Monday, June 29, 2015

Drops

Regular readers know my fondness for the CFDA game, where we shoot wax bullets at steel targets.  I've built a range in my backyard, and simply scrolling down will show plenty of photos of me and the family shooting in the back yard.  My targets are against a board fence, and while the bullets don't penetrate the fence, they are tough on it.  That fence has a lot of divots in it.

Practicing this morning, I couldn't find the target, and I couldn't judge my misses.  Frustrating.  I learned a long time ago that I learn more from my misses (in any shooting discipline) than I do from my hits.  If I hit the target, whether it is a two-foot steel plate at 21 feet, or a nine-inch AR500 target at 300 yards, if I hit it, I did everything right.  We've got to know where we're missing so that we can made adjustments and increase our accuracy.  Knowing about your misses is crucial, and I was getting no education from my misses on that wood fence.

A couple of weeks ago, my metal-working son told me about something called a "drop".  It's cut from the end of a sheet of metal, and is sold as scrap.  So, today I went down to Alexandria Iron, inquiring about "drops".  Sure enough, they had them, in 12 gauge metal.  Perfect.  I bought the three they had, and came home.  Inside of an hour, I had installed them behind one of our targets.

After installation, I added a quick coat of while lithium grease, then strapped on my revolver.  I've got a lot of work to do, but now I can start fine-tuning my draw.  The Southern Territorials is three weeks away.

Lock-Step Justice

When we consider the Supreme Court, we're talking about nine people, all successful lawyers and (as it turns out), educated at just two schools.  Harvard or Yale.  Generally, they divide into three camps, and you'll see each of them described as either liberal, conservative, or independent.  It normally shakes out like this"

Conservatives: Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts
Liberals: Breyer, Sotomayer, Ginsburg, and Kagan
Independent: Kennedy.

I consider Roberts an independent, because his record certainly doesn't indicate that he's conservative.  However, he's normally listed int he conservative camp, simply because he was nominated by George W. Bush.  So be it.

Dissent is patriotic and last week we saw withering dissents from Justice Scalia.  He is noted for such dissent, taking the other justices to task, whether consservative or liberal.  Justice Thomas also dissents, often disagreeing with even opinions that are conservative.  Occasionally, all nine justices come down on the same side of an issue with a 9-0 decision.  More often, we see a split, most often 5-4 with Kennedy being the deciding vote as we saw last wek in the same-sex marriage case.

Disssents are interesting, because they present an opposing viewpoint, letting us see the reasoning of our Justices.  I admit I'm no lawyer, but a good dissent is a joy to read.  Often we'll see a conservative justice agree with the majority in part, and dissent in part, going along with the conclusion, but dissenting on a particular point of law.  These are especially illuminating.

What I've never seen are the liberal justices dissenting among themselves.  I've done some small research this weekend as time permitted, and I can't find a sinlge instance where (for example) Sotomayer dissented from Kagaan, or Breyer dissented from Ginsburg.  It's as if they march in lockstep, arms joined, to uphold the liberal viewpoint.  That's quite interesting.  Or maybe the liberal justices don't have individual viewpoints, which is quite distressing.

It's as if the conservatives squabble among themselves, often pointing out individual reasoning and arguing points of law, while the liberal justices don't have individual opinions.  It's groupthink or nothing to advance an agenda.  For the Nation's high court, that's quite a sad commentary.

Again, I'm no lawyer, and I only notice the Supremes when they're screwing with me.  I'd prefer that they'd leave me alone, but sometimes they come up on my personal radar.

And, I would remind the Justices that the 10th Amendment exists for a reason.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Family Shoot

Our Sunday Family Shoot was rather abbreviated this weekend, simply because most of the family was off elsewhere.  However, we hosted a good friend's birthday party, young Dylan, who turned 12-years-old.  He's a gun nut like many of us, and when we told him that we shoot real guns, with reduced power ammunition in the back yard, he was all about it.

First, though, let me tell you that my grandson Zachary (Akarate Zach, CFDA #4057) saw the other kids at the Silsbee shoot, and told me that he wanted his name on his belt.  If PawPaw can accommodate a grandkid, he does it.  PawPaw found a saddle shop nearby that embosses leather and had Zachary's CFDA alias embossed on his belt.  He didn't see it until this morning, and he was truly pleased.  If any of you need leather work, I can recommend D&D Saddle Shop in Pineville, LA.  An example of his work is in the gunbelt below.

Now, Zach is stylishly accoutered for the Southern Territorial Championship that we'll attend in Odessa, TX later this month.

Back to the Sunday Family Shoot, we hosted a good friend, and he's a budding gun nut, so we took out holsters and set the electronics up on the targets.  Milady gave a brief safety talk, and he walked out to the line.  We made him shoot two-handed, because that's how we roll, but I believe he had a good time.  What you don't see is Milady, just outside of the camera to the left.  With young shooters n the line, safety first.


