Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Saturday Story

I met Milady online. Yeah, when I was single, I put up an ad on Yahoo! Personals. Anyway we hooked up online and chatted for a couple of weeks, then decided to meet in person. That went well and we started dating. One of her favorite hangouts was a place called the Chalet Lounge.

Back in the days of my mis-spent youth, the Chalet Lounge was a hell-hole. 'nuff said about that. Over the years, the management has changed and the Chalet has become a redneck/working class/middle aged biker bar. It ain't quiet, but it ain't dangerous, either. They have a pretty good house band, the drinks are honestly mixed, and the management doesn't tolerate any shit. The manager will form a posse from the guys at the bar and eject a troublemaker face-first into the gravel parking lot where the Alexandria PD will police-up what's left.

A fellow can still hook-up at the Chalet. American society being what it is, at any time there is a representative sample of unattached American females, doing what single people do. These women are the cream of the crop. Experienced in American culture, and with the singe marks of being burned before, they can separate the bullshit from the bull in short order. It doesn't take them long to cull a fellow. These gals love to play, but they ain't toys. If you trifle with one of them, you're apt to get hurt.

Anyway, one day last week, Milady and I were wandering aimlessly about town and we decided to pop in to the Chalet to pay our respects to the management. We arrived and the manager, Larry, hugged my lady's neck. "Damn, girl, it's been a long time."

Larry shook my hand and we started catching up on news and views in Central Louisiana. We talked about how Milady's schedule and mine don't often mesh, and that we just don't have as much time as we did when we were single, yada, yada, yada.

"Besides, Larry," I told him. "I can't come in here alone, anymore. I'm a-skeered."

"Skeered of what?" Larry asked.

"Them Floozies down the bar. If I come in here by myself, they might hurt me."

Milady patted my hand. "Don't worry, sweetie. I'll protect you from them Floozies. You stick with me, you'll be okay."

Evidently, that was just exactly what she wanted to hear.

Friday, April 28, 2006

American dream - Paying taxes??

I was just over at Facing South, which bills itself as "blogging for a progressive South" and in this post, stumbled upon this hook line.
The essence of the American dream is that every child born should have an equal shot at success, and that every person should pay their fair share of taxes, right?
I had to back away from the screen and rub my eyes. Part of the American dream is paying taxes? Not any dream I have ever seen in print.

I've seen taxes viewed as inevitable, as confiscatory, as unconstitutional, but never as part of the American dream. What kid dreams of growing up to pay taxes?

Then I started chuckling to myself. I couldn't help it. I read blogs for information and entertainment. This was pure entertainment.

Line after line of pure Fisk-able thoughts, loosely assembled with a tainted understanding of American culture. We find multiple disconnects in adjacent sentences, such as this lovely:
The scandal season is still in full bloom, claiming ethically challenged lawmakers across the political aisle. Two recent items of a Southern flavor (hat tip to TPM Muckraker):

(1) Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is in deep trouble, says today's New York Times, for funneling half a billion dollars to his favorite non-profits in the state. Small beans compared to, say, the amount the Pentagon has misplaced for the Iraq war in the last couple years, but still unseamly.
First of all, West Virginia isn't a Southern State. Folks from New York or Maryland might consider it Southern, but no one from the deep south would even consider it on the list. Second, it seems that she is complaining about a scandal affecting a Democrat. Then we find it connected, somehow, to DoD expenditures. The disconnects are stunning in their breadth and mystifying in their complexity.

I read some good progressive blogs, but this ain't one of them. This is pure entertainment.

Blemished Bullets

From time to time we come across a good deal in bullets, and blemished bullets are one of those good deals.

Sometimes the bullet manufacturers close out a particular bullet, or a run of bullets isn't quite up to specs, or a contract was cancelled and they find themselves overstock. They sell those bullets to jobbers at a discount, with the caveat that the manufacturer not be identified.

Lock Stock and Barrel has a blemished bullet sale going on. I decided to stock up while the stock was available. I wanted some .308 180 grain bullets and some .243 100 grain bullets. I tried clicking on their link and found that the .308 bullets were out of stock, so I called the 1-800 number and talked to a wonderful sales rep who told me that the .30 caliber bullets were sold out. I asked about the .243 bullets and she told me that they had about 30,000 of those. So, I ordered 500 of them. They come come in the door at about 9 cents each, with shipping, which is considerable less expensive than buying them at 13 cents to 15 cents apiece. 500 bullets in that caliber should last me a while.

The nice lady at Lock, Stock and Barrel did promise me that they would update the webpage. I asked if they were anticipating getting any more blem bullets in the near future. She told me that those contracts are let on a bid basis and they never know in advance when blem bullets become available or if they will win the bid when it becomes available. She told me to keep checking back, but most of the time, when the bullets are gone, they are gone forever.

Still, it is a good deal if you can find it. Lock, Stock and Barrel has treated me right with past purchases. They seem to be a good business to work with. Tell 'em Pawpaw sent you.

If anyone else knows of available blemished bullets for sale, let me know in comments or by email. I'm always looking for a bargain.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Well, duuh!

From the Dead Pelican, we get this story from the LSU Reville. It seems that students are being denied financial aid because of drug convictions. Well, duuh!
Thousands of Louisiana students have been denied federal financial aid because of drug convictions, according to statistics released by Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Actually, it isn't a bad as it sounds. Most of the students are responsible enough to avoid a criminal record. We learn that;
Of the 1,333,912 Louisiana applicants, 2,890 students were denied aid. Louisiana had 0.22 percent of applicants denied, which is slightly lower than the national average of 0.25 percent.
Which isn't so bad, once you think about it.
Karen Malovrh, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws chapter coordinator, said NORML agrees with SSDP’s initiatives to change the Aid Elimination Penalty. “The numbers are really interesting because they show that there are many students out there who are losing out because they made a mistake,” Malovrh said.
Once again, we have someone equating criminal conduct with making a mistake. There is a difference. A big difference.

Here is the difference. Society, through our elected officials, imposes sanctions against certain types of behavior. From Congress down to the city council, laws and ordinances are passed that criminalize certain behavior.

There is a civics lesson involved here. If you don't like the law, work to change it. In the meantime, comply with it. If you don't comply with the law, then don't complain when society extracts sanctions. When you ignore the law, you risk becoming entangled in the criminal justice system as a defendant. You become a criminal.

As a cop, I see laws come and go all the time. What was criminal behavior ten years ago is now legal behavior in some circumstances. Why? Because the law was changed. If, for example, the Congress decided next week to decriminalize the possession of marijuana then I would scratch that law off my list. No problem, one less law for me to enforce, so I can spend more time protecting and serving the citizens.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Neck expanding

When we reload, the brass is "sprung" in that it had to expand to release the bullet that we last fired. This makes the cartridge slightly oversize, and before we reload the bullet we have to bring that dimension down to properly hold the bullet.

Full length resizing or neck sizing takes care of this little problem. The neck of the brass is brought back, generally, to 1/1000th (one one thousandth) of an inch smaller than the bullet we intend to load. In a common .30 caliber cartridge that seats a .308 bullet, the neck will be sized to .307. Loading the bullet will provide the tension needed to hold the bullet in place, unless we intend to crimp it for use in lever action or pump action weapons.

We're not talking about crimping today, though. That is a whole nuther problem that we will deal with in the future.

When we reload a cast bullet, that sizing we did earlier makes our job harder. Almost impossible. A cast bullet is softer than the cartridge brass and the bullet won't size the case neck. The case neck will shave lead off one side of the bullet, rendering our carefully cast and sorted bullet unstable. An unstable bullet flies God-knows-where, which is not conducive to accuracy.

