The dreaded 2A discussion…

I’ve been pretty quiet on this subject for quite some time. As I’ve ranted about before, I was a “survivor” of the Las Vegas Massacre (danger-quotes because while I was close enough to be in danger I was not in the “target zone”) and I certainly have some opinions on this.

Right now, it is easier for someone to get a gun than a car. To legally drive a car one has to 1) get a driver’s license that requires a basic competency level and vision test, 2) obtain insurance for said car to a statutory minimum level (in CO it’s actually on the high side), 3) register the car, which at least here in CO requires proof of insurance, and 4) operate the car safely enough to not incur “points” on your driving record or maintain sobriety while driving.

None of these requirements exist for an “assault rifle”. All that’s required is a simple background check, and that process is even flawed to the point of being laughable. In addition, there’s no license requirement to purchase ammunition, no records kept of how much is being purchased and by whom, and the records of who purchased what gun are not stored in any electronically searchable database: it’s all on paper. Here in the 21st Century.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment, as it is written. But those are the key words: AS IT IS WRITTEN.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The commas make things awkward. But, my interpretation is that regulation is specifically permitted. You can keep and bear arms. However, as I interpret that it should carry a requirement of you being part of “a well regulated militia”. That’s likely the way the Founding Fathers intended it. The United States wasn’t supposed to have a standing army, we were supposed to have militias sponsored by the individual States that came together in common defense.

Kind of how amateur radio is: one carries certain responsibilities and duties when one possesses an FCC-issued ham radio license. Is it strictly enforced? No, but the stakes are not as high for radio amateurs as it is for the amateur militia envisioned here. That said, it is not unheard of for the FCC to fine hams that were aware of an egregious violation of the Communications Act and did nothing to report it.

All that said, the whole Gun Control Debate is idiotic given the current state of affairs. Our government is supposed to be made up “of the people”, and that means we really shouldn’t have a standing army like we have. We should have “well regulated Militias” comprised of ordinary citizens, and if we can’t do that, maybe we need to rethink exactly why we spend hundreds of billions on “defense”. If we all had a good solid rifle, the training to use it in combat, and access to practice facilities I think a citizen army could make for a pretty strong force.

Until that time, I’m for gun control. No other nation handles guns the way we do, and no other country (at least in the first world) has the violence problems we have. Hell, I’m for disarming the police.

But to have any discussion about it requires the acknowledgement that we have drifted so far away from what was intended that to simply say “well, the Bill of Rights says this” without taking into account the whole “right to life” bit to me seems insane. Our system is broken with a standing army and a militarized professional police force. Let’s start there.

And I suspect that if our government was indeed “by the people, of the people, and for the people” we’d have a lot less of an argument about this, because “the government” would be your neighbors, not some professional legislator or a dumb Orange Cunt.

Why I’m actively buying a bottle of Stoli

I don’t drink vodka. I’m not a fan of it at all. I’m also not a fan of Dan Savage.

And, yet.. today, I’m going to stop by the liquor store and pick up a bottle of Stoli vodka. Maybe I’ll pick up one of those funky fruit-flavored ones so I can actually maybe drink the stuff someday.  No, I’m not going to start listening or reading Savage anytime soon.

Yes, I’m aware of the fact that there’s a popular #dumpstoli campaign right now. But this campaign (like a lot of things that comes out of the piehole of Mr. Savage) is not only misguided, it’s very much quite wrong.

First off, the Stoli we buy on the shelves here in the United States doesn’t even come from Russia, it comes from.. well, depending on some different factors most likely Latvia (although supposedly some Stoli is actually distilled in one of a handful of countries including even Canada). The brand is owned by a Eurozone corporation with it’s HQ in Luxembourg.  And, yes, it’s majority owned by a wealthy Russian businessman (who I understand spends most of his time in Paris nowadays anyway).. but one that has few, if any, ties to Pooty Poot.. and one that has been critical of his government in the past.

But more importantly: Stoli has a long history of actually SUPPORTING the LGBT community before this.  I won’t go down the laundry list, but this BusinessWeek article pretty much sums it up.

I have my suspicions that this has nothing to do with “gay rights”. Maybe somebody just needs a new sponsor for one of his media properties, and maybe this is an excellent way of browbeating one of the importers or producers into sponsoring his show.

It’s certainly not because Stoli did anything wrong. At best, this looks more like spousal abuse 1 than a campaign for change.

Stoli, I stand with you, even if I think the rocket fuel you sell is way too astringent to actually drink.  Будем здоровы!

Show 1 footnote

  1. Not to discount spousal abuse, but it is a similar pattern to one form of abuse I’m familiar with: be all lovey-dovey one minute, and then lashing out for some minor perceived slight that may not have even been intended

Why the entire “gun control” discussion is irrelevant.

