Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

Brigid posted You Were the One for Me - a Meme yesterday. And asked
So - for those of you married or in a long term relationship, what was that moment when you knew this person was for you?
So,  for our 23rd Anniversary, I shall share with you a rare personal moment, the moment when I Knew:

We were going to a movie -- I think it was a classic Chick Flick, like Terminator II -- and we were (IIRC) to late for one showing, and too early for the next showing, so we wandered around the mall a bit.

Wandered into a clothing store...

Not-yet-Mrs. Drang picked up a belt, a rather stylish number of tan leather with brass studs on it...

Examined the quality of construction...

And wrapped it around her fist.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

Friday, March 20, 2015

What's the Gaelic for "Bah, humbug!"...?

{Once again, saved a draft of a post and forgot it. s*i*g*h. Tweeted this on Tuesday, 3/17...}

GOAL Post 2015-11 (Updated)

TO: undisclosed-recipients:
SENT: Fri 3/20/2015 5:24 PM
SUNJECT: GOAL Post 2015-11

Legislative Update from Olympia 20 March 2015
·         ATF "BACKDOWN"

A public hearing on Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1713 has been scheduled in Senate Human Services and Mental Health at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 24 March.   Essentially, the bill adds "chemical dependency" (including alcohol) to the existing mental health commitment program.  This increases the opportunity, beyond existing law, for the state to take away an individual's fundamental right to own a firearm.  The bill treats substance "use" essentially the same as "abuse," with insufficient safeguards for protecting rights.

Public hearings were held on SSB 5381 and SB 5658 this week.  Both bills are scheduled for executive session (committee vote) in House Judiciary on Thursday, 26 March.  An amendment will be offered for SSB 5381 that should resolve any remaining issues with the bill.

A few readers challenged my assertion last week that ATF's backdown on 5.56 M855 ammo was only temporary, and that -- like The Terminator -- "they would be back." In effect, I was raining on the gun lobby's victory parade.

This was ATF appearing to back down on Tuesday, 10 March:

And this is ATF Director B. Todd Jones to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, 12 March:

And note that he wants to work with Congress to "fix" the 1986 law.  He clearly stated he thought ALL 5.56mm ammunition posed a threat to police officers.  If you think Jones' "fix" is going to make it better for gun owners, promises for transparency and taking into account public input notwithstanding, well... you decide.

While I still question the motives of some in the ATF bureaucracy, you won't have to worry about ATF Director B. Todd Jones much longer.  In a surprise announcement this morning (his departure had been rumored for a week or longer), Jones announced he's resigning from the ATF directorship effective 31 March.  The official line is he is resigning "to pursue other opportunities in the private sector."  Rumor has it he will become a senior counsel -- possible general counsel -- for the NFL.  Stand by for political manipulation within the NFL?  I guess the jump from FFLs to NFL isn't that big a leap.  

At this time Deputy Director Thomas Brandon will take the helm.  Brandon was the ATF's choice to be clean-up (cover-up?) man heading the Phoenix Field Division following the Fast & Furious debacle.  We -- and Congress -- are still awaiting the final report on that one.

On a separate topic, retired USAF General Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, in comments made after the Tunisia museum attack earlier this week, warned that this kind of low level attack could happen at any soft target in the U.S.  This comes on the heels of FBI Director James Comey warning there are active ISIS or ISIS-sympathizer cells active in all 50 states -- and the White House claiming we are at our safest since 9/11/01.  

This is the one kind of attack where the armed citizen can make a critical difference -- the immediate responder that is already on the scene, not minutes away as are police.  Are YOU carrying today?  Every day?


Monday, March 16, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015


No, not that kind. Although it is Albert Einstein's Birthday as well as "Pi Day", but if I was talking about those I'd have set the post to post at 9:26:53 TODAY, 3/14/15...

No, I've been thinking about the "relative" gun laws across the nation.

For example, Washington State has been "Shall Issue" for over 50 years; you go to the local Police Station or County Sheriff's office, get fingerprinted, pay your fees, and after a Federal background check, you get your permit. Sometimes you need to meet a particular schedule, as the fingerprinting is often done by volunteers. There have been some slight tweaks in the system over the years, but they have pretty much been to ensure consistency across the state, and to make the process easier.

People who live in a so-called "Constitutional Carry State", where all one needs to carry a gun is to be a law-abiding citizen who is legally allowed to have a gun, think this is an outrageous infringement on our rights.

OTOH, people who live in states with a "proof of training" requirement envy us.

And those who live in states with a specific training requirement envy them.

They, in turn, are envied by those who live in states that not only have a specific training requirement, but add an actual "qualify with your carry pistol, which is all you're allowed to carry" requirement.

And that seems downright generous when you loom at "may issue" states, where your ability to exercise your Right To Keep And Bear Arms is dependent on some bureaucrat deigning to allow you to do so. (In some cases, "May Issue" is de facto "Shall Issue", but in others it may be "Shall Issue With A $1000 Donation To My Re-Election Campaign", while in others it's "I Don't Care Who You Are, No Way!")

