Saturday, November 28, 2015

Blood dance in 3, 2...

Obama denounces gun violence after latest deadly shooting - Yahoo News

Of course he did. Apparently, in a news conference with his daughters.

He also claims that the shooter was armed with an "assault rifle", although no other sources have said so, and renewed claims of a "national epidemic of gun violence", even though violent crime is lower than it's been in decades.

Also, I suppose another guns and ammo drouth is about to his the gun stores.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Defense Authorization bill was signed Wednesday

I can't help thinking it's a trap.

S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Opens a .pdf, all 584 pages of it.) reports that they have finally passed a "blended" retirement program. When I was getting ready to retire, it was being reported that the Pentagon was resisting calls to include the Uniformed Services in the government's IRA program, because it would lead to reductions in retirement pay. OTOH, this looks like it will result in some sort of payout for those who leave with less than 20 years. You get a lot of time-servers after about the 12 year mark, not sayin' I would have left earlier if I had the prospect of getting paid, but...

It also includes "language designed to stop Obama from closing the detention facilities at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Allowing personal firearms on stateside bases — Lawmakers are requiring Defense Secretary Ash Carter to develop a plan by the end of this year that would allow stateside base commanders to decide whether to allow their service members to carry personal firearms on duty, or in areas where that is currently restricted by the military. Any such plan would not supercede local laws.
Per the NRA-ILA (which incorrectly refers to the bill as the Defense Appropriations Bill"*) also
...clarifies an exception in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that pertains to ammunition. Although TSCA clearly exempts “cartridges” and “shells” from the Act’s jurisdiction, radical environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) have for years been trying to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate lead projectiles under the Act. ...

Section 315 of the NDAA makes explicit the clear intent of the exception, which was to conclusively remove ammunition from the scope of the TSCA. Thus, the exception now includes not just shells and cartridges but “components of shot shells and cartridges.”
 Finally, Section 1087. The NRA again:
Rounding out the list of pro-gun provisions is section 1087, which restores authorization to the Secretary of Defense to transfer to the Civilian Marksmanship Program surplus M1911 and M1911A1 .45 ACP pistols for sale to the public. The component of the CMP that dispenses the pistols would be required to obtain a federal firearms license and abide by all requirements of the Gun Control Act pertaining to licensed sales and transfers. Currently, the military has some 100,000 such pistols that it no longer needs and that are being stored as taxpayer expense. These historically-significant firearms can now be transferred to law-abiding owners at a net gain to the government’s heavily-indebted balance sheet.
 I'll take two, please.

*From the Military.Com article: "The legislation is only half the annual budget process for Congress. Lawmakers still need to pass a defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2016 to start new programs and acquisition plans. Congressional leaders are hopeful that can be done before Dec. 11, when a short-term budget extension expires."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

25 years ago...

On Thanksgiving Day, 1990, the future Mrs. Drang and I sat down to discuss our future and about 5 minutes later we were engaged.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Not to make light of a tense situation, but...

Dear Turkey
Bet you wish you'd let us invade from the ground now, huh?
US Army

Originally posted elsewhere. Like Tam says, why waste your best material at an away game?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A couple more cool language links

The disappearance of the Trans- (or Mid-) Atlantic accent.
 Cool Video Reveals Why People in Old Movies Talked Funny | GOOD

As a "taught" (as opposed to "learned naturally") dialect, it was a now-obsolete version of "BBC English". (As opposed to the nearly-universal Mid-Western pronunciation used in American broadcasting today; when I was growing up, linguists said that the "average" American dialect was spoken in a suburb of Detroit. I guess that would mean I grew up speaking the US equivalent of Received Pronunciation...)

Beware of the video there finishing and then autoplaying into some progressive claptrap...

Also: Appalachian English - Maggie's Farm.

Again, these were both found on Instapundit, here and here.

As a show of solidarity...

...with our Mid-western friends, we here in Pugetopolis are bracing for a bit of Global Warning ourselves:
Special Statement
Statement as of 12:46 PM PST on November 22, 2015
... Snow showers are possible in The Lowlands Tuesday and it will
become windy and cold around Bellingham and in the San Juans... 

