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Posted by Jeff Soyer on 12 Nov 2014 06:28 am

From the Times Argus:

A Colchester police detective is accused of taking drugs and a firearm from a police evidence locker in an incident the police chief on Tuesday called the darkest day in her department’s history.

Cpl. Tyler Kinney, 38, of Jericho, is expected to be charged Wednesday in federal court with crimes related to drug distribution and gun trafficking.

He was in charge of the evidence locker…

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 11 Nov 2014 04:30 am

Today is Veterans Day. I honor all who are or have served. You have my sincere thanks. Blogs such as Alphecca wouldn’t — couldn’t — exist without the sacrifices you and others in the past have made to keep our country safe and free.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 10 Nov 2014 12:41 am

The range I belong to is in the news. It’s been there for 40-years. Now, locals to it are fighting against having its lease renewed. *Sigh*

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 09 Nov 2014 08:17 am

I can’t believe that there are actually some conservatives that take Liberal Chick seriously, judging from some of the comments to her posts. It’s one of the better satire pages on Facebook. I’m guessing she’s the brainchild of Doug Giles, a contributor to Town Hall.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 08 Nov 2014 12:10 pm

If the charges are true, and according to the news report they have confessed, Gary Fellenbaum and Jillian Tait deserve a slow, torturous death. Period.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 08 Nov 2014 03:57 am

I certainly wish he was less partisan, too. But when he does turn his scope on Dems and Obama, he’s devastatingly funny, as in this video:



Better watch it quick before the Comedy Channel issues a “take down.”

Or, for much better quality, you could just watch it on their site.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 07 Nov 2014 07:17 am

Apparently, all the propaganda spread by anti-gunners — that guns make a home less safe — isn’t resonating with the public at large. From Gallup:

The percentage of Americans who believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be (63%) has nearly doubled since 2000, when about one in three agreed with this. Three in 10 Americans say having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place.

Gallup originally asked Americans about their views on the implications of having a gun in the home in 1993, and then updated the measure in 2000. Between 2000 and 2006, less than half of Americans believed having a gun at home makes it safer — but since then, this percentage has significantly increased to a majority.

More at the link.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 07 Nov 2014 07:11 am

From WOAI:

He won’t be sworn in as governor until January, but Governor Elect Greg Abbott has already stepped into his first controversy. The governor says if a bill allowing Texans to openly carry firearms in public reaches his desk, he’ll sign it.

C.J. Grisham, President of Open Carry Texas, says that means a bill allowing the open carrying of firearms with the need for a permit will be approved in the Legislature next year.

Can’t tell if that’s a typo or not. “With the need for a permit” would seem to indicate that you still need to go through all the training and stuff.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 07 Nov 2014 07:00 am

Vermonters are way left on a lot of things, but gun control isn’t one of them. From Watchdog VT:

An outspoken advocate for gun control lost her seat in the Vermont House of Representatives Tuesday in what Second Amendment groups called a victory for firearms freedom in the Green Mountain State.

Of the various seats Democrats lost in Tuesday’s election, gun rights leaders in Vermont say the defeat of state Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, D-Essex Junction, was a monumental win for the right to bear arms, and a warning to others who dare to restrict Vermonters’ gun freedom.

“The defeat of Linda Waite-Simpson is a body blow to Gun Sense Vermont,” Eddie Garcia, founder of the Vermont Citizens Defense League, told Vermont Watchdog.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 06 Nov 2014 09:18 am

Actually, at Texas Politech. Students there know as little as students everywhere, unless it’s about Jersey Shore.


Posted by Jeff Soyer on 06 Nov 2014 06:40 am

Why is that a big deal, or even needed? Here’s why:

Michael Crumling, a 25-year-old machinist from Pennsylvania in the United States, has developed a round designed specifically to be fired from 3D printed guns. His ammunition uses a thicker steel shell with a lead bullet inserted an inch inside, deep enough that the shell can contain the explosion of the round’s gunpowder instead of transferring that force to the plastic body or barrel of the gun. Crumling says that allows a home-printed firearm made from even the cheapest materials to be fired again and again without cracking or deformation. And while his design isn’t easily replicated because the rounds must be individually machined for now, it may represent another step towards durable, practical, printed guns-even semi-automatic ones.

More at the link.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 05 Nov 2014 04:48 am

“Universal” meaning for everybody except criminals. Well, given the recent high-profile shootings there, and the $10 million pumped into the campaign from the likes of Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, I had expected it. From SFGate:

Initiative 594 was one of two rival gun measures on the ballot. It requires background checks on all sales and transfers, including private transactions and many loans and gifts. It passed with especially strong support in King County.

