January 26, 2020
...and finally, may all of your affairs in the coming year be in ship-shape.
Art by Kakkou Choishi
Threats and harassment of certain officials and property; venue. Provides that certain crimes relating to threats and harassment may be prosecuted in the City of Richmond if the victim is the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. In addition, threats to damage property may be prosecuted in the City of Richmond if the property is owned by the Commonwealth and located in the Capitol District.
The full text is here, and while the bit about true threats is reasonable on its face, THAT'S ALREADY ILLEGAL. It should not be extra grave to do so to an elected official...they aren't royalty.
It gets worse:
§ 18.2-152.7:1. Harassment by computer; penalty.
If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the communication was made or received or in the City of Richmond if the person subjected to the act is one of the following officials or employees of the Commonwealth: the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia
No making fun of the Politburo !
Dank memes are outlawed! That means any mention of blackface is right out!
And that little strike through of "shall be" replacing it with "is" is present in several of these bills. I'm not a lawyer, but it worries me.
Now, having removed our ability to defend ourselves or criticize elected officials in a meaningful way, the Democrats are finally able to deal with the greatest threat facing the Commonwealth and its citizens subjects.
No really, 2,500 dollar fine and 10 hours of community service for releasing Balloons.
Kids, your birthday parties will suck from now on.
While this fiasco ranges from the horrifying to the ridiculous, it does provide some object lessons:
1: To those in what are still free states, today's Democrats are stark raving cuckoo for cocoa puffs. And once you get them it's like bedbugs.
2: For those of us trapped between the Patomac and 36° 30′ north, we now know what dread haunts the progressive's nightmares.
They've let slip what it is they most fear....
(and who is not responsible for the context of her chibi)
What we can be reasonably confident of is that the Chnese Communist Party, being a totalitarian state, is going to try to cover-up or minimize the situation to the maximum extent possible and even rather beyond credulity.
Thus, seeing that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has declared that the situation is "grave" is cause for some concern. This is as close to a declaration of emergency as we're ever likely to see from the politburo. I've got a degree in Asian history and while certainly no China hand, I've done several papers on Chinese politics, and the fact that Xi Jinping is admitting even this much is a genuinely terrifying thing. The CCP considers its people to be grease for the machinery of their state.
But this situation actually seems to have them scared.
January 25, 2020
I dropped a bit.
This is not a parody. It's actually the U.S. Space Force logo.
January 23, 2020
The data's probably NOT accurate. It's almost certainly skewed one way or another. However, the Chinese have instituted a quarantine(!) of Wuhan, where the outbreak started. Wuhan is a city that's bigger than London. There are now multiple cities that are also locked down. I don't know the provenance of the following video, but it is alleged to be from inside Wuhan...where they are apparently going to great lengths to look like the beginning of a zombie movie.
Entirely coincidentally, Wuhan is the home of China's National Bio-Safety Laboratory China's first level 4 Biohazard facility which now handles the most deadly diseases on the planet, because China has had such a good record with the less dangerous ones.
Fortunately, we can all rest easy, because despite what some on the internet are implying when they talk about the situation in Wuhan City, it turns out that the Chinese word for raccoon is not actually wuhan , it's huànxióng.
So rejoice! There are no zombies in evidence at this time.
But there is reason to keep one's eye on this.
In the U.K., doctors are being given instructions on how to deal with a patient that is suspected of having this bug. "Lock the patient in a room and leave the area straightaway."
I don't know if this just socialized medicine at work, or this is serious business, but I'm starting to lean towards the latter.
January 21, 2020
It occurs 2/3s through this otherwise accurate, informative and unusually family-friendly rant.
What he says at 06:42 about SJ-16 is wrong. That Bill proposes adding legislature term limits, it says nothing about the governor. The idea that the governor's term limit is proposed to be increased or removed altogether has cropped up a number of times and is being reported in a number of places. I'm not sure where this comes from, and in Razor's defense, I've heard this multiple times albeit always without citation. It's inconsequential in the face of the nightmare pile of sewage that Razor correctly comments on, but repeating this give the left a tool for dismissing all the other things he mentions which are pretty dreadful even with only one term of our hoplophobic Al Jolson wannabe.
Everything else he rattles off is pretty much correct, including SB-399 which awards all of Virginia's Electors to the candidate that wins the national popular vote...(!) One of the bills he mentions (the terrifying SJ29) may have been tabled today as when preparing for this post I noted that it does not appear to be in the General Assembly's legislative queue, but it certainly was a real thing until recently.
