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You Can’t Go Home Again

At least, I cannot…

I happened to be visiting a medical specialist near my old stomping grounds Friday last – where I  owned a home for eighteen years.

No, I didn’t drive by the old house.  Too many memories, besides, they completely fixed it up and changed it (I have been by before).

When I left the doctor’s office, I headed South to the next major artery.  This happened to be near John’s Uniforms and Police Equipment, previously recounted in these pages.  I worked there many moons ago as the de facto holster guy.

And it wasn’t there!

Rather something was there – Skaggs Public Safety Equipment and Uniforms.  I knew Johnny retired some years back, but had not known he sold the place!

An era has passed.  The ‘Green Machine’, used by John, Senior to manufacture western shirts and class A wool police uniforms (with sap pockets) for over forty years is obviously no longer in use.

And seeing this made me a little sad…

I didn’t drive West to observe Martin’s Uniforms (Johnny’s friendly enemy with whom they exchanged stock for many years) because I’d been by there a while back and saw it was now Ace Uniforms.  I don’t know (or particularly care) if Ace is still there.

Back when it was John’s versus Martin’s was the pre-Internet world.  And most other uniform emporia across the country were closed shops by the local police departments.

I have many fond memories of helping newly-minted cops in various varieties obtain uniforms, gear and holsters.  And listening to their ‘war stories’ around the communal store coffee pot.

But no longer.

The times.  They are a changin’.

Rule 27

When Windows 10 has an update, if you are on a schedule, DON’T DO IT!” 😠

I was doing my morning routine, getting the PC ready for the next exciting installment of Guffaw in AZ, when a message appeared from Windows, offering me an update, or a post-ponement of said update.

It was early, I figured, “what the Hell…”  

TWENTY MINUTES LATER it reads ‘Working on updates 17%, Don’ the turn off your PC.  This will take a while. 

With the added joy of ‘Your PC will restart several times’ at the bottom of the screen!

GRRR

(But wait, there’s MORE!)

after about an hour…

FINALLY, it finished about an hour and a quarter after it began.  It would be nice if Windows warned you in advance of the time sink involved in a requested procedure!

Of course, I have additional commitments, so the planned blog post will have to wait…

Sigh…

A Scarlet Letter For Gun Owners!

(from Gun Talk Media – SAF)

A Scarlet Letter for Gun Owners

Imagine being a grandfather seeking custody of his grandson. The state says that will be okay, but you’ll have to give us the serial numbers of all your guns. A caseworker says, “If you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.”

You appeal to a court of law, and the judge says, “We know we are violating numerous constitutional rights here, but if you do not comply, we will remove the boy from your home.”

That’s what happened in Michigan, and it is why the Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit against that state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The state prohibits foster parents and adoptive parents from having guns — a clear violation of constitutional rights — fully acknowledged by the judge. (Hear from attorney David Sigale this Sunday on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio!)

This kind of branding gun owners as less desirable is part of a larger pattern, where zoning laws treat gun stores as though they were sex shops, and won’t allow them near schools. Responsible gun owners and shooters are treated, by law, in ways that other identifiable groups would never stand for. Get a permit for free speech? Have financial services denied through a government program (Operation Choke Point)? Be required to be photographed, fingerprinted, and have a mandatory background check to exercise what clearly is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights?

We simply must challenge every single one of these blatant discriminatory laws and practices, and it takes all of us. It takes the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, state groups, and individuals — you and me. It’s why I created the Gun Talk Truth Squad more than a decade ago — so we can challenge each one of these. So we WILL challenge every media slight, smear, and lie. Every. Single. Time.

A lie left unchallenged becomes the truth.

~Tom

 

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.

This kind of unconstitutional BS really torques my jaw!

We have won many battles, but have not yet won the war.  We must continue to be vigilant.

 

Low Batts! 

I’ve been sharing my roommate’s 2006 Honda Element, since two months ago my 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue was officially declared dead (or at least unsafe to drive).

I have decided to donate the Olds to an appropriate charity.

BUT, there are always ‘issues’ with cars.

A couple of weeks ago, the trusty Element started balking when the key was turned.

And we REALLY need at least ONE car that functions…

So, I took it upon myself to solve the problem. Having few auto mechanic skills did not bode well for me (this is where Dave the mechanic laughs).  I envisioned buying a discount battery and having difficulty with the installation – what with a fused hip, arthritis, chronic pain and all.

And low funds were also an issue (my roomie not having yet returned to work after her surgery).