So, we must flare that case neck. We make a funnel of it, wider at the mouth than necessary to give our cast bullet a chance to start into the neck without shaving lead. Some folks just use a screwdriver tip to expand the brass. This is certainly a useful skill, but Lyman makes something called an M-Die that is found in popular calibers and is designed just for this task. Lee also makes a die, a universal neck expansion die.

Remember, in flaring the case neck, go easy. Only induce enough expansion to start the bullet by hand. Too much expansion doesn't help the bullet, and work-hardens the brass. Just enough expansion is what we are looking for.

Last year, I ordered the Lee die and I am very happy with it. It comes with two expanders that will expand brass from .22 caliber up past .45 caliber. The die and expanders are constructed so that you can set it up to resize the shortest brass or the longest brass.

The simple instructions come with the die and by using one or both of the expander buttons in one of several configurations, we are able to simply expand the case neck just enough to hand-start the bullet in the case neck before we seat it.

This photo shows a cast bullet started in the mouth of a .30-30 case. The expanded portion is barely visible in the picture. As this bullet is seated, the seating die will "iron" out the flare, and the cartridge will be ready for crimping.

If you don't have an expanding die, or are looking for one prior to using cast bullets, I recommend the Lee Die. It has served me well since I got it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Evening reloading

For those of you who have been reading this little blog, you know I recently cast some 311041 bullets with a new mold. You also know that I recently purchased some surplus IMR 4895 powder.

IMR 4895 is a good powder for cast bullet loads in the venerable .30-30 Winchester. I did my research and found that a charge of 25.0 grains of 4895 ought to give me about 1500-1600 fps with that 311041 bullet. My goal is to approach 1700 fps with no leading. So, I started low, and I'll work up as I learn how the load reacts in my gun.

Anybody can buy .30-30 ammo anywhere, for almost a pittance. That factory ammo will produce 2200 fps any day of the week. Folks want to know why anyone would purposely reload ammo that is of lesser performance than the factory fodder. Well, it turns out there are some pretty good reasons.

1) Anyone can buy factory ammo.
2) Reloading saves money in that the per-round cost is reduced over the cost of factory ammo.
3) Cast bullets are effective for a number of purposes, including but not limited to plinking, target work, practice, and teaching novice shooters.
4) Cast bullets are less expensive than jacketed bullets. I make mine out of lead scap that I scrounge at various places. The cost of a lead bullet made at home is virtually zero.
5) Cast bullets are effective for hunting within their capabilities. Virtually every game animal in the world has fallen to a lead bullet. Jacketed bullets were virtually unheard of prior to 1890.

So, tonite I went outside and loaded some home-cast bullets into .30-30 cases. It took about an hour to load a box of ammo, but during the process a buddy pulled up in the driveway and I went out to talk with him, then the neighbor kids came over on bicycles to see what was going on. It was a thoroughly enjoyable hour and I have some ammo to test this weekend.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Duke vs Edwards

Politics in Louisiana makes for strange bedfellows, and what our elections lack in rational substance, they sure make up in pure entertainment value. Here in the Bayou State, politics is a spectator sport.

Could anyone forget that Sunday morning in 1991 when we woke up to realize that we had a run-off for governor and we had to choose between the Grand Klaxon of the Klu Klux Klan, David Duke, and the most corrupt governor in recent history, Edwin Edwards. What a disaster, what a choice. No one with any semblance of conscience could vote for Edwin, but the alternative was even worse. Many of us gagged our way to the polls that November morning. I voted that day for Edwin, hoping that the poll would burn to the ground before my vote was counted.

Then, there was the mayoral race in Sunset La, that when all the ballots were tabulated, we discovered that more votes had been cast than the registered voters eligible in the town.

Or, the district judgeship election in Coushatta, where the issue was decided by one vote. One vote. The parole officer there knew that dozens of ineligible parolees had voted. He of course, wisely kept his mouth shut. He didn't want to be the prime witness in a judicial challenge of a judicial race.

Well, the voters of New Orleans have handed us another one.

Ray-Ray (chocolate city) Nagin vs Mitch (my sister the Senator) Landrieu.

Nagin plays on the black vote, and Landrieu ...(wait for it).... plays on the black vote. Sister Mary was beaten by five points outside of Orleans, and New Orleans got out the vote with the school buses that Nagin drowned, to elect Mary to the Senate. Who'd a thunk it? Mary won by 10,000, and 100,000 came from Orleans parish. What a coincidence.

Paul, over at Whizbang, gives us the scoop on the race, from an insider perspective. If you think the pundits in the big daily papers have a clue what is going on, you are dead wrong. Hell, even the Times Picayune is going to have trouble calling this one. For the best idea of what is going on, watch the betting in Las Vegas. They don't have a clue either, but at least small money is riding on the election there. There ain't no small money left in this race. The big boys have come out to play.

Anyway, we now have two caricatures of politics in Louisiana locked in a nine-point mayors race. It's going to be interesting, that is for damned sure. It's going to be a disaster for New Orleans, that is for damned sure.

This race is as screwed up as Hogan's Goat. Nowhere but in Louisiana... at least I don't have to pull a lever.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New Orleans returns

I'm watching the New Orleans returns and I am reminded of an election we had in Natchitoches twenty years ago.

One incumbent politician had so alienated the citizenry that when the votes were tabulated he had lost by something like 90%. It was distressing.

What was really distressing for him on a personal note was that for one particular precinct, he had gotten no votes. Zero. The null set. His opponent had swept the polls. That particular precinct was where his mother voted. Even she had pulled the lever against him. He left town the next week and was never heard from again.

Anyway, I'm watching the polling in New Orleans and right now the lead is flipping back and forth. No one has a mandate yet, and the evening is young. One thing stands out, though.

Ray Nagin can probably count on his family to vote for him. That might count for a hundred votes in a large, extended family. All the rest of those folks who voted for him are absolute, unrepentant idiots.


I like good ribs. Pork spareribs cooked slowly over an open fire. Milady likes ribs. Likes them a lot. The problem with cooking ribs is that when Milady gets "rib hungry", we tend to get on the motorcycle and find a rib joint. That makes good sense when there are only two of us. Ribs are easy to find in barbeque hungry Louisiana, and we get to explore restaurants and rib joints that we wouldn't find if I were cooking ribs at home.

This weekend, though, we were hosting a birthday party for my grandson, and I decided to cook ribs. I called my resident expert, who runs a rib joint in Natchitoches, LA, and asked him.

"Ribs are easy, Dad". My resident expert is also my youngest son. "Cook them for six hours. I like to give them a good dry rub, then cook them at 350 for four hours, then marinate them in a good sauce for a couple of hours, then put them back on the pit for two hours. Watch 'em close those last two hours, they'll start to fall apart."

So, I did what the boy told me. He didn't give explicit instructions, because he grew up cooking at my elbow and we think a lot alike. I dry-rubbed the ribs with Tony Chachere's and put them in the oven for four hours, then took them out and marinated them with a marinade of half cheap barbeque sauce and half beer. I added a shake or two of Tabasco sauce, some Worchestireshire, and a sprinkle of garlic powder. I made a hell of a mess in the Lady's oven, which I have to clean shortly.

Then, I put them on the pit, keeping them mopped with that same marinade mixture. One rack started falling apart after about an hour. The other two racks maintained their composure until I put on the sausage.

The ribs are stacked on the left, and the pit is covered in sausage. Moving the ribs was difficult as the meat had separated from the bones. I let the sausage brown on the grill then loaded everything into trays. Inside, Milady had cooked beans and a potato salad, with good garlic bread.

These are wet ribs. The marinade sauce is in the container to the left of the pit. I used a common, cheap-bought-at-Harbor-Freight brush to continue to marinate the meat while it cooked. Everytime I turned those ribs, they got a brushing with that sauce. These are wet ribs. It is a cooking philosophy that has stood the test of time.

Other places cook barbeque dry, without the marinate added during the cooking cycle. A pox on those places. This is barbeque like it was intended to be.

