Ice Cream Machine is Broken

Sorry about the recent lack of posting, especially original content.  I’m working on an überpost on political civility, but it’ll be a while before it’s done.  The link-hunting is like drinking from a fire hose again, and each click takes me on a wiki-wander into Never-Neverland.

I’m reminded why I don’t write these things as often anymore as I used to.

So, for your entertainment, please let me point you to Texts from Superheroes.  One of these made me literally laugh until tears came, and there are PAGES of them!

Sarah Hoyt is as Optimistic as Bill Whittle

Read her post, Cassandra’s Fate.

Interesting take.


Our current clowns didn’t take over a country in such dire straights that their fumble-footed rule is an improvement. Yes, they did what they could through the eight years of GW Bush (and well, he didn’t help much) to make it seem like we were back in dustbowl years. But again, people know what they lived through and what their neighbors lived through.

These days most of the people on the net going “it was worse under Booosh” are either obviously mentally ill or paid to say so. (And there aren’t as many of them as there used to be.)

Worse, while all the initial successful totalitarians of the twentieth century came from what could be termed the “middle class” these precious flowers ain’t. In fact, they are so far off the middle class, they think it’s a rhetoric flourish “And the middle class.”

They are in fact from the uptiest (totally a word) of the upper crust (yes, do tell me about Obama’s impoverished ghetto childhood living with a bank manager. Pfui.) and so out of touch with the middle class it might be a foreign land.

I Guess I Missed the Announcement Where He Said “Never Mind” on No. 13

As of August 29 of this year, President Obama’s list of “executive actions” on gun control consisted of the following:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to  make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent  states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals  prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not  slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a  full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers  providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease  Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability  and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the  private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no  federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law  enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
24. Require officers of NFA Trusts to undergo a background check and get a signoff from a chief law-enforcement officer for any transfer of an NFA registered firearm or device
25. Prohibit the reimportation of “military-grade firearms” for purchase by “private entities.”

A 2012 Department of Justice report, Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010: Federal and State Investigations and Prosecutions of Firearm Applicants Denied by a NICS Check in 2010 (PDF) detailed that, out of the 76,000 firearms purchase denials in 2010 – some 47% of which were for “a record of a felony indictment or conviction” – a grand total of 62 cases were referred for prosecution.

I thought #13 in the list above was supposed to address that.

Guess not:

More than a year after the Sandy Hook school shooting, President Obama’s directive to amp up prosecutions of federal gun laws hasn’t made much difference in how many people are charged with gun crimes.

U.S. attorneys that prosecute such cases charged 11,674 people with breaking federal gun laws in the fiscal year that ended in September, compared to 11,728 people the year before.

The Justice Department says it has taken other steps to increase firearms enforcement, including forming a task force that advises federal prosecutors on how to reduce gun violence, and creating a database to allow law enforcement to trace weapons across jurisdictions.

But the figures show how ineffectual the president’s executive action was (this is my shocked face – ed.), at least in the short term, in ginning up prosecutions. Without new legislation or increased resources, U.S. attorneys are unlikely to prosecute more gun crimes, experts say.

What the hell do they need “new legislation” for? A signed Form 4473 isn’t enough?

A Feature, Not A Bug

When George F. Will delivered the keynote speech at the Cato Institute’s 2010 Milton Friedman Prize dinner, (an excellent speech, BTW) among other things he said this:

The Wall Street Journal this morning announced with a sort of breathless surprise that about 80% of the American people disapprove of congress. Raising a fascinating question: who are the 20%?

It is a sign of national health that Americans still think about Washington the way they used to talk about the old Washington Senators baseball team, when the saying was “Washington: first in war, first in peace and last in the American League.” Back then they were run, the Senators were, by a man named Clark Griffith who said, “The fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans.”

