John Smith: Domestic Terrorist

Cemetery tells a story of a man with a common name who found out he was on the terrorist watch list. I was surprised that he has issues purchasing firearms, but New Jersey does a different background check than most states. Maybe that ends up showing up in New Jersey’s system. If it’s a NICS thing, that makes me wonder how the FBI is already using the list.

Licensing Journalists

There’s a Michigan lawmaker who’s proposing the idea. This is unconstitutional, of course, as there are a number of cases that put the kibosh on licensing the First Amendment.  But I have to wonder how many of the journalists who might look at such a proposal with righteous indignation will turn around and propose allowing government to license the Second Amendment right?

Still Going

Joe notes that gun sales for 2010, so far, are only off a bit from 2009, when Obama took office. My guess is you have a lot of noobs in that crowd who bought their first gun, and are continuing to buy. Most people will never develop extensive collections, but every house ought to have a pistol, a shotgun, and a rifle.

Walking around the gun show this weekend, I was still hearing dealers explaining how the process worked. We’re still making new gun owners out there. I think this whole sales boom might continue until people start feeling better about the economy.

The iPad is Meant for Gun Shows

Certainly, gun shows are not the main use of an iPad. However, this weekend, I actually found myself wanting one – a feeling I didn’t have even after watching Sebastian play around on one while we were in Charlotte or after watching all the times Dan from PAFOA could put it to good use on our trip.

But this weekend, I couldn’t help but miss all of the things we used to do in 2008 – running commercials & slides to promote our candidates quietly in the background of the show. It brought far more attention to the table, and it put names in front of folks in a more interesting way than simply hanging a sign.

For the first time, we weren’t against a wall that could serve us with sufficient power, and we just didn’t coordinate enough to justify hauling a monitor and laptop over there. But what could overcome those problems? An iPad.

We did buy a digital frame to at least display more interesting slides and attract attention. Again, we have the issue of power, and I can’t seem to get it to play the .jpgs I create as opposed to the ones I simply download. It’s a pain in the ass, and I’ve never spent more than about 3 minutes trying to figure it out. Instead we just started using it as a picture frame – crazy concept.

We also tried to fix an old and broken touchscreen monitor borrowed from one of Sebastian’s friends so we could run NRA’s Obama love quiz they made in 2008. Unfortunately, when we did get it working, we found out that it was one of very few that somehow ended up inverted. If you pushed the top, it read it as pushing at the bottom. That wasn’t going to work for us. There is the argument that the specific program was done in Flash, so it wouldn’t work on the iPad.

But the idea of being able to sign people up as volunteers online, take some sort of online quiz application that could be designed around the issue, or give them a quick tour of the website on a screen they can really see, that really appealed to me. And with NRA now sticking their toe into the water of development for iPhones, it isn’t outrageous that they consider some kind of app or at least Apple mobile product-friendly version of any Obama love quiz type programs in the future.

The biggest appeal for me this weekend would have been the “oh shiny” factor. Even though they are flying off the shelves, they are still exceptionally rare in the wild beyond the standard early adopting tech crowd. At a gun show, the iPad itself would bring more traffic to the table where we could start the conversation about whether the visitor is registered to vote and if they want to help any pro-gun politicians win this year.

Sebastian is certainly ready to buy, and if he would let me take it to gun shows to really use for the people, not just behind the table when we’re bored, then I’ll drive us to the Apple store with the pedal plastered to the floorboards.

The Great Difficulty With Working Gun Shows

So we’re done with the gun show work on behalf of NRA for the weekend, and have the rest of the holiday to enjoy. This was a slow show, to be honest. Not many people seem to want to visit a gun show on a holiday. I would say about one third to one half the people in the show at any given time were from New Jersey, judging from the cars in the parking lot. Not fertile ground when you’re pushing Pennsylvania candidates.

