Three Magic Words for 2018

Yes, this year is almost over.  And, of course, we have to reflect upon it, as that is the mental trope that society insists we must roll around in the muck in order to learn from our past to prevent it becoming our future.

Yes, people got married, had kids, ate well, did good works for all and generally made the wheels of society roll along.  Yes, thousands died in unspeakable horrors, from gas attacks, cruise missiles, gunfire and crazed violence for no better reason than they were at the wrong map reference at the wrong time.  It was a mix, as most years are.  Ghastly, heart-breaking horrors with tears of joy as us humans didn’t manage to blow ourselves up once again.

Wherever you are, we ask one thing:  Do your part to make this next year a nicer one with small, personal gifts of yourself.  Hold the door for someone.  Look up from your phone and see the other inhabitants around you.  Reach out, if only to say hello and acknowledge their part of your planet.  I like to occasionally stop the local firefighters when they’re at the grocery store, shake their hand, say thank you and hope they are bored to tears on this shift.  Same with cops, or paramedics.  It is a little thing.

Will a hundred thousand little things add up to anything that matters?  I don’t know, but I do know that we’ve become isolated from each other to the point of emotional immobility.

I have a label on my workstation desk.  It has the magic words that we see every day all around us, but out of context, bringing some gravitas to the words.  Here’s they are:

You are here.

All we can ask is that you live that way.  Be present.  Be kind.  Be brave when you need to and be humble if honoured.

Wishing you a present, pleasant 2018.



Mueller Show Volume II

The Robert Mueller Show is now in Volume II with a guilty plea bargain from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.  Yes, the twenty-five day wonder from Donny John’s campaign who was either pushed or jumped from Cabinet for telling fibs to VP Pence regarding his dealings with the Godless Communists in Russia.

The plea is a guilty on Lying To The FBI, Like The Cheap Fuck You Are (the formal term) which doesn’t necessarily mean jail time, unlike some of the other charges that could have seen Flynn spending time in the system.  There have been a lot of media meatpuppets trying read the between the lines on what a plea deal might mean, with speculation running rampant.

In Mob terms, copping a plea means you are as guilty as all hell, but if you give us the head of your crew with sworn testimony in a court of law, we’ll let the the other more serious charges go by the wayside.  Don’t cooperate and then all the other bad stuff comes back.  Copping a plea also means you’re likely to testify about the heinous high crimes and misdemeanors your boss got up to at various dates, times and places, with names, addresses and phone numbers.

In Mob terms it also means you are now dead. Fortunately, contract killings are frowned upon in North American politics, so Flynn’s estate won’t have to deal with pictures of him splayed out over a bowl of pasta with two gunshot holes in the back of his head.  Even Nixon wouldn’t go that far.

Mueller already has folks down the food chain pointing up at Flynn from extensive interviews with Paul Manafort, his business partner Rick Green and George Papadopoulous, a “low-level volunteer” in the campaign who managed to sit at the big table with the candidate and other notables.

Of course in the Daily Press Conference, Sarah Huckabee Saunders is declaring that War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Love is Hate, in keeping with the Trump Script from 1984  Sometimes she includes a Two-Minutes Hate of Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, CNN or anyone who doubts her pie-making skills.  Why?  Because Donny John said so.

The real problem is that there is no diffuse management and layers of responsibilities between #Lyin45 and his underlings that would allow Donny John to weasel out of his responsibilities.  He is at least, according to himself, the best manager in the world, with a finger on every decision, in between rounds of golf, vacations in Florida and 6 am tweetstorms while he takes his morning dump shitting out a partly chewed filet that has been cooked well-done and covered with ketchup.

At least Nixon’s crew of savages tried to create a story line of “plausible deniability” to protect the President.  Donny John ain’t that smart.

We await Volume III

Muller Show Volume 1

So Monday, Special Prosecutor Robert Muller dropped two indictments on the former Campaign chair of Donny John the Fucktard’s campaign, Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates.  The indictments?  Money Laundering, Bullshitting the Feds and General Assholery.  Donny John the Fucktard’s reaction was as expected “Not us, we’re not colluding, nope, must be Hilary, not on our watch”  Which rings about as true as a two dollar bell.

