Monday, March 31, 2008

Did TSA Idiocy Cause Airline Gun Mishap?

(h/t The Michael Bane Blog)
Last week this story caused a mini-sensation when a pilot that had qualified through the "Federal Flight Deck Officer" program had an "accidental discharge." Take a look at the weapon and holster the program MANDATES for each FFDO. A LOCK through the TRIGGER GUARD?


I've been carrying a handgun for over 20 years now, and if ANYONE mandated that I should put ANYTHING in the trigger guard of MY weapon I would have immediately looked into seeing that THEY no longer carried a weapon. Anyone who is knowledgeable about firearms knows that the trigger is to NEVER be TOUCHED unless the weapon is to be fired SOON, as in IMMEDIATELY. This holster requires that a metal bar be threaded through the trigger guard of a double action pistol and worn on the hip. I'm FLOORED to think that this is the FIRST time something like this has happened.

And that lock that TSA mandates be threaded through the holster? It isn't even secure. Here's a video on how to pick it in seconds:

Paul Huebl of CrimeFileNews broke the story of how this holster and weapon were made for mishap back in December 2007.
It was only a matter of time before there’d be an accidental, non-negligent discharge of a Federal Flight Deck Officer’s weapon. Saturday a U.S. Airways pilot’s gun discharged on Flight 1536, which left Denver at approximately 6:45am and arrived in Charlotte at approximately 11:51am. The Airbus A319 plane landed safely and thankfully none of the flight’s 124 passengers or five crew members was injured

The insane procedures required by the TSA demands that our pilots to lock and then un-lock their .40 side arms was and is a solid recipe for disaster. Did the TSA deliberately create this bizarre and unconventional Rube Goldberg firearm retention system hoping for this result? The sordid history of the FAA and TSA’s total resistance to the concept of arming pilots to protect Americans is in itself a scandal.

Putting a gun into a holster and then threading a padlock through the trigger and trigger-guard is required every time the pilots enter or leave the cockpit. This kind of silliness has never been forced on any law enforcement or security officers anywhere in the world until now. Before this holster padlock procedure pilots with guns were forced to carry them around in a cumbersome 22 pound vault. The vault caused problems in the confined space of most cockpits.

FFDO pilots need to carry their side arms in conventional concealed holsters and there is no reason for the unnecessary handling of their firearms in the cockpits.

Huebl then made a video explaining how the discharge probably happened.

I have to say, this reeks of someone wanting to sabotage the process of arming pilots. No one can be THIS stupid, can they?

Here's a bit of a clue from the CBS item at the time:
The TSA initially opposed the Flight Deck Officer program to arm and train cockpit personnel. Agency officials worried that introducing a weapon to commercial flights was dangerous and that other security improvements made it unnecessary. Congress and pilots backed the program.

"The TSA has never been real supportive of this program," said Mike Boyd, who runs the Colorado-based aviation consulting firm The Boyd Group. "It's something I think Congress kind of put on them."

Stupidity or deliberate sabotage?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chess: My Events Update

It has been a while since I updated my correspondence chess events status.
-I may be closing in on my first ICCF event title in four tries.
-I'm currently at the top in what is probably my last ICC correspondence event, but that could change.
-I haven't started another USCF event as certain political events must be resolved within the Federation... Or I'll cease to be a member.
-I've joined the CCLA and CJA.


109In the first event I participated in at ICCF, WS/O/109, I long ago finished my games. However, there is still one game going; Deren, Marcin vs. Kýhos, Alois. If Deren wins, he and I are tied with Kýhos for 2nd-4th. If they draw or Kýhos wins, I have a clear 3rd after Pötz and Kýhos. In any case, I can do no worse than 3rd. Pötz is the clear winner after his recent result over Deren. I blogged about several games in this event; Barzaghi - Owens, Owens - Thomas, Kýhos - Owens, and Pötz - Owens. The Pötz loss made me swear off the Kalashnikov, at least for Correspondence play.

