Saturday, February 23, 2013


I love tires.  I'm an enthusiast when it comes to cars and motorcycles and nothing affects a vehicles traction more than tires.  I've got a 10 year old truck we use as our beater and I'm on my third set of tires.  The stock tires were pretty meh, as OE tires often are.  I replaced them with a set of Yokohama HT's, and quite honestly, they sucked.  They were awful in the snow, and only fair on wet or dry pavement.  I finally was able to wear them out and replaced them with a set of Cooper Discoverer AT/3's.  And in short, they rule.

We had our first real snow this week and the truck with those tires allowed me to rule all in the snowy wasteland.  There was 4 or 5 inches of snow and the tires chewed through it without issue.  They were equal in traction to the mud tires I had on my old jeep.  I will be buying a set of these again.  They've faired well in the wet and dry and I'm exceedingly impressed with the snow traction.  The fact they are reasonably priced is just a bonus.

If you're considering some all terrain tires for your truck or SUV, these have my recommendation.

Friday, February 22, 2013

All Hail the Police State, part 14

I've been remiss in blogging about instances where our country is demonstrating a trend towards a police state, but two incidents caught my eye this week, one which happened in my own town.

The first incident involves a family going to Disney World for vacation.  It's the idyllic American dream- parents and their three children save up the money to go on a wonderful vacation.  In this case one of the children was a 3 year old girl with spina bifida who was confined to a wheelchair.  Unfortunately, the family chose to fly which subjected them to a TSA screening.

Remember a few years back when we all flew without being scanned, screened, poked and groped when we flew?  Ah, good times.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Media as Propaganda

There are many people who assert the major news corporations are less focused on news and more on propaganda.  A number of independent reports would seem to back this up.  But we don't hold a candle to cold-war Russia.

These two books were recently declassified, they are Russian knock-offs of the Choose Your Own Adventure books popular in the 80's in the US.  The Russian versions however, promote the ideal that a person should not make waves and conformity and minding your parents is the best path.

The very first page offers the child a choice of whether to go into the woods, or stay at home like they were told by their parents.  If the reader chooses to stay at home, they win!  Behold the next page:

You wisely adhere to parental strictures. No doom befalls you and you go on to live healthily.


You have completed this story in the optimal number of page turns. To claim your merit badge, write "I have done this" on a 76x127mm index card and post it to:

Building 34
7th Microdistrict
Bishkek, Kyrgyz SSR
Soviet Union

(Limit of first four hundred children to request merit badge.)

That's just fantastic.  :-)

Priorities in Humanitarian Focus

I was listening to NPR yesterday and one of the topics was guns and their relation to suicide.  It's quite true- guns are used in suicides more than any other object to bring about a person's demise.  They are exceedingly popular by men between 40 and 60, who interestingly enough are one of the top demographics for suicides.  In fact, men commit suicide at twice the rate of women, although women try 3x as much.  I found that interesting.

Now, as a person who is very pro-freedom, I support an adult's choice to end their life should that be a rational decision.  Making that illegal is just silly.  I think there are a number of reasons a rational person would choose to check out and I don't feel I'm in a place where I can judge that person's motives.  There are a number of people who choose suicide in an irrational state, and that's unfortunate.  I think it's reasonable a society would offer services to help those people.

It was also mentioned that suicide via drug overdose, specifically prescription drug overdose, is on the rise.  Interestingly enough, this isn't a uniquely American problem.  And not all these prescription drug overdoes are suicides.  In fact, a minority are.  Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem today and it's been getting worse for a decade

Meanwhile violent crime has been going down for decades.  But yet, we see politicians calling again and again for gun control.  We see police departments arming up like military units and working to desensitize against shooting civilians

So if we as a society wanted to concentrate on problems, wouldn't the focus be on social efforts to reduce crime, suicide and prescription drug overdoses?  We have a number of people who promote gun control laws state plainly they will have no effect on crime, but yet it's a push.  Meanwhile, problems that are increasing, like prescription drug overdoses, go ignored.  A reasonable person would be suspect that politicians are really trying to better society and have another agenda.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Gun Industry Bubble