For those of us with a historical background we think back to the Watergate scandal that took two years to shitcan Richard Nixon.  The first smoking gun that showed Nixon and his whole reelection campaign was crooked was a revelation that there was a tape recording system in the White House by Alexander Butterfield, a lowish level aide to Nixon.  The second smoking gun came from John Dean who told the Senate Committee that he had (as Presidential Counsel) lied his ass off under oath to “protect the President”

The parallels to today are striking.  Muller’s investigation has been slow, thorough and is only now starting to bring charges that will stick.  Adviser George Papadopoulos has cut a plea deal of guilty for his role in Russian meddling in the 2016 election.  The first reaction out of the White House was, as expected “He was a volunteer with no real responsibility” per Sarah Huckabee Saunders.  Just like the Watergate break-in was “a third rate burglary attempt” per Ron Zigler, Nixon’s mouthpiece at the time.

The nice part of the initial charges is that Mueller already has turned at least one Trump operative.  Anyone associated with Donny John the Fucktard now must know that anything they say, under oath, will be scrutinized, including Donny John Two who was either in the room when the Russians came a callin’, or was deeply involved in trying to get his mitts on anything the Russians might have offered regarding the Democrats email hacks.

What is happening is exactly what we predicted a few months ago.  News outlets are tracking the money.  Find the money and you find the guilty.

Mueller is also doing exactly what Sen. Sam Ervin did in Watergate:  Let them lie to us, then slam their balls in a drawer with the threat of serious Federal charges for not just fibbing, but straight up Federal Perjury.  Then let them tell the real story, under oath on live TV:  See John Dean and his three days of blowing the lid off the whole Committee to Re-elect the President book of dirty tricks.  America was glued to the hearings on CBS, who gleefully ran them uninterrupted.

Right now, anyone associated with Donny John The Fucktard’s campaign had best be making sure they have the story straight.  Mueller, if he doesn’t already have all the goods, has enough of the goods to catch’em by the cullions.  If not for tax fraud (reminder, that is was took out Al Capone, not racketeering) but for something more unpleasant, which is Federal Perjury.

It took Watergate two years to play out, Nixon wriggling every minute of every day, trying to distract and derail the Senate Committee, reporters, the AG, and eventually as far as the US Supreme Court.  One of my favourite Hunter S. Thompson pieces is a fanciful quote of wanting to see Judge John Sirica signing a No-Knock warrant for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with the admonishment to “Get those goddamn tapes”

We predict we will see Donny John fire his inner circle, blame Steve Bannon, replace most of his media monkeys, then try to use North Korea as an excuse to keep on keepin’ on, just like Nixon tried with Vietnam.  Everyone who testifies will be #SAD and #FAIL, right up to his son-in-law and his own kid.  We also predict Donny John the Fucktard with either have a medical condition (Bone spurs? It worked before…) or do a Nixon and claim phlebitis as a dangerous, possibly fatal, medical reason to go easy on him.

He might even line up Mike Pence to give him a full and complete pardon after the fact, assuming Pence doesn’t go down with Donny John the Fucktard in a shitmist of Guilt By Association.  We can only hope.  At least Donny John doesn’t refer to himself in the third-person as Nixon did, muttering into a tape recorder to preserve every moment of the Nixon Presidency for all time.

Donny John the Fuckard’s inner circle of jerks are about to find out what happens when you are led by an uneducated fascist – pathological liar – serial bankrupt with ADHD.  George Papadopoulos is only the first one to be turned.  Watch the rats getting off the ship with exceptional speed.  Bannon may well have been the first and we wonder if John Kelly is going to be second, not wanting to be a party to the lowlife manipulations of #Lyin45.

If Hunter were alive he’d be calling for a 5 am No-Knock Warrant for 1600 Pensy Ave and the admonition to “Get his goddamn phone!”  That’s probably where the biggest smoking gun resides.

We await the heavenly scene of #Lyin45 getting on a Marine helicopter and going back to Mar-A-Lago.


Amazon HQ2

Here’s what we don’t understand.  Amazon, the global retail and supply chain monster, wants to set up a new Headquarters, called HQ2.  Amazon says it will invest about $5 Billion and create somewhere around 50,000 jobs from HQ2.  Municipalities all over North America are drooling over the possibility of that kind of money and prestige being dropped on their postal code.

Which means the municipal folks are doing almost everything to attract Amazon.  If you told us that municipalities have been offering sexual favours, we wouldn’t be even mildly surprised.  That kind of high dough gets attention, like it or not.

New Jersey has specifically pledged to forgive up to $7 Billion in state and local taxes to get Amazon to relocate to Newark.  If this strikes you as mathematically challenged, you are not alone.  One municipality in Georgia has offered to rename itself Amazon, while Tucson sent a six foot tall cactus as part of its bid.

