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Posted by Jeff Soyer on 04 Dec 2014 05:19 am

There’s no other way to put it: Morford is an idiot. He’s so over the top that he makes Chris Matthews appear rational. Anyway, in his latest screed against guns, he describes the typical gun owner:

You’re a scared white person, almost certainly male. You do not live in a major city, or near a university or intellectual hub of any note, nor have you ever traveled very far from your home town, much less out of state or anywhere further than, say, Mexico. Once. And that was enough.

You do not read complicated books. You do not like new or weird things. You watch lots of TV, mostly Fox News, which rejoices in showing you endless images of angry foreigners and minorities in pain: tear gas explosions, fights in the streets, looting, this time involving sad, small-town black people in Ferguson, all of them protesting the acquittal of that murderous white cop.

This is just part of a hysterical reaction of his to the surge in gun sales on “Black Friday.” The fact that there is always a surge in gun sales on said Friday doesn’t fit into his narrative. You can read the rest of his parody of a thinking person if you must. Me? I’d rather have a root canal without Novocaine.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 12:33 pm

Prepare accordingly.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 11:56 am

Around here, I consider a “Grand Slam” to be a book that earns top ratings in every category. Solomon’s Freedom, by Dennis Meredith, (Amazon link) is a grand slam. It’s a thriller with fabulous characters, witty dialogue, plenty of action, and most importantly, it raises questions about whether man’s closest neighbor in the animal kingdom should be granted any rights.

This is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time. You can read my full review here.

And yes, I’m trying to drive traffic to, and comments about my reviews, there.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 09:48 am

American citizens have seen a drastic increase in the surveillance of themselves by police and government. Supposedly this is all done in the name of “Homeland Security” and fighting crime. Cameras on street corners, license plate readers on police cars, mass collection of your emails, phone calls, and websites visited. Even the United States Postal Service now photographs every single letter and package sent through its offices. What if it’s all taken to the next level? That’s the frightening premise of State of Terror, by John Brown from Fire Fighter Books (Amazon link). With a fast moving plot, this story plunges you into a nightmare America where you can be detained indefinitely, with no right to counsel or trial.

You can read my full review of the book here, and also leave any comments or (if you’ve read it yourself) a review there.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 06:22 am

Another very good article by the resident gun nut at Ars Technica can be found here. Plenty of sweet gun porn, too.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 06:10 am

From the BBC:

The Russian manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle has unveiled a new look for its guns, as well as a new logo, at a glitzy event in Moscow.

The company is also branching out into fashion, launching a line of branded survival gear.

The firm, which relies heavily on the export market, is among the targets of Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.

The Kalashnikov, or AK-47, is one of the world’s most recognizable weapons.

Here’s a photo from AFP:

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 06:00 am

From CBS:

A South Texas lawmaker proposes protecting from school punishment students through fifth grade who use their hands, toys, even food items to mimic guns.

State Rep. Ryan Guillen, a Rio Grande City Democrat, filed the bill for consideration by the Legislature convening next month.

Speaking of which, wasn’t there a similar bill introduced in Florida? Anyone know if it passed?

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 05:56 am

This happened in Burien, Washington. Guy drives a minivan into the doors of a sporting goods store. From KTVB TV:

“Looks like he came in one set of the doors and drove across the showroom floor,” said a King County sheriff’s spokesperson.

Police said he stopped at the Big 5’s big gun rack and grabbed a total of about 14 rifles before realizing more than a few people had noticed.

“If you want to commit a burglary and want to use stealth, this is not the way to do it,” said the sheriff’s spokesperson.

SWAT team members arrived to find the man hiding inside the store’s ceiling. A negotiator was also called to the scene, and SW 148th Street was shut down, the area blocked off.

