Friday, May 27, 2005

And they're off and running

Once again, the Family Freeholder prepares to make our way to Camp Freehold for the weekend.

However, this is a special weekend. It's Memorial Day, and for a change the government-mandated date will coincide with the traditional date. We will celebrate by utilizing our Second Amendment freedoms, the traditional cookout and flying the flag. We'll also take time to shake the hand of any veteran we can find.

The local VFW post was at the local Walmart today, raising money and handing out poppies. I stopped to donate and talk with the gentlemen manning the table. One was one of our rapidly declining number of WWII vets, while the other was from the Vietnam time--retired US Army, a retired master sergeant from Special Forces.

But there were others, from the local high school's JROTC program. I find that heartening, in a week where I've needed some good news.

I hope you all enjoy the holiday, however you choose to mark it. See you next week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Today is making up for yesterday--in spades

It seems everyone is up for some monkey-wrenching. Good.

For those wicked gun owners who haven't heard it, the Florida Daily News decided to publish a list of all concealed carry permit holders. Nice folks, huh? Their argument is that it is a matter of "public record".

A number of people have taken offense with that decision, and have decided to see just what else is in the public record.

Countertop has found the publisher's name, address and phone number and the editor's phone number. And links to a lot of places with more information.

I wonder how these people are going to feel with the shoe on the other foot.

The Republicans have been rolled

(Via Kim du Toit)

Andrew McCarthy at National Review has a rather scathing view of the "compromise" over President Bush's nominees to the bench.

As noted in the title above (and the subtitle to his piece), "The Republicans have been rolled."

Let'’s say, instead, that they simply gave us the bottom line: (a) three of the president's nominees get an up-or-down vote (i.e., exactly three of the pending seven left standing after the Democrats--in that spirit of compromise--whittled down from the original ten); (b) the Democrats remain free to filibuster (but only on the strict condition that, uh, well, that the Democrats feel like filibustering); and (c) the Republicans, on the brink of breaking four years of obstruction, decide instead to punt (and on the eve of a likely battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, no less).

Now personally, that doesn't sound like being rolled to me. That sounds more like one of those good old Anglo-Saxon monosyllables that has to do with a sexual act.

Please remember, come reelection time, the RINOs that brought you this "victory":
  • John McCain (AZ)
  • George Voinovich and Mike DeWine (OH)
  • Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (ME)
  • Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Kim du Toit calls the Republicans "the Stupid Party". It isn't hard to understand why.

Cleaning up a mess

Ronald Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion has published some thoughts on the ClearPlay System. For those of you who don't follow the geekly arts, ClearPlay is a hardware solution that allows you to filter out some of the gratuitous dreck that Hollywood inserts into its product.

Currently in its early stages, ClearPlay can clean up slightly over 100 movies at this time. Go to your favorite place to buy or rent a DVD, bring it home, insert it into a ClearPlay equipped DVD player, and you can watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High without the sex, nudity, bad language and violence. (Although the movie will only be 10 minutes long and make absolutely no sense.)

Hollywood and its infinite cadre of lawyers don't like this technology, and are trying everything they can to stifle it before it does terrible damage to the artistic integrity of the director's art. (Ack. Just writing that makes me feel like I need a shower.)

The conflict of rights here is interesting, since you are buying or renting a standard DVD, unedited in any way. Your purchased DVD player is doing the editing, in real time, on your behalf. Of course, according to Hollywood, this is a bad thing.

However, you must remember that this line of reasoning is brought to you by the folks who tried to tell us that we were bad people for taping TV shows (remember the Sony decision?), tried to make it illegal to fast forward through commercials and wanted veto control of what you could and could not do with every digital capable device in your home.

Enough of me--go read Sewage Treatment.

I love this lady

(Via the Drudge Report)

Now this is the kind of activism I can get behind. In the best tradition of monkey-wrenching, BJ Ostergren is publishing the Social(ist) (In)Security Numbers of our elected public servants on the Internet to publicize how easy it is on this country to obtain the personal information of an individual and commit identity theft.

BJ wants Congress to get off its collective arses and pass a law to help protect this information. While I'm not a big government fan, this strikes me as an appropriate place for government to act.

Of course, business interests are highly concerned. Hey BJ, why don't you add corporate C-whatever-Os to your list?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

This must be the week...

For being irritated about Shit In General. Fred Reed has some thoughts on rednecks and why they're worth more than the chattering classes.

But of course, I already knew that.

So tell us what you really think

Varifrank is even less thrilled than I am about than I am about the filibuster cave in compromise. Excellent rant.

Surviving our times

If I still sometimes wonder how Rand or Von Mises withstood the days of socialism, I also wonder how today's freedom lovers endure an era in which everything we once touted as a solution to big government is being twisted by governments into an excuse for more centralized power and greater oppression.