120In event WS/O/120, Jan Gantar has won 1st place. I am in a fight for 2nd place with Gerardo Sánchez Carmona. As the chart shows we are tied with four points, he having attained four wins and I having three wins and two draws. Ours is the last game in the event to be resolved and I can only capture 2nd with a win. We are almost sixty moves into a Caro-Kann Gurgenidze in which as Black I am up the Exchange. Sánchez Carmona allowed the exchange for a passed d pawn, but I was able to remove that pawn. We are in the early stages of the end game and I anticipate a full point and 2nd place in this event. I have not yet posted analysis of any of these games.

138In event WS/O/138, I have finished all my games with two wins and four draws. I was disappointed with my performance in this event as in at least three of my draws I had a clear advantage but was unable to press home the win. Once again, I can finish as high as my current 2nd place standing. The first five positions are still to be determined depending on the results of the last two remaining games. I have not yet posted analysis of any of the games in this event. I tried 1...e5 in my game versus Dumitrescu which became a Ruy Lopez Berlin. I entered the end game with a strong advantage but was outplayed in the end game and accepted a draw. Against Sarak I played the Black side of a 1.Nf3 game that turned into an English Symmetrical without g3. I chose a "Dragon" style set up and White responded with the Maroczy Bind. White sacced the Exchange for two connected passed pawns (d and c) that I was later obligated to return the exchange to remove. In the end game, White ended up two pawns, doubled on the g file, and I accepted a draw offer on the 78th move. Against Van henteryck, I played the White side of a Reti English and had a significant initiative late into the game. My pieces were well placed and had scope, but Black was well positioned for defense and had a passed c pawn. This game was tortuously drawn out with Black often moving only once every three or four weeks and several times coming within hours of a time forfeit. I couldn't see a definitive win and accepted a draw on the 35th move. Against Pareschi I played the Black side if an uninspired closed Sicilian (3.Bc4) that ended in a 40 move draw.

172In event WS/O/172, I am cautiously optimistic about my chances. I am currently in the lead with 3.5 points (three wins and a draw). In the one draw (Owens - Lehnen) I played a Reti English as White and allowed the game to get drawish much too quickly. Richardson - Owens saw White sac a piece for three pawns early in the middle game. I sacced the Exchange to double his f pawn and open up his King side around move 25. The Black Queen and Knight moved quickly on the weakened King side and White resigned after move 31. In Laine - Owens I returned to my favorite Caro-Kann. Bucking the trend, Laine chose the Classical variation. After White castled long, Black found a very strong attack on the c file and White resigned after move 26. Owens - Pooley is still on going in a Caro Kann Advance variation that is in the middle game. I think I have a strong advantage in this one. Owens - White is in the end game of a Reti English where I am up three clear pawns, two being connected passed pawns. The Queens are still on the board so the outcome is in doubt, but I retain a very strong advantage.


I have one game in one event still going at ICC. I think this will be the last ICC correspondence event for me. Twice my opponent has over stepped the time limits and has been allowed to continue. One game, as White in the London System, where I had to fight back from a tactical blunder very early ended in a draw. The other, where I am Black in a Reti English that transposed to a conventional KID, is on going. We're just entering the end game and I think I have a decent initiative. In the event, I have scored four out of five points with one point to be determined. As the event page has not been updated I'm not sure where I stand; win, place, show, or last. Blogged games from my last two ICC correspondence events are here, here, here, here, and here.


Both of the events (USCF/WS/07WM27 and USCF/WS/07WM41) I participated in at USCF Correspondence have finished. The only game I blogged is here.


