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Posted by Jeff Soyer on 02 Sep 2014 05:06 am

At NRO, Frank Miniter examines what the billionaires contributing to gun control groups hope to accomplish, and the playbook they’re using:

In a section labeled “Overall Messaging Guidance,” the guide gives its number-one “Key Messaging Principle”: “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.” It further explains this strategy by saying, “It’s critical that you ground your messaging around gun violence in prevention by making that emotional connection.” Its second key principle is: “Tell stories with images and feelings.” The guide says, “Our first task is to draw a vivid portrait and make an emotional connection. We should rely on emotionally powerful language, feelings and images to bring home the terrible impact of gun violence.” They realize they’ve lost the rational and empirical debates about what really stops gun violence and instead want the debate enflamed by emotion.

That’s ever the way, of course; you can’t win the argument with rational facts, so legislate by emotions.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 01 Sep 2014 05:25 am

Once again, Obama is the best gun salesman in the country. From the Standard Examiner:

Thirty-six hours after the Obama administration banned importation of the classic brand of AK-47 assault rifles as part of sanctions against Russia, a Maryland dealer specializing in the weapon took stock of its inventory.

There was nothing left.

Laboring almost nonstop, workers at Atlantic Firearms in Bishopville, a Worcester County community on the Eastern Shore, had shipped hundreds of Russian-made AK-47s — an assault rifle prized by both consumers and despots — as buyers wiped out gun dealers’ inventories around the country. The frenzy was brought on, in part, by a suspicion among some gun owners that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a back-door excuse to ban guns many Democrats don’t like. Some customers bought eight to 10 rifles for nearly $1,000 each or more, stockpiling them as investments.

Here’s my problem with that thought process. If we’re talking about an individual state banning so-called “assault weapons” then fine and dandy. But, let’s say that Congress bans them nationally. Let’s say they follow the route taken by NY and CT, where the weapons already in civilian hands are grandfathered, but must be registered with the state. And, you can’t legally transfer it to someone else. If you decide to sell it, it can only be to a gun dealer, or turned in to the police. If that happens at the national level, now your investment really isn’t worth very much. Now what?

When I purchased an AR-15 from a new upstart in Vermont a few months ago, I received serial number nine. Actually, 00009. I had to make a decision. It could be, years from now, worth a lot of money if left unfired. Or, if a ban comes along, it might not be worth much at all. Buying a second one was out of the question for me. I finally decided that I didn’t buy it just to stare at it. I bought it to have some fun at the range. And that is what I’m doing.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 29 Aug 2014 08:30 am

Much ado about nothing. A cafe in liberal Winooski, VT removed a sidewalk sign advertising bacon after one professional victim complained about it. James Lileks nails it with hilarity:

In this day and age, any public manifestation of an idea that differs with yours is a tort. You suspect everyone just wanted to avoid a lawsuit; it’s public terrain, and the Constitution is rather clear on the separation of Bacon and State. It’s a good thing the sign didn’t mention bagels, or someone would have complained because of Gaza. The narcissism of the constantly offended is automatic and fierce: Enough about Ukraine! What about Mekraine?

Well, once the sign was down, the Internet took a deep breath, spat on its hands, and got to work. First, the story had to go global. The matter was picked up by a British newspaper, which put the issue like this: “[The sign] asked motorists to ‘yield for Sneaker’s [Bistro] Bacon’ but the female complainant, speaking on a community forum, described it as insensitive to her as she did not consume pig meat due to religious reasons.”

[ . . . ]

The next step: clumsy attempts to defuse the matter on Facebook, where the café said it was “here to serve breakfast, not politics.” Alas, agreeing to ix-nay the acon-bay was cultural politics at its most raw, and only slightly less annoying than putting duct tape over the word on the menu lest the forbidden arrangement of vowels and consonants cause someone to feel disrespected. Trigger warning! On request the staff will spell out the word in a soundproof booth, after consent forms have been signed.

Read the whole thing for a good laugh.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 29 Aug 2014 07:25 am

That’s the question asked of 17 Alabamans in this article.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Aug 2014 05:32 am

You know you’re getting old when tech headlines read like a foreign language: Motorola ‘Shamu’ makes appearance on AnTuTu as Google Nexus X

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Aug 2014 04:19 am

I have family visiting.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Aug 2014 12:28 pm

It’s not just the militarization of the police, but also civil-asset forfeiture laws that need reining in:

In March, Chris Sourovelis’ son was caught selling $40 of heroin to an undercover police officer.

Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department responded by raiding the Sourovelis’ north Philadelphia home, with guns drawn — one of them pointed at the head of the family dog — and found small amounts of the drug in the 22-year old’s bedroom. Chris and his wife, Amy, knew nothing of their son’s drug habit and it was the first time he had been busted for possessing narcotics.

A few weeks later, the cops were back to tell the Sourovelis family they had to gather their things and leave the property. The home was being confiscated under civil forfeiture rules, leaving the family homeless and forced to sleep on a neighbor’s couch.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Aug 2014 05:15 am

And they got it:

A cameraman from the long-running TV show ‘Cops’ was shot last night during a filmed gun-fight which ended with police killing an armed robber.

The shoot-out unfolded after police patrol cars responded to a back-up call in relation to a raid taking place at a Wendy’s restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska, just after 9pm.