Ottawa, of course, sent a polite letter and a video of fans yelling at an Ottawa Senators game to attract attention.  We have a slight advantage, in that we have a grotesquely overbuilt fiber optic infrastructure here from Nortel days.  As for developers?  There’s four lads we know of downtown, sitting on the sidewalk with signs that say “Will code C++ for Food”  “Ruby On Rails Coding for Coffee”   At least we don’t have a plague of homeless Java code monkeys like Calgary.  We digress.

This is where our capitalist hat comes out.  The objective of capitalism is to sell things for more than you make them for.  Or, in Amazon’s instance, resell them and take a piece of the action.  In either case, break-even +1 is where you want to be, with the occasional jaunt into a loss leader to clear inventory, or create some buzz.  Any other financial structure means you go bankrupt.

Which makes us think that a lot of municipalities don’t quite understand rudimentary economic concepts.  Roads still have to be fixed, the toilet has to flush to somewhere and you need moving electrons over copper wires to keep the lights on. If you pay Amazon $2 Billion over what they’re willing to put out, so you can have the prestige of Amazon HQ2 in your back yard, who is going to come up with the extra $2 Big?  That’s right, taxpayers.

The same fiscal shenanigans happened in Atlantic City New Jersey with the casinos:  Tax breaks up the wazoo to attract the big casinos, of which Trump was just one of the many that flamed out when there was nobody at the actual gaming tables.  Now Atlantic City has several empty monuments to grandiose fiscal stupidity disintegrating along the seashore.

No, if Amazon wants to relocate to Ottawa, they can pay a fair share of the property taxes, water bill, hydro bill and we’ll kick in some price breaks for the first couple of years, but after that, you pay your share, just like the rest of us.

They’re in business, we’re in business and we’ll both do a good deal, but our pants are staying up.  Respect us for that.

NAFTA Hardline II

In a presser earlier today the usual suspects at the NAFTA negotiations have moved back the date for their next meeting and have admitted that there will be meetings into Q1 of 2018.  Why?  The simple answer is the US suddenly woke up and realized that they won’t get their way.  Essentially, the US wants to screw Canada and Mexico, making it easy for the US to do whatever the hell they want and for Canada and Mexico to take it like a bitch.

Understandably, the answer from Canada was “Eat Shit and Die”  We are paraphrasing.

Mexico’s response was “Come mierda y muere” which we understand is the essential equivalent.  Again, we are paraphrasing.

What it comes down to is The US is so upside down in their trade deficit with China that they felt they had to do something.  More correctly, Donny-John the Fucktard decided to prove his complete ignorance of international trade agreements and try to go after a couple of countries that he figured would be easy pickings.  Oh, how terribly shortsighted and amazingly stupid that choice was.

Fucktard 45, or more correctly his shine-boy Robert Lighthizer has tried to put everything on the table at the last minute in a feeble attempt to destabilize the whole process, supposedly making Canada and Mexico all jumpy and willing to take anything for a deal.  As we mentioned earlier this is ancient-skule negotiating from 1977, which didn’t work then and certainly doesn’t work now.  However, Lighthizer was required to memorize “The Art of The Deal” as part of his job, so he turned to the appropriate page and set his balls on fire.

Except that Canada knows how that tactic works.  You try to shake it up, then unless you can follow up, nothing happens.  It’s empty rhetoric that accomplishes nothing except making you look like a moron.  Or Fucktard 45’s shine boy.

Since Lighhizer has no bargaining position except “NAFTA Bad” and no constructive suggestions, he’s standing in a field by himself playing with his zipper and re-reading Fucktard 45’s book again.  Nowhere in it does it explain what happens when your limp-dick threats are laughed at.

Which is more or less what Canada and Mexico have done today.  We can walk away, and the US knows they can’t without significant loss of US Jobs on the watch of the US President who was gong to Make America Great Again.  Talk about a firing offense for Lighhizer, who will get canned with the hashtag SAD and FAIL from the tiny orange thumbs of Fucktard 45.

These negotiations are so amateurish on the part of the Americans, that we should have sent the second string and the taxi squad to do NAFTA with the rookies and the wanna-bees.  Our varsity team does things like the original NAFTA in 1994 the TPP, founding the WTO in Uruguay, and our EU deal earlier this year.  Our team does not do Amateur Night in Arlington, MD.  At least we’re not paying for hotel rooms and per diem at a Trump Hotel, so Donny John can line his own pockets.