He also links to this recall petition, which seems legit.
One thing Razorfist touches on but does not adequately convey the scope of, is the scale of the changes to Virginia's election laws which are pending before the Hose and Senate committees. This is getting next to no coverage by the Democrat's media myrmidons and even right leaning sites are focusing (understandably) on all the Gun stuff, which is certainly consequential, but will become inevitable if Virginia becomes a one party state like California.
Look below the fold to see what the Dems are about to do to Virginia election law.
January 20, 2020
January 19, 2020
January 18, 2020
First off, Anna is really enthusiastic and talks at about 240 beats a minute which is generally amusing. What she really doesn't do is cuss....until recently. A short time ago she did a video on Star Wars TROS that was...colorful, in its language. It managed to use the "F" word at what someone worked out to approximately 5 times per minute. Alright...It was, reportedly, a very bad movie and she's passionate about Star Wars and has had a very bad year. I've seen the rant in question described as a meltdown and I did not get all the way through it because it was not up to her usual standards and, well, no harm no foul.
Fast forward to today, I started getting recommendations from YouTube for videos describing her as a sociopath. The basis for this dubious psychoanalysis is apparently that sincethe aforementioned Star Wars video she's been cussing up a storm. It's like the movie gave her a stroke and she developed Tourette's Syndrome. Today, I clicked on her latest video and it has the word "Mansplaining" in the title, which in this fraught age is a warning sign...and quite not in keeping with Anna's image or professed outlook on political correctness. So I clicked on the link and learned a few things.
1: In a pinned comment she explains that she's using the term "Mansplaining" in a different way than it is used by the perniciously woke.
2:Due to childhhood surgery to correct a congenital defect, Anna has an inconspicuous third nostril that allows her to breathe while talking...which explains soooo much about her speech style.
3: She's cussing because of COPPA to be as non-kid-friendly as possible. Because YOUTUBE's handling of COPPA drives nice girls to cuss.
For some reason I found this whole thing both sad and amusing
January 17, 2020
They have a paper.
As we approach the third decade of the 21st century we should not be surprised to see science fiction become science fact...but we at Brickmuppet Blog express our consternation that instead of flying cars, our scientists are pursuing Monolith Monsters.
January 16, 2020
Well, not really.
WHAT they are is not at all unidentified. They are Radio Controlled drones. However, these are flying in what are described as large formations and have attracted the attention of the authorities, to such an extent that 9 days ago the newly formed Colorado drone task force instituted a search for a hypothetical command vehicle.
This was rescinded 3 days later but the drones continue to fly in formations...at night, one nearly colliding with an air ambulance.
The government has announced almost simultaneously that they haven't been able to confirm the drones exist and that the FAA needs new and intrusive powers to monitor every drone in the country to deal with this burgeoning threat*.
More recently on the heels of those two government assessments, the drones continue to be reported, In some cases, the drones are being described as being as big as cars, which, if true** means that this is a much more impressive phenomenon and potentially worrying give the numbers involved and the formation flying.
Here at Brickmuppet Blog, the running theory has been that this was a combination of kids being kids, ranchers patrolling their property, and business doing their business in a way that hasn't been a thing until the last decade or so. When a bunch of reports of unexpected new things flying are combined this could have resulted in peoples perfectly reasonable pattern spotting tendencies resulting in alarm. In this case the"perpetrators" are all blissfully unaware of the pandemonium that they're causing. However, the large numbers of reports of drone formations mean that there may well be something more substantive going on**.
Other possibilities besides mass hysteria include some small company testing out new drone rigs, (a big company like Amazon would have someone who watched the news and would have filed the proper FAA paperwork). The large number of such sightings indicate that if they are all connected (not at all certain) that there is an extensive training/testing program going on. It could be a secret Air-Force or Army program. It could be something as benign ad a bunch of students trying to practice a drone aerobatics demonstration. On the more sinister side of the spectrum there could be criminal activity such as drug running (though that is unlikely to involve formation flying) or terrorists testing out formation flying and ground attack methods in anticipation of an upcoming attack. Al-Qaeda and ISIS have both used drones to attack civilian and military targets, but this is an awful lot of testing and training in plain sight with no civilian deaths to show for it.
At this point (assuming the press reports and video footage are in proper context...a big assumption nowadays) it looks like there's SOMETHING going on here. It's just unclear what.
