The Impossibility is Mind Blowing

This has to be the most impossible shooting I’ve read about in a while. Not only did it occur in Germany where gun control laws are about as strict as you can get without an outright ban, but it happened in an airport where guns are a big no-no as well.

I’m completely baffled at how such a thing could happen, it’s double-illegal to shoot somebody in a German airport!

A Heart Warming Story

Some stories just warm my heart and this is one of them:

Today in Austin TX – Activists were successful in buying TRUNKS full of usable firearms that would have otherwise been destroyed (or ended up in the hands of “terrorists” – as we have seen before how cops confiscate guns and resell them to cartels…)

About 40 gun buyers, both independent and otherwise, stood in front of the Austin Police Gun Buyback Event offering CASH for the guns they were about to turn in to the city for food cards. As people rolled up, we approached them with our offers, and paid them hard cash after inspecting the guns to make sure they were operable. (the Police were unbelievably cooperative in the process)

It doesn’t look like the Bureau of Happiness and Joy Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has decided to go after these people yet for “being in the business.” Maybe this could be a new source of discount firearms for use enthusiasts, head to the next buy confiscation and offer the same price as the police (maybe a bit more) but in good old cash. That way somebody who will do something productive with the firearm can get it instead of the state whom will destroy it (unless it’s sufficiently valuable then it will probably disappear into the gun safe of a Sargent somewhere).

Stuff Government Says

It’s time for an episode of “Shit my Government Says.” The premises here is simple, I take a common line used by those in government and translate it into layman terms. Today’s episode is going to be on “reducing spending.”

When a government official says they’ve proposed a plan to reduce spending they want you to believe they’ve saved you money by spending less. For example if they put forth a budget and claim it reduces spending by $100 billion it implies they’re doing to spend $100 billion less than they currently are spending.

What they actually means is they’ve cut something from the proposed budget but haven’t actually saved you any money yet. When a government official says they’ve cut $100 from the budget they mean the proposed budget for a span of time. Therefore if the proposed budget is $1,000 over money actually available and they “cut spending” by $100 the budget as passed will still spend $900 more than they have.

This seems altogether obvious until you apply the fact out government increases the budget from year to year. Let’s say the budget in 2010 was $100 the and likely proposed budget for 2011 will be $110. Let’s say the income of our government for 2010 and 2011 was $50. This means in 2010 our government spent $50 they didn’t have which we call a deficit. Now our government is claiming they’re going to get spending under control and thus will not pass the proposed $110 plan but instead have cut the proposed budget by $10. That means out government is still going to spend $100 or $50 over the amount brought in making the deficit the same as in 2010.

Of course the government officials will pat themselves on the back for cutting spending by roughly 10% (since government always likes to round up even when that rounding makes little sense mathematically). This is meant to imply they’re only going to spend $90 for the year instead of the $100 they spent last year.

It’s a deceptive practice that many people seem to be completely oblivious to.

Double Standards

Slow news days get you pointless speculations and inane rambles of a libertarian. This posts is the latter. One thing that has always pissed me off is hypocrisy. Nothing is quite as awesome as somebody who claims to believe one thing and then does the exact opposite but tells everybody else they shouldn’t be allowed to do it. There are more subtle forms of hypocrisy such as that perpetrated by the likes of former Mayor Daley, Mayor Bloomberg, and President Obama.

Let’s take a look at a specific example for which I’ll put the laser on Mayor Bloomberg. Bloomberg is the chief of the purposely deceptively named organizations Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The name is truthful though as the organizations wants nothing more than to make all guns illegal and thus eliminate gun ownership in the United States. Thankfully their success rate has been less than optimal and thus haven’t managed to establish any gun bans.

Bloomberg wants you and me disarmed. He has no exceptions carved out for those who wish to have firearms available for self-defense because we’re just little peasants that don’t deserve to have a fighting chance should somebody with evil intent decide to enter our lives. While he’s spouting how evil guns are and how we need to disarm lawful citizens he stands surrounded by armed body guards. This is certainly a form of hypocrisy, decrying the use of something while in turn using it. Some people fail to see this because they’ve been taught that government officials are better than any of us little people and thus are deserving of special treatment.

This attitude has to end. I strongly believe government shouldn’t be allowed to do anything we the people aren’t allowed to do. If I can’t walk around with hired body guards then my government officials shouldn’t be able to either (depending on the state you’re in you may be able to hire private body guards). If I’m not allowed to own a Glock 17 with 33 round magazines then nobody employed by the government should be allowed to either. The second a law is passed that bars private citizens from something but carves out an exception of military or law enforcement there exists hypocrisy. This is even more apparent when you realize the police force is made up of regular civilians like you and me, they are not somehow elevated above that position because of their uniform.

Another example of government hypocrisy is the debt faced by both our federal government and most (all?) state governments. We’re told time and time again that we need to start living within our means while our governments spend far more money than they have available to them. Why is it OK for them to spend billions of dollars they don’t have without punishment but when we do it there are ramifications?

It would please me greatly if people would open their eyes and demand an end of such hypocrite behavior by government officials.

Slow News Day

It’s a slow news day so that means I’m going to toss in some filler material. The current filler material is going to be speculation on Apple’s new iPad 2 which is going to be announced today at noon (for those in the central, and therefore only one that matters, time zone). I have a current generation iPad and like it quite a bit so some of this speculation is going to be wish list while other is just stuff I feel is rather no-duh.