This is a persistent problem working shows in this area. In the 2008 election year we managed to get several hundred McCain signs, which were impossible to get, for a show up in Allentown, which is close enough to draw a lot of people from our respective districts. Unfortunately, it’s also close enough to drawn down New Yorkers. Not that we don’t like New Yorkers, but we got about halfway through our signs before we started to wonder about the accents of people asking for them, and sure enough, they were mostly New Yorkers. If you saw any McCain signs on Long Island, they probably came from us. New York wasn’t set to get any, because they are blue state no matter what.

But the real difficulty in working shows is not spending money. I spent about 100 bucks this weekend, despite not getting any guns, on various things. I had my eye on an 1898 Krag that was absolutely beautiful. Virtually flawless furniture, mostly in tact bluing, and only some minor blemishes on the receiver. The bolt looked clean, and I’m assuming the barrel was in good shape too (didn’t have a bore light to look) 1400 bucks. Looked on Gunbroker for comparison, and it seems a reasonable price. Sadly though, it’s tough to justify dropping 1400 on a gun right now. If in our future show work, I find that gun haunting me, I may just have to buy it. Hopefully someone buys it before I do. Well, not really. That would make me sad. But you know what I mean.

Clayton Cramer on the Rand Paul CRA’64 Controversy

This pretty much reflects how I feel about the issue, but said much better and with more completeness than I did:

Would free markets have been enough to break this long history of governmental force in support of racism?  I would like to think so – but I also know that the libertarian solution requires a population of rational actors prepared to look out for their own economic interests.  You let me know when you find a species that fits that model.

In my experience most extreme libertarian solutions require rational actors. Libertarians assume that most people are like themselves, when they generally aren’t. I still believe in small government, but I no longer care to go through mental gymnastics to try to figure out how to implement private market solutions to problems that Government is probably the only real viable solution. Anarchocapitalism is also one thing I’ve never really understood. To me it makes the same mistakes as to human nature that communism does.

Either way, when I was in high school I used to work in a union shop, in a job that was menial but was not union. The place never had an official policy of not hiring blacks, because that would be illegal, but I can tell you that no blacks worked there. I can also tell you that this wasn’t an accident. This is a shop that had serious problems getting and retaining good employees. Part of the issue is that people in hiring positions there felt that we can’t have “those people” coming in and taking our “good union jobs.” Maybe it’s gotten better since the late 80s, early 90s, but one of the reasons I’ve become so anti-union in my adulthood is because of what I witnessed growing up.

Uppity Northeasterners, who’ve never had to work in those kinds of environments, often like to pat themselves on the back that the North never implemented the kind of institutionalized racism that those cousin humping rednecks down south did. That is only superficially true. The North had, and probably still has plenty of institutionalized racism. We’re just better at hiding it.

Plans for the Holiday Weekend?

I hope everyone has an excellent holiday weekend, and get to spend time doing something fun with the family. We will be spending the holiday weekend working a table at a gun show. Now that the primary is over, and it’s officially election season, that means frequent appearances at places gun owners frequent, in an attempt to recruit volunteers for NRA endorsed candidates for November, and get the word out.

But this weekend I can’t help but feel like I need to BBQ some a piece of meat. But what piece of meat? Brisket requires me to lose sleep. Just did a pork butt a few weeks ago, so I’m pork butted out. Pork back ribs maybe? I like ribs, but I plan to make some ribs for my father in a few weeks. I like smoking fish, chicken, and sausage too, but it’s so easy it’s almost like grilling. If anyone has suggestions for a great meat to smoke that presents a bit of a challenge, but won’t keep me up, I’m all ears.

Giving Bloggers a Bad Name

If you haven’t followed the scandal down in South Carolina involving a blogger and a lawmaker, then be happy. The level of asshole-itude is incalculable. Bloggers actively trying to break up marriages with public announcements or meetings is never a pretty sight to see.

Short version: A political blogger known for being sharp tongued and full of attitude (not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se) announced on Monday that he had an affair with a married lawmaker who just happens to be the leading gubernatorial candidate in the Republican primary next month. He claimed the press was hot on the story and he was just coming out ahead of it. Funny about that since they don’t appear to have been at all. There were rumors, and one outlet may have looked into them, but no one was slated to publish anything as far as I’ve seen. The lawmaker gave an absolute denial that leaves no doubt her position is that she’s never had a physical relationship with any other man than her husband in their decade plus marriage.

