Better watch out, better not pout…

She know’s if you’ve been good or bad,
Knows the conversations you have had,
She knows where you speed and drive,
Knows if your wanted dead or alive,
Better watch out, better not pout,
Nanny state is here….to stay.
Score 132 wanted suspects caught, 29 million plates scanned and recorded.

http://autos.yahoo.com/news/driving-somewhere-theres-govt-record-145230580.html

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Published in: on July 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Please, Please, Please…Pretty PA Please!!!!

Pennsylvania to have historic vote on ending restrictive liquor laws dating back to 1933.

http://news.yahoo.com/pennsylvania-close-historic-vote-prohibition-era-liquor-laws-142013356.html

NOTE TO STATE CONGRESSMEN. IF YOU DO NOT PASS THIS. YOU DO NOT GET MY VOTE!!!!

Published in: on March 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The World Just Got 10x More Dangerous – Cyprus

Can one little nation destroy democracy as we know? Maybe…

For those who do not follow world financial trends.  Europe is in trouble, heck all of Western civilization is in a debt crisis.  But Europe is feeling it more so in their weaker nations.

Cyprus is currently the talk of the town, and were about to receive a German funded bailout. But having bailed out a few nations already, the EU chose to do something different. They wanted Cyprus to help, by implementing a tax on deposits. A 10% tax on deposits over 100,000 Euros. But not to leave joe-average Cryprus resident feeling left out. Those with under a 100,000 Euros would be hit with a 6.75% tax. 

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/why-cyprus-bail-bigger-deal-think-141844402.html

Imagine if your savings or 401K/IRAs suddenly lost 10% of their value to bail out the government.  Needless to say, you’d probably go to your bank and withdraw all your cash.  Cash out your 401K and pay the penalty.  This already is being talked about potentially triggering a run on the banks. [Remember, the entire purpose of the bailouts was to maintain confidence that our money and deposits would be safe in the banks. To prevent a 1930’s style run. This one act could undue all of the confidence in banks.

You really have to wonder what the EU/Germans are thinking.  This could lead to riots, revolutions, etc. Beyond being disgusting. This act heavily penalizes those who were prudent. It reaffirms to those who lived beyond their means, are in debt and have little to no savings that is the best way to live, while those who saved for a rainy day, didn’t give in to the consumption economy, and saved a little nest egg are now going to be robbed to the 1/10th degree.

So will this cause riots, or revolution in Cyprus?  I don’t think so. Maybe riots, but a revolution? How can they?  A quick look on Wikipedia reveals Cyprus’ gun laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics#Cyprus

Summary: No handgun ownership, not even 22 caliber.  One may own a shotgun, but is restricted to a single or double-barrel unit. No pump action or semi-auto shotguns allowed.  Even air rifles are regulated.

So in other words, Cyprus’ citizens have no means to defend themselves from the brigandly robber actions of it’s government and the EU.

This is a reminder of just why the 2nd Amendment is so very important. It is truly, ALL that keeps us free. It is what separates the free man from being a mere subject and slave.

 

Published in: on March 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cain and Abel and the Internet

Social media has provided a way for society to interact and stay in touch via the internet. I can watch what my friends do as far away as China. Social networks are used a variety of people.  It facilitates a human to human connection across an electric network of computer infrastructure using our existing tele-communications infrastructure. The internet is a smart system designed to route around failure or outages. A blackout might take down a portion of the internet but the service disruption will be localized. The system allows for routing around the damaged region, restoring communication.

It was original envisioned as a military defense project under DARPA. The thought being to aid in homeland defense, particularly in the case of a nuclear attack or disaster, by providing a redundant and self-repairing communication system that could initiate an early recovery.

In the early nineties I utilized BBS both large (GEnie) and small (local). Gaining greater access to the internet when I went to college. But it was while I was at the Coast Guard Academy (now part of the Department of Homeland Security) that I began greater experimentation with the Internet using such services as telnet. Now email and the internet are so much a part of life it’s hard to remember a time without it.

It wasn’t long before the internet became a virtual social venue.  Filled with friendship, jokes, romance….and yes, even character assassination. In fact, though only a world of text characters at the time. The advent of MUDs and MOOs could let someone visit and hang out in a virtual bar dropping shots down the hatch.  And I think by now we’re all familiar with how fired up people can become during internet discussions and debates. How easy it becomes to take ‘pop shots’ at another person and hide behind the veil of anonymity.  The anonymous aspect of the early internet had both it’s advantages and disadvantages.  Anyone could exist without prejudice. No one had to know if you were a man or woman, black or white. The only thing that mattered regarding acceptance was your character online. In many ways, it was the epitome of the dream come true for the like of activists such as Martin Luther King. But it was often easy to take offense or treat someone like they had the plague; to simply attack them because we could not visual their humanity.