After several hours, the SWAT team stormed in and took the mutant.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 02 Dec 2014 05:58 am

Now, it’s shrinking our kids:

Global warming is making children shorter, according to scientists at John Hopkins University and Bloomberg School of Medicine. They say that children born in Peru during the El Niño event of 1997-98 were on average shorter and smaller, which they attribute to a poorer diet thanks to flooding and other catastrophic climate events. But others have pointed out that simply allowing Peru to become an industrialised country would mitigate the problem.

I suppose parents could just limit their procreational proclivities to La Niña events. Or would that make the kids too tall and large?

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 02 Dec 2014 05:48 am

I did bring back the Yosemite Sam tip-jar over on the side. A few readers (thank you!) requested it and I certainly appreciate their generosity. It does help out with keeping my blogs going and is a welcome pat-on-the-back.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 02 Dec 2014 05:46 am

From American Thinker:

On Dec. 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments in the case of Nojay v. Cuomo. At stake is nothing less than whether the Second Amendment grants substantive gun rights to American citizens, or is meaningless rhetoric that allows the government total control over what firearms citizens may or may not possess.

I think that we can pretty well figure out how the 2nd Circuit will rule, but that’s a necessary step to eventually getting the case to SCOTUS. Whether that’s a good thing or not is anyone’s guess, given how erratically Chief Justice Roberts has ruled on things in the past…

More details at the link.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 01 Dec 2014 04:21 am

From Reuters:

A federal judge ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc to let shareholders vote on a proposal to force tighter oversight of its sale of high-capacity guns and other potentially offensive products.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday said the world’s largest retailer wrongly excluded such a proposal from Trinity Church, a historic Wall Street church, from its June 6 annual meeting.

More at the link.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 01 Dec 2014 04:16 am

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 29 Nov 2014 08:22 am

From CNN:

The busiest shopping day of the year also saw a major boom for gun sales, with the federal background check system expected to set a record of more than 144,000 background checks Friday, according to the FBI.

The staggering number of checks — an average of almost three per second, nearly three times the daily average — falls on the shoulders of 600 FBI and contract call center employees who will endure 17-hour workdays in an attempt to complete the background reviews in three business days, as required by law, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer said.

A box of ammo looks good under the tree, too.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 29 Nov 2014 07:39 am

The psychological interactions and tensions between humans, genetically engineered humans, clones, and aliens, is probably the best way to describe The Genome, by Sergei Lukyanenko (Amazon link) in this unusual entry into the science fiction field. Does it work? Mostly. It’s also about the ethics behind “Spesh” — humans who had their DNA altered at conception to become specialized in an occupation at a later time during their teens. All of that specialization comes at a price, as they — and you the readers — will discover. The Genome presents an interesting stew of characters. This isn’t “space opera” nor anything nearly as action-packed as that. It’s more a fascinating study of freewill or the lack of it when your DNA has been altered to enhance certain functions.

Alex Romanov is a spaceship pilot Spesh who is hired by a mysterious company to captain their tour ship. The owners leave the rest of the crew hires to Alex and he manages to gather quite a collection of misfits — mostly Speshes themselves. Then the passengers arrive and they turn out to be two aliens of the species Zzygous, not exactly the most popular breed amongst humans (”Naturals”) or their offshoots.

The first half of The Genome concerns the often contentious clash of characters as the ship is crewed, launches, and the tour begins. The second half becomes a whodunit and features a Spesh of the ultimate specialization. There’s way more to all of this, but I don’t like to give spoilers to a story I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Note that there are adult situations (okay, sex, though not too graphic) that might not be appropriate for very young readers. There are also several sub-plots in action that will keep your imagination involved on many levels.