Time for me to clean the oven. Next time I'll do the whole thing on the pit. It's a lot easier to clean than that oven.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nightmare in St. Martin parish

This has got to be one of the nightmares of police work.
LAFAYETTE — A St. Martin Parish sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a Cade man late Wednesday while he was beating his 3-year-old daughter, who died hours later.
A cop never wants to be involved in a fatal shooting. To shoot a man who won't quit beating a child is certainly justifiable, but damn!
Higgins said deputies arrived about 10:20 p.m. and found Sengdao Kittiraj, 32, beating his daughter.

Higgins said the father failed to respond to repeated commands to stop and had fought off an attack dog that deputies had unleashed.
I'm sure they tried to reason with him, then used a dog against him, and he wouldn't quit beating the child. This guy had serious impulse control problems
.“They were trying to use every means possible,” Higgins said.

She said one of the deputies chose to fire on Kittiraj in an effort to protect the child, himself and other deputies.

Kittiraj was pronounced dead at the scene.
And the baby?
His daughter, Kaloey Laigh Kittiraj, died early Thursday at Lafayette General Medical Center, Higgins said.
Damn, damn, damn. What a nightmare.
The Sheriff’s Office did not identify the deputy involved in the shooting.

He has been placed on administrative leave pending a State Police investigation of the incident, a routine procedure in shootings involving law-enforcement officers, Higgins said.

The results of the investigation will be handed over to the District Attorney’s Office for a decision on whether the use of deadly force was appropriate.
I'm sure that the deputy will be exonerated. We are certainly justified in using lethal force against a man who is killing a child.

Just damn.

Hat tip to Junior.

Good job, guys!

Five teenage students in Kansas were arrested after the school district uncovered a plot to shoot fellow students and staff members.
The boys, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were arrested Thursday, the anniversary of the Columbine massacre, just hours before they planned to shoot fellow students and school employees, authorities said.
I'm sure it was all just a joke.

Sounds like a Columbine copycat to me.
The teens planned to wear black trench coats and disable the school's camera system before starting the attack between noon and 1 p.m. Thursday, Norman said. Sheriff's deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect and documents about firearms and references to Armageddon in two suspects' school lockers.

Apparently, they had been plotting since the beginning of the school year. Norman said school officials began investigating Tuesday after learning a threatening message had been posted on
I'm sure they are all just troubled, misunderstood youths. Yeah, right.

Kudos to the school district and local law enforcement. I prefer the slow, unfolding drama of the courtroom to the fast-paced, instant drama of a school shooting. Those little bastards need to go to jail for a long, long time.

Hat tip to Say Uncle.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sorting bullets

When we cast bullets, we establish a rhythm and we let the metal flow into the mold, whack the sprue, drop the bullet on a soft cloth, then do it all over again.

When the casting is over, we sort bullets. Not every bullet you cast is suitable and each bullet caster sets up his/her own quality control system. Your bullets are as good as you make them, and sorting bullets is an immediate visual quality control check.

I cast a bunch of bullets tonight for my .30-30. The bullets are the well-known Lyman 311041. Lyman has been making molds for this bullet for years. It is a flat point, 170 grain .30 caliber bullet and has a history of good accuracy in the .30-30. These particular bullets came out of custom Lee 6-cavity mold that a group of us ordered through the Cast Boolits forum. Tonight was my first time to try this mold (or any 6-cavity mold) and it makes a pile of bullets quickly. Very quickly.

I pulled four of them out of the pile for illustation purposes.

Lets look at them, left to right.

The far left bullet is frosted and has a small wrinkle on the nose. Frosting is indicative of a mold that is too hot, or alloy that is too hot. This particular bullet came at the end of the production run and my pot tends to let the metal get a little hot at the end of the run. Frosted bullets are okay with me, as I think that the lubricant tends to adhere to them better than a shiny bullet. The wrinkle isn't really a reason to reject the bullet because it is very shallow. This bullet goes in the initial keeper pile.

The second bullet is nearly perfect in every way. It is well filled out with well-defined bands. This bullet is what we are looking for and it, likewise, goes in the keeper pile. A substantial majority of the bullets I cast tonight look just like this.

The third bullet shows signs of a cold mold. It isn't well filled out, the bands are not well defined, and it has a void that appears as a wrinkle on the topmost band. It probably came from the initial few bullets in the production run and it will be rejected. It won't be wasted, though, because I'll melt it down next time and try again.

The fourth, the far right bullet, shows a defect that we call flashing. The mold wasn't closed properly and the lead ran between the mold-halves. When you see flashing, stop immediately and find the culprit. In this case, a small piece of trash had gotten between the mold halves and I brushed it out with the tip of a screwdriver. This bullet will also go in the reject pile and will be melted the next time I heat up the pot.

I normally reject about twenty percent of the bullets I cast during the first, visual sorting. For one reason or another, a bullet might not make the cut, and goes in the reject pile. When I cast bullets for hunting, I sort them by weight and keep bullets that fall into a fairly narrow weight range. If I were sorting for a match, I would sort those bullets that were absolutely perfect, both visually and by weight. The remaining bullets would go into another pile, for plinking or informal practice.

The next step, when the pile of bullets cools, is to sort them again visually in case I missed one that needs to go into the reject pile. Then I lube them, size them and seat gas checks. After that, they are ready for loading.

Cooking in the afternoon

Milady is sleeping today, having worked the vampire shift last night, so I have to be quiet around the house. When she and I both work, that isn't a problem, but I am off this week, so I am trying to be extra-considerate of her sleeping schedule.

I've got the pit cranked up and a couple of chickens are on it.

They've been there about an hour and a half, and they are looking fine. I've got the temperature pegged at 200 degrees, and expect them to sit on the pit till 4:00 p.m. At about 2:30 I'm going to go out, check the fire, and add some sausage to the grill.

This ain't barbeque. I'm smoking a couple of chickens. My Lady works hard and I like to feed her before she goes to work, if that is possible. If she feels like eating, fine. If she doesn't, I'll wrap a chicken in foil and send it with her. I'll add a link of sausage for variety. Some tater salad in a small container, and she won't have to go out to the fast food joints at midnight.

She is on evenings, I am on days. One evening last month I was missing her, so I called her and asked if I could deliver supper. She told me that the shift was debating what do do about food, so bring enough for everyone. She supervises two nurses and four or five aides, so I showed up at the clinic with a stack of large pizzas.

I enjoy doing things like that.

Standing Watch

First, go get some tissue.

You gotta go over to Xavier's and read this.

Liquor Laws

Liquor laws are funny, in that they are different everywhere you go, and the locals in each case believe that they have come up with the perfect balance of regulation and freedom found anywhere.

I live in a dry ward. Yet I can buy low alcohol package liquor (beer and wine)just down the road. Then I cross another invisible line and the law gets dry again, then cross another invisible line, and everything is wide open, with hard liquor, liquor by the drink, dance halls.. All in the space of twelve miles.

A bunch of us were stationed at Fort Dix and went into a place during happy hour. We each got a beer. When we tried to order again, the bartender refused, saying that under the local law, between 5 pm and 7 pm you could only order once. We asked if we could have ordered a case each and he said yes, but we could only order once.

I remember trying to be served in a restaurant, in Kentucky in the late 70's. I was 20 and my wife was 19, and we ordered a cocktail with our meal. They carded us both and when the waiter returned, my wife had her drink, but mine was cola. I asked the waiter to explain, and he said that I was under age. I asked about my wife, and he told us the local laws allowed married women to drink at any age. My wife thought it was hilarious.

My generation fought and marched and complained and raised hell till we could legally drink at age 18, here in Louisiana. The succeeding generations lost that ability, somewhere.