At length, I did my due diligence and discovered my choices were from around $50 for a refurbished battery (with a warranty months in length) to over $200 from the dealer.

I settled for around $150.  THEY do the installation of the new battery – with a FIVE YEAR replacement warranty.  Done @ mechanic shop I trust.

Five years is phenomenal in the Valley of the Sun, where two or three is the usual rule!  The aforementioned Sun kills auto batteries here.

Now, I can go get groceries.  Albeit significantly fewer than I originally planned.

It’s always something…

Phoenix Delays Sanctuary Policy Amid Mounting Pressure After JW Report

(from Judicial Watch, in part)

Phoenix Delays Sanctuary Policy Amid Mounting Pressure After JW Report

Days after Judicial Watch exposed a new policy banning Phoenix police from contacting the feds after arresting illegal aliens, alarming pressure on the city council and chief of police has forced officials in Arizona’s largest city to postpone the order. Crafted at a Hispanic advisory committee that promotes open borders, the policy also prohibits officers from asking about suspects’ immigration status. The new policy’s two principle measures violate key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and leave the city vulnerable to costly lawsuits.

In the aftermath of Judicial Watch’s story, which included a copy of the Phoenix sanctuary Immigration Procedures, police management is backing off and reconsidering the ramifications. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Judicial Watch that Phoenix Police Department brass is worried about getting sued under an Arizona law that states the following: “No official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” The measure also states this: “If an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States is convicted of a violation of state or local law, on discharge from imprisonment or on the assessment of any monetary obligation that is imposed, the United States immigration and customs enforcement or the United States customs and border protection shall be immediately notified.”

Following Judicial Watch’s initial report, the chief of the Phoenix Police Department, Jeri Williams, issued an unusual and unprecedented Employee Notification System (ENS) delaying the new sanctuary order. The ENS was titled “Operations Order 4.48 Revision” and states the following: “Operations Order 4.48, which provides direction regarding immigration related issues, is still being reviewed and revised.  The anticipated effective date, July 10th, 2017, is no longer achievable. The final revisions should be completed within the coming weeks.  A new effective date will be shared once the policy has been finalized.” Williams is Phoenix’s first female police chief and agency sources tell Judicial Watch she tried to quietly implement the sanctuary measures, perhaps hoping they’d go unnoticed. Earlier this year the chief, who was hired last summer, alluded to her stance on immigration enforcement in a local newspaper article questioning whether Arizona’s 325,000 illegal aliens trust the police. Chief Williams is quoted saying this: “We maintain open communication with our diverse residents and want to ensure that our crime victims and witnesses feel comfortable and confident when reporting crimes to our officers. As your chief, I commit to you that racial profiling will not be tolerated.”

The Phoenix Police Department has about 3,000 officers that were permitted to use “sound judgement” at any time under the agency’s longtime immigration enforcement policy. That allowed front-line officers to directly contact federal immigration officials involving criminal illegal immigrants. Under the revised policy, all contact with federal immigration partners must be funneled through a single Violent Crimes Bureau (VCB) desk sergeant who will document all immigration related data and give authority to call ICE. “This will bottle-neck the process,” according to a veteran Phoenix law enforcement official who added that the new policy was generated without any input from rank-and-file. Arizona law enforcement sources also told Judicial Watch that no other restrictions of this kind and magnitude regarding a federal crime are found in Phoenix Police Department policy. Officers continue to have the discretion to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Postal Inspectors, U.S. Marshalls and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) without fear of violating department policy.

If an illegal alien is arrested for a state crime, officers in Phoenix would no longer be allowed to take them directly to ICE for deportation and document the crime in a report if the sanctuary measures get adopted. Taxpayers must fund a mandated booking into county jail under the new rules, which state; “if there is a federal criminal charge and the person is under arrest for a state and/or local charge/s…the person will be booked into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office…” Keep in mind that Maricopa Sheriff Paul Penzone doesn’t like honoring ICE holds on jailed aliens and considers illegal immigrants “guests.” The new Phoenix Police Department rules also eliminate a table showing state immigration enforcement laws as well as documentation of police contacts with verified and/or suspected illegal aliens, a troublesome change that omits valuable city crime statistics.

