Tuesday, March 31, 2020

This is getting old...


It's doesn't help that my job is a critical one, and I still have to go to work. I can telework, but that means that means I simply do my regular duties with different furniture, including cats. Not a lot of sitting back and watching movies, reading, social media, binge-watching trashy shows on Netflix, day drinking...

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Did NOT see this one coming!

DHS Says Firearms Retailers, Manufacturers ARE ‘Essential Businesses’: BREAKING NEWS

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Under the Trump Administration's guidance, the Department of Homeland Security has declared firearms manufacturers and retailers “essential businesses,” possibly driving a spike through the heart of various state and local “emergency powers” declarations that had classified gun stores to be “non-essential” during the current Coronavirus panic, and had ordered them closed.

The reference to gun shops is found in a document released Saturday titled “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce,” in the section dealing with “Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders.”

The document released by DHS simply says that “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” are considered essential.



Article quoted from Ammoland.com, emphasis in original.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Have You Kippled Lately?

Kipling Society homepage

Anent my second most recent post:
Poems - The Sons of Martha
The Sons of Martha

THE Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.


It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.


They say to mountains, " Be ye removèd" They say to the lesser floods " Be dry."
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd - they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill tops shake to the summit - then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.
 The rest of the poem, as well as notes on the text, sources, references, etc.,  at the link.

This one is a perennial favorite in some corners of the blogosphere: Poems - 'The Gods of the Copybook Headings'

I Feel Dumber

I haven't been blogging as much about Pandemic Panic as I might have been because I found that Bobbi has been doing a good job of explaining some issues that my own thoughts were, shall we say, less than fully developed.

F'r instance, in Week Two Of Taking It Seriously, fresh off the Intertubes, she discusses the supply chain.

Which was timely, because I happened to get up a little early today, and walked in on Mrs. Drang while she was waking up and feeding cats and watching morning TV.

Where the talking heads were interrogating the Surgeon General of the United States about why in the world the President's Phone and Pen cannot just magically make millions of surgical masks and nitrile gloves appear in hospitals and clinics. "But it's been days since the Defense Production Act was 'invoked', why are there still shortages of Personal Protective Equipment?"

Oy.

I am not a logisitician, I did not stay at a Holiday In express last night, I do not play a logistician on TV...

...But I spent 20 years on the Army, and, as a Marine General said "Amateurs talk about tactics, but Professionals study logistics." (Quotes on logistics on this page go back to the American Revolution.)

Just because the President has authorized the DPA, does not mean that suddenly the factories are cranking these things out 24/7.

Assuming that the factories aren't already running 24/7, they have to find trained staff to run three shifts. They have to find the material. The material has to get to the factory. Workers have to be paid among other Human Resources actions, they have to be fed, the facilities have to be maintained, and kept secure.

And the finished product has to get to warehouses, or in some cases directly to the consumer. Which means trucks, mostly, which have to be maintained and fueled, and the drivers fed and paid and...

You can surge some of that. If you have trained personnel, facilities, and materials available you can go to an emergency schedule while the bean counters and paper shufflers sort out the details.

(Did I ever mention that during college I worked a couple of summers on an assembly line at one of the Big 3?)

If you have a facility that can be repurposed -- you make widgets and now there's a need for framastans -- it takes time to retool, and to ensure your staff know how to make a framastan. The assembly lines at Big 3, Inc., used to shut down for one or two weeks in the summer tor retool for the new model year of the same car model the plant had been making for years!  (One year they all shut down all the plants at the same time. Glad I was in Korea by that time...)

Watching these idiots talk to people about things that may as well be magical to them makes me feel like my IQ has declined to their level.

Which may be unfair, they're just flailing around with concepts they haven't ever had to deal with, or knew existed.  Food just appears in the store. The mechanic mutters incantations and my car works.

Grasshoppers. Grasshoppers, all of them.

***
 About those shortages of PPE. Interesting article: Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News: Federal stockpile of N95 masks was depleted under Obama and never restocked.

Now, that sort of implies that Obama just shrugged and said "Never mind", which is highly unlikely. I'm guessing that line items in budges for the re-stocking of mundane things like surgical masks and gloves got cut because no one involved really believed they would be necessary, and anyway, there were more important things to spend the money on.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Rumor Control -- Updated

Coronavirus Rumor Control | FEMA.gov

Naturally, there are those who immediately assume (!) that anything put out by FEMA is a lie.

Seriously, if you happen to find the Twitter thread in which FEMA lists these myths, don't read the comments.

I refrained from reading comments to this one:

 

Meanwhile, in Washington State...

 

Apparently, government assets are seizing consumer goods from store shelves...




And the response is to beg the governor to lock the entire state down.

Look, social distancing and all that is a good idea; as an introvert, it's what I do anyway. But The Roads Must Roll; as a Son of Martha myself, the idea that we should all just hunker down and let everything stop because the grasshoppers have succumbed to hysteria disgusts me.

