Archive for April, 2009

29
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Guns

Helena, Mont. (AP) – Montana is trying to trigger a battle over gun control – and perhaps make a larger point about what many folks in this ruggedly independent state regard as a meddlesome federal government.

In a bill passed by the Legislature earlier this month, the state is asserting that guns manufactured in Montana and sold in Montana to people who intend to keep their weapons in Montana are exempt from federal gun registration, background check and dealer-licensing rules because no state lines are crossed.

That notion is all but certain to be tested in court.

The immediate effect of the law could be limited, since Montana is home to just a few specialty gun makers, known for high-end hunting rifles and replicas of Old West weapons, and because their out-of-state sales would automatically trigger federal control.

Still, much bigger prey lies in Montana’s sights: a legal showdown over how far the federal government’s regulatory authority extends.

“It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” said Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who signed the bill.

Carrie DiPirro, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, had no comment on the legislation. But the federal government has generally argued that it has authority under the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution to regulate guns because they can so easily be transported across state lines.

Guns and states’ rights both play well in Montana, the birthplace of the right-wing Freemen militia and a participant in the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s, during which Western states clashed with Washington over grazing and mineral extraction on federal land.

Montana’s leading gun rights organization, more hardcore than the National Rifle Association, boasts it has moved 50 bills through the Legislature over the past 25 years. And lawmakers in the Big Sky State have rebelled against federal control of everything from wetland protection to the national Real ID system.

Under the new law, guns intended only for Montana would be stamped “Made in Montana.” The drafters of the law hope to set off a legal battle with a simple Montana-made youth-model single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle. They plan to find a “squeaky clean” Montanan who wants to send a note to the ATF threatening to build and sell about 20 such rifles without federal dealership licensing.

If the ATF tells them it’s illegal, they will sue and take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if they can.

Similar measures have also been introduced in Texas and Alaska.

“I think states have got to stand up or else most of their rights are going to be buffaloed by the administration and by Congress,” said Texas state Rep. Leo Berman.

Critics say exempting guns from federal laws anywhere would undermine efforts to stem gun violence everywhere.

“Guns cross state lines and they do so constantly, and this is a Sagebrush Rebellion-type effort to light some sort of fire and get something going that’s pleasing to the gun nuts and that has very little actual sense,” said Peter Hamm, communications director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

In a 2005 case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in California, even if the drug is for medical purposes and is grown and used within the state. The court found that since marijuana produced in California is essentially indistinguishable from pot grown outside the state, the federal government must have the authority to regulate both to enforce national drug laws.

Randy Barnett, the lawyer and constitutional scholar who represented the plaintiff in the California case, said that Montana could argue that its “Made in Montana”-stamped guns are unique and sufficiently segregated as to lie outside federal regulation.

Supporters of the measure say the main purpose is not extending gun freedoms, but curbing what they regard as an oppressive interpretation of the interstate commerce clause and federal overreach into such things as livestock management and education.

“Firearms are inextricably linked to the history and culture of Montana, and I’d like to support that,” said Montana state Rep. Joel Boniek, the bill’s sponsor. “But I want to point out that the issue here is not about firearms. It’s about state rights.”

25
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Humor, Money, Precious Metals

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A person I work with decided it would be funny to pay me a small debt, in pennies, unrolled pennies. Little did he realize, that I just love coins.  So I spent about 30 mins of my saturday to sort and roll them.Things to keep in mind.1. Pennies 1981 and older, are 95% copper, after 81, they are about 5% copper.  Pre 82 pennies are worth more in copper, than the penny is worth.2. Wheat Pennies were made 1958 and before.3. Canadian pennies are worth nothing, really.

What I found was this. Of the 1000 pennies:

1958 and prior:      13      1.3%

1981 and prior:    748     74.8%

1982 and newer:   230    23%

Canadian:                 5       .5%

15
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Guns

When Tim Dunman drove past his neighbor’s house Tuesday around noon, something didn’t sit right.

