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My Apologies for the Server Hiccup

I had to do an unplanned upgrade of Ubuntu on the system that runs the blog for reasons unrelated to the blog. My home server does other chores, and I had something break that required an upgrade to fix. Sadly it was a more urgent priority. I debating waiting until late tonight to do the fix, but not being able to decide, I tossed a coin six times, and sorry to say the blog lost all six times. Don’t know how that happened. Must have been an Iowa quarter.

I’ve gotten spoiled since all the other machines I work on have SSDs or RAID arrays with nice big battery backed-up caches. The blog server at this point is six years old, and still runs on spinning platters. I had forgotten how slow software mirrored platters really are. At some point it’ll be time for a new server.

Blogaversary: Number Nine

It was nine years ago today, January 6, 2007, that I got started with this blog, and I do intent to make it to a full decade. That’s a lot of photons under the (FiOS) bridge. For those of you who have been reading from the beginning, thank you. For those of you who haven’t been reading that long, thank you too.

I always imagined my graceful exit from this genre would involve some decent protections for the Second Amendment from the courts, and the political fight headed in the right direction. I’m feeling pretty good about the latter, but not at all about the former. The latter could be unraveled with one bad election. The GOP won’t be in power forever, and at this point the Dems are fully dedicated to gun control.

I might not have the time anymore to do 10 posts a day, but it is not yet time to throw in the towel. We’re in a better place than I would have thought we would be after eight years of Obama, but there are very real threats on the horizon if the GOP continues to be a three ring circus.

By the time my Tin anniversary rolls around next year, we’ll know who the next occupant of the White House will be, and God help us no matter how this goes. But I will say this, if it’s Hillary Clinton, the Second Amendment will effectively be dead. The one thing I’d hate is to retire from this blog at some point in the future because all is lost.

Polite Society Podcast

Polite Society Podcast

I made an appearance on last Wednesday’s episode of the Polite Society Podcast, speaking about anti-gun folks being after your guns, despite the fact that they constantly say they aren’t. You can find my clip here. The rest of the episode, which includes a fine interview with Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition, talking about the Social Security fiasco, can be found here.

Actual Common-sense

Albeit with a side order of a”I’m a gun owner but…” and of course the condescension that the NRA wouldn’t support punishing people who actually misuse firearms, or that the laws he wants generally already exist, or would represent a loosening of the existing laws.

The post proposes (after a lot of political bumph) in a fairly sane way, that the NRA’s safety rules be enacted as federal law and that be it. And, shockingly enough, that safety education be left to a free market, not forced.

Punishing the people who actually misuse a tool, and leaving the innocent users in peace. It’s a radical idea whose time has come, I say.

I can quibble with some of his details (the safe storage requirement he wants is a little too much pre-crimey for me), but it’s a hell of a lot better than anything I’ve seen come out of anti’s recently. And a lot of it should be done by enacting uniform state laws, not action at the federal level. And a lot of his anecdotes would not be changed by changes in law, but by changes in culture – that people be prosecuted for negligent discharges, not allowed to call it an accident and go on. But that’s a problem with drunk driving (his comparison) as well. I have no issues with treating NDs as DUIs, assuming we don’t go to MADD-level idiocy. And he doesn’t mention that the reduction in DUI was achieved not only be increased penalties and enforcement, but by PSAs and other societal education.

Computer Games are a Gateway

To owning the real thing. Caleb takes quite a while to get to the point, but if you’re in a TL;DR mood (or computer gamer jargon grates on you), skip to the last paragraph, where he points out that realistic simulation of real guns are one way to get new blood into ownership of  the real thing.

Just Realized Today is the Blogoversary

We’ve made it to eight years, starting today. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Blogs are measured in dog years, so eight is a long time to be doing this. I won’t deny this has been a rough year, but the roughness is probably because there hasn’t honestly been much interesting news. I think the big story for this year was the passage of I-594, because it’s presented Bloomberg with a functional strategy that favors his status as a billionaire with deep pockets. We’ll be talking about that for some time, I think.

But I appreciate the people who keep coming around. Unlike when I started, where blogging was more of a community, it’s very difficult these days keep up with professional bloggers, who are writing in a vastly different environment from the one in 2007. Indeed, blogging today barely resembles the blogging of yesterday. I’m not sure yet whether that is a good or a bad thing. We shall see.