The internet is akin to our modern highways, often being referred to as the internet super highway. But it shares aspects more in common with subways and metros like Atlanta’s MARTA service. It’s not all polished, there are red light districts. Even organized crime has found its niche on the internet, with Hackers who break into computer systems to steal information or who write worms that breach security and create zombie PCs or steal credit card information. One should always use a good anti-viral program to protect your personal computer from a wanton virus or infection.  And be extremely cautious with regards to what information you share online or give to internet sites lest you find yourself in the hazardous situation of being a victim to identity theft. One of the best ways to avoid infection is to never open up a suspicious email, especially those with attached files which are often packaged viruses. Not all computer problems are due to viral infection, often the problem can be traced to a memory leak in a software program.

The internet and the concept of an interconnected electronic network has permeated much of our creative art, especially cinema. The Grid, it’s referenced in the TRON movies. Showed how the interconnectedness could pose a security risk. When the Master Control Program attacked the Pentagon computer systems.  The Matrix featured agents, quasi-cops, who manifested as SWAT teams and Secret Service agents. But were really computer programs designed to control and maintain the system.

While the Internet may have started as a U.S. defense project it has grown into an encompassing technology spanning the globe. From Canada to Mexico, to Europe, to the Middle-East to the Far-East the internet has grown into a medium that nearly connects the entire world together.  One might almost say “Where there is light, there is internet.”  Look at a map of the world at night. You’ll see regions that are lit up brightly. These tend to correspond to the hubs of the internet.  Though it even pervades into the more dimly lit areas. One thing that I find interesting about such maps is how you can always find North Korea and South Korea. Go to Asia and find the area where there is a line and below it is very brightly lit and above it dark.  South Korea full of modernization, electricity and internet. North Korea, a realm stuck in the dark age (literally) and without the commonality of the internet.  Such regimes prevent the sharing of knowledge, as such knowledge would like foster rebellion and armed uprising and revolt.

There has been a growing trend amongst some nations to censor the internet, to create a digital border with a digital fence, patrolled by digital police. Preventing those thoughts and ideas which dictatorships have deemed illegal. And yet in many ways, the internet continues to prevail. Even when tyrants have tried to turn it off, ad-hoc systems arose in its place. It becomes the medium for the outbreak of ideas, and facilitates ideas going “viral”. A term that denotes where the sharing of a thought, idea, picture or video is passed from one individual to their friends in such a way that the replication results in a millions viewing the subject.

The internet is a wealth of knowledge. Sites like Wikipedia, which has put an encyclopedia in the home of everyone with an internet enabled computer, all for free. Or Google the massive search engine that finds info fast on nearly any topic.  Want to know how to grow your own tobacco? Google it! Want to know how to handle a toxic chemical spill? Google it! Want to know the real facts about H1N1 Avian influenza? Google it! Need the AMTRAK  schedules…Google can get that too!

The internet has put more information at the fingers than any technology since the printing press. It is likewise, just as disruptive a technology.

This has also led to issues of copyright, piracy, and debates on free and fair use. We’ve seen many sights taken down recently by the Department of Homeland Security. Sometimes with the result of other legitimate sites being taken down in the process. Many question whether this collateral damage method is acceptable.  Most Americans would not accept the police demolishing and entire city block and spraying it down with bullets to raid a single house of a drug dealer. So the question arises, why should it be acceptable to take down 200 websites (virtual homes) to eliminate one bad website? Even more question whether copyright protection should be a role of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Recently, this came to a head with regards to SOPA/PIPA Acts which would have greatly strengthened the already overly strong hands of copyright law. RIAA and its cohorts had pursued their typical pattern of lobbying and bribery, and the expected results at first seemed to be panning out. SOPA was on its way toward becoming law. That is, until some of the major players of the internet like Google and Wikipedia decided to play the nuclear option.  They threatened to pull their services off the web. Quickly, people became aware of the pending legislation and voiced their opposition. Within a few weeks SOPA/PIPA had lost nearly all their support. When the D-day arrived, it was toned down a bit. Rather than the many websites closing doors for the day, most simply put an alert on all their pages. But the event showed that there were new powers to be and that the lobbying organizations couldn’t take for granted their old ways of bribery. Google, Wikipedia and others had shot dead the SOPA/PIPA Acts. And taught Congress that they could affect people far more greatly than had been realized.

In a lot of ways, this is a good thing. Because it gives a greater voice to the people. Another means for American citizenry to affect their leadership.  And perhaps that’s one of the greatest uses for the internet. We’ve seen the internet play major roles in the election of President Obama, the campaign of Ron Paul, SOPA/PIPA being removed from the table, and in such movements as the Tea Party, OWS and the Arab Spring.  It is providing a means for the populace to unify and rise up in voicing their opposition and opinions in a peaceful manner. Which is a very good thing, because so long as the citizenry has an effective peaceful means of enacting the change society needs. Then citizenry will have no need to resort to firearms and bloodshed.