The garage door was open, both of the homeowners’ vehicles were gone and there was a vehicle he had never seen before in the driveway.

“It just felt like something wasn’t right,” he said. “I could just tell something wasn’t right, so I turned back around.”

Dunman said the homeowner, who is in her 80s, returned to the Carrabba Road home with her grandson and parked in the garage, and Dunman pulled in to the driveway behind her vehicle.

As the homeowner walked into the home through the garage, Dunman said, a man walked out the front door with a flat-screen TV in his hands.

“I told him three times to stop, that I have a gun,” Dunman said. “He got in his car and started reversing on me, and that’s when I felt like I was in danger and opened fire.”

Dunman, who got his concealed handgun license about two months ago, said he fired seven rounds from his Colt .45. At first, he was aiming for the tires, he said, but then he aimed a little higher.

“And that’s when he went from slowly trying to leave to really leaving fast,” he said.

Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said Shane Thomas Vaughan drove across the home’s lawn to make his getaway before being stopped a short time later and getting arrested. The homeowners’ TV was recovered from the vehicle, officials said.

Vaughan, 18, was being held in the Brazos County Jail without bail Tuesday night. He has two prior convictions in Brazos County for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Dunman said he got back in his truck and was chasing after the vehicle when he saw another man coming out the back door of the home and hopping over a fence.

“At that time, though, I was on the phone with 911 dispatch and they were asking a lot of questions, so I kinda lost track of where he went,” he said.

Investigators spent all afternoon Tuesday looking for the second man. The search involving dogs from the Texas Department of Corrections and at least 25 law enforcement officers was called off Tuesday evening.

Police said the man was Hispanic or a light-skinned African-American.

Kirk said the tracking dogs were able to find the man’s trail and an article of clothing believed to be his.

Investigators will follow up on the case, Kirk said, and continue to look for the man. Kirk said investigators don’t believe the two men are related, and there didn’t appear to be a connection to Monday’s home invasion robbery of a Woodville Road home.

Residents of the neighborhood off Carrabba Road were told to lock their doors and stay inside while the officers combed the area, and the reverse 911 system was activated.

“It’s not really common that we do that,” Kirk said. “But any time there is a potential public threat, we like to send those out.”

Kirk said Dunman had a license to carry a concealed weapon and was within his rights to use it because he thought his life was in danger.

“Clearly, you have to have a legal right to carry a weapon first,” he said. “And you can use deadly force if you reasonably believe your life is in danger or the life of another.”

Dunman said he thinks he did the right thing and worries about what would have happened if he hadn’t stopped.

“The man of the home was in Conroe fishing and the woman was with her grandson,” he said. “I just hate to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t been there — her in the house with those guys.

“I’m glad I was able to help them out,” he said. “I just hope it doesn’t happen again for a while.”

15
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Uncategorized

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement agencies that recent news is helping “right-wing extremist groups” recruit new members and could lead to violence, and warns about the possible recruitment and radicalization of returning veterans.

The report, issued last week, is part of an ongoing review of extremists on both ends of the political spectrum.

The latest assessment by DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis found no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on fears about the recession and the election of the first African American president. The office called them “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment.”

“Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning,” the assessment reads.

“The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when right-wing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.,” it continues.

The report also suggests that returning veterans are attractive recruits for right-wing groups looking for “combat skills and experience” so as to boost their “violent capabilities.” It adds that new restrictions on gun ownership and the difficulty of veterans to reintegrate into their communities “could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

“Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of right-wing extremist groups … The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by right-wing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement,” the report says.

The assessment notes that right-wing recruitment grew in the 1990s but subsided after increased scrutiny by the government following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

It does state that in 2009 “threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups … have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”

“Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn-including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit-could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past,” reads a key finding in the assessment.

DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban said the April 7 assessment is one in an ongoing series published by DHS “to facilitate a greater understanding of radicalization in the United States.”

