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Mar 31, 2016
It looks as if Andrew Tuohy of the Vuurwapen Blog is being sued in federal court by the folks at FireClean. I’ve read over their lengthy federal complaint. A good bit of it is their ridiculous patent covering vegetable oil mixes. Generally speaking, the deck is stacked against plaintiffs in these kinds of cases. I believe corporations are considered public figures in these kinds of suits, which means they have to prove actual malice, which means they have to prove Mr. Tuohy knew his statements were false or that he recklessly disregarded the truth. That’s why you see accusations in their complaint like “Tuohy published this disparaging statement knowing it was false, or with reckless or negligent disregard for the truth.” This is a tall mountain to climb for FireClean.
But regardless of that, getting a suit dismissed, or prevailing in a jury trial requires hiring a lawyer, and given the amount of scientific data at play here, I wouldn’t imagine that’s going to be easy or cheap. There is no federal anti-SLAPP law, though there was one introduced in the House last year.
As for me, I keep it old school when it comes to lubes, so I wouldn’t buy FireClean anyway, but I definitely wouldn’t buy it after this. The other thing I believe FireClean may find out is that discovery is a bitch. The Vuurwapen Blog is raising money for it’s legal defense. I’d be sure to contribute. If FireClean wins this suit, the blogosphere’s free speech rights and our ability to criticize products without fear is going to be dangerously compromised.
Feb 29, 2016
Gun news is short today, so I’m going to link to an article over at Instapundit talking about whether Twitter helped destroy the conservative ecosystem. I’m not so sure. I started blogging in 2007, before Twitter was really a thing, and I noticed trouble for the ecosystem before Twitter started getting really popular.
If I had to point out two factors that killed the small blog, it was two things. The first is the disappearance of reliable and timely inbound link tracking like pingbacks. Google can do this, but it’s not as good as what used to be out there. So it’s harder today to tell when a blog is linking to you, in order to keep a conversation among a community going.
The second factor that killed off the small blog was the arrival of commercial blogging. It’s hard for hobbyists to compete against people who are getting paid, and most of those commercial operations came with competent and well-executed SEO strategies that sucked all the Google love out of the room for people who did not have the time or inclination to compete.
I’ve never noticed that Twitter is all that consequential traffic wise for blogs. Maybe other people have different experiences. While my largest referrers are still other blogs, Facebook has been licking the heels of other blogs for a while in terms of where my traffic comes from. A lot of conservative bloggers are abandoning Twitter, and just using it to push links, since Twitter has chosen to take sides in political debates and ban or stifle opposing thought. I never honestly embraced Twitter all that much, except for very brief periods of time. I’d be pleased if the platform went away. It’s tough say anything intelligent in 140 characters or less, so I’m not surprised it tends to appeal to the worst kinds of people.
Feb 2, 2016
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.
Jan 6, 2016
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.
Aug 3, 2015
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.
Jun 26, 2015
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.
Mar 25, 2015
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.
Jan 6, 2015
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.
Nov 25, 2014
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.
Sep 10, 2014
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.