(OK, too many literary allusions in there, sorry, not sorry.)

And part of why I tweeted


Do I really believe that one or more governors, possibly coordinated, decided "I know! I'll ruin the economy in the pretense of preventing the spread of the pandemic! That'll show that Bad Orange Man!"

No. They may think that what they're doing will really help, they may think they have to Do Something and this is all they can come up with, or maybe they think they have to be seen to Do Something, which is, after all, a common motivation for elected or appointed officials to Do Something Counterproductive and/or Stupid...

Although I do not rule out the possibility that the thought occurred to them that the bright side of a crash would be that Presidents are not usually re-elected when the economy turns bad.

UPDATE:  And just like that, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer make the question of "Would Democrats trash the economy to get Trump?" look a little more rational...

Saturday, March 21, 2020

"On RUMINT"

Tamara has an excellent post (cross-post, I guess) up titled "On RUMINT".

As a former secret-squirrel type, I cannot recommend this highly enough. 

In the SIGINT world, we used to indicate phrases we weren't sure of in our gist by indicating the validity of a word or phrase by writing "(%A VAL)" or "(%B VAL)" after it.

Most of the rumors I'm hearing these days amount to about a %Q VAL.

No, the Stafford Act does not give the president the authority to declare martial law.

No, the National Guard is not being Federalized and mobilized to enforce lock down nation-wide. 

If you heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend... it's probably BS.

Friday, March 13, 2020

GOAL Post 2020-10 & Final

Up at this link, also linked over on the right side of the screen.

As usual, most bills did not make it to the governor's desk.
The bills that passed are HB 2467 (centralized firearm background checks), HB 2555 (background checks for receivers), HB 2622 (firearm surrender on court orders), SB 5434 (day care centers gun free zones) and SB 6288 (Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention).

HB 2467 could be good or bad. 17 other states now conduct all or partial firearm background checks, and most seem to work smoothly (ATF calls them “point of contact” states. The biggest issue here is the $18 authorized for every check. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which conducts all background checks in that state, does it for $5 – more than today’s free FFL:NICS check but much less than $18. HB 2555 essentially mimics federal law – a receiver/frame is already a firearm under federal law. SB 5434, extending gun free zones to day care centers is overreach, but it does allow licensed carry under certain circumstances. And the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention is long on “firearm” and likely nonexistent on “safety” or “violence prevention” – unless our side gets active and seeks grants for safety education and criminology studies to identify who and where the violence is being committed (don’t hold your breath on that one – the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report has been telling you exactly who the “who” is for decades, and it has been ignored just as long).
The ban on standard capacity magazines died when the Republican delegation filed over 100 amendments.

Unfortunately, the repeal of the ban on "assisted opening" knives also did not pass.

Joe makes a point of naming the pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment, pro-freedom Democrats in  the state legislature:
One last point: we DO have some Democrat friends in Olympia. Senators Tim Sheldon, Dean Takko, Steve Hobbs and Kevin Van Dew Wege and Representatives Brian Blake, Mari Leavitt and Dave Paul. They have clearly demonstrated their loyalty to their oath of office despite caucus pressure in the other direction. Remember them in August for the primary and again in November.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Elections -- The Good, The Bad...

Today is the Presidential Primary in Washington State

The Good: Washington is 100% Paper Ballot.¹

The Bad: Washington is 100%¹ mail-in ballot, which degrades the integrity and security of paper ballots.

Neutral: In a Presidential Primary only the Democratic and Republican candidates appear.

The Ugly: Washington requires you to declare which party you're voting for²...

The Loathsome: ...on the outside of the mailing envelope. (Check a box and sign it, on the outside for all the world to see.)
  1. It is possible to request an account to vote electronically. I have no idea how many have availed themselves of this.
  2. We are not registered as members of that party, simply declaring on the primary ballot who we're voting for. 

Now, the Republican Party of Washington is fine with doing away with the declaration, and failing with their attempt to eliminate it, to make it a private thing.

The Democratic Party of Washington refused -- and the Democrats have solid control of Olympia.

The Secretary of State announced she would not be voting "due to privacy concerns."

And, since the ballots are printed with the list of candidates the party designates in early January or February, it may well be inaccurate by March. In the case of the Democratic roster this year, it still included all those candidates no one ever heard of, as well as the three who are still in the race.

Three? Why, yes, Hawaii's Tusli Gabbard has not dropped out yet. (Unless I missed a very recent development.)

And yet, all the DNC Mandarins and the Mainstream Media (but I repeat myself) are wailing because of the sexism which resulted in Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren, who couldn't even win her own home state, dropping out.

Do they hate Tulsi because she's young? Because she's a veteran? Because she's a Pacific Islander...?