And this will be enforced…how?

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 05 Nov 2014 04:33 am

If for no other reason, just listening to and reading liberal reactions to the election makes this a wonderful morning.

Oh, and this is hilarious.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 04 Nov 2014 06:00 am

The Doyle estate has exhausted its options. From the LA Times:

It’s official: Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective (and Benedict Cumberbatch’s famous alter ego), is in the public domain.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case brought by Doyle’s estate, which claimed that authors who wanted to publish stories about Holmes needed to pay the estate a licensing fee. This leaves intact a June decision by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, which held that most of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are no longer protected by copyright.

The case started last year after Doyle’s estate demanded a licensing fee from the publisher Pegasus, which had planned to release an anthology called “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger. The book, which features Holmes-inspired stories by contemporary writers, is now for sale.

Klinger sued the estate and won. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal means Doyle’s estate is out of options in the U.S. The decision does preserve copyright on 10 late Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle but leaves most of the author’s work and characters in the public domain.

I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more ‘interpretations’ of the great Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the coming years.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Nov 2014 11:55 am

Finally! Good news: Open Road Media is releasing a Kindle edition of Quozl, by Alan Dean Foster (Amazon link). Quozl is a lighthearted science fiction tale of a race of alien “rabbits” who land on Earth, go into hiding, and finally reveal themselves. Adults and young adults will enjoy this pleasant novel of first contact (both of the humans, and the Quozl) and how the Quozl are finally introduced to humanity at large.

The planet of Quozlene is overpopulated. A multi-generational interstellar ship is programmed for Earth. Unbeknownst to the Quozl, Earth already has an intelligent (well, somewhat) species occupying it. The Quozl land in a nearly deserted area of a national forest, burrow into the ground, and hope they won’t be discovered for hundreds of years.

The Quozl are rabbit like, in many ways including — you guessed it — their sexual appetite. This is mentioned, but not elaborated upon, throughout the story. Hence, I consider the book appropriate for teenagers. The aliens forbid anyone to leave the underground burrow. One curious, young Quazl sneaks out — and first contact is made with a young boy.

What makes Quozl such a satisfying book is the way Alan Dean Foster as developed an entire history and culture for the aliens, yet doesn’t let it bog-down the story. All of the characters, human and alien, are fleshed out (furred out?) and you wind-up caring for all of them. The author also deftly handles a story that covers many years.

Quozl is a nice diversion from all of the heavy, militaristic science fiction being produced these days. I enjoyed it, and I think that you will, too. My hope is that in the distant future, when humans finally do encounter aliens, that the meeting will be as pleasant as the one in this enjoyable story.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Nov 2014 06:30 am

According to the latest Gallup Poll, Moms Against Guns, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days, haven’t had much of an overall impact nationally regarding public sentiment about enacting additional gun control measures.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 01 Nov 2014 12:30 pm

As soon as a new book in this series comes out, I buy it. That should tell you something right there. You get a lot of reading for just 99 cents for your Kindle and you can’t beat that. The Ninth Science Fiction Megapack (Amazon link) is here and I recommend it with reservations.

I’ve given most of the books in this series five stars, but this one I’m dropping to 4. There isn’t quite as much of a mix in different types of stories, and there seems to be a lot more of the older (1950’s to 1970’s) ones than usual. Still, for only a buck, you can’t lose.

Here’s a round-up of the better ones (sans plot-spoilers):

Near novel length, The Spires of Denon, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, concerns intrigue at an archeological dig on a distant world where, far in the future, descendants of Earth explore an old, abandoned human colony. There are secrets to be discovered, and some of them involve the participants, themselves. Typically excellent Rusch storytelling.

Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog, by Brenda W. Clough, relates what happens to one mail order business owner when he discovers that his best customer is…

Luvver, by Mack Reynolds. A pleasure craft makes an emergency landing on a quarantined world.

Frog Level, by Bud Webster. A student could learn a lot by hopping a freight train — with the right teacher.

Shifting Seas, by Stanley G. Weinbaum. Now we’re really talking climate change!

Rock Garden, by Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Searching for life in the asteroid belt, and a computer that understands English less than Siri does.

When They Come From Space, by Mark Clifton. Another novella, probably about 70,000 words long. As an editor, I would have cut about 5,000 of those. Nonetheless, this is a wonderfully cynical look at governmental bureaucracy, the control of media over politics, and an alien exploration committee that knows how to exploit both. My favorite quote from it (there are several) is: “You’re in the government now. First rule of government of the people, by the people, for the people: Never tell the people!”