Personally, I'd like to see a honky-tonk on every corner, but the laws just don't allow that around here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Xavier's Challenge

Xavier wants pictures of carry pieces.

Well, here are two of my favorites. The top, a Kimber 1911 is my duty piece that sometimes does journeyman duty in a belt-slide. This pistol has been with me for two years and has never bobbled a single piece of ammo. Dependability is its watchword.

The bottom revolver is a Smith Model 60. I've had this piece for over 20 years. When I was plainclothes it spent a lot of time in a Don Hume pancake holster. Nowadays it rides with me on the motorcycle or in the front seat of the pickup truck. It is nearly always within reach.

One day last year, during a chilly outing, I offered my lady my jacket. Her face bewildered just for a moment, then she put her hand into the right pocket. "If we need this, I'll use it." she said. I just smiled.

Drop box pit

I've always prefered to cook on charcoal or a wood fire if I am cooking outdoors. Within the confines of The Frugal Outdoorsman, we agreed that we would only talk about open wood fires. I still agree that open fires is the legitimate venue of an e-zine like TFO.

However, I live in suburbia and barbeque pits are part and parcel of suburban living. I bought a barbeque pit shortly after we bought the house, and I enjoy cooking on it for friends and family.

I still haven't succumbed to the lure of the propane grill. My barbeque is done on charcoal or wood. When I purchased the pit over a year ago, I didn't have enough money for a drop box, but I bought a pit that had a drop box as an accessory. A drop box is nice when smoking or cooking slowly. The meat isn't sitting directly above the fire, instead it gets a natural convection that moves the heat from the box, across the meat, to the flue.

Today I bought the drop box and mounted it. This pit, by Char-Griller is available at Lowes, either as a unit, or you can purchase the pit one year and the box the next, like I did. Cost, you ask? I've got less than $200.00 tied up in this pit.

The pit, and the drop box is heavy gauge steel. This is not a lightweight barbeque. The grills are cast aluminum, the drop box is made of the same heavy steel as the pit. The instructions tell you that the metal is treated against shipping rust. You can easily see an oily waxy coating on the metal as you assemble the pit. It smells like cosmoline. The instructions also tell us to build a fire in the pit before using it, to burn off the protective coating. So, after adding the firebox, I lit a fire in the box.

The temperature gauge is holding steady at something over 250 degrees F, just like I like to cook. The draft controls are easy to use, easy to adjust, and I will probably learn to regulate the heat at 200 degrees and at 300 degrees when I get more practice using the box.

This weekend, I'm going to put a couple of racks of ribs on the pit, along with sausage and hot dogs for the kids. Yeah, ribs sound just fine.

Wednesday noon

Well, it's a little past noon, so who's counting?

It's a slow news day, so I thought I'd tell you a story about a young cop, a year out of the academy, who stoppped a good looking gal on a country road.

The rookie got out of his cruiser and approached the vehicle. He had clocked the speeder at 65 in a 50, and when he got to the side of the vehicle, she rolled her window down. It was a hot, Louisiana summer day, the sun was relentless and the heat mirage danced off the tarmac. The lady, only a year or so older than the officer, was wearing Daisy Duke shorts and a halter top. The young officer looked at the license, registration, and proof of insurance. He called in to run the drivers license and learned that she had only recently gotten her license out of suspension. Her daddy was a prominent attorney in the little town, and the officer knew that the ticket would certainly be fixed. Probably before the sun set.

He sat in his cruiser, air conditioning set on "gut", and wrote the ticket, then walked back to the waiting woman. He handed her license and paperwork back, then told her where she could pay the ticket.

"But Officer," she smiled sweetly, "I didn't think that y'all wrote tickets to good looking women."

"That's right, ma'am. We don't." he smiled warmly under his sunglasses. "If you'll sign it on the bottom you can be on your way."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I hooe I spelled that right. I can't see but about half the screen. I went to my opthamalogist this morning for an annual checkup. She gave me hell for not taking my vitamins, then in a moment of revenge, she dilated my eyes.

She's a good doc, my eye doctor. Yet she buys that dilation crap by the gallon.

I've been wearing glasses since grade school. I sucessfully fought the urge for contact lenses. Then Milady had Lasik surgery and she suddenly shed her lenses and ever since, I've been thinking about it. So, I talked to the doc about it and she put me into a contact lens. One lens in my right eye. That will correct my eye for distance viewing and my left eye will be used for close-in viewing.

THen, she handed me off to a tech, who I suspect was a good looking gal, but my eyes are dilated, so I'm not sure, who taught me to put in a contact and take out a contact. Then they sent me home. I wandered out into the brilliant Louisiana sunlight and promptly slammed my eyss shut, cause they are dilated.

I went back inside the doc store and got a pair of the giveaway wraparound eye protectors. Then walked back out to the bike. Yeah, the bike. Those damned eye protectors lasted till I got out to the highway, then blew away in a gust of wind. I went stone-totally-blind on a busy four-lane. On a motorcycle.

So there I sit, on the side of the road, eyes slammed shut, and I manage to grope my way to a Dollar Store and buy a pair of Foster Grants. I made it home without any particular problem, except that my eyes are dilated and I can't see shit.

It'll get better in a couple of hours and I can get on with my day.

Sex and Blogger

I check my referral logs fairly frequently. It gives me a good idea who is sending traffic to this piddly little blog. After my Sex-offender post yesterday I noticed that I was getting referrals from Blogger Search from places like Dubai, Sudan, Singapore and Poland.

Folks were searching Blogger for the word sex. They came to me because I had used the word. My sitemeter is open, and anyone who can click on the Sitemeter icon on the bottom of the right-hand column can check my stats. My traffic here isn't burning up the world. I sometimes laughingly refer to my dozen consistent readers, and there is a lot of truth to that.

There must be some blogs in Blogspot that specialize in Blogging about sex. I've never bothered to check.

Anyway, welcome all you readers who come to me via Blogger Search. Hope you're not too disappointed. I've used the word sex five times in this post, and there is no telling how it will affect the stats.

Monday, April 17, 2006

More on Rumsfeld

My last post generated a few comments about our current SecDef and his problem with retired General Officers calling for his ouster. Maybe I didn't explain myself thoroughly.

There is a pretty good analysis at Slate. Read it and all the comments.

I think that General Officers, active or retired, are wrong-headed when they criticise the civilian leadership. The concept of civilian control of the military is what makes us different from the Banana Republics. Officers in the United States military don't buck civilian leaders. We don't lead coups. We don't threaten the civil leadership process. The military is subordinate to civil leadership and we submit willingly to that subordination because it is best for the Republic.

Suppose, for example, that a future President had to take into consideration the opinions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before appointing a Secretary of Defense. Suppose that same President was planning to draw down the military during a period of true peace. Suppose that President was cutting the military to such a degree that a significant number of General Officers would be retired. That future President would have a truly onerous task. It is not the job of the military to burden leaders.

The best, most effective form of criticism comes from the press, or the Congress, or within the civil governemnt.

The military is subordinate to the civil authority. Public criticism of civil authorities is neither in the best interest of the military, nor in the best interest of the Republic.

Sex Offender Brouhaha

There is a whole lot of wailing going on about displaced sex offenders. Guys and gals who hauled ass during the Katrina and Rita unpleasantness. I'v read articles from all over the US, complaining about sex offenders and rightfully so. One example is here, from the Monroe News-Star.
BATON ROUGE — Law enforcement officers nationwide are trying to track down at least 300 sex offenders who fled southern Louisiana during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But so far, authorities have had little success.

