Friday Quote – Double Quote- James Feibleman & Stephan F. Roberts

10 Aug
August 10, 2012

BONUS DOUBLE QUOTE PRIZE!

“A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.”

James Feibleman

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Stephen F. Roberts

As an atheist, when I look at the myths that surround the current “popular” religions, I see many of the same themes that populated the “myths” of extinct religions. We shouldn’t kill (with exemptions), don’t steal (with exemptions), don’t lie (with exemptions), be kind to others (with exemptions). To use the old phrase, “the devil is in the details”. Each religious system believes that their deity or deities told them what the exceptions, be it kill only in self-defense or that it’s okay to lie and steal from heretics. I have to reconcile the pillars of my belief system when they clash, such as killing in self-defense or defense of others.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 5

08 Aug
August 8, 2012

In Chapter 5, Quentin rushes to engage Sissy’s target in the jungle and rushes to engage it. Upon reaching where Sissy was aiming, Quentin and the others can’t find anything. If it wasn’t a zombie, what was it?

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

Play

Why Marines, Why?

07 Aug
August 7, 2012

Miguel links to this article on FoxNews about the Marines spending $22.5 million for new Colt 1911s for their special operations contingent. Miguel goes on to make several of the same points that I thought when I first heard about the purchase.

Sitting in my gun safe is a 1911. Admittedly, it’s on long-term loan from a friend who can’t use it where he is right now. I love shooting that pistol. I absolutely hate breaking it down and cleaning it. Field stripping it takes so much longer than my Sig or even my Diamondback. I can understand the desire to carry a sidearm chambered in .45 ACP. So why get the 1911 when there are so many better alternatives for field carry. Miguel mentions the Glock 21 and the FN FNP. I would add the HK45 and the S&W M&P. All of these are lighter, carry more ammo, shoot just as well, are probably just as, if not, more durable, and easier to strip.

I expect a certain amount of conservatism in the military establishment. It’s easier to trust the system that’s been proven to work when your life is on the line. I still think that whoever decided on this purchase is sacrificing the better for the trusted.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 4

06 Aug
August 6, 2012

In Chapter 4, Sissy O’Connell looks in on her teammates as they prepare for their assault on the zombie outbreak. They seem ready, but was she?

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

A Prayer Even An Atheist Like Me Can Do….

03 Aug
August 3, 2012

Robb over at Sharp As A Marble first came up with this beautiful take on the Lord’s Prayer:

John Moses Browning, who art in heaven Hollowpoints be thy name Thy kingdom come Thy Will be done In full or semi-automatic Give us this day our daily range and forgive us our misses, as we aim for those who attack us, and lead us not into the Midway USA Catalog, but deliver us from Jennings. For a 9mm is the kingdom, .45 the power, and the Glock, forever Kablam!

Then Miguel at Gun-Free Zone turns it up to eleventy

Seriously, if you aren’t reading these two gentlemen consistently, you are missing out on some of the best stuff in the gun blogosphere.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 3B

03 Aug
August 3, 2012

In the second half of Chapter 3, Collin is acting point as the team takes on another zombie horde on Skull Island to see if their theory about Jack is right.

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

Play

Friday Quote – Benson E. Legg

03 Aug
August 3, 2012

“A citizen may not be required to offer ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”

U.S. District Court Judge Benson E. Legg, Wollard v. Sheridan, 2012.

This quote originally came to my attention back in March when the decision was handed down. The case surrounds the state of Maryland requiring a “good and substantial” reason before it would even consider issuing a person a concealed weapons permit.

This is one of the best legal statements that I’ve seen. Moreover, although it is relating directly to a RKBA case, it perfectly encapsulates the basic theory behind many of the libertarian positions. As human beings, we have natural rights. We do not require permission from the state to exercise those rights. When (if) the population starts retaking the freedoms surrendered by previous generations, this idea must be central. We don’t need permission from the state for our activities – the state needs permission from us for theirs.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 3A

01 Aug
August 1, 2012

In the first half of Chapter 3, the senior members of the team discuss Jack’s actions on the last training mission. Collin points out how Jack’s method can be used by the team.

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

Play

Why I Love My Niece, Part 1

31 Jul
July 31, 2012

So we took my niece for Indian. More appropriately, we took her Mom for Indian because it was her birthday. After being seated, my niece grabs the laminated single sheet, thinking it’s the children’s menu.

Niece: “Uncle Fish, what’s this?”

Me (After perusing the sheet): “It’s the drinks menu.”

Niece (Looking confused): “Where’s the eats menu?”