Where will the internet go from here? Recently the term cloud computing was coined. A term to describe clusters of data centers housed in large facilities which offer a service very akin to the mainframes of yesteryear. Just far more dynamic.  I expect we’ll see an explosion of growth from the greater connectivity of the wireless revolution combined with the storage and processing resources of cloud computing.  Such a pairing would allow one to access the power of a super computer in the mere Palm (okay, now days the iPhone) of their hand.  So long as the government doesn’t decide to play Cain to our Abel, the future is bright for innovation and new ideas to germinate from the breeding ground that the internet fosters.

Sky is the limit!

…or maybe not?  We’ve seen internet enabled devices take to the air to aid pilots in their flights. In fact the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just approved iPads for use in the cockpit. And even beyond that, internet has enabled astronauts on the space station to communicate with people here on the earth below.  So perhaps even the sky is not a limit.

THE END

***

Huh what? Where did this come from? Why a dialogue on the internet?  Recently, on Slashdot there was a discussion of reports regarding what words and/or phrases (list here) the Department of Homeland Security in monitoring on social networks.

The above essay, while not using every word or phrase on the list,  goes on to utilize a fairly large number of them.

The Great Property Debate

A rather lively ongoing debate has existed in regards to proposed “Parking Lot” laws. That would protect the keeping of a firearm within a vehicle, even an employer parking lot.

The issue has been debated as one of property rights, and has been very heated as libertarian viewpoints clash.

Premise 1: If a business owner says no guns, and you store a firearm in your vehicle parked in the business’ parking lot – you are clearly violating the business owner’s private property rights.

Is that the case?  Is one violating the other’s property rights in the name of personal rights?  It would seem so. If a store owner posts a sign that reads “NO FIREARMS”, I believe the bringing in of such without authorization to in fact violate the property owner’s rights.  It’s a problem we often see where some gun toter goes off the deep end exclaiming how they have a right to carry a firearm, blah, blah, blah….but that right is a public right. It does not give you the right to trample over a business owner’s property rights. If Walmart states “No Firearms”, that is their right. To disregard such is to violate the sanctity of their private ownership rights.

So from a casual glance, this would seem to be the case. And many have voiced concerns based on this notion.  But I believe this viewpoint to be absolutely and rationally wrong. And stems from a simple fallacy, the failing to account a multi-dimensional existence.

Premise 2:  The vehicle is private property. And therefore not subject to such governance, even upon another’s property.

I am going to endeavor to show why I believe this latter premise to be correct. First off, we need to make some declarative premises before we can make any conclusions. Namely, a) the land is private property and the owner has rights of force on that property, b) a vehicle is private property and the owner has rights of force on that property.

The owner of the property, has a clear right to allow or refuse your vehicle entry.  This is their right.  They can put up a NO TRESSPASSING sign and say “Keep off”. Likewise, they can give you permission to enter their property, or to bring your vehicle.   There is a significant difference between entering a property and bringing one’s vehicle.  If you step upon someone’s land, you are an individual on another person’s property.   But when you bring a vehicle onto someone else’s land, you have brought property onto property.

This creates a very different scenario.  As both pieces of property have exclusive and sole rights of ownership.  The old saying is “You have the right to swing your fist until it impacts someone else’s face.”   The same is true in regards to property. You have the right to your property, until it hit’s another person’s property.

So let’s look at this scenario of parking lot vs car.  If, as the first would advocate, the land owner would have sole authoritarian rights and be able to dictate anything, including what can be inside your vehicle.  He would also be able to take anything from your vehicle as well, after all, it’s on his property. In fact, if the mere presence of a vehicle on his property, made it fall under his domain, he could freely give it to someone else. In fact, this would be true for any property.  The land owner could simply take your cell phone or wallet.  By mere presence on his property.  What is there to stop this?

The fact that it is YOUR property. This is the big deciding factor.  If someone come on my property, I can ask them to leave. But I don’t have the right to their wallet and cell phone.  The same is true regarding a vehicle. The land owner has the right to allow or disallow my vehicle. But they do not have right to my property.

People need to realize we live in a 3-dimensional universe. Their property, ceases when it hits the boundaries of mine. Otherwise, I could slap a NO TRESPASSING sign and shoot down planes flying overhead.  Afterall, they’re flying overhead – that would just be ridiculous.  We all know it. It’s clear there are boundaries to one’s land rights.  And one of those is when it impacts another person’s property.