There are times when I feel like I’m the only person in the world who fucking pays attention.

Right now, we’ve got this big debate going on here about whether or not certain guns should or should not be banned and all the wharrrggble that goes along with any time somebody tries to start a level-headed conversation about guns in this country.

Am I the only one who has been watching what people are doing with 3D printers?

Primitive “printable guns” already exist, that only require a small amount of actual metalworking to work.

I’ll repeat that with details, for those of you who seem to be missing this.

It is possible now to have only basic and rudimentary skills as a metalsmith or machinist to assemble a usable firearm using about $2,000 in computer-aided manufacturing tools one can build themselves, using plans and patterns easily obtainable on the Internet.  As we move forward, the skill level required to manufacture these parts will only decrease, especially if there’s an “incentive” created by a partial or complete ban.

Go ahead, ban the “manufacture and sale” of assault weapons. The reality? In the next 2-3 years there will be an underground network of people who posses the tools to build them anyway.

And those weapons won’t be trackable, because they can be one-offs built from a machine that costs about the same as a good assault rifle costs today.  Those weapons will be inherently “hackable”, coming right off the autolathe and printer as “full auto”.


Making a gun isn’t rocket science, it’s a late Renaissance invention that was made before we had computers, autolathes, 3D printers, composite plastics, and advanced metallurgy and chemistry.  Even before CAD/CAM techniques anybody with a basic knowledge of machining parts could make a usable gun out of scrap metal parts probably in any metalsmith’s “junk box.”  It doesn’t take a lot of technology to slam a hammer into the back of a percussive cap, detonating a small charge of powder to accelerate a metal slug to near-the-speed-of-sound, and having a long and straight enough tube to guide the bullet to it’s target.

FOIA Shenanigans

In this morning’s E-Mail box:

From: Oregon Department of Transportation
Date: 10/16/2012
Subject: ODOT Gov Delivery list request

Dear Subscribers –

Recently, the Oregon Department of Transportation received a public records request from an elected official. The request was for a list of the email addresses of our partners, customers and stakeholders. To comply with public records law, we gave the requestor the email addresses of everyone who subscribes to receive information from the Oregon Department of Transportation through the Gov Delivery service. This list includes your email address. It does not include your name or any personally identifiable information about you.

You may receive an unsolicited email message from the requestor. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

You can unsubscribe from the Gov Delivery service at any time by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email. We hope that you choose to remain a subscriber and we hope you find the information that we share with you to be of value. If you have any questions, please call or email our Ask ODOT staff, 800-275-6368 or


Patrick Cooney, APR
Communications Division Administrator
Oregon Department of Transportation

So, some background. I’m on a couple of mailing lists that update you on the status of roads in certain ODOT regions. For example, when snow closes Mackensie Pass, I get an E-mail.

Apparently, one particular state Representative thought it would be funny to file an FOIA request with ODOT and get a bunch of E-mail addresses.

I don’t think it’s funny.

Continue reading

One Million Moms vs. the other Three Hundred Million Americans

One Million Moms is at it again against JCPenney. And it would be humorous, if it wasn’t so sad.

JCPenney, like most middle-class focused retailers, has been watching their classic demographic wither and die. They’ve already watched as many of their contemporaries.. once proud national retailers like Montgomery Ward.. and regional retailers like Mervyn’s.. have folded. Sears is a shadow of it’s former self. And even the upscale retailers have not been exempt, as chains like The Broadway and Meier and Frank have found themselves consolidated into Macy’s, while others have just simply vanished.

JCPenney is smart to be inclusive. Increasingly, as the next generation matures into adulthood, they already carry a much higher level of tolerance to alternative lifestyles. With each passing generation American society is becoming more inclusive and more open.

For the rest of us, let’s remind JCPenney that One Million Moms.. even if they do indeed represent “one million Moms”, is 0.3% of the population of the United States. We should not allow a small, hateful, bigoted organization to dictate terms under which we all should live.

It’s time for that minority to go into the closet.

Let it expire.

Today, I got this interesting postcard in the mail.

Here in the wild-and-wooly Territory of Clackamas County, we have a levy on property taxes that pays for the Sheriff’s Department. Since I live in the incorporated City of Oregon City, and in an apartment, we can debate how much I really need to care about this issue, at least in the abstract.

But what I find interesting is that the Sheriff’s Department just spent a good chunk of change to tell me they .. um .. need more chunks of change.

