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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Some thoughts on snow and government


Image copyright New York Times

Copyright DNAINFO.com/ Jim Scott

So between my lack of sleep and the snow on the ground somehow I stumbled upon looking at some pictures of the blizzard on the eastern seaboard right now. Of course snow storms in December are nothing really out of the ordinary for the Eastern US but this one happened at the worst time possible since it was a holiday weekend and that means closed government and lots of extra travel. But what surprised me the most was the outcry from people (even some conservative politicians) saying that government has failed the people and the government should be doing more.

The two largest stories of outcry I heard this morning were, that Mayor Bloomberg of NYC isn’t doing enough and although the street leading to his house  is plowed well, many of the lower income boroughs are being massively neglected. This should not surprise anyone. This is very typical of politicians anywhere, eventually people need to learn that in general government doesn’t care about them, they care about votes, they care about staying in government and they care about protecting themselves. But they do not care about the average citizen. The second story of outrage I heard this morning was that the State of New Jersey is up in arms because Governor Chris Christie and his Lt. Governor are both out of town on vacation for the holidays while the state is in a crisis. First let me respond to this by saying yes it does look bad when your top leadership is on a beach in Florida while the state is buried in snow. However, in todays world of cell phones, Skype connections, the ability to remote access your office and everything else, the actual location of the Governor is irrelevant. Sure it would be great if he was on the morning news with a snow shovel helping some old lady by clearing her driveway but you and I know things like that only happen when the news cameras are on.

Both of these stories illustrate the same point, in a crisis you can only depend on yourself to get out of it. So instead of spending time expressing your anger towards government yet again dropping the ball. Get out there clear your own driveway and then go down the street and check on that elderly neighbor. I think the greatest statement the people of NYC or New Jersey could make is if they banded together got the city back on its feet and at least partially functional and proved to the politicians that they didn’t need their help. Once a fair number of citizens realize that you can be far more productive without the bureaucratic mess,  THAT my friends will be change we can believe in.

UPDATE: As was brought up in the comments, NJ has constituional rules that would actually prevent my idea of “remote government” I urge NJ and any other states that have this nonsense to work to remedy it quickly.

From the NJ State constitution

7.   In the event of the failure of the Governor-elect to qualify, or of the absence from the State of a Governor in office, or the Governor’s inability to discharge the duties of the office, or the Governor’s impeachment, the functions, powers, duties and emoluments of the office shall devolve upon the Lieutenant Governor, until the Governor-elect qualifies, or the Governor in office returns to the State, or is no longer unable to discharge the duties of the office, or is acquitted, as the case may be, or until a new Governor is elected and qualifies.  In the event that the Lieutenant Governor in office is absent from the State, or is unable to discharge the duties of the office, or is impeached, or if the Lieutenant Governor-elect fails to qualify, or if there is a vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor, the functions, powers, duties, and emoluments of the office of Governor shall devolve upon the President of the Senate.  In the event there is a vacancy in the office of the President of the Senate, or of the Senate President’s absence from the State, inability to discharge the duties of the office, or impeachment, then such functions, powers, duties, and emoluments shall devolve upon the Speaker of the General Assembly. In the event there is a vacancy in the office of Speaker of the General Assembly, or of the Speaker’s absence from the State, inability to discharge the duties of the office, or impeachment, then such functions, powers, duties, and emoluments shall devolve upon such officers and in the order of succession as may be provided by law.  The functions, powers, duties, and emoluments of the office of Governor shall devolve upon the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly or another officer, as the case may be, until the Governor-elect or Lieutenant Governor-elect qualifies, or the Governor or Lieutenant Governor in office returns to the State, or is no longer unable to discharge the duties of the office, or is acquitted, or until a new Lieutenant Governor is appointed, as the case may be, or a new Governor or Lieutenant Governor is elected and qualifies.
Article V, Section I, paragraph 7 amended effective January 17, 2006.
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in Politics

 

Snow in Seattle Area


So I could sleep worth a damm last night so I found myself awake at about 2am pondering what order we had to pull cars out of the driveway so the girls could go to work. I then went to bed and when I awoke at 5am I noticed 2 inches of snow on the ground that I am pretty sure was not there at 2am. Anyway all in all its just a minor annoyance and nothing like the storm we had prior to Thanksgiving but I figured I would post some pictures just to share.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in Day in the life

 

Officially Engaged


I wanted to make a quick blog announcement that as of Wednesday Dec 22nd at about 1130pm I became engaged to the love of my life Kari. She has been the glimmer of my eye since May 2008 and now we get to begin the process of starting our wedding planning.

I will be posting some updates to this process as we move through the process but for now I just wanted to make a quick announcement.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Day in the life

 

Brian Aitken is Free


News broke today that NJ Governor Chris Christie has commuted the sentace of Brian Aitken, so he is now a free man. For those of you who have not been following the story, Brian was arrested in NJ for possesing 2 handguns in his vehicle while he was moving. The handguns were legal to own and he was moving them in an unloaded and proper fashion however his situation snowballed rather quickly due to his mother calling the police because she thought he was depressed, the responding officers searching his car without cause and then the judge refusing to inform the jury of the exemption to NJ’s handgun posession laws for proper transport.