“DHS has no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruitments by playing on their fears about several emerging issues,” Kuban said.

But some critics have said the DHS is equating conservative views to right-wing terrorism, but a DHS official countered that earlier this year, the department issued a mirror intelligence assessment of left-wing extremist groups.

“This is the job of DHS, to assess what is happening in this country, with regard to homegrown terrorism, and determine whether it’s an actual threat or not, and that’s what these assessments do. This is nothing unusual. These assessments are done all the time. This is about awareness,” the official told FOX News on Monday.

FOX News has obtained a copy of the assessment, dated Jan. 26 and titled “Left-wing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyberattacks Over the Coming Decade.” It concentrates largely on the technical savvy of left-wing extremists and not bloodshed.

“The perception that cyberattacks are non-violent aligns well with ideological beliefs, strategic objectives and tactics of many left-wing extremists,” the earlier report reads. “The increasing reliance of commercial business and other enterprises on cyber technologies, including interconnected networks and remote access, creates new and expanding vulnerabilities that technically savvy left-wing extremists will exploit.”

The report specifically mentions “eco-terrorist” Earth Liberation Front, which has been accused of firebombing construction sites, logging companies, car dealerships and food science labs. The report notes that left-wing extremists prefer economic damage on businesses to get the message across.

“Their no-harm doctrine includes claiming to ensure the safety of humans, animals and the environment even as they attack businesses and associated operations,” the report reads. ” Direct actions range from animal releases, property theft, vandalism and cyber attacks, all of which extremists regard as non-violent, to bombings and arson.”

The assessment says it “focuses on the more prominent leftwing groups within the animal rights, environmental, and anarchist extremist movements that promote or have conducted criminal or terrorist activities.”

Click here for a link to the assessment report on right-wing extremists (pdf).

Click here for a link to the assessment report on left-wing extremists (pdf).

9
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Guns

No charges have been filed so far in a fatal shooting earlier this week on Interstate 45.

Houston police said a man killed one man and wounded two others after they fired at him while driving in the 9400 block of North Freeway about 12:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Officers were called to a gas station in the 7400 block of North Shepherd because three males had been shot. Investigators determined that the men had been shot at the freeway and drove to the Shell station.

According to police, they were driving a white Pontiac Grand Prix when they fired gunshots at the driver of a truck. Then they exited the freeway at West Gulf Bank.

The truck driver stopped on the West Gulf Bank overpass and got a rifle from his back seat for protection, police said. As he looked over the side of the freeway to see the license plate of the Pontiac, he saw the car’s driver’s side window open and feared the suspects would shoot at him again.

He fired several shots at the Pontiac, hitting the passenger who was sitting in the front seat and another man who was in the back seat.

The front-seat passenger, 17, was taken to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead.

The Ponitac’s driver, who was cut in the face by flying glass and shrapnel, and rear seat passenger were treated at the hospital. Their conditions are not immediately known.

A 19-year-old man who was passenger in the car ran away, but was later found and questioned.

2
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Uncategorized

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1 day of “excess” has cost me, it seems.   I took a 1.5/2.0 pound penalty for a crazy lunch and a night out at Wing House.

This might make it more difficult to make a goal set for 4/4.  Guess I’ll have to behave for the next few days, and visit the gym every night.

1
Apr

   Posted by: RobPatton   in Biggest Looser, Life Stuff

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Diet Bet Status April 1, no, this isn’t an April fools anything

April 1 weigh in was overall  very good.

Rob has lost 45 pounds, or 13.04% and has 44.4 pounds remaining.

RJ has lost 45 pounds, or 15.10% and has 29.7 pounds remaining.

Now Pay attention here to THESE numbers.,

Yes, I’m a little behind in the race, but:

I was able to loose 25 pounds during the month of March, while RJ lost only 8.2 pounds.

If we kept this same rate of loss going, I would win on about may 16th.  This gives me a goal.