Let’s do the math on this one. Clackamas County has (according to the US Census’ 2007 estimate) around 140,000 households. Based upon how this was addressed (“Postal Customer”), it’s pretty safe to assume that this postcard went to every household in Clackamas County, or at least a vast majority of them. (EDIT: it also appeared in my Post Office Box in Milwaukie as well, which tells me that my 140,000-piece estimate is actually a low-ball figure). Let’s assume that the cost of producing the postcards, printing them, and mailing out 140,000 of them ran the Good Sheriff 50¢ per postcard. 140,000x.50=$70,000.

Perhaps a mere drop in the bucket compared to the $10 million the postcard claims will be raised by this levy in the 2013 tax year.

But it does raise the question of where else the Sheriff’s Department is using taxpayer resources in a fashion that might be deemed “questionable,” or at least for purposes other than legitimate law enforcement. $70,000 would pay a significant amount of a rookie deputy’s salary.

Thanks, Sheriff. You just ensured my vote will be “no.” Find a better way of financing your Posse.

Occupy? My ass.

I really want to be wrong with where I’m going with this entry.  However, I fear that I am more correct than even I realize.

Let me start by saying I in principal agree with most of the points that seem to be proffered by many of those protesting in our nation’s cities.  I’m heartened to see many of the younger generation finally starting to “get it”: that corporations have too much power, and that the cornerstone of our Republic has been so compromised that change is needed.

That change needed to happen before September 11, 2001.  It just can’t happen now.

This war you are fighting was lost a century ago when corporations were declared “persons” not by an act of Congress, nor by Presidential decree, but by a series of court decisions and even more centuries of legal precedent.  Our entire society has been based upon this bit of legal wrangling.  It’s not just as simple as declaring it “not to be true.”  Corporations exist for a reason, and many corporations use their legal “personhood” to do much public good.

Case in point.  Occupy Portland began their march today in the shadow of MercyCorps “corporate headquarters”, on the site of the old Skidmore Fountain Market.  As I look at the live feed of the video, I wonder how many people.. many of whom are literally LEANING on this very building, are aware of how much “corporate personhood” allows MercyCorps to do what they do.   I don’t even understand many of the legal implications, let alone understand what I do know well enough to explain them to someone else.

Do you really want this corporation to cease to exist?

The American Red Cross provides much in humanitarian aid to not only those affected by large-scale natural disasters, but small personal ones as well.  The blood services they provide alone have saved countless lives.  I have my disagreements with how the Red Cross is often run, but that does not stop me from acknowledging the greater good they do to society as a whole.

Do you really want this corporation to cease to exist?

For good or bad, much public infrastructure depends on the legal infrastructure of the corporation.  There isn’t a communications technology invented in the past 200 years that could have existed WITHOUT the corporation.  The Pony Express (the United States Postal Service is, in actuality, a corporation owned by the US Government), the telegraph and the railroads that it was built along side of, the telephone (and the telegraph network it supplanted), cellular telephones (which by their very nature requires a very tightly integrated network that would be financially impossible to build by a private individual on the scale required for blanket coverage [Side note that ties this together: Did you know that Sprint was, at one point, part of the Southern Pacific Railroad?]), and the Internet (which requires some of the same infrastructure as much of the above).  All of these very “democratizing” forms of communication REQUIRE a corporation to make happen.

Do you really think the government (who is likely the only entity who could effectively manage and control all these resources effectively) would do any better?

Banks exist for a reason.  We can argue that reason until we’re blue in the face, but the reality is we could no more switch off the Federal Reserve System tomorrow if we wanted to.  Even if we decided, as a nation, that the short term economic destruction was worth it.. it just couldn’t happen.  Small-scale reforms?  Maybe.  But even then, any significant changes to our financial system would likely have huge repercussions that nobody would understand.  Nobody. Anybody who says otherwise is either lying, mentally deranged, or just simply an idiot.

We can all shift our money to Credit Unions.  There are implications to that.  Also, as auxiliary members of the Federal Reserve System, you  aren’t really changing much.  The money you deposit into a credit union will often find it’s way right back into Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, or any one of the Big Banks We All Hate.  As an example, did you know that if your credit union is a member of the CU Service Center network, when you deposit at a CU Service Center the transaction is actually “cleared” via accounts held at Citibank?  (CLUE: Why do you think VCOM machines at Seven-11 are both Citibank ATMs and CU Service Center locations?)

There’s no wonder that conspiracy theories abound in this environment.  Everybody has blood on their hands.


Which is why nothing will change.  Here’s a fact that many of you who are protesting don’t understand.  That 99% vs. 1% dichotomy you keep parroting?  It isn’t that simple.  Most of us in that 99% depend on that 1% for our paychecks.  Most of us in that 99% depend on that 1% to keep our money, our streets, and our homes safe through insurance and bank accounts.  Most of us in that 99% depend on that 1% for what little heath care one can get without the aforementioned job and/or insurance.