That's Zach on the left, and Dylan on the right, running Ruger Vaqueros against a timer.  I'm trying to build this silly game one shooter at a time, and I love showing people the game.

Same Sex Marriage

Following the Supreme Court ruling last week, it is instructive to see how Same-Sex marriage became legal across the United States.  Much noise has been made recently that a majority of Americans support same sex marriage and those polls may be right, but the simple fact is that same-sex marriage is largely a product of the courts.  Lets look at how that came about. The basic information came from this website.

First, the states where same sex marriage was ordered from the Courts:
Alabama Feb 9, 2015 US District Court
Alaska January 2015, US District Court
Arizona October 17, 2014 US District Court.
California August 4, 2010 US District Court
Colorado October 7, 2014 US District Court
Connecticut November 12, 2008 State District Court
Florida January 6, 2015 US District Court
Idaho October 15, 2014 US District Court
Indiana June 26, 2015 US District Court
Iowa April 27, 2009 Iowa Supreme Court
Kansas November 12, 2014 Various state and US Courts.
Massachusetts, May 17, 2004, Massachusetts Supreme Court
Montana November 19, 2014 US District Court
Nevada October 9, 2014 US District Court
New Jersey October 21, 2013 State Supreme Court
New Mexico December 19, 2013 State Supreme Court
North Carolina, October 10, 2014, US District Court
Oklahoma October 6, 2014 US District Court
Oregon May 19, 2014 US District Court
Pennsylvania May 20, 2014 US District Court
South Carolina, November 20, 2014, US District Court
Virginia October 6, 2014 US District Court
West Virginia November 7, 2014 US District Court
Wisconsin October 6, 2014 US District Court
Wyoming October 17, 2014 US District Court

That is, by my count, 38 states where same sex marriage was recognized by the Courts.  There can be no claim that the residents of those states consented to the process, or that it was democratic in nature.

Let's turn to that extensive list of states where the voters actually voted to extend the right of marriage to same sex couples.

Maine (Dec. 29, 2012), 
Maryland (Jan. 1, 2013), 
Washington (Dec. 9, 2012) 

That didn't take long.  Just exactly three states chose through popular referendum to allow same sex marriage.  That's democracy.

Now, that exhaustive list of states where the state legislature voted to allow same sex marriage:

Delaware (July 1, 2013), 
Hawaii (Dec. 2, 2013), 
Illinois (June 1, 2014), 
Minnesota (Aug. 1, 2013), 
New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010), 
New York (July 24, 2011), 
Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), 
Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009)

By my count that's eight states where the legislature acted.  That's democracy.

Next, the list of states that as of last Thursday, still banned same sex marriage by either constitutional amendment or legislation.  (This is democracy too)

Arkansas (2004, 1997), 
Georgia (2004, 1996), 
Kentucky (2004, 1998), 
Louisiana (2004, 1999), 
Michigan (2004, 1996), 
Mississippi (2004, 1997), 
Missouri (2004, 1996), 
Nebraska (2000)
North Dakota (2004, 1997), 
Ohio (2004, 2004), 
South Dakota (2006, 1996), 
Tennessee (2006, 1996), 
Texas (2005, 1997)

So, by actual count, we can see that of our 50 states, only eleven of them legalized same sex marriage through the democratic process.  The other 39 of them were ordered by the Courts to recognize same sex marriage, often in violation of the wishes of the people.  That's not democracy.

Same-sex marriage is largely an invention of the federal courts.  It was democratically advanced in eleven states, and imposed on the other thirty-nine by the federal court system.  That's not democracy.  Any attempt to paint it as democracy is a damned lie.

That being said, it is the law of the land, (even if it is imposed on us against our wishes).  I will comply with the law of the land.  I will also offer to my gay brethren the same dignity that I've always offered.  T hey are welcome in my home, and in my place of worship, and I hope and pray that they find fulfillment in their journey.  As Thomas Jefferson famously said, It does me no injury.  They're neither picking my pocket nor breaking my leg.

My issue is not against gay marriage, my issue is with the way it was imposed.

Let Freedom Ring.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

First Shots - Scout Project

Readers will remember that back in January, I bought a Savage 10FCM Scout, about a month before Savage came out with its Model 11 Scout.  Mine is the third generation of Savage's Scout rifle.  It still has the black stock, but the stock is the Accustock model, with Savage's aluminum bedding block in the stock.  It also has the Accutrigger.

Savage 10 FCM, as it came out of the box.
In March, I ordered a Burris Scout scope and mounted it.