We need to find those offenders, no doubt about it. However, the legislature of the state of Louisiana did a good thing when it wrote the sex offender law. It forbade moving without registering. Even in the midst of a hurricane, a sex offender is required to register. From RS 15:542 (b)
If any person required to register pursuant to this Section moves to a new parish, or is temporarily displaced from his residence and establishes any temporary residence for a period of not less than ten consecutive days following the issuance of an evacuation order or declaration of emergency issued by the governor or the local governing authority in accordance with law the person shall register with the sheriff in the new parish and the police chief or, if the residence is within a parish with a population in excess of four hundred fifty thousand, the police department in such parish, within ten days of establishing the new residence. The person shall also send written notice, within ten days after the change of address in the new parish, to the sheriff and the police chief or, if the residence is within a parish with a population in excess of four hundred fifty thousand, the police department with whom the person last registered. Within thirty calendar days from receipt of this written notification, the sheriff and the police chief or, if the residence is in a parish with a population in excess of four hundred fifty thousand, the police department shall send written notification of the offender's address change to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
Then the sentencing provision: F.(1)
A person who fails to register as required by this Section shall, upon first conviction, be fined not more than one thousand dollars and imprisoned with hard labor for not less than two years nor more than ten years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
It's a felony to move and not let the Sheriff know about it.

R.S. 15:544 defines the duty to register for a period of ten years following incarceration. For example, if you get a five year sentence, and you serve your whole sentence, you still have to register for ten years. I could show other examples in other places in the law that deal with sex offenders, but they would be redundant. Article 895 of our Criminal Procedure levys additional requirements for those sex offenders placed on probation.

When I was a parole officer I supervised sex offenders. One of the reasons I chose to retire was supervising sex offenders. In sex offender cases, the Parole Board would routinely impose a curfew. Lets say that the curfew in a particular case was from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Invariably, the offender would ask me what he should do in case his mother was ill and he had to take her to the hospital.

I'd ask the question, "Who would take her to the hospital if you were in prison?"

Or, the question would be: "Suppose my house burns down in the middle of the night?"

I'd answer: "Then I expect you to be sitting in front of the smouldering remains when I come by to check on you the next morning."

Every sex offender in the State of Louisiana was told about the law before they were released from jail. Their signatures reside on a form somewhere in the Department of Corrections. Their parole officers have signatures. Their probation officers have signatures. They were told not to move without permission. They were told that even in the event of a natural disaster, they had a duty to register. By that ommission, they are felons.

The Louisiana Sex Offender Registry has been in existence since 1992. We have the records of offenders who were arrested, tried, and convicted. The vast majority of those offenders are under supervision. It should be a simple matter to check the records, make a few phone calls, and get warrants for those sex offenders who are not where they are supposed to be.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Turn Signals

After finishing the last post, I gathered my tools and my courage and went out to do battle with the trunk on the Goldwing.

As with most projects, it wasn't as bad as my mind predicted it would be. I got to practice my cussing, and I barked some skin off of my hand, but the turn indicators work now. A dirty connector and a loose connector, and switching pigtails on the turn indicator relay and the hazard warning relay, and both systems work. Hopefully it is fixed for the next ten years, or until I trade the bike for a new one.

I don't blog about motorcycling much, because I think it is natural as breathing, and just as noteworthy. I don't join motorcycle organizations because that requires commitment, and the only commitment I want is the freedom to ride. The one club I support it the Iron Butt Association. My rides with them have been wondrfully peaceful. In the IBA, you ride by yourself.

I am one of the World's Toughest Riders.

GoldWing maintenance

I drive a Honda Goldwing motorcycle. The GL1500 from 1996.

Mine is pearl metallic green. It's a great bike. Lots of comfort, lots of style, and it'll take you anywhere you want to go. My wife and I love to spend a day astride the bike. We've taken small trips on it. We've explored places on it. She likes the openness and the freedom that the motorcyle gives us. She also likes the wardrobe.

Plus, with gasoline prices like they are, a 40 mpg motorcycle makes a lot of sense if you don't have to haul much stuff.

Honda did a great job with 90% of the engineering on the motorcycle. The bike is virtually bullet-proof mechanically. It has the legendary reliablility that Honda is famous for. Keep the oil changed and the tires in good shape, and it runs and runs and runs.

The aggravation comes when you start having little problems. My turn indicators have recently started being intermittent. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. So, I got out the manual and started troubleshooting. It seems that the problem is the turn signal relay, which is located UNDER THE TRUNK. To remove the trunk of the motorcycle is almost as much trouble as removing the trunk of your car. It is certainly more trouble than removing the bed of a pickup truck.

I can live with the fact that to do basic maintenance, you have to remove the seat and the radio compartment. Basic maintenance can be accomplished with those two pieces off, and they really aren't that much trouble once you do it a time or two. But to pull the trunk to replace a turn indicator relay? It seems like they could have located those simple relays where they were easier to test.


I've noticed the flap lately over the retired General officers calling for the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld. They disgust me.

There have been very few military leaders who successfully transitioned to civilian leadership positions of great authority. Of them, Grant became president and his presidency is generally considered a failure. Eisenhower became president, and his presidency is still subject to debate. Washington, of course, is revered as a father of our country.

After the battle, after the dust settles, there are genuine, legitimate lessons to be learned, to better accomplish the next mission. Since time immemorial, warriors have studied missions that succeeded and mission that failed. There are hearfelt opinions on what went wrong, what succeeded and what failed. Historians delight in those discussions. Just one example: when Lee attacked the center of the Union line at Gettysburg, Pickett lost a division. Longstreet counseled against the attack yet Lee stood firm. The attack failed, and historians have argued about that decision since soon after the smoke drifted away.

Over a career that covered twenty-something years in the Active Army, Guard and Reserve I had the opportunity to observe and interact with numerous General officers. It was my observation that most of them were stone-clad bastards who were only interested in their own advancement. An officer in the Army moves up in rank by completing missions, by being placed in positions of higher authority and responsibility, and by succesfully completing missions. Everything in the service is mission oriented. Whether the mission is to provide chow for hungry troops in the field, or to enter into Europe to defeat the German Army, the mission comes first.

When my boss was being an iron-clad bastard, I could console myself that I was doing a dirty, thankless, miserable job because the mission required it. I didn't have to like the mission, I just had to do it. I understood that, because if I failed, my boss failed, the mission failed, the Army failed. Mission performance is all that counts. I undertood that. I understand that today, yet the lessons that make someone a great battlefield leader are totally unsuited for making a great civilian leader. Civilian leadership requires compromise, understanding of human nature, boldness to go beyond conventional thought. Civilian leadership requires concensus building. Military leadership requires mission-orientation.

It has long been a maxim in the Army that soldiers didn't criticise the decisions of civilian leaders. To do so is unprofessional. You might rail and bitch about the incompetence of appointed officials between friends, among peers, but you never went public, and you damned sure didn't complain where subordinates could hear. If an officer complains about the performance of civilian leaders, then the soldiers under him start to question the mission. The mission comes first. Everything is subordinate to the mission.

We in the military have long said that we train for the last battle. When the lessons are learned they are learned from past mistakes, from past successes. The Army has undergone numerous changes in the past twenty years. For much of my career, we were concerned about hordes of Russians pouring through the Fulda Gap. We were concerned about hordes of Chinese pouring through Panmunjom, Korea. The Army has changed. The military now has a flexiblility and abilities that I never dreamed about ten years ago. They are better trained, better equipped, and better led than when I was in service.

I hope that the officers who criticise Rumsfeld are doing so out of a sincere desire to better the military. I would hate to think that they are doing so out of a desire for political gain. However, the lessons of my past are still valid. Officers who publicly criticise a civilian leader are in danger of hurting the military, of hurting the mission.

Those officers who publicly criticise the Secretary of Defense are unprofessional.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blogging and employment

It seems that blogging can get you fired from your job. This comes as a shock to some people.

Bill Hobbs was fired recently, and Acidman was fired for blogging, and all manner of military types have been ordered to take down their websites or risk discipline. These are just a few examples.