First I don’t think we’re going to see a retina display on this thing. We may see a new higher resolution display but not nearly as high resolution as the current iPhone 4 screen. Why? Because it would cost too damned much money. The higher the pixel density that higher the cost when you talk screens.

There will likely be a GSM and CDMA iPad for those people who need the 3Gees on their tablets. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple had a single 3G model which worked on both Verizon and AT&T’s network, in fact that would make a lot of sense. Apple is a company that likes to have the bare minimum number of models available for each device. Having a separate AT&T and Verizon iPad 2 would be slightly confusing and it would make sense that Apple would rid themselves of the hassle.

Currently available cases for the iPad 2 almost guarantee a front and back camera. I’m betting the back mounted camera will be equal or just slightly better than the one found on the iPod Touch but will remain far less capable than the iPhone 4 camera. Likewise currently available cases point to a redesigned speaker grill.

We’re likely to see 512MB of RAM on this new device. Shocked? Didn’t think so. In fact a bump in RAM would sum up what I think the iPad 2 will be; an all around improved iPad with no real revolutionary features. I doubt we’ll see anything super ground breaking with the new iteration of the iPad simply because Apple’s style is to slowly increase the capabilities of their devices over time instead of make large jumps. I would be willing to bet money that we won’t see any 4G capabilities on the new iPad.

It’s Not Collective Bargaining, It’s Monopoly Coercion

There’s been a massive shit storm hitting the capital in Wisconsin and that shit storm has started spilling out over the border to my capital. I’ve not stated much on this subject because I’ve not had a whole lot to say but now that I’ve done a bit of research I feel I can make some actual comments on the subject.

First let us do away with the term “collective bargaining” because that’s not what the teachers of Wisconsin currently have. I propose a new term to use called “monopoly bargaining.” I’m a person who believes if a group of employees want to voluntarily come together to fight for better working conditions that is their rights. They key word there is voluntarily. As it sits in Wisconsin every teacher in that state has to become a member of the teacher’s union. There is only one union, not multiple ones available to compete for your membership dues, and anybody who wants to be a teacher must join this single union.

What we have isn’t a collective of people bound together to fight for better wages, instead we have a monopoly whom people are forced to pay money to. I have a huge problem with this type of setup because it causes potential conflicts of interest for teachers. If you pay union dues I guarantee you some of that money will end up being donated to the Democrat Party. Personally I can’t in good conscious allow any of my money to find its way into the pockets of those fuckheads. This principle would bar me from being a teach in Wisconsin since there is no way to do so without paying the union and the union donates to the Democrat Party.

Now we have my two least favorite things; money stolen from the pockets of people and mandatory donations to a political party. The only thing that could make this situation more distasteful in my opinion is if they Wisconsin teacher union were allowed to use force to enact their desires, thankfully the government still maintains a firm grip on their monopoly over the use of force.

Collective bargaining would only be an accurate term if individual teachers could come together and fight for better working conditions. Teachers aren’t allowed this luxury instead having to rely on one monopolistic union which they must be a member of. This is the main point people seem to be missing. Wisconsin doesn’t currently allow its teachers collective bargaining rights, they force teachers to become a member in an entity that will fight only for a set of ideals while teachers whom wish to go against the union have no recourse. If the union of Wisconsin doesn’t want something then it won’t be fought for leaving teachers who do want that out on the cold with needs remaining unfulfilled by the entity they are forced to pay money to.

The other thing I find interesting about this whole fiasco is the fact the people who are actually paying the bills, tax payers, aren’t present in any teacher salary negotiations. When you work in the public sector you’re paid tax dollars. Each teacher working in a public school system is paid through our money yet we don’t get to be present when their union comes to “negotiate” higher wages for teachers. Bargaining usually implies a buyer and seller haggling for an outcome that both sides find mutually beneficial. In the case of public employees the employees can be considered the sellers (selling us on the idea they need higher wages) while the tax payers can be considered the buyers (buying the services of the public employees). The problem comes when these negotiations comes around it’s between the seller and a third party who will not actually be footing the bill.

When a public union negotiates higher wages for the employees it represents it means more money will be taken from the private sector and sent to the public sector. The people who have this money, you and me, get no say in the matter. Hence what these unions do can’t really be considered bargaining or negotiations, instead it would be coercion. The union is using the government’s monopoly on the use of force to take money from private citizens and give it to public employees. So to be more accurate we should call what the Wisconsin teacher’s union does monopoly coercion (monopoly within the realm of teacher pay) not collective bargaining.

The entire situation is being misrepresented by entities that only continue to exist if people are forced to pay them a tax. Needless to say it’s in the union’s best interest to ensure their monopoly use on forcing tax payers to foot a higher bill continues. Now that we’ve defined the real problem let’s work on finding a real solution.

Revocation Rate of Minnesota Carry Permits

An interesting post over on the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA) website has been published. It’s a listing of the revocation rate of carry permits in Minnesota. I figured it would be low but I didn’t realize how laws it was:

2006: 37,000 permits held, 3 revoked, .0081%
2007: 46,000 permits held, 0 revoked, 0%
2008: 53,000 permits held, 4 revoked, .0075%
2009: 63,000 permits held, 1 revoked. .0016%

Revocation of a carry permit can occur for several reasons included improper use of a carry firearm (outside of self-defense situations for example) or a change in status from an eligible gun owner to an ineligible person. Minnesota’s rate is far less than one percent which goes to show most permit holders are law abiding citizens who continue to remain law abiding even after they receive a carry permit (so much for that whole “blood in the streets” argument the anti-gunners like to parrot).