A property owner can allow a vehicle or not, but it’s based on the vehicle and the owner.  What is inside it my property is of my property, a decision based on that moves dangerously toward one individual searching another’s property without permission.

Now I will concede that I might allow for a “visibility” aspect. One might be able to argue that one can make such demands when said item is clearly visible.  And why might I allow or concede on such a point?  Noise ordinances. We have clearly established that the making of noise can “tresspass” a neighboring individual’s rights.  If I am blasting my ratio at 2 am in the morning it is likely to be deemed inappropriate and an infringement to my neighbor’s rights to a reasonably peaceful and quiet evening.  While not noise, one might argue that visibility is not too much different and if there is a firearm clearly visible in plain sight, that no search or invasion of my property or privacy was done.  The owner might argue the ‘sight of’ has caused distress to himself and/or his other guests. Now the property owner may specifically instruct me to remove my vehicle. Please note the deciding term is “specifically”.

But if a firearm was stored hidden away, under the seat or in the trunk. There is no mean’s for the land owner to find any specificity with in regards to my vehicle. The land owner can decide if they want to allow my vehicle or not. But so long as my firearm, or any other items, are inside my vehicle. They are within MY property.  The land owner merely has the right to allow my property on his or not. They have no say OVER my property, nor over me. Which is why I have no obligation to inform the property owner of the presence of a firearm.  A sign that says “NO FIREARM” or “NO FOOD” on premises or property, hold true on that property. But not in my own property.

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 4:30 am  Comments (7)  
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In the News (Blogosphere)

The past several weeks have been quite busy for me. From having a newborn son, to being out-of-state for a week, to a returning home and having family down for my daughter’s two year birthday.  And many other events that just consumed a lot of my time. All of which resulted in me being a bit behind on events in the news.

While I have been posting intermittently through the past few weeks I’ve only managed to post about 1/2 of what I intended to. So here’s a few items to make up for things:

***

Pin & Weld – Snowflakes In Hell discusses that fact that the “pin and weld” option for short rifle barrels does not appear in the new ATF handbook.  For those not familiar with the pin and weld technique. Short barrelled rifles and shotguns are regulated by the BATFE. One option that had been considered acceptable in the past was to take a short barrel and  pin and weld onto it a flash suppressor.  The resulting combined length no longer being considered to fall under short barrel regulation.  If this is being changed, it poses the risk of making thousands of rifle owners “felons” awaiting conviction.

CCWs vs LEOs – Security cameras prove once again that permit holders are safer than police officers. Two permit holders get into a fender bender. No big deal. Minor damage. All is well…until the father of the man who rear ended the car in front of him gets involved.  He goes into the Lukoil store where the passengers of the front car were.  He comes in, grabs the girl (Ms. Lawless) and puts a gun in her face. (By the way, did I mention the dad is a Philly cop.) Originally, the officer claimed that Lawless assaulted her.  And she would be have probably have been convicted of that charge if not for this security video showing a thug wearing a badge.

Interesting Reads:

How free is your state?
(Seen this one before, may have even posted it – but it’s always fun to revisit!)

CNN talks about the ammo shortage
(I know, this one’s already made it’s rounds through a lot of the blogosphere. I actually saw it when it was on CNN’s homepage and meant to post it then. Sorry)

Do more guns equal more death?

Some interesting insights can be drawn from this chart.

  • U.S. population is increasing.
  • U.S. firearm ownership is increasing (faster than the population rate in fact)
  • Deaths / Population is decreasing, in fact, deaths per handgun are also dropping.
    (Thus defeating the “More guns equal more death!”)
  • States that allow legal personal carry of firearms either as “shall issue” or “free carry” has greatly increased.

Some additional causations can be implied. There is a fair drop that at first glance seems to begin when the Brady Act and AWB went into effect.  But look closely – the drop actually began before the Act went into effect. And there is absolutely zero difference when the AWB was passed.

Walls of the City (creator of the chart) hypothesizes that the drop may correspond inversely to the increase in right to carry.

I’ll wager another hypothesis, because I remember that era.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s gang crime was intense.  In the early 90’s there was a nationwide crackdown on gangs. The crackdown involved numerous large and medium cities, state and Federal law enforcement agencies.  Many of those arrested in those crackdowns faced 10 yr, and 20 yr sentences.  The first batch to be released would be the early 2000’s.  Right around when we see an increase in deaths.  However, we are still seeing a decrease in deaths per capita.

H/T  Walls of the City

Published in: on August 2, 2009 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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How free are you?

Freedom Rankings of the 50 States on various issues.
(You have to click the link that reads “Download Document”)

I guess I made a wise choice in moving from Connnecticut (overall rank 41) to Pennsylvania (overall rank 20).  Moved up more than 20 places!

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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