I couldn’t answer her question due to uncontainable laughter.

What Needs To Be Done To Shrink The Size & Role of the Federal Government

31 Jul
July 31, 2012

One of the podcasts I regularly listen to is the Economist’s Audio Highlights. (Free iTunes version here.)The most recent Editor’s Highlights (July 28) starts off with a discussion of how Obama and Romney are starting to touch on what should be the central issue of this campaign – what should be the size and role of government in America. The Economist makes the good point that currently the American government taxes like a small government nation and spends like a large government nation. I know, we feel we have an incredibly high tax burden, and in some cases we do (e.g., corporate taxes). The Economist rightly points out that some of the gap between what the government collects and it spends has to come from increased revenues.

I strongly disagree that increased revenue means higher taxes. The Laffer Curve explains that increased tax rates will lead to decreased revenue. If we must raise revenues, then it should be by reforming the tax code. The current tax system is no longer geared to accomplishing its primary objective – raising funds for the operation of the government. Instead, it’s more geared to social engineering of the populace and rent-seeking by special interests. Personally, I would really like to see the income tax replaced with a consumption tax, kind of like the FairTax. The only people who have a right to know my income is my employer and me, not the government. (Although in my case, the government does have a right to know because they employ me.) My issue with the FairTax proponents is that they are so ready to replace the income tax, they aren’t focusing on the necessary groundwork to do it. Before we can replace the income tax, the Sixteenth Amendment must be repealed. Otherwise, we will end up like Great Britain with an income tax and a consumption tax. With that limitation, a flat tax with no exceptions would be the most preferable.

For all of you who are screaming at your monitor that we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem – YES I KNOW THAT! The question becomes are we willing to tackle the big four drivers of government spending: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense? Usually the same people who scream for limited government or reforming the taxation methodology are afraid to touch one of these four drivers. Yet, if we are ever going to get to a smaller government, all four must be addressed.

  1. Social Security – Why are we asking our young and poor to subsidize our old and rich? Don’t tell me that you believe that you’ve been saving into a special account that’s due to you upon retirement. I have one of those too, and it’s called an IRA. My retirement planning does not take any “Social Security” income into account, because I can’t expect it by the time I retire. The “Social Security” system is broken and broke. It’s currently paying out more in benefits than it’s receiving in taxes. If we want a social safety net for elderly and disabled persons, then we can implement means testing and treat them like any other social welfare program. Quit making it a separate payroll tax and just roll it into the regular taxes. If nothing else, that should make it easier on employers.

  2. Medicare – If you want to know why healthcare is so damn expensive in America, this is a big reason. Medicare pumped out $523 billion in 2012, and it accounts for approximately 20% of all healthcare spending. Anytime the government subsidizes a product, prices go up. The more subsidies, the higher the price. (Go look at college tuitions since the introduction of government-backed grants and student loans.) Medicare’s dollar cost and portion of healthcare spending can only go up as the Baby Boomers start enrolling into the program in droves. The CBO and GAO both have stated that the program is unsustainable in its current form. If we want to provide some sort of help to seniors for their medical costs, it would be better to pay a sliding voucher (higher for low income, lower for higher income) to pay for a private health insurance plan.

  3. Medicaid – As Medicare forces healthcare prices up, Medicaid will continue to explode. Worse, because Medicaid’s price structure makes it unprofitable for a private practitioner to take on those patients, more and more private doctors are refusing to see Medicaid patients. This forces Medicaid patients to rely on the more expensive hospital emergency rooms as their primary healthcare providers. Call it a death spiral of costs. Personally, I’m more in favor of reforming Medicare and making the healthcare more market driven (letting insurance companies sell across state lines, make high-deductible plans more favorable, etc.) and using block grants to the states to handle Medicare spending. Each state faces different Medicaid challenges. Let them solve it as they see fit.

  4. Defense – There’s a difference between defense spending and military spending. I’m all for having a strong military to protect the United States. I’ll admit to having a fondness for all toys military, from small arms to aircraft carriers. Here’s the problem, we are spending too much on non-mission essential and non-working equipment, personnel, and real property. We have too many bases that are open because of politics rather than mission need. The procurement system practically begs for corruption and graft. Like all government agencies, DOD has too many empire builders that hold on to their little fiefdoms despite whether those personnel could be re-purposed or released. Unless these are remedied, defense spending will continue spiraling out of control, just like the other big drivers.

Reforming the tax system and controlling the big drivers of federal spending are the two big steps that must be accomplished before we can even hope to shrink the size and role of government.