sack, no offense intended toward him, but not the kind of guy who could be effective in stopping any sort of determined criminal), but didn't realize they knew I was armed.  I had in no way been acting suspiciously, so I just assumed he was making his rounds, or coming to socialize.  Next thing I know, he's standing immediately behind me, tense as one could be.  He was polite enough to wait until my girlfriend and I ended the current conversation thread in which we were engaged prior to interrupting. 
Now, I'm not a small person, by any stretch of the imagination.  When he said 'Excuse me, sir,' and I turned to face him, he lost most of the color in his cheeks.  It was all I could do to keep from laughing.  He then said 'I would like to talk with you, would you care to come with me?' 
Not knowing what was going on, and not about to comply with someone who had as yet not identified himself, I opted to go the public route, and said 'We can chat here as well as anywhere.' 
Long story short, he proceeded to tell me that the employee saw my weapon, and he asked why I felt I needed to carry in a peaceful mall.  I responded that it was to keep my girlfriend safe and in one piece, not that it was any of his business thankyouverymuch.  He then said weapons are prohibited, and I asked where the signage is, he said it is in the office, on the top floor, behind the counter.  So, in short, there wasn't a visible public sign, but he attempted to enforce it.  He suggested a compromise that I return my weapon to my car, and continue my shopping.  My answer was that I was not about to do business with any organization which has a complete disregard for the rights and safety of their clients.  I also was not foolish to leave a weapon unattended anywhere, as that is an enormous liability to me.  I looked at my girlfriend, and told her to come out to the car whenever she was ready to leave, and that I'd be waiting for her there. 
The looks she got from all the women in that store were priceless.  The snobish folks who frequent that particular establishment were expecting to see her pull some heat out of her purse, especially as she tends to carry a large purse. 
I eventually wrote them a letter, indicating that I'd be informing all my friends about how poorly I was treated, and how unsafe I would feel shopping in a place like that, and how their policies restrict the freedoms and rights of theirs customers, and that I'd not be doing business with them until they changed their policies.  I also sent a copy of that same letter to the stores in the mall, and the corporate offices of those stores. 
It may not be much, but it's a little chip in their customer base.  Out of curiosity I stopped by while I was in the neighborhood several months later.  The proper signage was added to both sets of doors past which I drove.  Rather than understanding a customer's perspective, they stuck to their ideology of fear.  Now, rather than having an armed, concerned, engaged, aware and alert citizen in their building, willing to step up if the need arises, they are more likely to have the people who ignore such things enter, and act without any others willing to protect the innocent lives and property there. 
Complete and utter disregard for common sense, simple logic, and most importantly, the rights of the American Citizen.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

One Down...


Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the GOP primary race this morning.  Michelle's win in the Ames Straw Poll seems to have been a sever blow against his campaign.  He was initially hoping to show growth, and his 3rd place finish did that.  However, after he looked things over more closely, he realized that loss against Bachman was significant enough to end his run.

Now, for my opinion on the events:
First, and foremost, I'm glad to see one of the more liberal of the contenders back out of the race.  This gives me marginally more hope for having a properly conservative candidate. 
Second, I didn't see where Romney finished.  If he did well, the MSM would be blasting that all over the front pages, trying to sell us on how wonderful that socialist is.  The fact that he's NOT out there, tells me he did badly enough that they don't want to talk about it.  WAY TO GO IOWA!!!!
Third, Bachman winning the poll suggests to me that the people (of Iowa, at least) do want a real conservative in.  Unfortunately, I have my doubts about Michelle being a strong president.  She has potential, and I'd certainly take her over many others who are a possibility, but I do have my doubts.
Fourth, this is the best news to me from the weekend, Governor Perry is in.  He announced yesterday, and he couldn't have made me more happy.  He has a solid record of conservative policies, conservative voting, conservative solutions, etc.  As the field currently stands, he's the most conservative with the most experience, and best record.

Please, share your thoughts about the weekend's events, the debate last week, or anything else related to the GOP nomination race.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

California Open Carry


This gem from Weerd.  The video is very to-the-point, and it is amusing to listen to Portantino.  He's so far out of touch with reality that it's hard not to feel sorry for him.  As Weerd says:

Great arguments if you’re an emotional hand-wringer. Not much if you ever….you know…think.

Do you want to reduce crime?  Do you want to see people take personal responsibility?  Do you understand that the police have neither the ability nor the obligation to protect each and every individual citizen in each and ever circumstance throughout the course of a day?  Do you have the ability to think critically and apply logic?  If your answer to any of these is 'Yes' the odds are that you are in favor of enabling the private citizen to take an active stand the protection of his person, his family, and his property.  This means repealing the legislation which prevents individuals from performing those duties.  This means drafting and enacting legislation which supports the law-abiding, and protects them from criminal and civil liability when engaged in the act of defense (see Castle Doctrine laws).  