Where it gets interesting: Erick from RedState has done some digging with South Carolina political folks and learned a few things. It seems that a competing campaign has been the source of the rumors that were floated, and all of “evidence” produced by the blogger – communication with the supposedly guilty campaign – actually says nothing of an affair, but really illustrates an effort to figure out more about the rumors. Even more interesting, RedState claims they will name the Republican campaign that paid the blogger to make these claims to destroy the other candidate.

Why this relates to this blog: First, if there are candidates out there who don’t wade into new media efforts very much, then there’s a black eye effect that could hurt other bloggers who try to reach out to campaigns. Second, I had my own – non-physical – encounter with this guy just before Charlotte that illustrates just how much of an asshole he is, and what a blowhard he is if he thinks he is getting attention.

I reached out to him about the Blog Bash since he seemed to be just a spirited blogger. (Unless you knew him through SC GOP politics, apparently his asshole factor wasn’t on full display.) He snapped back at me with some rant about the evils of the NRA because of a single grade issued like 10 years ago. He made sure to include cohorts on the email so he could brag that he told Fairfax to fuck off. Except, he didn’t know that I have my own version of “spirit,” shall we say. I wrote back to them all – staying sweet as pie (because that’s what a Southern woman does when she’s being evil) – pointing out that if he read even the first paragraph he would know that none of his complaints were remotely relevant to my email.

Getting publicly called out is a funny thing. Suddenly there was an apology email that didn’t include cohorts, but still declined, pointing out that he doesn’t consider himself to be a blogger, but a news outlet. So I dropped names of much bigger, national actual news outlets coming down to the events, and that really shut him up. I never made any effort, in the sweetness that would send most people into sugar shock, to invite him again.

It’s rather shocking to find out just how dirty South Carolina politics really is, when Mark Sanford’s “Appalachian hike” wasn’t anywhere near the worst of it.

When the news broke, I made the comment to Sebastian about how happy I was we got a glimpse of him before this happened. Since, after all, I like to keep the number of people who lie and cheat while breaking up marriages to a minimum at the Blog Bash.

Thomas Not Happy About Defeat in PA House

Representative Thomas was the sponsor of three of the bills, the gun control bills, that were defeated in committee this week in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He is not too pleased with the result, which naturally pleases me:

“There is no reason why anyone should bring a weapon with a 30-round clip into a residential neighborhood,” Thomas said.

Thomas said that, after much debate, his bills were not approved by a committee majority.


Thomas said he particularly thinks he will garner support for H.B. 1044 considering that the courts have already upheld the constitutionality of 37 local gun ordinances.

“Right now, municipalities’ hands are tied by the PA Uniform Firearms Law. I think it’s just a matter of time until my bill becomes law,” Thomas said.

Funny, I have several dozen 30 round “clips” in a residential neighborhood and they haven’t managed to jump out of the safe and kill anyone yet. I have to admire his optimism in the face of a stunning defeat — the votes in all three cases were very lopsided — but we will continue to oppose his agenda. I’m sorry, but you’re not going to make me a criminal because I happen to go through the wrong town on the way to a shooting match. Especially not when the state police commissioner, a guy who is thoroughly anti-gun, and a crony of Ed Rendell, is the one making that call.

Juries Must Decide on Machine Gun Possession

The government made the claim that the federal law providing for a thirty year sentence for the commission of a crime with a machine gun was a sentencing enhancement, and therefore whether the gun was a machine gun could be decided by a judge by preponderance of the evidence, and applied during sentencing. The Supreme Court has ruled against the government’s position, ruling that the federal law in question 18 USC 924(c)1(B)(ii) was a separate federal crime, and that it had to be charged in an indictment and proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.

Not much of an effect on gun owners here, unless you plan to rob a bank with a gun the feds later claim to be a machine gun.