Advertising Annoyance

One thing these days that really chills the enthusiasm for blogging is just how awfully annoying Internet advertising is becoming. I’m reluctant to link to a site that pops up a million things in front of you before you can even get to the article. The bad news is that almost every site these days is doing it, and it’s causing me to read a lot less news than I used to. Brietbart is a prime example of what I’m talking about. I’ve avoided using ad blockers because it tends to hide obnoxious ads from me, which means I don’t know not to direct all of you to say, some awful auto-play ad. It might fast become time to start using one, however.

I get why content providers are going to such lengths: because online advertising pays crap, and popping up ads drive click throughs, which drive money. I’ve never really understood why print advertising was worth so much, while online advertising isn’t. A relatively unobtrusive ad is really no different than a print ad. My theory is that online advertising, because you can measure effectiveness via click throughs, exposed print advertising as an emperor with no clothes, and so advertisers aren’t willing to pay the rates for the online analogue of print advertising. Why do that when you can get context-based advertising or micro targeting through social media? It’s hard for a content provider to compete with that.


The World Is Not As It Should Be

I’ve followed Megan McArdle since her days as a self-publishing penurious blogger through her gigs at the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, and now Bloomberg News. I don’t always agree with her, but she’s a thoughtful writer. And her comments are refreshingly multi-partisan (to the point of ideologues from all points of the political compass calling her a hack for their enemies.)

One article that recently caught my eye started from a discussion of the recent revelations that, yes, Virginia, some people will hack other people’s cloud storage accounts and distribute them far and wide. She then segues into why we can’t social engineer away crime:

[Y] ou cannot possibly subscribe to the idea that only social sanctions, well-designed law-enforcement penalties and a more equitable welfare policy stand between us and a nearly-crime-free utopia.

The point is that crime still happens even when everyone agrees that it is wrong, and crime still goes unpunished even when we would very much like to punish it. That’s because many people are … well, something that’s not printable on a family blog. Let’s just say that a troublesome minority of people will ignore basic decency and morality and do terrible, wrong things to get what they want.

The conclusion of the piece is one that I think readers here will agree with. “It is not “victim blaming” to urge their targets to protect themselves from that threat.” All together, a nice justification of the right to self defense.

The Best Kind of Correct

Ce n’est pas un fusil

It is what you get when you have to rules-lawyer around a 80-year old law intended to prevent ownership of anything that wasn’t a hunting or fowling piece by the poor, then clumsily edited by politicians to exempt handguns when it turned out that an effectively-complete ban on anything that was smaller than a breadbox was politically untenable.

Now, Linoge notes that there are two pieces of arcane interpretation of unclear law that make this a pistol instead of Any Other Weapon or a Short-Barreled Rifle; and that the BATFE could change their minds at any time. I have to wonder, though, if the BATFE is wary of doing so given that the arcanities of the GCA that separate those three categories are actually quite hard to explain to the layman judge; and that they might have some difficulty keeping a prosecution based on where the lines were drawn in their own admin proceedings these days…

Historically, the BATFE has preferred to rule by interpretation rather than regulation, probably because there’s less oversight on that process. But it has bitten them in the nethers a few times, and with the decade-long trend of various pro-firearms-rights organizations willing to actually make federal cases out of infringements, I have to wonder if the BATFE permanent leadership is a little leery of what might happen in a real court instead of their administrative proceedings.

As a side note, I want one; but may not have one as long as I live in NJ. As a pistol, it’s way over the line of being an “assault firearm” (A semi-automatic pistol with a detachable magazine that has a magazine outside the handgrip, barrel shroud, weight of 50 oz or more, AND is probably a semi-automatic version of a fully-automatic firearm, well more than the 2 strikes permitted). Which reminds me, does anyone know why the federal ban and its imitators has that odd weight restriction?

Glad to See Tam Back

Tam is blogging again, though with comments switched off, which is just fine by me since other bloggers don’t have time to read or make comments to begin with. Those who were following closely probably saw the viles of 100% Grade A unadulterated crazy left scattered around the blogosphere (including here until I nuked it) by the source of all this. Putting up with crap like that on top of putting up content every day is a tough lot, so if you care to encourage Tam to continue on, hit the tip jar on her sidebar.

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