And none of it bothers me in the least. The First Amendment didn't suffer. Free speech didn't suffer. Lets read the whole thing:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Congress didn't make any laws that abridge the freedom of speech.

One of my ex-bosses explained it to me another way. "You have a perfect right to say anything you want to say. And I have a perfect right to fire your sorry ass if I don't like what you're saying."

Being a deputy sheriff, I know that I serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff. He can fire me for good reason, or for his reasons, or for no reason at all. That is his right as a Sheriff. Keeping that in mind, I watch what I say in this blog. I don't know if the Sheriff reads it. Regardless, I have high regard for the Sheriff, and law enforcement personnel in general, and my department in particular. I'm not going to air grievances that should be kept in-house. Law enforcement makes changes periodically based on the understanding of what is good and proper. The public demands occasionally that law enforcement change. They make that demand known through the ballot box.

The firing of Bill Hobbs didn't affect the First Amendment.

Sad'day Mownin'

Saturday morning is pretty much over. I went to my Dad's this morning to mow grass for him. Dad lives on about 8 acres in Deville, LA, and normally takes care of his own place, but he's been feeling poorly lately, so I went over this morning to cut the grass.

Momma, as usual was puttering around in the garden and raking leaves, and generally cleaning up her yard. I helped her with a few small items between bouts on the lawnmower. As ususal, while we worked, I caught up on all the news from my sisters, who call regularly.

There is a difference, it seems, between mowing and bush-hogging. Dad only mows an acre or so, the rest he bush-hogs with the tractor. I asked him if he wanted me to bush-hog, too, and he said no, it didn't need it yet. So, I got finished considerably earlier than I expected.

I am told that a good portion of the US calls this device a shredder.

The Bush Hog Company makes a great one, and many folks around here use the company name to describe an activity. Pop didn't want me to do any shredding. His shredder is made by Bush Hog, but we must be careful when we discuss trademarks.

Pulling in to my own driveway, I notice that my lawn needs mowing. MiLady worked the vampire shift last night at the hospital and starting small engines around here isn't indicated.

Friday, April 14, 2006


I'm reading Michelle Malkin, and trying to stay abreast of the rantings of the Iranian president Ahmadinejad. Evidently he pissed off some people in a speech recently:
"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."
Recent reports indicate that Iran is heavily invested in nuclear research. Some are concerned that they may be trying to make weapons.

So, I wondered how many nukes do we have, just in case we have to counter the threat to our allies? Answer: a bunch. Many of them on Trident submarines that can get inside the Straits of Hormuz.

Then I asked myself which nation is the only one ever to use nukes as a war shot?

Ahamadinejad doesn't really want to feel the fire, does he?

I'm the NRA

I'm off this morning and was paying bills. One of the bills I pay yearly is my membership to the National Rifle Association. With all the years that I have paid membership, I should be a life member. I'm not. Like a dummy, I keep sending in the yearly dues, although this time I pulled the plug and upgraded to a 3-year membership.

I really need to take some of the money I spend on firearms, reloading supplies, and other accouterments and put it in an envelope. When I get $750.00, send in the Life Membership form.

I was thinking about how important membership in the NRA has become. Like them or hate them (and I've done both over the years) they are the premier gun-rights organization in the United States. I've worked with them, and ranted about some of their decisions. I've cussed them and praised them, but I keep joining because I feel like they do good work.

If you're a gunny, there are some other organizations you might want to look into.

Gun Owners of America is one. The Second Amendment Foundation is another. One of my favorites is the Cast Bullet Association. Organized more on a shooting and technical perspective, the CBA has tons of information on casting, reloading and shooting cast bullets. If you like shooting cast bullets, the CBA really deserves your support.

One of the last things I did, after sending in my dues, was to change my template. Look at the right sidebar and see the I'm the NRA logo from an old membership drive.

I'm the NRA.


Back when I was a parole officer, we routinely investigated allegations of wrongdoing committed by our parolees. Those allegations were many and varied and posed the great risk of incarceration to those folks we supervised.

One of the tools we used was a pocket-sized dictaphone. A small tape recorder that we used to make notes, take evidence, and tape interviews. That little machine had a feature, that when you pressed the Record button without a tape in the machine, it would emit a loud, raucous beep to let you know that no tape was present.

One of my investigators, a fellow named Nathan, was married to a doctor. A medical doctor. Nathan had access to all manner of medical paraphernalia, and he used it.

One day Nathan asked me to witness an interview and I walked into his office. A parolee, a fellow named Joe was there. Joe was a not-too-bright petty criminal. Nathan explained to me that he was trying to get some background information from Joe, and Joe's story wasn't quite meshing. Nathan believed that Joe was fabricating part of the story and that he was going to use our new polygraph machine to get to the facts.

I knew we didn't have a polygraph, so I leaned against the doorjamb and watched. Nathan, with great ceremony, opened a desk drawer and took out a package containing one brand new EKG electrode. He used a jar of Vapo-Rub and lubricated the electrode, then stuck it directly to Joe's forehead. The small electric wire trailed down Joe's nose. Nathan explained that this new technology was smaller than the earlier versions. He then plugged the RCA jack at the end of the wire into one of the speaker jacks on the standard pocket recorder we all used. Nathan cradled the device in his hand and began the interview. Whenever he suspected Joe of lying, Nathan pushed the record button and the device emitted a high pitched buzz.

Before long, the buzzing was driving me crazy. Nathan cautioned Joe to tell the truth, the whole truth, and not make up details he couldn't possibly know. Joe started crying and the truth began to flow with the tears. Nathan got the full story, with enough details to clear a case involving a burglary ring. Joe wasn't directly involved, but knew where to find the stolen property.

Joe sat in the chair crying, the wire from the electrode dangling from his forehead until Nathan ended the interview by pulling the wire. The electrode came off Joe's forehead with an audible Pop!. Nathan told Joe to go home, that the truth had set him free, and not to let anyone know what had been discussed.

Nathan went on to clear his case, and send some very bad folks to prison. Joe, as far as I know, is still living free.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

WMD in Iraq

I keep hearing that we didn't find any WMD in Iraq, and my recollection of recent history is such that I recall some things I read in the paper.

I consider WMD any of a number of chemicals that might be combined to kill me. Me personally, or any member of the US military. Using gives the following definition of WMD.
n : a weapon that kills or injures civilian as well as military personnel (nuclear and chemical and biological weapons) [syn: weapon of mass destruction, WMD, W.M.D.]
Okay, now that we all know what we are talking about. I think that Sarin certainly qualifies, as does Mustard Gas.

We go thence to Google, and input the terms WMD found Iraq and we get some 10 million search results. Some of the better ones:

From FOX news:
Monday, May 17, 2004 Sarin Gas Shell Found•BAGHDAD, Iraq — A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent (search) recently exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday.
They found a shell containing Sarin. Looks like WMD to me.

This from the Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, Aug. 13 -- U.S. troops raiding a warehouse in the northern city of Mosul uncovered a suspected chemical weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals believed destined for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and civilians, military officials said Saturday.

Monday's early morning raid found 11 precursor agents, "some of them quite dangerous by themselves," a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan, said in Baghdad.
1500 gallons of precursors. Looks like WMD to me.

Then the CIA final report, when admitting that no substantial quantities of WMD had been found, said:
Another addendum also noted that military forces in Iraq may continue to find small numbers of degraded chemical weapons — most likely misplaced or improperly destroyed before the 1991 Gulf War. In an insurgent’s hands, “the use of a single even ineffectual chemical weapon would likely cause more terror than deadlier conventional explosives,” another addendum said.
Small numbers of degraded chemical weapons. Sounds like WMD to me.

If a normal, progressive or conservative citizen found even a tablespoon of Sarin in his living room, he would immediately label it WMD. We have found small amounts of WMD in Iraq. We have found gallons of precursors in Iraq.