By the way, Bombardier sent a large greeting card to Boeing today.  Airbus is going to build some of the very good, very desired Bombardier C-Series at the Airbus plant in Alabama.  Being built in ‘Murica, it neatly sidesteps the 300% duty the Commerce Department tried to impose on Bombardier.  Delta gets the fuel efficient, properly-sized aircraft they want, that neither Boeing or Airbus makes.  Bombardier gets to deliver 125 of them to a US carrier and we get to keep high paying jobs for very smart people in Canada.

The greeting card read, and again we’re paraphrasing, Eat Shit and Die.


NAFTA Hardline

With Donny John the Fucktard going off about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we’re confronted with president 45 speaking out of his ass from a position of no knowledge, no background and no experience.

Some background.  NAFTA came into force January 1, 1994 to establish a trilateral trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.  NAFTA essentially eliminated trade barriers between the three countries and established a mechanism for dispute resolution, while recognizing that each were sovereign countries unto themselves.

Canada and the US have had free trade in motor vehicles for decades, initially under the AutoPact that allowed for expedited border crossing, no tariffs and a simple way for car makers to source parts from either side of the border.  All the major manufacturers loved the AutoPact since inception in 1965, as they could manage their supply chains with efficiency and save money.  The AutoPact was essentially superseded by NAFTA in 2001.

Now, with Donny John the Fucktard demanding a renegotiation of NAFTA to protect American Jobs, the bureaucrats have been meeting to work out a deal.  Fair enough, all treaties should be reexamined every once in a while.  NAFTA was written before the Internet became ubiquitous, with the incumbent issues of copyright and intellectual property, as well as global/transnational ownership of companies.

Late last night the American ‘negotiators’ tried to pull a fast one and demanded 10 times the access to the Canadian Dairy Industry asap.  Canada’s position has always been, Dairy, Eggs and Poultry are supply-managed commodities up here and have never been, nor ever will be part of NAFTA.  End of sentence.  Period.

The simple reason?  Our standards are higher.  We don’t allow antibiotics, growth hormones or other pharmaceuticals in our milk, eggs or chickens.  Canadian standards, under the World Trade Organization and supply management are all protections that are completely legal.

If Americans want access to our dairy industry they have to meet our standards, which means no, as in zero, nada, zilch, zip antibiotics.  Canadian standards are the world standard.  Even the EU looks at our standards for dairy longingly and with respect.  As for supply management, American dairies can buy quota just like any other farmer.

What the dairy dump is, is an excuse for Donny John the Fucktard to say “Canada isn’t playing fair, so we’re tearing up NAFTA”  It’s a negotiating ploy, in fact a cheap ass ancient union-management tactic that didn’t work in 1977 and doesn’t work now.  Go ahead, hold your so-called gun to our head.

The Canadian response should be a quiet “We’ve got other folks who want our stuff, so if you want to crush your auto industry and have them, the textile industry and the manufacturing industry laying off Americans, we can always revert to WTO standards.  Which means you’ll be paying more for Canadian goods, services and products than under NAFTA.  Oh and by the way, don’t the door hit your ass on the way out.”

Britain wants our stuff.  The EU wants our stuff.  Japan and the whole Trans-Pacific Partnership want our stuff.  We supply most of the lentils in India, who love our stuff.  China thinks we’re great for food and products.  The World recognizes that our quality is higher than the US and the price is actually better.  As much as we’ll miss you, we’ll be fine.  We don’t have to sell jack-shit to you and that includes oil.

Canada is not someone you want to cross Donny John.  You need us to keep your people employed.  We don’t need you.


Harvey, one of a long line of Boys

No great surprise that Harvey Weinstein has been dipping his wick.  The movie business/show business/music business has been based on sex since, oh, perhaps the beginning of recorded history?

I need model for cave painting of hunt.  You show me goodies, I paint you on cave wall near Ooog and Ugg.  You want to dance for the Sun God Ra?  Well, I’m the priest in charge of the Sun God pageant this year, so if you…

The list of offenders in the movie business is so long it sounds like a roll call of every senior executive since Edison.  And we are surprised how?

When we worked in the television business years ago, there were a few agents we didn’t like to work with:  They were sleazeballs and if we didn’t have actual, tangible proof they were banging their clients, we felt that weird vibe that meant something wasn’t quite right.