* Hat tip Pete, I had not seen this anywhere else
**some skepticism is warranted : the devices are being observed at night, and this report of the being car sized is from The Sun.
January 15, 2020
I just got a text on my new phone dated January 18.
Today is the 15th.
The text is reminding me that my voice mail subscription ends tomorrow...which presumably means in 4 days.
I'm getting spam from the future.
Annnd it gets crazier.
The Democrats are requiring that protests and public hearing have equal numbers of people from both sides of the argument. That is, they will let in no more pro-2nd Amendment people than the citizen disarmament advocates.
In other news: The governor just declared a State of Emergency in anticipation of an upcoming utilization of the first amendment.
5 days till the 20th.
This is going to be a long weekend.
January 14, 2020
The process is the punishment.
It was really good, but in about 4 days time I went to make a sandwich and....
Turns out the bread they had purchased was that really high-end all-natural stuff with no preservatives.
Now, they're not into the crazy, hard-line "organic" nonsense, they simply zipped into the grocery and picked the top-of-the-line bread, but it brings home how much of these lifestyle fashions are just status games by people who have both the capital and leisure time to buy bespoke merchandise in tiny quantities.
It's been 10 days now, so here's a preliminary review.
Kyocera Dura-Force Pro2 is advertised as rugged and water resistant, the later is pretty impressive for a smartphone that still sports a USB-C as well as a headphone jack. This is accomplished by having plastic covers with rubber-like gaskets over these and the SIM card and memory card slots. The phone itself seems durable and the sapphire screen endured a recent mishap involving the phone falling 6 feet face down onto gravel without a scratch. Indeed, the phone is remarkably overbuilt for my needs, being rated for explosive atmospheres if sealed up and it is safe around blasting operations in airplane mode. If I were still in the Coast Guard I could take this on a boarding and inspection of a tanker.
The waterproof/gastight covers, while themselves solid, are secured by plastic tabs that seem both fiddly and flimsy and invite great care when opening and closing them. They do not look like they could be easily replaced, and the associated IFIXIT page does not have a repair/replacement guide for them.
That being said, over the last 10 days there have been no issues and once closed, the covers are firm, flush and seem to be securely immobile. The gaskets themselves seem to be about a millimeter in diameter.
One reason I went with this rather than just getting a burner phone or something is that, quite unusually for a device sold through Verizon, this phone came unlocked, meaning it will be little problem to switch to another service provider like KDDI or NTT DoCoMo should that become advisable later this year.
Regarding the interface, I do not have any real experience with modern smartphones and after 12 years of the straightforward (but long dead) Blackberry OS I found the Android operating system to be somewhat non-intuitive. It also comes with an selection of aggressive apps designed to not be easily dismissed and when one tries to dismiss them they often activate or try to extort money from you. Annoyingly, none of the mail applications will talk to my Earthlink E-mail account, though as one might expect G-Mail is a breeze. It also interfaces seamlessly with Outlook, Hotmail, EXchange and something called Yandex and there is a separate AOL app on the log in screen.
It does have exterior volume buttons which is a very nice thing. However, there are only 2 programmable exterior buttons, one of which is by default the camera button. Given that most phones don't even have that, this is, on balance, a huge plus. However, it does mean that one must look at one's phone to do most things with it. In this the phone is vastly better than most others, especially the i-Phones and as a complaint is admittedly boomerism on my part, but I don't like having to actually look at the thing for anything other than reading texts or looking at vidya.
I have to go yell at a cloud.
Holo and Grea don't get along very well, only exchanging the most perfunctory formalities. That is, unlike the old Blackberry, this android phone will not sync with my new iMac, though they will exchange files via blue tooth. In fairness, the fact that I own an iMac is not the phone's fault.
A note of caution regarding water. In contrast to a watch, where "water resistant" means usable to 150 feet, the phone's warranty bottoms out at 6.5 feet (roughly 2 meters) which makes the inclusion of a underwater mode for the camera an interesting design choice, and potentially misleading.
That aside, just splash proofing is a very useful and desireable trait. This phone has survived one major drop and 10 days of rough use with nary a scratch. In contrast to those wafer thin, bony foo-foo iPhone models, Greya's thicc....over half an inch thick (.53in) which (in theory) makes for a much tougher phone and probably contributes to a battery capacity which is advertised as 21 hours talking on the phone and 13 days on standby. I can't talk for 21 hours but I got 4 days of intermittent use that included internet, listening to music and watching videos without a charge before it got below 20%.