I try to make my blog posts original content, but this was just to neat to not pass on.  Here are some industry charts regarding the upswing in firearm and ammo demand and prices.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Happened to the Anti-War Songs

The late 60's and early 70's were the heyday of anti-war songs and the peace movement.  It was a tremendous social movement in this country that had a number of positive effects.  In fact, as long as I can remember a lot of songs played on the radio, both old and current, were anti-war or pro-peace.  I don't notice that as much lately.  Is that a reflection on society as a whole?  The type of music I listen to?  An indication of what the (billion dollar) record labels are willing to promote?  A generation of musicians who have always known us to be at war?  Perhaps something else entirely?  I'm not sure, myself.  I will say among my peers and many of my friends there seems to be a general acceptance of war.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yes, Our Government Has a Kill List

Although they call it a Disposition Matrix.  And now it's been leaked and NBC has gone public with it.  You may want to review it to make sure you don't do anything to end up on the bad side of said Matrix.

I am constantly flummoxed that so many people in this country don't care about this, that we use bombs to kill people we don't like, regardless of what country they are in or where they hold citizenship.  And, you know, kill lots of innocent people in the process. 

WHY DON'T PEOPLE CARE?  It drives me crazy that people are too focused on their own lives to take the time to even send an email to their representatives to stop this practice.

The Left Bias of Mainstream Media

It's often asserted that in general the media companies lean to the left in the US (excepting FOX of course, and the obviously right wing radio programs), compared to where center is of the citizens they serve.  I recently suggested a good friend that I consider the Diane Rehm show on NPR to qualify as liberal talk radio, a point they did not agree with.  Since I listen 3 or more days a week, I decided to quantify why I thought that way.  Today is the first day I went in specifically listening for bias or not, and unfortunately it was obvious.

This morning the subject was gun control, or more specifically the law that was passed to protect gun companies from being sued for engaging in legal commerce.  In the 90's there was a boom in lawsuits focused on firearm manufacturers from individuals, local municipalities and state governments.  These lawsuits sought monetary damages for crime, asserting that gun companies were culpable for the costs of crime involving guns, including hospital costs of victims of crime.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


We got some unexpected snow in my town last night.  It caught the department of transportation folks by surprise, so there wasn't any equipment on the roads clearing it.  It was only a couple inches, so it wasn't a big deal really.  We were at an art show, and upon leaving had to make our way home, about 15 miles.  It took longer than normal but the roads weren't hazardous.  The other drivers were, but sticking to the less traveled roads alleviated a bit of that.  I did miss my Subaru that I sold last spring.  That car ruled all in the snow.

This morning after breakfast I grabbed my Bug Out Bag and set off for a walk through my neighborhood.  I'd like to call my zip code working class, but I'm not sure if enough of my neighbors have steady employment to affix that label.  It's a neighborhood of small 2 and 3 bedroom houses with good sized yards so we get a lot of young families.

But when there is a few inches of snow on the ground, even my neighborhood is pretty.  But doing nothing but walking for an hour I noticed a few things.  Even though I had on a 45 lb pack which makes walking in the snow more challenging than just walking down the hallway, walking on it's own is still rather dull.

Friday, February 1, 2013

More Info On the Fienstien Gun Ban Bill

I wrote a bit back about how the characteristics used to classify firearms as 'assault weapons" doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  This blog has gone a step farther, and really illustrated the point using the Ruger Mini-14 rifle.  Some variants are classified as assault weapons others aren't.  That doesn't make any sense at all!

It's all semantics anyway.  When even the best police take 5 minutes to show up, and most take 20 minutes or more, the tool chosen by a killer doesn't matter.  A madman can shoot dozens of people in a minute, or kill even more with a bomb in a split second.  Legislating objects to stop madmen is silly.