Rule Five Friday

2014_06_06_Rule Five Friday (1)Back to a bit on the Bergdahl controversy; well, call it a side effect:  Why Are We Freeing Terrorists?  Excerpt:

Democrats have been promoting the idea that they stand firmly against a “War on Women.” So how come President Obama just released some of that war’s worst aggressors?

I’m talking about the “Taliban Dream Team” who were just traded for ransomed soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

These were top officials in the Taliban regime: a provincial governor, a deputy defense minister, a deputy intelligence minister, a top arms smuggler, and a top Taliban military commander. Two of them are wanted by the United Nations for war crimes committed against Afghanistan’s 2014_06_06_Rule Five Friday (2)Shiites.

Make no mistake about what these men are, and I will not, can not mince words here:  They are fucking savages.  They are the kind of people who stone others to death for not believing as they do; they are the kind of people who blow up innocents, who use human shields, who will kill children to make a political point.  They do not deserve to be released; what they deserve is a bullet to the head, preferably delivered by an American serviceman.  And the Gitmo Five are not just foot soldiers in the army of Islamist savagery; they are goddamn generals.

And we traded them for Bowe Bergdahl; a deserter.  He is a man who, not so very long ago, would have faced a firing squad for desertion in the face of the enemy.  Today?  He will probably walk.

2014_06_06_Rule Five Friday (3)Another perspective worth reading:  Don’t Like Dealing with Terrorists? Bring Them Down.  Excerpt:

Hostage negotiations between a Western democracy and a hostile totalitarian regime lopsidedly favor the evil regime.  Its leaders do not care about human life, while ours are often driven by concern over the fate of their citizens.  You can see that in the case of Israel, which releases hundreds of terrorists for a single Israeli hostage, and you can see it in those US/Iran/Israel negotiations back in ’85:  President Reagan was very passionate about saving our hostages, as Israeli prime ministers, including Begin and Netanyahu, have been about saving theirs.

2014_06_06_Rule Five Friday (4)And therein lies the difference between us and them, between the civilized and the savage; we value human life, and they do not.  We build schools that these assholes would kill girls for entering.

As I said, fucking savages.

And we let them go.

2014_06_06_Rule Five Friday (5)

My Top Ten Shooting Range Peeves

AR-15 OneThis just in from a fellow member of the Wild Bunch, a nigh-unto twenty year e-mailing list of which I am a proud member:

1) If you see a parent teaching a child (especially a little one) how to shoot, have some consideration about what you do. We agree your .308-muzzle-brake-enabled-tacticool-rifle is the bomb and the cyclic rate of your booger hook is impressive, but do you have to shoot right next to us? Really? Have a heart – move down the line, or do it later! Do it for the children! . . .

 2) Suppressors are civilized and if you can own one – get one. You can do without one more cool gun – get a silencer instead. Plus it’s a great way to get new shooters started and focused on marksmanship basics. When you shoot suppressed you start to realize how much nicer a range experience can be. An added benefit is that you don’t keep yelling at your buddies after the hearing protection comes off.

3) The range signs say “EYE AND EAR PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES” for your benefit. So, put them on before you get to the bay. Don’t walk up to the range without them just because it happens to be quiet. And keep them on when you’re there. There’s really no good reason to take either off. If I care about your eyes and hearing (and you’re a stranger) more than you do, you’ve got a problem.

4) At a self-policed shooting range, calling “CEASE FIRE” once then walking forward of the firing line immediately is stupid. I kid you not, I’ve actually seen guys bleat once then start walking while the firing line is still busy. Bonehead, you’ll be getting a Darwin award shortly. Common practice and courtesy is: a) loudly call for a cease fire, preferably a few times, b) give everyone a moment to unload actions and remove magazines, c) gather items needed from the bench, d) step back and away from the firing line, then e) announce the range is clear…before anyone walks forward.

5) At a self-policed shooting range, when there is a cease fire and the range is cold, it doesn’t mean you can touch the bench, anything on the bench, anything near the bench, or anything remotely next to the bench. Back it up and stay back. I recall a few years ago an older teenage boy was sitting at the bench during a cease fire. He had his lever gun action closed and pointed skyward while the rest of the line was down range completely OK with him sitting there. Crazy!

AUG6) When sighting in a rifle at a public range, do everyone a favor and buy/bring/borrow a spotting scope or, minimally, a pair of binoculars. It never fails to amaze me when the new rifleman brings his rifle, targets, and ammo, but not a means to visualize his hits. You may think it’s totally legit to call a cease fire every five stinking minutes so you can walk out and check your bullet holes, but the guy who’s got only an hour to shoot, well, he’s not thinking highly of you. Maybe somebody will sell a super cheap pair of throwaway binos someday that you can give to these types; kind of like that advice to have a few bucks wrapped around something heavy and kept in your pocket so you can toss it at a potential robber.