That is why the American people do not mind what they are instructed by their supposed betters to mind, that is the so-called problem of gridlock. Ladies and gentlemen gridlock is not an American problem, it is an American achievement. When James Madison and fifty-four other geniuses went to Philadelphia in the sweltering summer of 1787, they did not go there to design an efficient government, the idea would have horrified them. They wanted a safe government to which end they filled it with blocking mechanisms. Three branches of government. Two branches of the legislative branch. Veto. Veto override. Supermajorities. Judicial review. And yet I can think of nothing the American people have wanted intensely and protractedly that they did not eventually get.

The world understands. A world most of whose people live under governments they wish were capable of gridlock, that we always have more to fear from government speed than government tardiness. We are told that one must not be a party of “NO.” To “NO” I say an emphatic “YES!” For two reasons. The reason that almost all “improvements” make matters worse is that most new ideas are false. Second: the most beautiful five words in the English language are the first five words of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law.”

On Sunday the Washington Post reported, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger:

According to congressional records, there have been fewer than 60 public laws enacted in the first 11 months of this year, so below the previous low in legislative output that officials have already declared this first session of the 113th Congress the least productive ever. In 1995, when the newly empowered GOP congressional majority confronted the Clinton administration, 88 laws were enacted, the record low in the post-World War II era.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying: No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. Will Rogers said: “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

Gridlock is a FEATURE, not a BUG.

Quote of the Day – Tam Again Edition

What can I say?  She’s the Empress of Snark

I’m not sure whether the Canadian government gave it up for dashingly goateed Uncle Sam like a roofie’d lumberjack in a lonely logging camp or whether the NSA figured out that the master password for the OHIP was still set as “PASSWORD”, but there you go.

Whole battalions of radical Islamic terrorists might be coming across the southern border hidden inside the bales of marijuana, but we’re stopping that invasion of depressed Canadian paraplegics cold, right in its Little Rascal-ridin’ tracks.

Still Playing over at

Someone left this question:

What are the pros and cons for a national gun registry in the United States?

I left this answer:

One of my favorite quotes is “In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is.”

Theoretically, a gun registry makes perfect sense.  In practice, it does not.

There are an estimated 300 million firearms in private hands in the United States.  Very few jurisdictions require firearm or even gun owner registration, so no one except the current owners know where the overwhelming majority of these guns are or who they belong to.  Guns are durable items.  The oldest one I personally own was made in 1918.  It still works fine.  I doubt the record of its manufacture still exists – that is, I don’t think anyone knows to even look for it.

So, for one thing, the sheer size of the task is overwhelming.

Canada recently attempted a “long gun registry” – a registry of all rifles and shotguns in the country.  (They already had a handgun registry.)  They estimated that there were about 8 million long guns in private hands.  Legislators were told that the registry would cost something like $119 million to implement, with $117 million of the cost covered by registration fees – so for $2 million, they’d be able to register all 8 million guns, and it would go quickly.

The law passed in 1995, with licensing starting in 1998 and all long guns were to be registered by January 1, 2003.  By 2000, it was obviously not going according to theory.  Registrations were backlogged and riddled with errors, and costs were WAY over estimates.  An audit in December of 2002 showed that costs were going to exceed $1 billion by 2005, with an income from registration fees of only $145 million.

And then there was the lack of compliance.  By January 1, 2003, only about 65% of the estimated 8 million firearms were registered, and there was no reason to believe that the other 35% were going to be.

Finally in 2012 Canada scrapped its long-gun registry, after dumping an estimated $2 billion into it.  It solved no crimes, it apparently prevented no crimes, and it took vast quantities of money and manpower away from law enforcement with its implementation.

This is not an isolated incident.  Something very similar occurred in New Zealand.  They abandoned their long-gun registry in 1983.

Extrapolate that to the U.S, where the overwhelming majority of gun owners believe the Second Amendment’s “shall not be infringed” clause actually means something.  Our firearm pool is 37 times larger than Canada’s.  Our population is far more likely to disobey such a law, or creatively mess with it.

There’s a thing they teach in Officer Candidate School in the military – “Never give an order you know will not be obeyed.”  Trying to implement a national registry in the U.S. is a non-starter.  There are no “pros” for this idea.

I love a target-rich environment!