Aside from the quirks of android, and a lot of aparrently non-deleteable apps I don't want, this seems to be a very solid phone. There is one other aspect to this piece of kit that is of note. Despite being water and gas tight, the IFIXIT page linked above notes that it is moderately easy to repair/replace speakers, cameras, batteries and buttons. While not unheard of, this design choice is certainly bucking some unwelcome trends and is to be lauded, especially given the robust nature of the phone. (Note that aftermarket parts will void the explosive atmosphere and blasting certification...if that's an issue for you.)
January 13, 2020
I think I'll pass.
Because that's what heroes do.
My Hero Academia has been really really good this season. Despite its very Japanese trappings this show is touching on some of the best aspects of American superhero comics and exploring the themes of the genre in ways that would make Lee, Kirby and Ditko proud. Even the dashes of melodrama one expects in an unironic superhero show have been pulled off with superb skill and astonishing sincerity.
Product Warning: May cause...allergies.
Well, I forgot something, so let's try that again.
As we mentioned earlier, Virginia went Democrat (Barely, its really a matter of a very few seats in the legislature and the Executive) due to a confluence of factors. There was a huge infusion of outside money from Bloomberg and others, a vast wave of immigration both legal and illegal as well as refugees that were settled here by the Obama administration and a large number of migrants from California and the Northeast who were horrified by what became of their homes...but not so much as to stop voting for the policies that caused it.
There was also the utter faceplant of the VA Republican party, which, being so close to DC has a huge portion of its administrators bigwigs and decision makers, people who are in the Republican establishment's anti-Trump wing. That group has some decent people in it but mostly they are political pilotfish who mobilized to defend their rice bowels against their constituents with a verve they seldome displayed previously. Many of the DC Republicans have grown to despise their constituents who they feel have betrayed them by voting for reform. For years they talked of securing the border but now openly call anyone who does so racist. The people they are, in theory working for, now feel the same way and the bad blood there that has developed over the last few years is as heatbreaking as it is profound, Thus, the state party is involved in something of a circular firing squad.
There was also the vast increase of the federal civil service under Obama which resulted in suburban sprawl of what became under him the richest counties in the country populated with high level civil servants... people whose lavish lifestyles depend on big government.
Finally, there's something that I'd stupidly forgotten to mention in the earlier post, but is quite significant Northam's predecessor pardoned 200,000 felons which is several times the margin of victory in the last governors race. The 200,000 former felons and the huge amount of immigration into Northern Virginia combined with incumbent advantage DO make any corrective action at the ballot box a very challenging prospect, but it should be noted that even with this perfect storm crashing on the Repoublicans and blowing into the Democrat's sails the Dems only have the slimmest of majorities which may be a factor in their attempt to lock everything down.
Northam for his part, is going all in for this partly because he has two scandals...one he advocated for post partum (post birth) abortion and he has an epic blackface scandal, unlike Canada (apparently) this is serious business here, or was, until it wasn't...and it wasn't when Northam began pushing this so his political future depends on this. Given his stance on 10th month abortion the potential for death is probably not a consideration for him. Now, I don't generally think that people on the other side of the aisle who aren't Antifa adjacent, no matter how wrongheaded they might be, are evil...but I really have doubts regarding Northam. Unlike many provincial urbanites with delusions of cosmopolitanism, Northam is from here and he KNOWS what a powder keg he's lighting the firecrackers on.
I've seen it suggested that the Democrats didn't expect the backlash they are getting. Having a cursory knowledge of the politicians involved, I'm pretty sure that many of the senior VA legislators like Northam understand completely. To us on the right, this is akin to Lexington and Concord, with the caveat that we can still end the oppression at the ballot box. The Dems seem to WANT a standoff to portray gun owners as racist violent hicks a'la WACO and the media is quite firmly on their side. If the Democrats bring this to a head they will have the full cooperation of Bloomberg and the rest of the media to paint the 2nd Amendment people as very much what Antifa actually is.