There is no excuse for it.  There is no “oh, she stuffed her boobs in my face, so what is a boy to do?”  What a Boy does is grab some more.

What a Man does is walk away.

A Man doesn’t use his position to get some.

A Man won’t put someone in a position that they feel they have to put out to get a role, a contract, a promotion, or the simple dignity of being treated like a fellow human.

A Man doesn’t do those things.  He doesn’t even consider them.

A Man thinks with his big head, not the small one.

A Man calls out Boys to smarten the fuck up and stop that shit.

We need more Men and fewer Boys.











We’re Going There-Firearms

We’re Going There, which means we’re going to talk about firearms.

Post-Vegas the National Rife Association has been curiously silent, as they were after the Orlando night club shooting, Sandy Hook, Newtown, or any other mass shooting you care to name in the past five years.  Why?  Because “it’s not the time to talk about it.” is the sound bite out of Sarah Huckabee Saunders pie-hole this week.

Fuck that shit.  It is time to talk about it.

Our background before, we get into it, so nobody can call us ignorant, or snowflakes, or uninformed.  I was trained by the Canadian Military how to assemble, disassemble, field-strip, clean, maintain, aim and fire the FN.  I have hunted geese, duck, partridge and deer with shotguns and rifles in calibers from .22 to .308. I have fired the S&W .38 Police Special at targets in a range, along with my personal favourite the M1911 .45.  I’ve even let off a few hundred rounds from an M2A2 on the range at CFB Petawawa thanks very much.

You don’t get to discount my opinion by gunsplaining and showing off your nerd-cred with firearms. No, I haven’t been to a range, or hunting in years.  So what?  It doesn’t remove my experience with firearms, or my knowledge of how to use them safely and correctly.  Just because you wipe your ass every morning doesn’t make you a proctologist.

We’ll also take away the term ‘assault rifle’  Any long gun firearm can be described as an ‘assault rifle’  You can paint an AR-15 flat black with a chrome trigger and call it a low-rider AR-15.  Or, like I want to do with the Kitchen-Aid mixer, cherry-red hot-rod flames on the cover, so I can have the fastest, coolest looking cake mixer on the planet.  Assault rife is a meaningless term.  It’s paint and bolted on doodads to make the owner think they have a big penis.  We have not used the term ‘assault rifle’ here and the only terms we use are firearm, pistol or long gun to denote size and weapon as that is the correct military term for a firearm.  Gun is a term we rarely use, unless quoting someone else.

Here’s what we don’t understand:  How and why do you need a 20-round clip to hunt, target shoot or self-protection, the ostensible reasons people own firearms?  Are you that piss-poor a shot that you need a 20 round clip to take a deer?  You are that inept in reloading that you can’t steady yourself after the excruciating exertion of inserting a fresh clip that you can’t hit the target?  Jeeze man, you need lessons in how to use a firearm properly.

The same holds true with a full-auto modification, be it an illegal modification, a gat-crank or a bump stock to give you a higher cyclic rate than semi-auto offers.  (Translation for the non-firearm people:  Semi-auto means the firearm fires every time you pull the trigger, automatically loading another bullet, ready to go, until you pull the trigger again.  Full-auto means the gun keeps firing, automatically adding another bullet and firing it until you release the trigger, run out of ammunition or soften the barrel from the heat of constant firing.  Single action means you pull back a bolt or handle to move the next round into place to fire, usually ejecting the previous round, then pull the trigger again to fire)

Our question again, what the hell do you need a high cyclic rate for?  Those empty beer cans were calling you a pussy, so you had to shoot all 24 in 12 seconds?  Dammit man, develop some skills and don’t rely on an ammunition hose to make up for your ineptitude with a firearm. Sign up for the Civilian Marksmanship Program and learn how to use a firearm safely and accurately.

The M1 Garand, the weapon General George Patton called  “the greatest battle implement ever devised” could only fire semi-auto, relying on the skill of the operator to hit the target with one of the eight rounds in a clip.  Reloading takes a few seconds:  a well-trained shooter can reload a Garand in under 3 seconds, the firearm being designed for rapid reloading as it was designed as a military weapon.

What we want to see is a turn towards sanity.  There is no reason to have a magazine that has more than 8 to 10 rounds.  There is no reason to have a technology to weasel around the strict laws regarding full automatic fire.  There has to be a maximum number of rounds that a firearm can fire in a given period of time.