I've joined both the Correspondence Chess League of America and Chess Journalists of America. I joined CCLA as one must be a member of USCF or CCLA to play in ICCF events. There are certain circumstances that may prompt me to leave the USCF when my annual membership is due this summer. CCLA is also inexpensive. I joined CJA since this and ChessUSA place me in a "journalist" type capacity. I encourage ALL bloggers to join CJA. The fee is insignificant ($10 per year) and if a sizable contingent of bloggers join and agree to abide by the CJA code of ethics I believe bloggers will gain better acceptance both from the size of the affiliated blogging community and the ethical quality of the resulting blogs that adhere to the code.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

If You Want To Send Hate Mail...

I made my email address available (it isn't listed on the blog page itself, but the address is obtainable to the enterprising from the page with only a couple clicks of a mouse) so that I could interact with those who wished to objectively discuss things, but preferred to do so in private instead of the "comments" area. I prefer having objective comments placed in the comments area, but I understand if some wish to email.

I've received a few nice comments in email, and loads of others as typified by the following:
Subject hey, ####head to me

why do you obsess on obama's preacher? got nuthing else to write about. how about soem more s####y excuses for chess games, or more racist redskin footbal talk. yer an idiot. #### you. obama/malcolm x 08

As they go, this one is trite to the point of absurdity, and I have received many more that are very imaginative and more curiously constructed. I don't mind, really, as some of them provide a delightful diversion from the toils of daily life. That leads to my request; if you must send this type of missive, please make it interesting.

Here's a hint: Scatological, anatomical, and parentage aspersions do not automagically translate to riveting prose.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chess: My First ICCF Rating

Based on my first 16 games I have my first published ICCF rating (1941) on the 2008/1 list:

This is very in line with my ICC rating which is at 1996.

At USCF I am at 1776 after six games and CCLA used my USCF rating of 1776 as a starting point. So, I'm at Class A at ICCF and ICC while my USCF rating has me in Class B. Trouble spots I have noticed are end games (I can think of at least one "won" game I blew with a poorly played end game) and my White repertoire. I do well when playing the Catalan as white, but not so well with the Reti and the London System or even the QG. The one rock solid part of my game is my Black repertoire versus 1.e4. I LOVE the Caro Kann!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Problems at Work?

I thought I had to deal with idiots at work... These guys go at it with an audience (last minute of the video)! (Hat Tip: Dagger at PostGameHeroes) - Watch more free videos

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Father

I've been out of touch for a week or so because of the passing of my father after an extended illness. I'll return online sometime soon after Sunday the 9th of March. Friends and family that were unable to attend services may view his memorial page at MEM.

Rev. Robert D. OwensRev. Robert Douglas Owens passed from this life March 1, 2008, at the age of 72 years. He was born in Slagle, Louisiana, and has lived in San Antonio, Texas for the last several years. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Amos P. and Edna Franklin Owens, his first wife, Delona Eskridge Owens, a grandchild, Joshua Owens, and three brothers. Buford A. Owens, Herman Owens, and Rev. Bruce Owens. He is survived by his wife, Velda R. Owens one son, Steven Douglas Owens and wife Lee; one grandson, Steven Douglas Owens II and wife, Rachael; three stepsons, Robert Austin and wife Josie, Timothy Austin and wife Deborah, and Joel Austin and wife Melynda. Also surviving is one brother, Rev. M. D. Owens and wife Erma; seven sisters, Margaret North and husband Phillip; Lenora Saunier, LaVonne Pugh and husband Jim; Doris Craighead and husband Billy; Edna Davis and husband Joe; Wanda Owens; Marlene Davis and husband Louis; along with one great granddaughter, Sydney Owens, nine step-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. HonorsMr. Owens served twenty-one years in the military, particularly during the VietNam Conflict, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He also pastored for a number of years at churches in Louisiana and New Mexico. His latest work was in El Paso, Texas. The visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 from 5:00 - 8:00 P.M. at Sunset North Funeral Home, 910 North Loop 1604 East (between Stone Oak Parkway-Voigt Dr. and Hwy 281. The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 12 Noon at the funeral home with Rev. David Caruthers officiating. The interment with military honors will follow at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.