This is exactly what I've been pondering on, in my own way--how do those of us who believe in personal freedom and responsibility persevere in this new era of a nascent American Empire? What happens when you make the transformation from citizen to Citizen? Claire Wolfe doesn't have the answers either, but I'm glad to see that others are asking the same sorts of questions.

For me, for now, I'll continue to ponder, to write and to prepare.

Writing down passwords is a good thing

(WARNING: Geek Alert)

According to a Microsoft security expert, we've been going at the issue of password security wrong for 20 years. Start writing the blasted things down.

(Of course, it isn't that simple; go read the article.)

Thank God someone beside me has finally taken up this crusade. As a network administrator, some days I spend half my time resetting passwords for people who can't remember them. I used to get really annoyed, until it got to the point where I couldn't remember all of mine. The last time I counted, 4 years ago, I had over 200 passwords and PINs I had to keep up with. Of course, some of these were for my personal use, but still--no mortal can be expected to keep up with that many. (Have I told you the story about using my ATM PIN to disarm the alarm on a building? That worked well....)

I was eventually shown the light by some evil Big Oil company guys at at training class we were all taking. All my passwords now reside in encrypted form on a PDA. I have one password that lets me get to all the rest, and I'm the only one who knows it.

So, my end user friends, start putting all your eggs in one basket and Guard That Basket. Microsoft says that it's OK.

Another pound of sausage is born

I see that seven "moderate" Republican Senators have caved in to a Democrat minority and saved the Senate from the horror of changing its rules.

What the heck happened to the idea that if your party won the White House, the Senate and the House, you set the agenda? Would anyone care to speculate on how this would have went if the Democrats were in that position? Somehow, I suspect that there wouldn't have been much talk of compromise. They would have had their way, we would have gotten a bunch of judges who would continue to find new "rights" in the Constitution, and the Republicans could go bugger themselves.

What a spineless bunch the Republican Party has become. Just at the point where we could finally have that knock-down, drag-out fight that we've needed for years, we going to all get together and have a group hug. To Hell with the Republic, as long as we look good for the media, right guys?

I recall reading, way back when, a line in a novel along the lines of "Artists are the only thing that keep human beings from compromising themselves back into the Stone Age."

Hand me that rock, would you Og?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Weekend catchup

Once again, we have returned from Camp Freehold safe and sound.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to range time. Son, one of my oldest friends and I took advantage of the sunny 78o weather to get in some trigger time. My Old Friend has been away from the sport for some time (his wife is somewhat hoplophobic), and I'm trying to rekindle his interest. Son, of course, is learning, currently on 50 yard steel targets. He's young, and that ping of lead on steel is just the motivator he needs to practice.

Daughter, on the other hand, decided to go bathing suit shopping. Somewhere, I've gone terribly wrong as a father....

At any rate, a good time was had by all, except for my HK-91 clone. After about 20 rounds, I started getting a consistent failure to eject (FTE). I was shooting some of 80s vintage (I think) South African 7.62 NATO ammo. I haven't shot this before, but I do have a friend who has run this through an AR-10 with no problems, so I don't think it's ammo related.

When I'd have an FTE, working the action would eject the spent round just fine. A couple were a bit tight, but still ejected without undue force. Brass looked like any other brass I've seen ran through an HK--disgusting. I broke the gun down tonight, and couldn't find any obvious damage. I gave it a good cleaning, and was more sparing on the lubrication, on the theory that I had over-lubed and was gumming up the works. I guess I'll have to take it to the range next weekend and see if that was the problem. Darn.

So let's have a quick look around my blogroll to see what's been going on while I've been having fun.

Sheila had a heck of a weekend with old friends. Having had a great weekend with Old Friend, I have to agree that old friends are the best friends.

Claire Wolfe speculates on the middle class being forced into outlawry (Is that a word?). Scary stuff, but I wonder if we may not all have to learn about is sooner rather than later.

Patrick Hughes finds himself in a sticky situation.

Blackfive reminds us of Armed Forces Day.

In the weekend news, we find the usual procession of sickos, weirdos and freaks. We also have the good news, bad news and good-and-bad news from the War on Terror.

Sometime soon, I'd like to do an essay on my thoughts on the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty and all our other wars and the unintended consequences of them. I'll try to start working on it, but don't look for it soon. I'm internally conflicted on some of it, and I expect the writing to help me sort out my thoughts.

In the meantime, I'm working on some more survivalist bits for the web site. If things will stay quiet on the home front this week and over the holiday, I may have a goody or two for you next week.

I'd also like to note another link from Kim du Toit to a post I wrote on yet another legislative monstrosity. (Kim was kind enough to answer an email plea to help me bring this to as many people's attention as possible.) As with the Real ID act, it's brought to us by the Republicans. I parted company with the Democrats many years ago because the party was taken over by it's lunatic fringe. I'm wondering if I won't be doing the same soon with the Republicans.