We’ll suggest that anything that can fire more than 30 rounds in a minute, is not needed by anyone except the police and the military.  If you want something that fires faster, grow a set and enlist, or sign up for a badge.  The Army needs people.  The Police need people.  Both organizations with train you, extensively, in how, where and why you need and can use rapid fire weapons.

Why would we suggest these changes?  To limit the potential for carnage when someone decides they want to kill a lot of people, for whatever reason.  When, not if, it happens the next time.  It will.

And we want to see the elimination of any grandfather clause.  No you may not have any firearm that can fire more than 30 rounds a minute.  No you may not have a clip that holds more than 8 to 10 rounds.  You can have as many clips as you want, but each one can only carry 8 to 10 rounds.

We don’t want to hear about Grandpappy Slocum’s old Thompson with the round magazine that Grandpappy left you in the will he scribbled in the dust of his tractor when he was crushed to death on the farm.  You can fill the barrel with lead and keep the firearm as a memorial to him, but it cannot be operational or repairable.  We’re not going to confiscate your guns out of your cold, dead hand.  It just can’t be operational at full-auto and must be made unrepairable on full-auto.

Notice what we’re suggesting.  It has nothing to do with the right to an armed and regulated militia or even the right to bear arms.  Your Second Amendment is unchanged.  We don’t even want you to register your firearms.  All that registration proves is that you own a firearm and we all know that guns don’t kill people, People kill People, so we’re managing the people involved.

You can have as many firearms as your wallet can handle with the following provisos:  You must hold a current firearms license with a 48 hour waiting period for any new purchase.  You must pass a background check.  You must take and pass a safe firearms handling course with a written test.  You must re certify said license and course every three years.

You find that too onerous?  Tell you what, if that’s too onerous, we’ll also drop the requirement for commercial pilots to have a full medical every six months and recurrent re certification on type as that’s really onerous too.  Enjoy your next flight.

The next argument we’ll hear is: The bad guys don’t have licenses or rules.  Our answer is the double-double rule.  Robbery with a firearm?  Regular sentence, then doubled.  No parole, no good behavior, no early release.  Discharge the firearm, it doubles again.

Criminals are not stupid, ten years for robbery becomes twenty, which becomes forty if they’re dumb enough to fire off so much as a single round.  No parole, no good behavior, no early release.  It will take about three convictions under double-double to get that message out: Don’t be doin that.

Crazies with guns go into a public venue and start shooting the place up, rules and laws be dammed?  This is where the ‘good guys with guns’ trope comes into play.  As a licensed, responsible, competent gun owner are you trained to run towards the shooter and return fire with skill and accuracy?  No, you are not.

Do you want the police to mistake you for the shooter?  No, again.  That particular problem happened in Dallas this year, as the police, who are trained, were not entirely sure who was responsible for the mayhem when well-meaning citizens with firearms started shooting back.  Armed citizens don’t have a reflective vest that says “Good Guy With Gun”.  The bad guy doesn’t wear a vest that says “Bad Guy”  This is not real.

Police with guns are trained to return fire.  Civilians with guns at a country music concert are not.  And don’t tell me it was too far to return fire.  The distance was known after the fact.  During the shooting itself were any of the good guys with guns looking for the shooter to return fire?

An exception doesn’t prove a rule, but it does put several hundred holes in the good guys with guns bullshit from the NRA.  One could assume that of the 22,000 people at the Vegas concert, at least a few were armed, as Nevada has rather generous gun laws, but as far as we can find, there was no return volley by the good guys with guns.  Oh, that’s right, one guy tried to get a cop to give him a gun to shoot back at the hotel.  He wasn’t always prepared for a mass-shooting incident by packing his own firearm?  Must not be much of a good guy with a gun then.

Some will argue, we’ll see an increase in street crime with baseball bats or knives, if the criminals know they’re going to jail for a long time if the use a firearm.  Yes, that will happen, but you can run away from a criminal with a baseball bat or a knife and even if they throw the bat at you, you’re probably safe after the first 30 feet.  A criminal or a crazy in a 32nd floor hotel room can’t really cause much mayhem beyond broken windows, even if he has more than 1,000 baseball bats and a case of box cutters.

Secondarily a lot of states have a stand your ground or self-protection law.  You, as a responsible, licensed and trained firearm owner, feeling threatened in your personal safety by a baseball bat-wielding mugger can, in all good faith, draw your firearm and defend yourself from grievous personal harm.