There is action enough to keep things moving along and situations enough to have your brain whirling at possibilities as you digest this thoughtful book by Sergei Lukyanenko. I recommend it highly.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Nov 2014 10:34 am

The winner of season 4 of the History Channel’s Top Shot has written a book, Shoot To Win, by Chris Cheng (Amazon link) that has as a subtitle, “Tips, Tactics, and Techniques to Help You Shoot Like a Pro.” That might lead you to believe that the book is aimed primarily at experienced shooters who would like to improve their game. While there are a few chapters along those lines, the bulk of Shoot To Win deals with the very basics of firearms and safely handling them.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that and this book would certainly make for an excellent gift to someone you’re hoping to get interested in the shooting sports, or for yourself if you’ve never held a gun but are intrigued by them. There are chapters on purchasing a firearm, maintaining them, and the nomenclature of guns and ammunition.

Still, for what is supposed to help a person “shoot like a pro,” this book could have been so much more than a beginner’s primer, with only a couple of chapters devoted to essentially telling the reader to dry-fire a lot, about breath control, and how to squeeze the trigger properly. Subjects such as preparing for specific competitive shooting events and strategies to employ are minimal.

Perhaps the best use for a volume such as this is to first acquaint the interested novice about firearms. Then, after he/she has bought a gun and taken it to the range a few times, to educate them in some techniques to improve their shooting accuracy. There are a few best-practices given, along with excellent and copious photographs demonstrating what the author is referring to. At that point, the reader can decide whether to take the next step and seek professional training.

Shoot To Win is an decent book that will help the absolute beginner get better, but doesn’t offer much for intermediate gunner.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Nov 2014 04:57 am

Hopefully you will be spending it with family or friends. I hope it is a pleasant day for you.

For those who have to work, I hope you’re being compensated for doing so, or that at least the bosses find some way to thank you.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 26 Nov 2014 06:54 am

Some just refuse to let go of the Dark Ages. From Reuters:

Gunmen killed three Pakistani women polio workers and their driver on Wednesday, police said, in the most deadly attack on the health workers in two years.

Teams in Pakistan working to immunize children against polio are often targeted by Taliban militants, who say the campaign is a cover for Western spies, or accuse workers of distributing vaccines designed to sterilize children.

Most of those beheaded by ISIS were also aid workers.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Nov 2014 12:51 pm

By now, regulars know that I started up a book review site called The North Country Review of Books. Finally, as of yesterday, I have it functioning and looking the way I want. As with any new website, non-spam/non-hackers are only a trickle.

I need to know what you all think of the site. Please visit it and spend a few minutes exploring it. Especially, if you’ve read a book that I’ve reviewed, consider leaving your own review — it can be brief if you want — and trying out the multiple ratings table below the comment form. For more info on that, see the “About” page. Does everything seem to work correctly? What don’t you like about it? What DO you like about it?

You can also just leave a comment regarding my review, without rating the book. Comments (and replies to comments) are nested to three levels.

What I need to know is — because North Country Review is important to me — your opinions, and maybe to have you become regulars there. Mostly I review sci-fi, horror, thrillers, etc.

Your feedback, here and especially THERE, would be a big help to me. And, it will only cost you some time — not money. Granted, time IS money to you, but it’s for a good cause.

In addition, North Country Review is running the very latest version of WordPress, and using the plug-ins I like. I’m considering that if all goes well, that is what I will “upgrade” Alphecca to.

Bonus: I’ll be looking for more feature book reviewers to join the site. You’d be able to review whatever category of books you want to. Being a reviewer of a book review site has a really cool advantage: You get your books (usually Kindle versions, Advance Review Copies, also known as eARCs) for free. More on that in a couple of weeks. Anyway, please give my new site a test drive.

Thanks so much.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 24 Nov 2014 06:38 am

That’s according to some parents of the kids in a Massachusetts elementary school. From Reason:

The trip to see the famous ballet has been a tradition at the school for years, but apparently some felt the trip was improper because there is a Christmas tree on the stage.

The issue came to a head at a [Butler Elementary School] PTA meeting Tuesday night. A source said some people were told they were being discriminatory if they supported their kids going to “The Nutcracker.”

Despite pressure from the local PTA, school officials eventually decided to continue with the trip. No doubt there will be psychological counselors available following the performance.

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