While the National Guard takes oaths to defend the constitution (which to the shock of many includes the second and fourth amendments) and is made up of the sorts of people who dislike being the baddies if it comes to the rumored (and verified) calls to use the state's military to go door to door, this reluctance will not gain much time for the citizenry. You see, If it comes to that, the governor will fire national guard generals until he gets one who will comply. They'll put together loyal units and after a few bloodbaths will parade the flag draped coffins of any dead soldiers or state troopers as martyrs...Black Lives Matter will, of course, not get a platform for a little while as Bloomberg, CNN and the rest of the media play up the death of these soldiers and cops and the Dems will weep crocodile tears most convincingly. A lot of Republicans based in DC (the opposite of based) would conceivably react to this hypothetical Horst Wessel moment by "heroically" reaching across the aisle in solidarity against "extremism" at which point in this hypothetical things would proceed to go spectacularly pear shaped in a way unlikely to be confined to The Old Dominion.
This how bad it could get. I'm not sure it will and hope it doesn't, but this affair is now a dry run for the progressives regarding what they intend for the country.
We must not loose sight of the fact that unlike at Lexington and Concord, we have the option of fixing this in November and in the 2021 State election. However, there remains the frighteningly real possibility that during the intervening 22 months before Northam is gone*, that this will not only end in blood, but massively advance the goals of those who see the citizenry as an impediment to their ambitions.
The Dems just effectively banned shooting ranges.
Map of second amendment sanctuaries as of last Monday .
How crazy are the new rules ? Proposed in paragraph 4 of VA Bill 18.2-308.8 is this bizarre gem of specificity in its vague word salad of what constitutes a prohibited 'assault' pistol.
A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a thumbhole stock; (iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iv) the capacity to accept a magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; (v) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the pistol with the non-trigger hand without being burned; (vi) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; (vii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a barrel extender, or (d) a forward handgrip; or (viii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (vii);
Emphasis mine. They are banning guns by weight!?
If it's more than 50 ounces...it's DANGEROUS!
There is an interesting twist on the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement afoot which is being discussed and already has two variations enacted. Tazewell County has announced that it will raise a militia of all citizens without felonies and Cullpepper County's police dept. is saying that they will deputize as reserve police officers, any citizen that wants to concealed carry and takes the currently standard concealed carry course...which they will provide. Note that both of these actions are explicitly allowed by the state constitution (as opposed to the second amendment sanctuaries which are implicitly tolerated under the rubric of law enforcement discretion and the fact that no one has shut down the immigration sanctuaries) . Stopping actions like Cullpepper and Tazewell counties require a full state constitutional amendment disallowing localities to raise local forces for emergencies...such an amendment is unlikely to pass. Note that there really is very little info on the Tazewell and Culpepper situations which is why my citations are a local news channel and a rural paper from Vermont.
UPDATE: In the comments J.Greely links to an excellent piece over at Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse which goes into the weeds of the legalities and logistics of using National Guard weapons (which are federal property, subject to Posse' Comitatus restrictions) here is an excerpt, but read the whole thing.
The National Guard does not keep ammo on hand in any relevant quantities. A small amount for training is it.
Per US Constitution and federal law, the governor CANNOT arm the NATIONAL Guard with federally owned weapons and ammo. He'd have to provide that.
Nor can he arm them without consent of the feds anyway. There are reasons for this. This is one of those reasons. It is not a bona fide emergency that does not permit of delay.
And the threat to do so is LITERALLY WHY WE HAVE THE SECOND AMENDMENT. Congrats, jerkwad! You've actually threatened to have the military repress people, and you're surprised that they're going to oppose you? EVERYONE should be opposing you. It's outrageous of itself, and outrageous precedent if allowed.
It's a very good overview, and a welcome bit of good news, but if you'll allow me to put on my little horned Devil's Advocate hat for a moment.......the fact that state legislators brought this up as a first ditch scenario indicates that they are little inhibited by legal propriety or conscience in these matters, and if things go their way in the next federal election there will be no check or balance on their ambitions. Way down the probability curve, there is also the matter of the VDF which is State owned an equipped, though, to be fair it is unlikely to have more than a few hundred ARs (if that). I believe half of it consists of MPs as it is intended to stand in for the VNG when that force is deployed overseas. However, I really don't see the VDF being at all willing or even able to step up to the plate on this. For one thing, they probably don't have more than a couple of hundred AR's in the whole force if that and it is, even more than the VNG, staffed by rural Virginia gun owners.
In any event, Mr. Williamson's overview of what every National Guard Adjunct and J.A.G. officer in the 55 states and territories is contemplating right now and the personal ramifications for them depending on what they decide is certainly food for thought and worthy of a read.
* Virginia governors are term limited to one term.
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