At the time of this writing, every state is either "Shall Issue" or "May Issue"... officially. The State of Hawaii has issued all of one concealed carry license, and has said "never more."

Then we have the entire issue (pun not intended) of reciprocity.Do other states recognize the permit you issue, and  what, if any, state' permits does your state recognize? (Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps - USA Carry Not guaranteed to be up-to-date.) I'm going to ignore the entire question of whether the Federal Government mandating reciprocity supports the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms, or violates States' Rights for now...


What about other items? For years it was legal to own a suppressor ("silencer") in Washington State, but illegal to use one. Absurd. Made the entire process of filing for the $200 tax stamp to be allowed to ask my local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (Sheriff, Chief of Police) for permission to buy one pointless.

Now I can not only shoot  gun with a suppressor on it, but I can also attach it to a rifle with a barrel less than 16" long, sixteen inches being the magic number that the BATFEIEIO pulled out of it's fourth point of contact Lo! these many decades ago.

Except that, now that Short Barreled Rifles are legal to own in WA, I still have to pay Uncle Sam $200 for a tax stamp to be allowed to ask my CLEO for permission to buy...

And forget a Short Barreled Shotgun1. Those are still evil and banned here.

(Yes, as an alternative to asking permission from The Man to be able to buy a health and safety device for my guns, or a rifle that is short enough to be more practical for home defense, I can establish a trust, and have the trust own them. The trust doesn't need to ask permission, it "merely" informs the CLEO that it has added to it's inventory. Except that there are indications that the bureaucrats are going after the "Trust Loophole".)2

Full-auto firearms are also Right Out here in the Evergreen State. Which may just as well, because when the Hughes Amendment got snuck into law3, and Uncle Sam banned new-manufacture of full-auto firearms from civilian ownership, the prices of the grandfathered firearms with a "happy switch" sky rocketed.

Anyway, I do envy those who live in areas where the purchase of a suppressor or SBR or SBS or FA is a matter of the CLEO rubber-stamping the paperwork. 

Admittedly, I also envy them the budget for purchasing these things. Sure would like a Kriss Vector SBR with a can...

(This was going to be longer, but I decided I didn't want to Go There today...)

1. For some reason, the magic length for a shotgun barrel is 18 inches. I have never really heard any explanation for why rifles can be 16, but shotguns have to be 18. Or why there should be a limit on how short a "long gun" barrel can be at all.
2. The definition of "loophole" being "Something that is legal but we don't like it." 
3. And into the NRA Conspiracy Theory Hall Of Fame.

Friday, March 13, 2015

GOAL Post 2015-10

Posted over here.

Mowed the lawns at both Alte und Neue Schloss Drang, and am feeling it, so am content to sit here in the recliner with Minnie applying kitty therapy.

Time for another couple ibuprofen, and maybe a beer, too...

Friday, March 6, 2015

GOAL Post 2015-9

New GOAL Post.
List of bills that are still more-or-less alive is much shorter this week, and I've linked to each of the bills remaining in the table of bills.
TO: undisclosed-recipients:
SENT: Fri 3/6/2015 4:17 PM
SUBJECT: GOAL Post 2015-9
Legislative Update from Olympia 6 March 2015
 I normally don't cover non-firearm-related bills, but I'll mention these two just once.  Two bills, part of the "Freedom Agenda" push by conservative legislators, have passed out of the House.  HB 1440, by Rep. David Taylor (R-15) prohibits the use of various cellphone collection technologies without authorization by a warrant, or consent by the cellphone user.  Among these is the so-called "Stingray" device, a cellphone signal interceptor.  HB 1639, also by Rep. Taylor, essentially does the same for unattended aerial vehicles (drones).  No warrant, no lookee -- or at least no entry as evidence into court.   1639 also creates a "cause of action" whereby a citizen may sue if he/she feels his/her rights have been violated.  Both reaffirm the need for a warrant before this emerging technology is used in collecting information/evidence from citizens.  

The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that the protections of the Bill of Rights extend to new technologies (as Justice Scalia did in his majority opinion in the Heller (2008) case, noting that the Second Amendment protects new firearm technologies such as "assault weapons.), but it's nice to see the state legislature reaffirm this principle.  On the down side, they allow exceptions for "emergencies."  The extent to which this will be abused remains to be seen.  I'm NOT adding either bill to the BILL STATUS column. 

All the action is still on the House and Senate floors, with bills being voted up or down.  An asterisk in front of the bill number indicates action taken this week, and the "Status" at the end of that line indicates where the bill currently sits.  Opposite chamber assignments are as noted.  HB 1731 has been moved to the House "X"-file, typically the holding pattern until next session -- an unusual move in mid-session.  The watered down Senate companion bill, SB 5381 passed the Senate and now sits in House Judiciary for the second half of the session. 