Besides forbidding questioning suspects regarding place of birth, country of citizenship and legal status in the United States, the postponed Phoenix policy says that transportation of illegal aliens to ICE by officers has been eliminated for civil immigration violations unless the illegal alien “consents to a transport.” Both restrictions violate key provisions of a 2010 Arizona law known as Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB1070). Open borders and civil rights groups fought the law in federal court and succeeded in getting rid of many of its mandates but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld two key clauses in Section 2 of the measure. The first, requires law enforcement officers to determine a suspects’ immigration status if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally. This grants officers the discretion that has just been stripped in Phoenix. The other clause in Section 2 allows state law enforcement officers to transport illegal immigrants directly to federal custody. The new Phoenix sanctuary measure, also replace the term “illegal alien” with “a person unlawfully present.”

Judicial Watch will continue investigating Phoenix’s efforts to provide illegal immigrants sanctuary and has filed public records requests for the police department’s communications with third-party groups pushing for the now-paused policy change.

What if metropolitan areas decided to create ‘free zones’ for other criminals?  Burglars, armed robbers?  Something less violent?  Forgers, counterfeiters?

(I know, reductio ad absurdum much, Guffaw?)

Especially, if it impacted national security and sovereignty?

How should the federal government react?

I only bring this up as Phoenix is in my back yard (or I theirs…)

(I know, only questions today…)

Apologies for the poor copy/paste – it was the only way I could get it all in.

Anti-Libertarian Ideologies On The March: The Existential Threat To Liberty

(From Libertarianism.org)

Tom Palmer lectures on modern threats to liberalism and individualism, exploring the philosophical roots of these threats and explaining the danger they pose. He touches on the theocratic threat of Islamism and the leftist threat of identity politics, but the bulk of the discussion focuses on the recent re-emergence of the type of nationalist, racist collectivism previously exhibited by fascists in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

The slides associated with Palmer’s lecture are posted on SlidesLive.

I’m a ‘conservative’ libertarian.  I disagree with the National (Libertarian) Party on a number of points, mostly regarding open borders.

But, I still believe all liberty-loving folks need to band together, regardless of minor sticking points, to battle the evils of Statism.

Lest we lose it all over infighting!

 

HK HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN DEBT

(from TFB)

German Firm Heckler & Koch Reportedly €170 MILLION in the Red

Via a press release published earlier this month, German gunmaker Hecker & Koch announced it had reduced its financial debt to a mere €170 million (~$194 million US), thanks to an equity increase of €50 million via a capital shares increase. With this, the company will issue approximately 6.6 million new shares, backed up by a capital injection of €50 million, and assistance in refinancing its 9.5% Senior Secured Notes at significantly lower debt. According to the release:

These funds will be provided initially in the form of a shareholder loan to be converted into share capital during the share capital increase to meet the time line of the refinancing of the 2011 9.50% Senior Secured Notes. Minority shareholders of H&K will have the possibility to subscribe for new shares on a pro-rata-basis and on the same economic terms against payment in cash.

Being almost two hundred million dollars in debt does not necessarily mean the German firm is in dire trouble, however, as they have recently gained significant contracts that will help offset this burden. Chief among those is the French AIF contract, estimated to be worth over €300 million ($342 million US). The revenue from this contract alone could offset the debt of the company, which as of 2013 was pegged at slightly higher than the company’s net worth. How the company’s finances will shake out, though, isn’t easy to predict, especially given the outstanding $27 million lawsuit from Orbital ATK over the failure of H&K to deliver XM25 CDTE grenade launchers. Still, the company being in debt to the tune of the entirety of or higher than their net worth does raise cause for concern, if they cannot significantly offset or restructure that debt.

Now, I know there are those among you who will cry “GOOD!”, having suffered the slings-and-arrows of their notoriously poor customer service, especially in the civilian market.

Obviously, the civilians aren’t the only one’s who have suffered…

I have no skin in this game.  The closest I was to owning an H & K was a Century Arms H & K 91 knock-off, with original internals and furniture.  She worked and shot well (when properly lubed).  I liked her.

But, she went the way of the missing vault along with the rest of the collection.

I’m a capitalist.  If a company cannot provide proper delivery or customer service, they deserve to fail!

Perhaps, if there is another incarnation, they will have learned that?

A lesson from Colt?

You Have A Constitutional Right To Take Photos Of Police, Federal Court Affirms

Photographing and filming police officers in public is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment. That’s what a federal appeals court unanimously affirmed this week in cases involving Philadelphia officers retaliating against citizens pointing cameras at them.

Slate reports that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was for two cases. In one, a woman named Amanda Geraci was restrained across the neck by a police officer while trying to film the arrest of an anti-fracking protester. In the second, a Temple undergraduate named Richard Fields was handcuffed and prosecuted after trying to film officers breaking up a house party.

