Evil x 3? 
2008.09.15 22:16 - Miscellanea, News and Politics, Toys, Actual Toys
Today's mail includes a missive on energy policy from the Heritage Foundation, and a lapel pin. This should go nicely with the lapel pin the RNC sent me back in 2004, and the Decepticon pin that came with a couple of Transformers0 I bought a while back.

[Update: The Heritage 'pin' isn't a pin at all: it's a metal plate with a magnet! Nifty.]

0. Just wanted to note that guy takes very good pictures of toys. If those two look uninspiring, well ... they're not great figures, really.

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If you must carry, carry cheap 
2008.08.13 00:06 - Guns, News and Politics
The opinions on what sort of gun you should carry tend to be as varied as the sort of people offering them. Some will tell you that a polymer wundergun chambered in 9mm Europellet is absolutely the way to go, and, nearing the other end of the scale, there are a surprising number of people carrying a single-action, steel framed hand cannon designed almost a hundred years ago with the largest bore diameter they find practical. (Farther down this end of the scale, you'll find people carrying things like .44 Magnum revolvers--it worked okay for Harry Callahan, after all.)

Anyway, a broader distinction tends to pop up between whether you should carry your favoritest, bestest, most tactical, most expensive handgun or, instead, one that you can most easily and inexpensively replace. On the one hand, you're probably more likely to carry a gun that you like, and probably will be able to shoot it better in the case of incident. On the other hand, you're not likely to be out a paycheck or three replacing it if your Glock or XD if one of the local police officers takes a shine to it, or somebody gets over-zealous in carrying out the department destruction policy, or whatever.

ColtCCO is currently having this sort of problem with the Gallatin Police Department.
Update: An update.
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Jury Duty: IT'S OVER!!!! 
2008.06.15 03:10 - News and Politics
Pretty uneventful, all things considered. I've been through voir dire0 three times, once for a disability case and twice for criminal cases. I sat on the jury for one trial, which was almost immediately declared a mistrial because of a "novel" and, to my mind, somewhat irrelevant technical argument being used by the defense.

Last Wednesday, they called my number for jury selection on a criminal trial, so off I went with thirty-odd other people to be winnowed out and sent back to the jury pool room to play some more of The World Ends With You, or read some more Plantinga, or chat with the other potential jurors, or stare at the wall until dismissed for the day. It's exciting, let me tell you. Judge and attorneys asked the jurors to be extra-responsive during voir dire, because being talky gives them a better handle on which people are likely to hold out for the death penalty for jay-walking or be unable to make up their minds in lieu of fingerprints, DNA, and video footage clearly showing the defendant committing the (alleged!) crime. Anyway, the prosecution asked for our opinions on firearms.

Now, my mouth gets away from me, sometimes. Though my self-restraint can be positively admirable at times, once in a while, I find myself saying things I probably shouldn't. Wednesday afternoon, having been solicited, in a courtroom, as to my honest opinion on guns, I responded, into the silence, "They're awesome."1 They were a few laughs, some people squirmed a bit in their seats2, and the prosecuting attorney gave me a funny look.

The real kicker is that was the trial for which I wound up in the jury box. Go figure.

0. Voir dire is a fancy name for the stage of the trial process when the attorneys for the prosecution and defense interrogate the potential jurors to determine which lucky individuals get to sit in judgment of the evidence and arguments presented. I'll be using the term mostly because it takes less effort to type or say than jury selection.
1. As you can imagine, this came out flippant, but I did mean it as a mostly serious answer. Shooting makes for a neat hobby. Steve H. once explained (I'm paraphrasing) that guns are the perfect toy3 for grown men: they're expensive, heavy, loud, dirty, destructive, and dangerous, they have many moving parts and require a small number of specialized tools to keep in working order.
2. I keep forgetting that this sort of behavior can get one investigated for being a dangerous lunatic, because there are people who get genuinely upset at the very idea of civilian gun ownership.
3. I feel like I ought to clarify that a real gun is not a toy the way an action figure or a toy gun is. A firearm is a potentially dangerous device, a lethal weapon. Used the wrong way, it can cause serious harm to another object or person. Used properly, they can be really, really awesome.

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Electioneering in the Bluegrass State. 
2008.06.07 23:24 - News and Politics
I just stumbled across this interview with the one of the local Democratic party legislative chairs. Watch the video. It's ... interesting.
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2008.05.20 16:41 - News and Politics
I am somewhat disappointed that Fred Thompson wasn't on the primary ballot here in north-central Kentuckistaniana. So, I voted for what I felt was the next-best choice.
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