At the end of the day, most of that 99% lives in relative comfort.  Most of us live in peace.  Some of us are old, frail, and/or sick and would quite literally die if society were to collapse tomorrow.  A few of us fear for the Republic if things continue the way they are.

But if there’s one thing I’m sure of, if tomorrow the corporation ceased to exist, I’d be dead within a week.


Is that what you really want?

Yes, folks, it literally is this bad.

This is so completely asinine that I have to pass this along unedited. I’m quite literally.. gobsmacked

This item is from a mailing list I subscribe to regarding privacy issues.  For those who have some interest in the subject, it’s a great list to be on, and you should subscribe posthaste.  Lauren is quite a sensible fellow, and rarely is one to “cry wolf”, so the insights he posts to his mailing lists and other forums are always informative.

White House Tour Cybersecurity: Send In Your SSN
– Via Unencrypted, Unprotected Email!

Greetings.  Before the U.S. government proceeds at all with their
controversial and risky Trusted Identities in Cyberspace Internet ID
scheme ( ), perhaps they should demonstrate their
ability to follow for themselves the most basic of Internet security

Very large numbers of persons tour the White House every year.  All
prospective tour guests 14 years of age and older are required to
pre-submit their Social Security Numbers (SSN) for security checks
(apparently it is common for children under the age 14 to have their
SSNs submitted as well).

One might assume that information as sensitive as SSNs would be
handled by the associated authorities with the same care and diligence
as, say, a typical bank Web site — using SSL/TLS encryption for the
protection of this data that is so often abused for identity fraud.

But that assumption would apparently be false.  An array of
Congressional Web sites instruct would-be White House tour guests to
submit their personal information (names, dates of birth, *social
security numbers*, etc.) via *standard unencrypted e-mail* to
(for example) various addresses!

Here are just a few randomly selected examples where (apparently
customized by Congressional district in these cases) White House Tour
“XLS” Security Forms are provided for download along with instructions
for emailing them in for processing —

( Form: [] ):

Congressman Steve King: []

Congressman Raul M. Grijalva: []

Congressman John Kline: []

And so on.  Search around a bit for yourself — you’ll easily find
others.  In fact, it appears that emailing back the Security Forms —
with absolutely no Internet transit protection for the personal
information included such as SSNs, is the standard mechanism that
Congress is mostly using — and presumably the White House has
approved — for White House tour requests.

If an insurance company, bank, or even a local school were caught
telling persons to submit required personal information such as Social
Security Numbers via easily diverted, observed, and otherwise abused
unencrypted email channels, there would likely be investigations and
hell to pay.

But Congress and the White House — the same entities who presumably
wish to play such important “Cybersecurity” roles, apparently can’t
even handle this basic aspect of Internet security correctly.  Yet
we’re supposed to trust their judgment relating to the creation of a
vast and complex Internet Trusted Identities infrastructure.

It would actually be quite funny — if it weren’t so utterly frightening.

Lauren Weinstein (
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR (People For Internet Responsibility):
Founder, NNSquad (Network Neutrality Squad):
Founder, GCTIP (Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance):
Founder, PRIVACY Forum:
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren’s Blog:
Google Buzz:


I have only one question for people who feel WikiLeaks is doing a disservice and is “dangerous.”

If “Democracy” is defined as a free and open society, by which every member of society has a voice, how can a “Democracy” have secrets it keeps from its citizenry? How can Truth ever be harmful to a free and open society that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people?”

The terrorists are not the ones who open our eyes to the destruction our idiotic foreign policy has wrought. The terrorists are the traitors who seek to squelch the Truth because it is incompatible with their beliefs, irreconcilable with their theories, or simply inconvenient.

“One of the amendments to the Constitution… expressly declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,’ thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press; insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others.”

Those words were penned by one of the biggest Terrorists of them all: Thomas Jefferson.  He had the brass balls to help start a war over injustices he saw, including the suspension of the free press.

Why I voted “No” on Measure # 3-369

Here’s a little insight into the way my tiny little mind works.

There’s a local ordinance on the ballot here in Oregon City: Measure # 3-369. It concerns taking land presently used for a public park and converting it to use for a road alignment. The back-story involves a moderate-sized parcel of land owned by one of the local churches that could be developed into housing, if there was road access. Oregon City’s laws require any land deeded to the Park System can only be changed to other uses by public vote.

I voted “No.”

My reasons for voting “No” were quite simple. I opened up the ballot pamphlet, wanting to read arguments in favor or against, and saw no arguments either way.

In other words, it matters so little to anybody that nobody bothered to type up a few words for it in the ballot pamphlet.

So, guess what? If it matters that little, I guess it doesn’t need to happen.