7) I understand there may be times when shooting a mag full from an AK or AR at pistol ranges needs to be practiced or maybe as a starting point for a newbie…but aren’t there diminishing returns after an hour and a case of ammo? Sure it’s your right but seriously? Get thee to the rifle range already and then show everybody what you can really do at distance; if you can that is.

8) Call me crazy, but if you have an equal number of holes outside of your primary target as you do inside it, I think you may want to work on the basics. Just a tad maybe? The same applies if the target stand is more wobbly after you shot than before. Similarly, I never understand shooters who keep shooting at a target that has more holes than paper on it. I’m a tightwad, but perhaps you could spare another target once in a while?

9) The guys who think it’s funny to have their unsuspecting female counterparts (particularly those who’ve never shot before) shoot a .500 S&W revolver, a .50AE Desert Eagle, or any belted magnum rifle offhand. Are these guys just not the lowest of the low? Correction. They’re actually one small step above those who do the same, then record it and post it on YouTube.

10) During a CHL shooting test is not a great time to be asking the instructors how your gun works.

In all seriousness, let’s be safe, let’s exercise our rights, and let’s be considerate to our fellow shooters (and soon-to-be-shooters).

Animal’s Daily Science News

Science!
Science!

It’s time for a Science Thursday.

First, for something cheerful:  Global Catastrophic Risks.  Yeah, why not?  Of course, from my personal viewpoint, humanity will end with me.  Or to put it another way:  I intend to live forever, and from my perspective – I will.

But then, we might be able to outrun a catastrophe – we were evolved to be marathoners.  Excerpt:

For our size, we humans have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom, but physically we appear pretty mediocre.

Surprisingly, it turns out that your average fit human can outrun a deer. In fact, a theory claims that we humans evolved the ability to be good endurance runners, so we could chase animals for hours, run them to a Derp Bearstandstill, and kill them. The theory continues that their high-density protein and energy helped our brains evolve bigger and bigger.

Too bad, given that evolutionary heritage, that brains seemto be in such short supply in the Imperial City.

On that note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Mittwoch once again!

This in yesterday from the Wall Street Journal’s inestimable James Taranto:  Who Here’s a Horton?  Excerpt:

The news that the Obama administration was releasing five top Taliban in exchange for missing American soldier Bowe Bergdahl would not have come as a surprise to anyone who read the late Michael Hastings‘s prolonged profile of Bergdahl, published two years ago in Rolling Stone. Hastings reported that the administration was pushing for just such a deal.

Hastings also observed that “the president’s political enemies were prepared to use the release of violent prisoners to paint [President] Obama as a Dukakis-like appeaser, just as Republicans did to the former Massachusetts governor during the 1988 campaign.” He quoted Marc Grossman, then special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, as saying congressional Republicans “keep telling me it’s going to be Obama’s Willie Horton moment.”

Willie Horton, of course, being the murderous thug who indirectly torpedoed Michael Dukakis’ 1988 Presidential campaign.  Why?  A convicted first-degree murderer, Horton was given a weekend “furlough” from prison on a program put in place by Dukakis, during which furlough he disappeared, to reappear a year later in Maryland where he brutally attacked a man during a home invasion, following which he raped the man’s fiancee.

Why the connection?

Because the Obama Administration has not not only negotiated with terrorists, they have – possibly unlawfully – released five major players in the Islamist terror world in return for one American deserter.  Like Horton, these five will absolutely commit more acts of terror.  No doubt triple-facepalmabout that – none at all.

What the hell were they thinking?

The answer is painfully obvious – they weren’t.  This is an Administration whose foreign policy has been marked with incompetence, nitwittery and blunder after blunder after blunder.  We know this, and what’s worse, our enemies know it.

Nothing good will come of this incident.

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearThanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

This in from the folks at Reason.com:  Anti-Pot Prejudice vs. Federalism.  Excerpt:

Last week, by a vote of 219 to 189, the House of Representatives approved an amendment aimed at stopping federal interference with state laws that “authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” If it is included in the appropriations bill passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the amendment would prohibit the Justice Department, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from spending taxpayers’ money on dispensary raids or other attempts to stop medical use of marijuana in the 22 states that allow it.

So, why stop at medical marijuana?

Granted, politics is the art of the possible.  While we might want half a loaf today, we may have to settle for a few slices today, and a few more tomorrow.  The sad part is this:  Those slices are almost always incrementally decreasing, not increasing, our personal liberties.

That would not appear to be the case here, and it’s true enough that there are a few cases where the inverse to the above is true – marijuana, concealed-carry, a few other cases.  But it is in the nature of government to expand, to become more intrusive – which makes one wonder how serious the Senate will be about taking up this legislation.

Speaking of Reason, here’s another bit that’s hard to disagree with:  Stop Blaming Society, Start Blaming the Individual Responsible.