After all, you are a law-abiding citizen, a good guy with a gun, now standing over a dead mugger armed with a baseball bat.  Your defense is clear and the mugger isn’t going to repeat his crimes, not with eight largish holes in his body, assuming you’re reasonably competent and have hit the target eight out of eight from close range.  Why you put eight rounds into him is another question, as one or two should have sufficed, but we’ll leave that to the police and lawyers, especially if two of the rounds are in the back of the mugger’s head.

Which brings us to concealed carry.  Screw it.  No concealed carry.  You, as a responsible, licensed and trained gun owner must open carry.  It sends a warning to all the criminals, to not mess with you.  Or anybody near you.  Step up and don’t be a pussy.  The cops will ask you to disarm during a traffic stop of course, that’s understood and you will immediately comply.  No problem there, the cops want to be safe in conducting their jobs and no responsible gun owner has a complaint there, now do you?

Businesses can choose, as they do now, to permit, or not permit open carry.  Recognize that some people are nervous in the presence of firearms and if a business decides to not allow it on their premises, that is their right, which is just as valid and important as your right to carry.  You can choose where to shop and if you choose not to shop at a store that does not allow open carry, that is your right.

The final argument is always that we’re trying to pass laws because of the crazies or the criminals, that last 1%.  We’ll gladly answer that.

You have to take your shoes off at the airport because one fuckup, one time, tried to use a shoe bomb.  You get felt up by a TSA agent every time you fly because one time, one fuckup tried to use an underwear bomb.  You can’t take a full tube of toothpaste in your luggage because there was an unsubstantiated threat several years ago that the bad guys had found a way to smuggle an explosive in a toothpaste tube.  One time is all it takes to pass laws that affect millions of people.

We legislate for the 1%.  Truck drivers have a duty time limit, as that 1% of commercial truck drivers who insist on driving 39 hours straight are a safety risk to everyone on the roads.  Seat belts are legislated because of the that 1% who were flung through a windshield in a car crash and turned into hamburger.  Booze is regulated because the first-strike distillation of fermented corn mash is close to 80% alcohol and that 1% dumb enough  to guzzle a pint of first-strike is going to die from alcohol poisoning. An aluminum ladder has dozens of warning stickers because of that 1% of idiots that couldn’t figure out that a metal stepladder leaned against a power line would electrocute them.

Laws are always for the 1%, the outlier situations, and the one-in-a-million chances that something can and will go wrong.

Our changes to the gun laws are merely to make is very, very difficult for that 1%, one time, to shoot up a concert, or a school, or a movie theatre with an egregious loss of life and injury.  That’s all we want.


The situation is fluid right now (1819 hrs EDT) but here’s the bones.  A lone gunman opened up last night from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel with a firearm.  He killed 59 and injured more than 520 shooting at the audience of a country concert across the street.  Video at the scene certainly sounds like a full-auto weapon.  SWAT was called and the suspect killed himself in the room before Las Vegas SWAT could breach the door and take him into custody.

The media has their hands full, as do law enforcement, fire and EMS.  It is very fluid and hard facts are being revised every few hours.  Many commentators are calling the shooter a nut case, lone wolf, or a domestic terrorist.  All colourful terms and terms guaranteed to press the buttons of every political stripe.  Even ISIS has claimed responsibility, but the FBI lead investigator has shut that one down as simple bullshit.

What we don’t know is a much longer list.  Did he have some grudge, or hidden agenda?  Was he another Timmy McVeigh and pissed off about the Waco, TX siege in 1993?  Was he broke and crazy to get out of debt, or did his significant other kick him to the curb?  Since the gunman is dead, it will take time to sift through his life and find the probable cause.  As for the weapons, well, so far the list is ten in his room in Vegas and another 18 at his home in Mesquite, NV, along with, quoting from the Clark Country Sheriff, here, “thousands of rounds of ammunition”.

The problem with the media is they are going wall-to-wall and need either facts or at least interesting quirks to fill the hours.  Right now, keep your opinions open, as facts in another hour might drastically change your opinion.  Notice we’re not pressing the gun control button here:  We don’t know if the gunman was in legal possession of the weapons used, but based on video of the shooting, there is a lot of brass in that hotel room for the police to count.  The rest, the big question, “What the hell made him do that?” is unanswerable right now, unless he’s left a video in him home explaining his actions.