There have been many articles written about the finite details of his case by actual legal scholars but I felt the need to at least put a quick post here.

An ABC Article on Brian Aitken

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Gun stuff, Politics

 

A day full of up armoring.


So long story short this morning started early when my sweetheart and her sister came to the sudden discovery that one of the cars our driveway had been broken into. This shook all of us rather significantly. So after taking the car into the shop to get the damage repaired we spent a long 90minutes at home depot getting all the stuff to properly prep the house on the belief that if somebody was in the driveway and causing property damage to the car, the house isnt that far away.

So the house is now properly prepared, alarms installed ect. (Sorry but the details don’t need to be on the blog) My point is a different one, when we first moved in I had some security concerns about the house and raised them but it seemed like there was always another project that we decided was a higher financial priority. Now other than some of the lighting upgrades I don’t know that any of the stuff we did today would have prevented the car prowl but I think it would have increased the chance of  deterring the crime. Because I am a firm believer that you don’t have to be the hardest target just not the easiest.

A few quick notes, we called the police and because the damage was less than $1500 they refused to sent a car out, this really aggravated me because as a “professional cop caller” I have called the police for many minor incidents essentially to generate a case number, in these situations the general policy is that you will get a police response when a unit becomes available but you get put as a low priority. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN TOTALLY FINE HERE. However I feel strongly that there is a huge perception difference between being given a website where you can file your report online and having a LEO come out and take a report.

The second surprising thing is that the only items taken were of low value, a stock stereo and a few CD’s. Although the trunk was popped the custom Harley Davidson gear was all left untouched, in addition one of the other vehicles in the driveway had a GPS on the windshield and an IPOD on the seat. When we took the car into the repair shop the tech was not surprised about this and said he is rarely surprised how much expensive stuff gets passed up by thieves.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2010 in Day in the life

 

A non-gunnies perspective on the gun lobby


Its no secret that one of my guilty pleasures is listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast, he does some pretty good interviews and I love his style of ranting. When it comes to politics he seems pretty libertarian with some “California corruption”. Recently he did an interview with actor Rob Schneider, in the last 10min of the episode Adam compared the way the NRA acts to the way smokers as a whole act. In summary he said

Step one – Smokers get moved from the general resturant to a “smoking section” :smokers dont protest and move quitely

Step two- Smokers get moved from the smoking section of a resturant to the bar area only: again no protest and the smokers go enjoy their meal in the bar.

Step three- Smokers get pushed outside the building: No significant protest again

Step four- Smokers get told to go smoke at home and are now unwelcome at or near the restaurant

As compared to the NRA

Step one- government says we want to ban grenade launchers : NRA fights, gets money together and digs in their heels

Step two- general public thinks its not worth arguing with the gun lobby and leaves them alone.

Now I certainly don’t agree with all of the details of Mr. Carolla’s argument but I think the crux of the argument is valid. Any time we as gun owners try and argue that the slippery slope is valid the argument gets rejected however the plight of smokers is a clear example of incrementalism works.

However several key things are missed in this line of argumentation, first of all smoking is a freedom but not a guaranteed right, it should be far harder to trample on that right but in many cases that fact gets ignored. Secondly you could actually make an argument that smoking does have an effect on the “general welfare of others”, while in comparison me owning/ carrying a firearm doesn’t effect the general populous. These facts should again make out RKBA much harder to infringe on than the freedom to smoke but again it doesn’t seem to play out this way.

Adam Carolla Show: Rob Schneider

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in Gun stuff, Politics

 

Music to my ears


So recently I’m sitting on the couch doing something mindless and my sister in law walks in the room and mentions that she wants a gun for Christmas. I of course was thrilled because new gun owners are the best thing possible for the gun culture and new FEMALE gun owners are even better. Now my SIL served in the Army, was deployed overseas and has gone shooting with me. However the vast majority of her trigger time was with an M-16 in the army, so beyond that platform she is still kinda a newbie. So we started chatting about what she wants and what she wants to spend, essentially she wants a .22lr rifle for plinking to start with, (my suggestion of a customized AR didnt go over well when she looked at the price point). Well the good news is that there are no shortage of .22lr rifles out there to choose from everything from the classic 10/22 to a simple bolt action to something more obscure.

However the most interesting part of this discussion was when we were talking about cleaning, her only cleaning training has been in the military so she was expecting to have to break everything down to component parts and polish them to a showroom shine, honestly when she heard me say “hit it with some CLP and run a patch down the barrel and your good” she was thrilled. Now its no secret that cleaning has become a sort of hot topic on the gun forums lately between Caleb and others coming out and saying that modern firearms with non-corrosive ammo require little to no cleaning, and others stating that every gun still needs a detail strip.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Gun stuff