Waiting For The Coin To Drop, by Dean Wesley Smith. Time travel for historians. Time travel for prisoners. What could go wrong?

Beyond The Darkness, by S. J. Byrne. Another version of the multigenerational star ship from Earth with a revolt against the ruling class. Pretty good, though the ending seems rushed and could have been expanded to make this a full length novel.

The Loch Moose Monster, by Janet Kagan, is my favorite story in this collection. Colonists on a planet “unpack” the “condensed” DNA samples from Earth and bring them to life. Well, it seemed a good idea at the time… Lots of fun, and I wish I could be there!

My Fair Planet, by Evelyn E. Smith. An alien hires an actor to instruct him on how to be human. I chuckled more than once while reading it.

My second favorite story here is Preferred Risk, by Frederik Pohl and Lester del Rey. Novel length, it was written many years ago, but thanks to Pohl’s skill, reads perfectly fine today. It’s also one of the few “action” stories in the book. What happens when one “company” runs the world? It controls every facet of your life, insuring your health, well being, and there’s still a bottom line to be met. Oh, and then disaster strikes! Typical Pohl at his best.

There’s also two good, in-depth interviews by Darrell Schweitzer of authors Dan Simmons and Frederik Pohl.

A handful of the stories are hopelessly ancient. For example: to read about plant and animal life on Mars when we know that there isn’t any. These should have been left out of the book. One example will suffice: Before Eden, by Arthur C. Clarke, takes place on Venus. Here’s a quote from the third chapter of the tale, discussing the weather: “The weather was fantastically clear, with visibility of almost a thousand yards.” I didn’t bother reading any further than that.

I want to mention one more story in the Ninth Science Fiction Megapack. It is For I Am A Jealous People, by Lester del Rey. This is an old, novella length retread of War of the Worlds, with a religious twist, and not a good one. The story itself isn’t bad and has some action in it. However, (and I say this as a non-religious person) the ending and premise will be deeply insulting to devout Christians and Jews. I’m not politically correct under anyone’s definition. However, I believe in playing fair, and I do believe that the media, writers, and in this case, editors, seem to feel that it is perfectly fine to beat-up on the Christian faith. That’s just wrong. If this story had been scornful of gays (for example) or women or African Americans, the outrage would be immediate. There was no legitimate reason to include it in this omnibus.

Having said all of that, this latest entry in the series is still a very good bargain. Lots of good reading for less than a cup of coffee. Buy it and have fun.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 31 Oct 2014 03:01 am

We read about these incidences all the time. You’d think that cops would double-check their information first. This story, though, has a decent ending. From WFTV:

Kissimmee resident King Baker said he was startled from his sleep Thursday afternoon by the sounds of SWAT members bursting through his door and the sight of a gun to his head. It turns out the officers were in the wrong apartment.

“All I see is guns pointed at me, officers coming through the door. I hear, ‘boom, boom, boom,’ two to three times,” said Baker.

[ . . . ]

“When I told them my name and they was like, ‘Oh (expletive), we have the wrong house,’” said Baker.

Kissimmee officials told Channel 9’s Ryan Hughes that they messed up.

“Unfortunately a huge mistake was made and our SWAT team went into the adjacent apartment,” said Stacie Miller, with the Kissimmee Police Department.

[ . . . ]

Police broke some windows and a door jamb during the raid. They quickly made repairs to Baker’s residence.

The Kissimmee Police Department paid for a hotel room for Baker and his family overnight.

At least the Kissimmee Police Department quickly admitted their mistake, put Baker in a hotel, and repaired the damage. That’s a whole lot more than most police departments do when they fuck-up on these raids.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 31 Oct 2014 02:51 am

CBS4 Denver goes undercover and is able to buy lots of gun magazines that can be easily modified to hold 30-rounds. I’m guessing from the pictures and video that .223 was targeted specifically. Naturally the reporters are shocked. But I found the last bit the most interesting:

Rep. Rhonda Fields, who sponsored Colorado’s high capacity magazine ban, declined to be interviewed about what CBS4 had found, saying she was concerned it might impact the November 4 elections.

Mauser predicted the CBS4 Investigation would again get people discussing Colorado’s gun laws and how to address the new cat and mouse game that has emerged with high capacity magazines.

Sheriff Cooke told CBS4 that since the passage of the law banning high capacity magazines, there has not been a single arrest in Colorado of anyone suspected of violating the law.

Fields is running for reelection. Cooke and almost all other sheriffs opposed the law in the first place.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 30 Oct 2014 01:03 am

It really is sad that it’s come to this.

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