I played with the scope around the house, trying to learn to use it, but I never got to the range with the rifle.  Until this morning.  I found a window of time, several hours, where Milady didn't want me underfoot, so I grabbed a box of my standard .308 hunting ammo and headed to the range. For those that wonder, my standard .308 hunting ammo is a Federal GMM brass, lit with a Winchester Large Rifle Primer, pushed by 43 grains of Reloder 15, and topped with a Sierra 168 grain GameKing.  It's very good, consistent ammo, that shows MOA tendencies in several rifles.  I don't take any special pains in building that ammo, simply because we have several .308s in the family, and I don't know which rifle it may be shot in.  It's pretty much my version of factory ammo.  It runs out of the tube at 2600 fps, and does everything we expect .308 ammo to do.

When I got to the range, I set up a target at 25 yards and sat down at the bench.  I used a 1-inch target dot and within three rounds, had zero'd the rifle at 12 yards, so when the line went cold, I hiked out to the 100 yard line and put up another target, this time with a 2-inch dot to verify the zero.  Six shots later, and one small adjustment, I had the zero fairly well nailed, so I waited for the line to go cold.

I noticed, trying to zero the rifle at 100 yards, that the reticle in that Burris scope pretty much hid that 2" dot way out at 100 yards.  Regular readers know that I've got some scopes, and some rifles that seeing and hitting a 1" dot at 100 yards is no real challenge.  Nice optics, plenty of magnification, and hitting very small targets isn't much of an issue.  This scope isn't for that type of shooting.  This is a Scout rifle, designed for practical shooting from a variety of positions and at a variety of targets.

When the line went cold, I went down to the 100 yard line with another backer, this time with a 3-inch dot, so that I could see the dot beyond the cross-hairs, but this time I didn't try for gnat's eyelash accuracy.  So, I moved the sandbags off  the bench, got on my elbows, and loaded a 10 round magazine.  I started shooting and cranking the bolt, probably a shot every four seconds, letting fly.  In less than a minute I was done.  The few other fellows on the line were looking at me as if I'd lost my mind.

Yet, when I walked down to get my target, I was fairly pleased with what I found.


That ins't bad for ten shots from a new rifle with a sighting system I'm still learning.  10 shots, all minute-of-Coke-can.  It's certiainly capable of taking a deer, or a hog, or any varmint that presents itself .  No, it's not benchrest quality, but the rifle wasn't built to compete in benchrest class.  It's a hunting rifle, a practical rifle with a low power scope.

I'm very pleased and as I spend more time with it, I can see that it will become an integral part of my battery.  What I did like about it is that it's very fast.  That forward mounted scope tends to promote shooting with both eyes open.  When you shoulder the rifle, the crosshairs seem to be hanging over the target, simply align the rifle and fire.  Snap-shooting is no problem with this rifle, and the serious caliber, along with that 168 grain bullet will send the message to whatever you're shooting at that you are serious indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

That Was The Week That Was

Thank God it's Friday.  I don't think I could take any more of this week.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court led by John Roberts (hack, spit) said that plain language in legislation means nothing, in their 6-3 decision upholding Obamacare.  The phrase "established by the state" means nothing.  Worse, it lets the IRS ignore written law and administer the code any way they see fit.

Today, in a more narrow 5-4 ruling, the Supremes said that same-sex marriage is legal everywhere.  Mr. Justice Kennedy (hack, spit) wrote the majority opinion.

Legally this week, the world turned upside-down.  I'm sure that there will be plenty of analysis and commentary to keep us occupied, but in the meantime I'm going to have a drink.  Or several.

Let freedom ring.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Patio Furniture

Sometime prior to 2006, (probably '05.. maybe '04) Milady and I bought a bar, an outside bar to put on the patio.  And we used it, through two or three weddings, lots of gatherings, plenty of parties, and in the last year or so, it started coming apart.  Several years ago, I had installed a new bar-top, of good marine plywood with multiple coats of poly, but it was looking weathered and worn, and Milady decided it had reached the end of its service life.

So, as wives do, she shopped around and gave me instructions to give the bar the heave-ho.  Grandson and I completed that task earlier this week, and yesterday Milady loaded us in the truck and we went to get new patio furniture.  Of course, some assembly is required, so I pressed grandson into service and he was a big help, running an Allen wrench.


While he was tightening everything up, I was peeling the bubble-wrap off the new chairs, and in just an hour or so, we had the project completed.


I think that's going to work out pretty good.  The gazebo that is over the table is weather-worn and UV'd to the point where it's falling apart.  Early in July Ill have to do something about that, and I'm planning a nice, flat-roof sunscreen with a metal roof.  There's no sense putting up another gazebo that will weather apart in three years.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Elyas' Vegetable Soup

We're hosting grandson Elyas this week.  Yesterday he told me that he needed some "yummy vegetables", and wanted to cook a small, simple soup for lunch today.  So, we went to the store this morning after chores, and got the ingredients he wanted.