Both the robber, wearing a black hoodie and white bandana, and the cameraman were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries, USA today reports.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Aug 2014 05:09 am

Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that a young boy died when he lost control of a machine gun at a gun exhibition in Connecticut? And now we have this:

A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range outside Las Vegas accidentally killed an instructor on Monday morning when she lost control of the Uzi he was showing her how to use.

You don’t give guns like that to young children.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 26 Aug 2014 06:58 am

Censor might be too strong a word. Let’s instead say that they want a “truth meter” on Twitter content, and they’ll decide what is truthful:

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

How much you want to bet that anything considered Tea Party-ish, or that questions “global warming” will fall into one of those categories?

These “researchers” would then call-out (on a web portal) those whose opinions or facts they don’t agree with.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 26 Aug 2014 06:40 am

From Fox News:

A federal judge in California has struck down a law that requires a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases, but only for current gun owners who have already passed a background check and those who have a permit or certificate of eligibility to own a gun.

Eastern District of California Judge Anthony W. Ishii said Monday that the waiting period provision violates the Second Amendment rights of those who have already been approved to own a gun. This includes those who have previously undergone a background check and own a gun, people with concealed-carry permits and people who have a state certificate of eligibility to own a gun.

First-time gun buyers would still be subject to the waiting period, which Ishii emphasized in his ruling.

Why exempt first-time buyers? Maybe it’s a woman fearing for her life from a violent estranged partner, and she needs that protection Right Away.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Aug 2014 08:24 pm

From CNS News:

President Barack Obama sent no White House representative to the memorial Mass held yesterday in Rochester, New Hampshire, for James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists.

President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American fatally shot in an encounter with a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Aug 2014 10:53 am

This morning we had a 2-hour blackout.

30-something years ago, living in N.J., A March “Noreaster” hit my town. Hackensack. No power for two days. Flooding to the garden apartments I lived in (well, just one of those apartments). Couldn’t go anywhere, no heat, no electricity, no nothing. After that, I bought lots of battery operated stuff like lights, tiny TV, radio, etc.

22-years-ago I moved to Vermont. A rural town where the power goes out about as often as the Red Sox lose games this season.

I live in a multifamily home. Can’t have a generator; just not possible. Meanwhile, power blackout after power blackout.

Finally, this past Winter, I made an investment in three APS UPS battery backups. Hefty ones that can keep my internet, router, CFL lights, and my auxiliary counter-top refrigerator going for about four hours. Actually, the one backing up the lights can go for about 24 hours.

Best investments I’ve ever made.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Aug 2014 05:34 am

From the Citizens’ Voice (PA):

The victim was walking in the area of Hazle and Bank streets around 1:30 a.m. when the males confronted him.

One suspect pointed a gun at the victim and said, “What do you got for me?”

The victim told police he grabbed the robber’s gun as he drew his own semi-automatic firearm, sending the suspects running.

Gutsy maneuver, but it is possible (if the punk is close enough to you) to disable some firearms by grabbing them a certain way. Revolvers are easy if you seize it in a way that the cylinder can’t turn.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 24 Aug 2014 07:57 am

Kid works for his spending money by opening a lemonade stand. Neighbor has a problem with that and repeatedly complains to town officials and the police. In a surprising 180-degree from what we’ve come to expect in most municipalities these days, the town tells the complainer to go pound sand:

“We’re not in the business of trying to regulate kids like that; nor do we want to do any code enforcement like that,” said Dunedin planning and development director Greg Rice. “We are not out there trying to put lemonade stands out of business.”

Good for them. I’ll bet that’s a pretty nice town to live in.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 24 Aug 2014 07:30 am

If you live on Long Island, NY, and recently got a traffic camera speeding ticket, this might interest you:

Nassau County of New York is forgiving thousands of speeding tickets issued this summer from malfunctioning speed cameras, totaling about $2.4 million in fines.

The Long Island county executive, Edward Mangano, said cameras from Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions near six schools were unreliable and issued tickets even when school was not in session. Traffic speeds are reduced dramatically during school hours.

“I don’t have a high confidence level that the cameras were operating at statutory levels,” Mangano told Newsday Friday. “So we are declaring amnesty with all tickets issued this summer.”

More at the link. Did you know that in Vermont, cops don’t need a radar gun to ticket you for speeding? They can just “estimate” how fast they THINK you were going. Frankly though, I’ve never heard of that actually happening.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 24 Aug 2014 07:22 am

from The Wall Street Journal:



What the map doesn’t tell you is in which of those “open carry” states, the cops will harass you anyway.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 22 Aug 2014 04:38 am





From Ars Technica:

United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia’s conclusion that a monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle. The animal’s selfie went viral.

“The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit,” said the draft report, “Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.”

So I guess those videos taken with a Go-Pro strapped to a rapture are public domain, too.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 22 Aug 2014 03:50 am

Naturally, it’s not REALLY mandatory that all households own a firearm, but in this town, pretty much everyone had one already.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 21 Aug 2014 05:10 am

I’m not sure that this is a good thing. From the Sidney Morning Herald:

Find yourself thinking that the spider living in your garden is the biggest you’ve ever seen? You could be right.

New research shows some spiders are getting larger and even doing better in cities than in their natural habitats.

In a study published today in PLOS ONE, we show that city living is leading to bigger spiders that have the potential to produce more young.

Here are real photographs taken with actual cameras using genuine film:



(Yes, I like my old cars.)

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