This isn’t about gun control or the 2nd Amendment, or even the label of “Domestic Terrorist” being applied a little too soon.  It’s a waiting game for the investigation to unfold.  Let it happen first, then come to conclusions, but make sure it’s on the basis of facts, not feelings.

Remember too that the media in these situations is usually wrong for the first few hours then starts to do their job properly.

(Edit 1923 hrs correcting number of injured to 520 plus from 550 plus)


Trade or University?

Some of you may know Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs, a funny and poignant investigation of those jobs that believe it or not, someone actually does.  Like a chick sexer, or the crew that replaces pumps at your sewage works.  Rowe is one of those people who have respect for those who work with their hands and their brains.

Since Dirty Jobs is out of production, Rowe has continued with podcasts and posts on his site.  Paraphrasing a lot, his consensus is this:  We need tradespeople.  University doesn’t produce tradespeople.  Why go to university when you can earn as much, or sometimes more as a tradesperson?  A good question that speaks to our society fixation on “get a degree and be set for life”  That may have been true in 1954, but today, not so much.

My generation was one of the last, if not the last, to have “shop” class as part of the curricula.  Starting in Grade 6, with Woodworking, you learned how to use a saw, a plane, spokeshave, clamps, glue, lathe, band saw, planer and router.  You learned the species of woods, how to do a glue layup, use a table saw with a stacked dado-head cutter to do tongue and groove joinery and more.  French polishing?  Compounding stains?  Oil finishes? Yes, yes and yes.

The next two years included, if you so desired, Metal shop.  Yes, I can use a forge, anvil, hammer, flatter and tongs to make things, including forge welding.  Gas weld, arc weld, and for the most advanced, MIG welding.  How to grind, shape and pattern metal, layout, assembly, riveting the hard way and the easy way, plus how to set up and use a lathe and a Bridgeport vertical mill to produce things.  We learned how to use a hammer and dollys to stretch and bump sheet metal as well as that hazard to fingers, the English Wheel to do compound curves.

By Grade 9 you were at least vaguely competent around machines and had a grasp of what hand tools could be used to do rudimentary tasks.  You could fix things, like rewire a lamp with a proper Underwriter’s Knot because that was the way Mr. Bolton, or Mr. Dickie, or Mr. O’Brien taught you to do it:  The proper, safe and correct way.

We were given an appreciation for trades.  To this day, I can still sweat copper pipe, do electrical repairs, wiring and wood construction.  My office in the basement is a testament to my shop teachers, in that it passed all inspections with flying colours and the occasional “Holy crap is that overbuilt or what?” from the inspectors.  My usual answer is “I only want to do it once, the right way the first time and never have to worry about it again in this life.”  This was usually followed by a sage nod from the inspector.

Do I do all my own work?  An appreciation for the trades means knowing what you can and cannot do.  Gas appliances I never touch.  Electrical hookup, never.  HVAC?  Nothing more than changing filters.  Those things need years of training, experience and licensing to do safely.  Same with automobiles.  I can do brakes, but won’t touch them. simply because if a licensed mechanic does it and messes up badly, my estate has somebody to take to court.

Which comes back to going to University for that Holy Grail of a four-year degree that would set you on a path to fiscal freedom forever.  How’s that working out for those with a B.A. in Medieval Literature?  Did all of you get your fully-tenured teaching positions at big dollar universities?  Have you parleyed that gold-plated degree (and crushing student debt) into a paid-for house, new car, spouse, kids and high end vacations every winter?

The answer is, for the most part, no, followed by do you want whipped cream on your frap?

If we were to do it again, be assured it would be a three-year community college degree in Tool and Die making.  The economy is constantly screaming for Tool and Die makers and after you graduate, you’re looking at six figures if you’re only vaguely competent, the industry is that short of people.  If I were female and just out of high school, I’d be into a Tool and Die course in a New York minute.  Female and a non-traditional job path?  The only way you’d be let go would be if you took a dump on the boss’s desk.

The biggest bonus however is this:  You can’t take your job home after 5 pm.  Come quitting time, you slide down the brontosaurus, jump into the yabba-dabba-doo mobile and go home, forgetting about the job until 0900 the next day.

Yes, you can get dirty hands.  Yes, you have to use your brains.  Be it a plumber, pipefitter, carpenter, steelworker, plasterer, painter or any of the other ‘trades’ you can do something that very few people working can do:  You can point to a pile of things or people and say, with pride:  I did that, today.  I made something, or made something better for someone else.

That is priceless.