The question becomes; Why do we continue to report that we have found no WMD in Iraq, when all evidence is that we have in fact found them? Someone please explain that to me.

Ray Nagin strikes again

It appears from reading the press release that Ray Nagin's government is capable of lying to a District Court.
After denying the illegal confiscation for months, on March 15, 2006, Mayor Nagin and the NOPD conceded in federal court that they do have seized guns stored in locked steel containers. The city then agreed in court to a process by which law-abiding citizens may file a claim to receive their confiscated firearms.

However, a New Orleans official handling the gun confiscations stated that no guns have been returned because the NOPD requires background checks, and the city has not set up a process. The official acknowledged, “We've been told it was going to happen weeks ago…and still hasn't been done.”
Yeah, right.

Background checks are routinely conducted instantly under the NICS system. Every pawn shop, every Wal-Mart, has the instant check system. I know that the NOPD has the ability to conduct instant criminal record checks, just like every other police agency in the free world.

Ray Nagin should be found in contempt, jailed on civil rights violations and held till the NOPD returns each and every firearm to its rightful owner. I'm not talking about letting citizens retrieve their property, but actually take the firearm in hand, get in a patrol car, and return the property to the rightful owner, with apologies. Let the District Court assess a fine of $10,000 per day, per firearm on the City until the property is returned.

Remember New Orleans.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Oyster's Rant

My blog-buddy, the Oyster, has a rant up at YRHT. He talks about oil, and terror, and budgets and spending. He and I agree on a lot of things and disagree about others, yet his rant manages to turn me completely off.

Oyster quotes extensively from speeches from Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Republican of the 14th District. I also agree with a lot of what Congressman Paul has to say, but disagree with him on several key points. One small quote:
It now is common knowledge that the immediate reaction of the administration after 9/11 revolved around how they could connect Saddam Hussein to the attacks, to justify an invasion and overthrow of his government. Even with no evidence of any connection to 9/11, or evidence of weapons of mass destruction, public and congressional support was generated through distortions and flat out misrepresentation of the facts to justify overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
The only problem with this paragraph is, that Congressman Paul is mistaken.

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, many folks believed that Saddam Hussien was one of the major architects of state-sponsored terrorism. We launched, based on that belief. New documents being translated now support that early belief with smoking guns that Saddam Hussein was training terrorists, networking with terrorists and planning attacks against American interests.

On to WMD's. The jury is still out. Many believe that Saddam and Iraq had dismantled their WMD production by 1992. Maybe that is so. Documents coming to light recently have us wondering if Saddam wasn't supplying WMDs such as anthrax to other terror groups. We don't know, and there are thousands of captured documents yet to be translated. Did Saddam use poison gas against Kurds? That is a virtual certainty.

So, there is credible evidence linking Saddam Hussein to terror organizations and his use of WMD against civilians. Congressman Paul is either wrong about those points or just chooses to deny the obvious. Sometimes hard choices are made under conditions of uncertainty. There is always risk involved when operating under uncertainty. We went to war in Iraq uncertain of what we might find, but I think we can all agree that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States and that there was good evidence that he had used WMD's against civilian populations in the past. We still aren't certain if he was motivated to resurrect his weapons capabilities and the risk was certainly worth the potential gains.

Oyster resorts to name calling;
Now's the time to make your stand, people. Are you with the Weepublican neocons, or are you against them?
It's undignified, and certainly doesn't win him any grace here.

We are, as a nation, about to launch an election cycle that will determine our political destiny for the next several years. We have tremendous challenges ahead of us and need good information to make those choices. Not acknowledging both sides of the argument doesn't help. Name calling doesn't help. We need to make decisions on continuing the War on Terror, on taking control of spending policy, of coming to some reasonable conclusions on immigration, of deciding how we rebuild the Gulf Coast. We need to decide if we are going to expand government or entrench it. We need to decide if issues are going to be solved locally, nationally, or globally.

I intend to focus my attention on the issues, listen to the candidates, and ignore the ranters.

Bush's Numbers

Bush's numbers took a hit this morning, with the Washington Post recording his approval rating at 38 percent. Fox News reports his ratings have hit new lows.

Frankly, I am surprised they are that high. While I approve of his policies in the War on Terror, a lot of his appointees in DHS are boneheads. He loses me on those guys. I don't think he is doing enough to enforce existing laws on illegal immigration (Like the law forbidding it.) and he seems determined to alienate his political base on things like smaller government, local control, and smaller budgets.

In addition, he is pissing on New Orleans.

If he wants to get better numbers, he best get control of the borders. I'm not so naive that I believe we can send 12 million illegals home, but we can damn sure try to stop any others that come across, and send them packing in the most undignified manner. He's gotta get control of the immigration problem and enforcement has to be a predominate part of it.

The candidate I get behind in 2008 will make the immigration problem one large plank in a platform that stresses traditional Republican goals. It's a good thing Bush can't run again, because his record sucks on domestic issues.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Special Diet Requests

From Little Green Footballs, we get this story of a prisoner suing the Corrections system over dietary requirements. He wants to eat camel and ox meat.

It reminds me of my time in Corrections. We often got sued. Prisoners have lots of time to think about the supposed injustice of their incarceration. They have paper and pen and write the Courts, proclaiming that they are being mistreated.

We often tried to accomodate special dietary requirements. The kitchen routinely cooked salt-free, or reduced fat meals for people who had medical dietary requirements. Inmates were also given the option of pork-free meals for religious considerations. Other than that, they were free to not eat.

Then, along comes the group of rednecks, who claimed that they were part of a religious group that required ribeye steak, baked potato, salad, and cold beer for the evening meal every Friday night. They actually sued in District Court, claiming that the refusal of the prison to accomodate their special religious dietary requirements constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

We in the prison gave them points for originality and creativity, but a slim chance of winning their suit.

The District Court agreed and dismissed the suit as frivolous.

The Courts in Massachusetts should make the same finding.

Off duty

Sometimes there ain't no thing. I was reading this post over at the Law Dog's and looked down at what I am wearing. Blue Jeans, and a green T-Shirt is my basic off-duty attire. Why a green T-shirt? Our uniforms are green and the Sheriff insists that we wear a green T-Shirt underneath the uniform.... That's not totally correct. We could wear a pink tee if we wanted to, but the Boss doesn't want to see any color but green on the uniform. Pink Vee-necked would be all right. As long as it doesn't show.

Like the Law Dog, I keep my duty rig on a hook in the laundry room. If the Boss calls, I can be suited up and gone in five minutes.

Anyway, I own a lot of green Tee-shirts. Probably twenty of them. I've got six still in the plastic wrapper from a sale I caught at K-Mart a couple of months ago.

One morning recently, I was off-duty and got out of bed, pulled on a Tee shirt, and wandered in to the living room. My eldest grandson had spent the night and he was watching TV. "Pawpaw! What are you doing in that white shirt"

"Well, tiger, I needed a tee shirt, so I grabbed this one."

"No, Pawpaw. You're supposed to wear green tee shirts, all the time. My Pawpaw wears green tee-shirts."

I turned around and walked back into the bedroom.

Protect and Serve

Lots of folks think a police officer's job is to catch criminals. Nope. Our job is to protect and serve the public. How do we do that job?

We do that job in a number of ways. If we see a car broken down on the road, we stop to see if we can help. Having people stranded on the side of the road isn't good for them. Frustration, aggravation, climate, and motor vehicles speeding past don't combine into a safe afternoon. Over the years I have helped change hundreds of tires on the side of the road. I have hauled motorists to hundreds of gas stations for a gallon of gas. I have called ambulances for folks.

We do Keep Watches (call sign KW): wherein we make frequent checks on elderly people, or rattle the doors on closed businesses, or respond to structure fires to provide traffic control to the fire and medical personnel. We respond to public events, like parades and concerts, to provide traffic control and provide the public with a way to get out of a crowded parking lot on to a busy street.