Elyas' Vegetable Soup.

One stalk celery, chopped.
One tomato, chopped.
Six small red potatoes, chopped.
Handful of baby carrots, chopped.
Half-bag of frozen green peas.
Half-bag of frozen cut corn.
Chicken broth
Salt, pepper.

Elyas prepping vegetables.
Cooking.

Dump prepped veggies into a pot, cover with chicken broth, and simmer for an hour or so, till the carrots are tender.


With the weather so far the hottest of the year, I'm not sure that vegetable soup would have been my first choice, but that's what is for lunch.  It's probably a lot more healthy than anything I would have come up with.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cask Strength

I don't ask for, nor expect gifts on Father's Day.  My children do enough during the year to help the old man, and I don't expect gifts for made-up holidays.  Yet this year, stepson showed up at the house on Sunday morning with an intriguing bag, it looked almost like a whiskey bottle, but smaller.  Yet, it had a familiar profile.


Maker's Mark, cask strength.  The bottle shape is familiar to every bourbon drinker, but this stuff is supposedly bottled straight from the cask.  It's marked at 113 proof, so it should show some kick.  Two reviews that I've seen say nice things about it, although I admit I haven't opened the bottle yet. It comes in a 375 ml bottle.

As bourbon drinkers we're all familiar with Maker's Mark, a very satisfying bourbon, a step above the lower shelf bourbons we normally drink.  By that I mean the sour-mash whiskeys such as Jim Beam, or Evan Williams (or, dare I say it, Jack Daniels).  Not that there is anything wrong with those whiskeys, Indeed, they each have a space on the whiskey shelf in my house.  Good, everyday whiskey is something to be enjoyed.  I normally have a snort of one or the other most evenings.

But, really good whiskey deserves better, and I suspect that this is good whiskey.  It won't be mixed with cola, indeed, it may not be mixed with anything more than a splash of good branch water.  In my mind, good whiskey should be savored for what it is.  Good whiskey deserves blue jeans, flannel shirts, and a gently crackling fire.  A nice highball glass, and good company.

I think I'll save this bottle for the autumn.  Thanks, JimBob.  Don't get your feelings hurt if the old man saves this one for a while.  I think it will be worth the wait.

Around The Bend

Recently, I've been reading about liberal white guilt.  It's an amazing phenomenon, with catch-phrases like White Privilege and White Racial Identity Development.  Much of it springs from the Rachel Dolezal case study, where a white person identifies as .... something else.  Pick a category, any category.

So, reading at Hot Air today, I found a headline that set me back in my chair.  A great plan: liberals refusing to breed so they don’t biologically spread white privilege.   I must admit, I was both amused and intrigued, so I started clicking links.  I wound up at HuffPo, where Ali Michael talks about her journey toward perfect self-awareness.  The train of thought staggers me, not necessarily in a good way.
Beverly Daniel Tatum has written that White people don't choose to identify as White because the categories to choose from are loaded from the start. Traditionally, one can identify as a colorblind White person, a racist White person or an ignorant White person: those are the three ways White people get talked about as White. If those are the options, who would choose to identify as White? And so White people identify as "normal" and "Irish" and "just American" and do not self-identify racially. And that leaves us with a society in which only people of color have a race, where only people of color seem to be responsible for racialized problems. It makes it hard for all of us to know and tell our racial stories -- because White people think we don't have any. And it makes it hard for us to own our history, because we don't see it as ours.
 Many White people also feel like we don't have culture, and this isn't a coincidence.
If the writer of the paragraphs above doesn't know her culture, then her parents failed miserably. Horrifically, tragically.  I am a white male, but from a young age, I was taught my history, my culture.  Of French ancestors cast adrift from Canada, of German ancestors coming to find a new life, of Scots-Irish farmers seeking adventure, of native Americans on the Dawes roll.  Of silver-smiths, of carpenters and mechanics, of women who refused to be cast in a role.  From my parents knees, through my sister's independent research, through general education in the halls of the public schools, I am aware of my heritage.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  In fact, I am proud of who I am.  My family story is rich, vibrant, and compelling, of people trying to make a life in an often hostile environment.

Yes, I was born and raised in the Deep South, and I understand the horror of racism and the devastating legacy that it proposes.  Yet, I refuse to be chained by it.  As any intelligent person can, I learned from the general past and don't feel bound by it.

If Ms. Micheal doesn't have a culture, she should talk with her parents about their failure. Or, sign up with a genealogical service and start finding out who she is.  She might come to learn that she has nothing to be ashamed of either.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have chores to do, and a grandson to educate.