There are five days left until the chamber cut-off   -- Wednesday, 11 March at 5 p.m., the day all bills must pass their original chamber and move to the other side.  Despite marathon floor sessions, some bills simply won't make the deadline.  To paraphrase Matthew 22:14, many bills are filed but few are passed.  (Even those few are probably too many.)

Next Thursday, 12 March, the whole process starts over again, with House bills being heard in the Senate and Senate bills in the House.  They have to pass a policy committee, possibly a fiscal committee, then move on for a floor vote in the entire House or Senate.  Bills that pass without amendment go direct to Governor Inslee for his action -- sign, veto, partial veto, or allow to become law without his signature.  Bills that are amended on the opposite side must be returned to the originating chamber for approval or a conference committee.


"The Birth of Korean Cool"

I read The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture by Euny Hong several months ago and just plain haven't gotten around to reviewing it here. 

 (As an aside, I have to wonder how many other bloggers have stuff to blog about and just... don't.)

Euny Hong (and yes, it does cause me to twitch that she puts her given name before her surname) was actually born in America to Korean parents, who moved back to their native Korea when she was 12.

This had to have been traumatic for her; it was not uncommon in the schools we sometimes sent my fellow Korean linguists to for refresher or advanced training to see the children of emigres, sent back to The Old Country, who would invariably be upset when the roundeyes would be placed higher than they were. "Yes, they have accents, but so do you. Furthermore, they actually have an understanding of grammar, AND they can read and write the language!"

It is perhaps significant that her family lived in the Lifestyles Of The Korean Uber-Rich and Famous Gangnam district, as did Korean pop star known as Psy, and which he parodied in the international WTF? hit "Gangnam Style."

(You didn't realize it was a parody? Neither did I until I looked up the lyrics; you might think having been a military linguist means I understood it right away, but I assure that he was singing very little that had to do with north Korean artillery and armor...)

Starting at a new school, in an unfamiliar country, speaking the language imperfectly,  at an age when youngsters are often feeling disconnected anyway, this experience had to make Ms Hong feel like the perpetual outsider, and perhaps the ideal person to write of the ROK-government sanctioned, endowed, and subsidized "K-Pop Industry."

To be honest, I found her narrative most interesting for what she had to say about Korean culture in general, far more than the description of how Korea is working to take over world popular culture.

In The Korean Invasion, Derek Parker of The American Interest reviews the book so I don't have to. He admits that he was not so interested in Ms Hong's personal story. Whatever. I doubt if someone who had grown up in Seoul, especially in Gangnam, fully immersed and invested in the culture she was writing about, would have been so insightful.

Now, I never lived "on the economy", nor, as many of my colleagues did, immerse myself in All Things Korean. I did not regard returning to the USA as "going overseas" or being sent to Korea as "going home", which, again, some of my peers did. So there were many things here I was only marginally aware of, if at all.

I witnessed South Korea go from a country where farmers commonly use an ox-drawn plow in the fields to one where everyone has a tractor* and a car. When I first reported to The ROK in 1982 any product sold there had to have English words on the label. Had to. Even if it was produced there of all Korean ingredients. It was a sign of quality.

By the time I left, even imported products had no foreign lettering on the labels, unless it was a product for import in several countries. (SPAM Gift Packs were still popular at the holidays.)(Oddly enough, by 2000 Budweiser was the cheap beer in the clubs; OB and Crown were the expensive ones. Still haven't figured that out...)

Anyway (again) I found the book to be very interesting, albeit more (for me) about general Korean culture than about Korea's tackling of world pop culture.

*Commonly referred to as a One-eyed Buffalo, One-eyed Dragon, or RPAV, Rice Paddy Assault Vehicle. During one Team Spirit exercise, there was a safety stand-down on all CH47 and UH-60 helicopters, so one ROK Army Regimental Commander allegedly rounded up several hundred RPAVs and simulated an air assault...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

QOTD, 03/05/15

I just started reading Inventing Freedom, by Daniel Hannan, Member of European Parliament for South East England. the Eurocrat, "unregulated” is more or less synonymous with "illegal."
For "Eurocrat", one can easily substitute, say, "Bureaucrat." Or "Statist." Or "Leftist."

The full quote runs thus:
British Euro-skepticism owes a great deal to a resentment of what is seen as unnecessary meddling, but, to the Eurocrat, "unregulated” is more or less synonymous with "illegal." I see the difference almost every day. Why, I often find myself asking in the European Parliament, do we need a new EU directive on, let's say, herbal medicine? Because, comes the answer there isn't one . In England, herbalists have been self regulating since the reign of Henry VIII. In most of Europe, such a state of affairs could never have come about.
The same "reasoning" leads to seeing "loopholes" anywhere the statist sees free men and women doing as they please.