Thursday, March 21, 2013

Motorcycle Culture, revisited

Earlier this week I shared some of the misinformation I had received by employees of a local Harley dealer.  Of course the next day I get something new to add to it!

I like to ride motorcycles hard, not just tool about.  Harleys aren't known for their handling, and one of the reasons is the shocks.  They tend to go for glitter, not substance, when it comes to suspension components.  This held true for my bike, as it was equipped with rear shocks with brilliant chrome covers, but the shocks themselves were pretty low tech and rudimentary.  I decided to pull them off the moment I got home and replace them with some better shocks.  They are a half inch taller and have a progressive spring rate, so it will make both small and big bumps more comfortable and help keep the bike tracking through turns.  It helped that they were available in black as well, as I'm not really into flash.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sequester, My Ass

While politicians rant on about this sequester cutting essential services, we continue to see spending projects on frivolous crap.

First up is the million dollar bus shelter.  No, it's not a building, it's a bench with a roof.  A million dollar bench with a roof.  Here is a picture:
By the way, $400k of that was for "management and inspections".  Managing and inspecting what I can't say, this is the sort of structure people successfully built before they mastered the use of tools.

Or we can look to the millions spent studying "Why lesbians get drunk more than straight girls", or the 1.5 million spent on "Why lesbians are fatter than straight chicks".  I wonder if there is a correlation between drinking a lot and being obese?  I should probably write my representative so we can get a study on that.

Oh, and right after the sequester went into place, the president authorized $50 million in military aid to France to fight a war in Mali.  Why are we providing military aid to France?  They are one of the wealthier countries in the world.  I guess we gotta keep the wheels of the war machine greased.

That's just a few items that I've seen this week, imagine how many more there are.  I don't mind research and legitimate defense spending, but don't tell us they have to fire teachers and firemen when they could easily scale back some wasteful spending like this to meet the sequester and then some.

Motorcycle Culture

I recently purchased a new motorcycle and have been doing a bit of work to it, which is one reason I haven't been blogging much in the last couple weeks.  Spring is almost here and I intend to have the new scoot ready to go when we finally get into the 50's.  But the experience has reminded me of several things I've learned over the years.

I bought my first motorcycle at 18, and have owned one steadily since 1999.  In 99 and 2000 I rode to work more days than I drove a car although I've slacked off a bit since I had a wreck a few years back.  I'm brand agnostic, I've owned Harley, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and even a Ducati.  For my most recent purchase I was waffling between a Harley, a BMW and a Triumph.  I'm certainly not a brand loyalist, I appreciate good motorcycles. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Getting Shot Hurts

Even if you are wearing a bullet-proof vest.  Body armor doesn't take the energy out of a bullet, it just keeps it from making a hole in you.  This bloke was shot with a .32 acp pistol, which is one of the weakest pistol cartridges in common use today.  Look at the lump after he takes the vest off, it's a serious injury still with likely internal bleeding.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Original Intent

When discussing the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution, I often hear people say "the framers didn't intend for people to own AR-15's when they wrote that".  I think that's quite true.  Since none of the people who drafted or signed the constitution were fortune-tellers or wizards with the ability to see into the future, there is a lot of modern inventions I'm sure they didn't foresee.  But oddly enough, the people who argue this regarding firearms ownership don't seem to carry the argument on to the rest of the bill of rights.  Have you ever heard someone argue that freedom of speech doesn't cover text messages, television or social media because the founders didn't envision computers and broadcast signals when they wrote the first amendment?  Of course you haven't because that would be ludicrous.

Technology advances and the law has to keep up.  There was a day where there was no such thing as voice recorders or cameras.  Does that mean that evidence gathered by either shouldn't be allowed in court?  Of course not.  Singling out technological advances on the topic of firearms while suggesting the law should evolve in other spaces with technology does not follow logic.  It's not a valid argument, or an argument made by a person who grasps logical concepts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

All Hail the Police State, part 15

You'd think with all the talks about how the federal government has to cut it's budget, we'd stop seeing billions of dollars spend on military hardware for use within our borders.  But alas, that is not the case.  Here is a Department of Homeland Security officer boasting about the capabilities of their new troop transport.  It has firing ports so officers can shoot from inside the vehicle and it's mine-proof.  You know, because of all the times criminals use mines in the US.  I can't think of a time I've read about a mine deployed inside this country.  This sort of hardware makes a lot of sense for the military by why it's continuing to be purchased for domestic use baffles me.  Oh, and there were more than 2,700 of these put into service inside the US last year.

And from the same DHS, the department that didn't even exist before 2001, we have the specs demanded for the current generation of drones.  They need to be able to identify a person with a gun at night and eavesdrop on cell conversations.  Again, for deployment within the US.  To take pictures and listen to the conversation of citizens, people minding their own business and following the law.  That's rubbish, and shockingly enough, not being cut as part of the sequester.