Hear, hear.

Goodbye Blue Monday!

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

I find myself in northern Indiana once more, for what may be my last stint in this particular gig – unless they extend the contract, which they have the option to do.

Honestly, there are worse places – although having gone through a winter here and facing a summer, I’m reminded of the two reasons I left the upper Midwest where I grew up:

  1. The summers.
  2. The winters.

But enough of Midwestern weather for now.

This tidbit in yesterday from Investor’s Business Daily:  The Dead Hand of Crony Capitalism.  Excerpt:

Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill that more than doubled the tax credits available to film producers who come to the state. McAuliffe called it a big win for Virginia, since so many other states compete for Hollywood productions with special tax favors.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has secured a total of $1.2 billion in at least 260 special benefits over the years. Nike, Boeing, Alcoa and Intel got more than $2 billion each.

North Carolina promised Apple up to $370 million in benefits and an additional $255 million to Google to build data centers in the state.

Washington offered Boeing $8.7 billion in benefits to build the wings of its new jetliner in the state.

Ayn Rand called this “the Aristocracy of Pull:”

Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing—when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors—when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but Sad-Bearprotect them against you—when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality.

Have we come to this point?  Has Ayn Rand been proved more prescient than we ever imagined?

I’m afraid that this might be precisely the case.

 

Rule Five Friday

2014_05_30_Rule Five Friday (1)It seems recession has returned.  Two items on that tidbit:

From CNBC:  Frigid winter takes toll as US GDP contracts for first time in 3 years.

Bloomberg is a tad more optimistic, but not much:  U.S. Economy Shrinks for First Time Since 2011; Pent Demand Suggests Temporary Setback.

Key excerpt from CNBC:

The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time in three years as it buckled under the weight of a severe winter, but there are signs activity has since rebounded.

2014_05_30_Rule Five Friday (4)The Commerce Department on Thursday revised down its growth estimate to show gross domestic product shrinking at a 1.0 annual rate.

It was the worst performance since the first quarter of 2011 and reflected a far slower pace of inventory accumulation and a bigger than previously estimated trade deficit.

Bloomberg agrees:

A pickup in receipts at retailers, stronger manufacturing and faster job growth indicate the first-quarter setback will prove temporary as pent-up demand is unleashed. Federal Reserve policy makers said at their April meeting that the economy has strengthened after adverse weather took its toll.

2014_05_30_Rule Five Friday (5)“The good news is that the first quarter is over, it was a difficult one for the U.S. economy,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “I wouldn’t worry too much about the decline, it’s mostly driven by less construction spending and less inventory accumulation. This quarter should be a good one.”

Oddly enough, in 2012 I remember being told that if I voted for Mitt Romney, that unemployment would stay above 5% and economic growth would go in the crapper.  And look – they were right!

I think both articles may have one good point; the bad winter did hurt retail movement, and there may be some rebound now that spring has well and truly sprung and people are moving about more.  But that’s not a major move, and the economy remains in an anemic growth cycle; really anemic if you remember the Roaring Eighties.

2014_05_30_Rule Five Friday (3)And we may be in for a major market move, too.  Excerpt:

Of these (indicators), the most important will likely be the first-quarter GDP due on Thursday. The last estimate was for growth of 0.1%, while expectations for the revision are a -0.6% decline in growth for the first quarter. A decline here would be an unwelcome development, as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP is the official definition of recession. While this will probably be blamed on bad winter weather, a slip into recession could easily trigger the next “Minksy moment” and escalate market volatility. I remain cautious as we enter the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Could that presage a crash?  It’s hard to tell, but the Fed can’t keep pumping cheap money in to the economy forever – and when they stop, a major adjustment is inevitable.  See Stein’s Law.

2014_05_30_Rule Five Friday (2)

Animal’s Daily News

Girls with GunsSo what’s the best state to live in if you’re a gun owner?  Guns & Ammo has the answer.  Seems the top five are:

  1. Arizona
  2. Alaska
  3. Georgia
  4. Utah
  5. Kentucky

No real surprises there.  This isn’t really what you’d call a scientific survey, but it is based on several factors including right-to-carry, Castle Doctrine laws, ease of obtaining a Class III weapon, magazine bans and other miscellaneous items.

Sadly our own Colorado comes in well down the list at #40, certainly in large part because of the legislative idiocy forced on our state only last year.  Alaska, where Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. plan to retire, fares much better – again, no surprise in a state with a long-standing outdoor tradition, not to mention plenty of toothy and dangerous wildlife.

gun control theoryThis is an election year here in Colorado though, and plenty of folks are unhappy with the current powers-that-be – Governor Hickenlooper, I suspect, will squeak by in a re-election but the mood of the country and the state are moving against the party that currently controls our legislature.

Then, True Believers, we’ll see what we’ll see.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.