A District Court previously had ruled that both Geraci and Fields had engaged in “conduct” only and not “expressive conduct,” and that therefore their filming wasn’t a First Amendment “freedom of speech” issue. But in Friday’s ruling, the Federal Appeals Court disagreed.

“Every Circuit Court of Appeals to address this issue […] has held that there is a First Amendment right to record police activity in public,” the judges write in their opinion. “Today we join this growing consensus. Simply put, the First Amendment protects the act of photographing, filming, or otherwise recording police officers conducting their official duties in public.”

“The First Amendment protects actual photos, videos, and recordings, […] and for this protection to have meaning the Amendment must also protect the act of creating that material.”

“We ask much of our police,” the judges write in the closing statements. “They can be our shelter from the storm. Yet officers are public officials carrying out public functions, and the First Amendment requires them to bear bystanders recording their actions. This is vital to promote the access that fosters free discussion of governmental actions, especially when that discussion benefits not only citizens but the officers themselves.”

So there you have it: police officers don’t have the right to squash free speech by ordering you to stop shooting photos of them in public.


Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Elvert Barnes and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

h/t John Gwillam, Facebook

IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Don’t you always hate it when Rights you believed to be self-evident truths have to work their way up the judicial chain just to be affirmed as valid?

Of course, this hasn’t yet reached The Supreme Court(!)

Who knows?

The Opioid Crisis 

There has been much media attention of late regarding ‘the opioid crisis’.

This is directly parallel to the the so-called Drug War.

Or ‘gun violence’.

Those who wish to insert governmental controls into private actions often label (insert issue here) as a ‘crisis’.

President Nixon started the War On Drugs in 1971. Here 40 years later, billions of dollars later, thousands have been incarcerated, and little illegal drug commerce has been stopped.

And numerous States have decriminalized and/or medicalized previously illegal drugs.

People continue to be shot en mass in Illinois and elsewhere.

And people with legitimate prescriptions are being squeezed more and more because their physicians and pharmacies are. 

By the ‘well meaning’ federal government.

A recent study noted that something like a whopping 1% of those who have opioid prescriptions are abusing them.

The lions share of abuse comes from those who steal, smuggle and illegally obtain such drugs.

Are you surprised?

I’m not.

I sometimes take a relatively low dose narcotic, which I get through a legal prescription, to deal with my chronic pain. I know others who take a much higher dosage than I, who must constantly wrestle with the increasing pressure on the medical community.

While the bad guys make billions from illegal users, largely unchecked.

Read between the lines.

 

Another Night @ The Playboy Club

Bunny DJ

I wrote previously about my youthful experiences in the Playboy Club, with ‘friend’ Chip. (Playboy Club Memories)

(and my unrequited lust for Bunny DJ, who treated us both well!)

It occurred to me there are additional stories.  This is one of them.

(Sadly, it’s NOT about DJ…)

I’ve written before about having been a semi-pro magician in my youth.  Chip also dabbled in magic – it was one of the things that (unfortunately) bonded us.  So, we looked askance at those who pretended to be the real thing.

Charlatans, we called them.

Often, in the Phoenix Playboy Club, they had a medium/mind-reader.  His name was Dr. Richard Ireland.  He was a Phoenician, and had a church here surrounding his psychic abilities.

We looked askance at him, as well.

One night, when Chip went to the club (I had to work, or something).  Dr. Ireland was doing his act, part of which was having his eyes covered with gauze and bandages, followed by a cloth blindfold.  Then, he passed around a large, glass bowl to receive ‘offerings’ and questions from the adoring crowd.

And he began to do ‘readings’.

Chip decided to play his game.  He was certain the good doctor couldn’t see anything, trussed up as he was.  Chip wrote him a check (which was undoubtedly rubber – knowing Chip), folded it into the smallest package possible, and dropped it into the bowl.

As the evening progressed, Dr. Ireland emptied the bowl and answered questions placed therein.  When he got to Chip’s check, he did not unfold it.  As he had with the previous questions, he placed it on top of his head – even if the bandages and blindfold were not in place, he could not have seen ANYTHING.

And he said, “Mr. (last name excised), Thank you for your most generous contribution.  But I must return your check to you, so that you may sign it!”

Of course, all jaws in the room dropped!

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

(DJ, if you are out there, please email me!)

My apologies, posting this Sunday night.  Monday morning early, the contractors will allegedly arrive to finally begin closing the dry wall beneath the previous plumbing leak.  This has been since MAY, so we’re taking a ‘we’ll see’ attitude!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…