At the end of the day, the nanny-stateism that is rampant in this country is doing nothing to better the lives of our citizens, but rather is doing more to hinder freedom, and take responsibility away from people who are more than capable of behaving like adults.  The problems which need to be addressed are with those who intend others harm, not the idea that any sort of inanimate object is to blame.

Thanks for the video, Weerd.  Fantastic.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Debating on the Internet


Yes, I know debating on the internet is silly.  It's more effective to use a wall as a stopping device for one's head repeatedly.  However, that said, it is still very fun to debate people in such a forum occasionally.  I have been engaged (briefly) with a few people who don't understand basic political or economical science.  It's rather amusing, feel free to check out the debate and join in if you like.  Or, post here your thoughts on the debate.

The basic context of said discussion is the president's refusal to understand that the S&P changed the rating of the US because of his poor leadership.  Instead he's choosing to blame others, use scape goats, and even deny that the rating deserved to change.  Can't have it all, either it should change, or it shouldn't, not a combination of 'it shouldn't and it's someone else's fault that it did.'  It doesn't work that way.

Anyway, please weigh in!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jumping at Shadows


Most of you, by now, have heard about this incident.  Back in 2007 there was a mass shooting at the school.  While that was a sad, and even unfortunate incident, it has had the effect of making people at the school jumpy and afraid.  Rather than encouraging the students, faculty, and others to be aware of their situation, and prepared to handle it, they are skittish.  One person, who saw something they weren't even certain about having seen, led to a lock-down of the school, a massive amount of expense to the school, local tax payers, and emergency responders.  This comes with the additional side-effect of putting many officers into play in a non-issue, and leaving other areas un-patrolled, and reducing the response time to any other issue.  
In what world does it make sense for the masses to live in perpetual fear?  In what world does it make sense for people to blindly rely on the reactions of someone else to save their lives?  But most importantly, in what world is it the business of one person what any other person is or is not carrying on their person?  If you are worried about someone else carrying a weapon, train yourself in their use, and be prepared to do something about it yourself.  Otherwise, shut your mouth, stop whining like a nitwit, and leave the rest of us to live our lives the way we want.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Camping Trip

     This past weekend I went on a camping trip.  I haven't done a proper camping trip in many years.  Those of you who know me well will understand that this is the sort of thing I really enjoy.  Being outdoors, experiencing the call of nature, breathing fresh air, not dealing with traffic, and all the other things associated with getting back to basics are very appealing to me.  
    This trip, I went to one of the state parks in PA.  It was peaceful considering how full the campsite was.  There was one group of people who insisted on being louder than they needed to be, but they were far enough away that it wasn't terribly distracting.  
     I purchased a new tent for this trip (my old one was...well, let's just say it's not in the best shape these days).  All I can really say about this tent is that I love it.  
  • Standing upright in a tent is a wonderful thing.  Being able to walk around, upright, is even better.  
  • Large windows allow a tremendous amount of airflow to pass through the tent.
  • Setup of the tent was extremely easy considering the size.  Two adults, first time setup, took less than 30 minutes in a stiff breeze.  That was the worst part, without the wind it would have been 15 minutes.
  • Storage for a variety of things, some pockets built into two flaps, allowing for phone, wallet, keys, etc to be kept safe and organized without fear of being lost.  
  • There is an e-port to allow an extension cord to be run into the tent to power electronic devices, charge phones, or whatever.  We used a site without power, as that's part of the joy of being camping, is not depending on electricity for everything.  However, that is a nice feature for the back-yard-camp-outs, and other uses the tent would have.
We borrowed a Coleman camp stove for the trip, and as always, I enjoyed using the white-gas stove.  Very useful stove for burning without any toxic emissions.  White-gas is safe to use in a tent, or anywhere, without risk of CO poisoning.   The one we took had the electronic ignition, which was very convenient, but with having matches and a lighter, there would have been no issues if that was not working.  I am definitely going to purchase one of their dual fuel stoves for myself in the somewhat near future.  They have basically updated the white-gas stove to be able to burn either white-gas OR regular unleaded gasoline.  I will stick with the white-gas, unless I'm in a 'worst case scenario' and that fuel is not available.

Beyond those couple toys, we had the basic camping supplies (sleeping bags, pie irons, knives, etc), and it made for a very relaxing trip.  We rented a motor boat for a few hours and tooled around a portion of the lake (We did not have enough time to cover the entire lake, it's surprisingly large!), swam for a while, read, got engaged, made some s'mores, and other outdoorsy camping activities.

Now it's time to start planning the next trip!

Light Posting

Sorry for the light posting.  I've had a very busy couple of weeks, the last week being especially so.  I'll provide more details in the future as to what I've been busy doing in the future.
Stay tuned, I'll be writing some posts this week.