A cold front will move through western Washington Monday afternoon
and evening. A cold upper level low pressure system will shift
over the region Monday night and Tuesday. This will cause the snow
level to drop to around 500 feet across western Washington late
Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Colder air will move down from British Columbia Tuesday morning.
This will further drop the snow level down to sea level in the
north part of western Washington. It will be windy across western
Whatcom County and in the San Juans with cold Fraser outflow.

Stay tuned to the latest forecasts at www.Weather.Gov or your
favorite news source.

Granted, compared to what folks back home anticipate on an annual basis, our cold snaps and snowy weather is pretty pathetic, but after the last year or two, I anticipate a great deal of angst over even just a few flakes.

So to speak.

Well,that's annoying

Desktop was upgrading to Windows 10 as I left for work today.

Apparently, the upgrade went fine, except that, when we open Outlook now, any emails that had been left in an inbox (instead of being moved to a folder) have disappeared.

I can see the folders for the individual accounts in Windows Explorer, but Outlook says there are no emails for any of the .MSN accounts.(GMail, yes; MSN, no.)


Friday, November 20, 2015

WSJ: "Tourniquet Use Urged in Public-Safety Push"

Tourniquet Use Urged in Public-Safety Push - WSJ

(To read a WSJ article without having to subscribe, Google the article title.)

Don't read the comments...

ADDITIONAL: How First Aid and Emergency Response Can Combat Terrorism - The Atlantic
That's the URL, but the title on the age is "Fighting Terrorism With Tourniquets", although there seems to be an alternate of "Fighting Terrorism With First Aid".

LATE UPDATE: That Atlantic aticle includes a link to a two-year-old WSJ item that is of related interest: Tourniquets Gain New Respect - WSJ

Also, if you do a Google search for the WSJ article by title, several other sources of the same article show up -- including a link to this blog post. I made the front page of Google!

If this is weird, I don't want to be normal

Why is English so weirdly different from other languges...

English is not normal
No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language
by John McWhorter
English speakers know that their language is odd. So do people saddled with learning it non-natively. The oddity that we all perceive most readily is its spelling, which is indeed a nightmare. In countries where English isn’t spoken, there is no such thing as a ‘spelling bee’ competition. For a normal language, spelling at least pretends a basic correspondence to the way people pronounce the words. But English is not normal.

Spelling is a matter of writing, of course, whereas language is fundamentally about speaking. Speaking came long before writing, we speak much more, and all but a couple of hundred of the world’s thousands of languages are rarely or never written. Yet even in its spoken form, English is weird. It’s weird in ways that are easy to miss, especially since Anglophones in the United States and Britain are not exactly rabid to learn other languages. But our monolingual tendency leaves us like the proverbial fish not knowing that it is wet. Our language feels ‘normal’ only until you get a sense of what normal really is.

There is no other language, for example, that is close enough to English that we can get about half of what people are saying without training and the rest with only modest effort. German and Dutch are like that, as are Spanish and Portuguese, or Thai and Lao. The closest an Anglophone can get is with the obscure Northern European language called Frisian: if you know that tsiis is cheese and Frysk is Frisian, then it isn’t hard to figure out what this means: Brea, bĂ»ter, en griene tsiis is goed Ingelsk en goed Frysk. But that sentence is a cooked one, and overall, we tend to find that Frisian seems more like German, which it is.
Pretty interesting. He manages to avoid the whole "English lies in wait for unsuspecting languages, hits them over the head, and goes through their pockets for spare grammar and syntax" thing, which I find oddly disappointing...

h/t Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit » Blog Archive » WE DON’T WANNA BE NORMAL: English is not normal.  I don’t know.  Of all the languages I learned, English was the easiest. I don’t want to know what that says about me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

They have to tell them this?

Sheriff tells off-duty deputies to carry firearms, extra ammo | The Seattle Times
“While off-duty I am asking all commissioned personnel to always carry their sidearm, with extra magazines. I know that some of you already do, but many do not. Now is the time! With all that is going in the world, it is more important than ever to have the means to protect your family, the public, and yourself.”
I know that some agencies don't require that officers be armed off-duty -- and a few prohibit it -- but it never occurred to me that the KCSO left it optional.