We search for lost children. We help get livestock off busy roads. We come to traffic accidents and provide medical care, clear the wreckage, and get traffic flowing smoothly again.

In natural disasters we provide, or try to provide what the people need. For example, during the Rita disaster, my agency knew that there would be a lot of trees down, and power lines down. We filled trucks with men with chainsaws and while the wind was still howling, we moved down all the back roads and country lanes, clearing trees off the roadways so that the power company and ambulance personnel could get access to the places they needed to work.

This Sheriff, Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee, in rural Mississippi, is being investigated for commandeering two trucks of water and ice for his people during the Katrina incompetence. Basically, he went to Camp Shelby, MS, found two trucks filled with supplies that hadn't been assigned to a particular relief effort, and took the supplies to his people, who desperately needed them. In doing so, he arrested and cited an Army officer who was trying to stop him from moving the trucks.
After learning of a FEMA staging area at Camp Shelby, a National Guard base just a few miles south of town. McGee tried for five hours to get in touch with federal authorities, hoping they might release some of the supply trucks parked there.

Failing that, he and three deputies went to the base early that afternoon, where they were told there were two trucks filled with ice that had not been assigned a destination.

The drivers agreed to follow the deputies to Petal and Brooklyn, but as they drove away, Capt. Michael Bryant, a National Guardsman, jumped on the side of the lead truck, either trying to get the keys or pull the driver out. McGee told the newspaper.

When Bryant refused to stop, deputies handcuffed him, placed him in a patrol car and drove him to the Sheriff's Office. He was cited for interfering with an officer and released.
The charges against Captain Bryant have since been dismissed. I'm sure that young officer thought he was doing his duty. So was Sheriff McGee.

When our citizens need help, we move heaven and earth to help them. That is our job. To protect and serve the people of our area. Sheriff McGee is being investigated by the US Attorney's office for commandeering those trucks. I hope that the Justice Department realizes that their job, too, is to protect and serve the people of the United States and that Forrest County Mississippi is one of those places they failed. Billy McGee already has the thanks of his people. He upheld his oath. The investigation against him should be immediately dropped.

Junior thinks that our President should immediately pardon him for any activity that occurred during the Katrina disaster. I concur.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Manhunt Continues

The manhunt here in Central Louisiana continues for the prisoner that escaped on Wedneday. People here are getting edgy, and law enforcement is getting tired. We're in it for the long haul, though, until we are sure that our citizens are safe.

Links to the Town Talk are here, and here.

This picture speaks volumes, though.

Look what he has on his leg:
Skip Sherlock keeps a rifle perched in his lap as he waits for a bus to stop on Ball Cutoff Road. Sherlock, who described himself as an "adopted uncle," was waiting for four teens on the bus.
Looks to me like a Model 94 Winchester.

Only in gun-friendly Louisiana could a tattooed man with a beard and a rifle, wait on a school bus and expect the bus to actually stop.

We hope we find this guy before some citizen like Mr. Sherlock blows him away. We don't want to put any good citizen through that inconvenience.

One last note, if you look at the caption. Skip Sherlock is waiting for the bus on what we used to call Castration Lane.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


We're busy (10-6) today.

A prisoner escaped from a Federal Penitentary near Pollock, LA, and the escapee has been seen in our jurisdiction.
McNair, 47, was serving a life sentence for murder, criminal attempt and burglary at the penitentiary. He escaped on Wednesday by hiding in a warehouse at the prison complex and then riding out in a mail vehicle.
We want him back behind bars. We want him bad.

The problem with a highly publicized manhunt is that every little blue-haired lady with a front window gets out her binoculars and puts the Sheriff's Office on speed-dial. Every poor dumb sombitch that walks down the road is a "suspicious person" and they call it in. SO, we spend a good portion of our time checking out suspictious persons that happen to be walking their dog, or checking on cattle, or any other law-abiding activity.

We normally answer calls like this, but when everyone is calling in reports, it gets a little hectic.

The guy had better enjoy his little burst of freedom. All the agencies in this area are looking for him. The article linked above has a good picture. If he stays in this area long, we'll catch him.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Baton Rouge CCW Shooting - Update VII

Legislative Lunacy in Baton Rouge is a time-honored tradition. The politicos who go there to practice have established a reputation for idiocy that spans decades.

The latest example is the bill of State Senator Sharon Broome, who wanted to amend the criminal code to require that a grand jury investigate all deaths that come about when one person defends another.

This bill stems from the Temple shooting and,
Broome told lawmakers that her legislation would provide a vehicle of closure for Temple’s family.

“Something went terribly wrong in this whole scenario and yet there seemed to be a breakdown in the review,” she said.
Oh, please.

This shooting has been investigated by the Baton Rouge Police Department. It has been investigated by the District Attorney. It will be taken before a Grand Jury. It is being investigated by the Justice Department. How much more investigation does Broome want? Call in the FBI, the CIA, and the Texas Ramgers. Let's get Scotland Yard involved too.

Lets use a hypothetical for a moment to demonstrate the lunacy of this bill. Suppose for an instant that a homeowner comes home after a day at work. He finds his dog dead in the carport. He arms himself. He investigates and finds his mother dead on the living room floor. He looks down the hall and finds a goblin trying to break down the bedroom door where the wife has taken refuge. The homeowner shoots the goblin. Broome's bill would require that the homeowner be investigated by a Grand Jury.

In actual purpose, the Temple investigation is going beyond the scope of the proposed legislation. Thankfully, the cooler heads on the Judiciary Committee killed the bill. Rightfully so.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I knew I had seen her somewhere before. Sometime in my youth.

I was right! There is an absolute family resemblance.

Although, the family was smart enough to trust Buckwheat with some nice knives. They wouldn't let his idiot sister around them. Heh!

Hat tip to the Irishman.

Baton Rouge CCW shooting - Update VI

Many thanks to the Advocate for covering this story as completely as they do. We learn that the Justice Department will probe the shooting of George Temple II to see if his civil rights were violated. Not much new information in the article, and you can read the whole thing at the link.

Again, I predict that the man who did the shooting, CCW holder Mr. Stephens will be exonerated in this matter. I think that the Justice Department will find that Stephens acted properly. Lets wait till the investigation is complete before we make any judgements.

Hat tip to Junior.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Casting bullets

This afternoon about 6:00 p.m., I decided that since the press is broken, I should cast a few bullets so they'll be ready when the press is fixed.

I surfed the online Lee Precision site and learned that I can order repair parts directly from them, so I ordered the parts my Challenger press needs.

Then, I went out into the garage and cranked up the lead pot. About an hour later I have 123 of the Lee TL358-158, a flat nose semi-wadcutter that I use for .38 and .357 magnum shooting. I also have 144 of the Lee TL452-230-2R that I use for .45 ACP. These bullets are destined to be loaded as soon as the press is repaired. I'll do some more casting during the afternoons this week and try to get a goodly supply of bullets ready. They don't spoil.

Those bullets have been visually sorted and lubed with Lee Liquid Alox. That is the best way I have found to lubricate cast bullets. Even if I use a standard beeswax/alox mixture, I am apt to tumble lube them first with the liquid Alox, then apply the traditional lube. That stuff works.

Junior believes that the thing to do is to repair the Challenger and order a Classic Cast. I concur. Next payday, I'll order the Classic Cast press.

Lee Challenger

I've been reloading on a Lee Challenger Press for .. oh.. twenty years. I never saw any reason to upgrade. I bought it as part of a Challenger Press Kit, for roughly the same $50.00 they are selling for today. No, I didn't keep the receipt.

Anyway, today I was reloading a batch of .45 ACP and heard something snap. This press, please recall, has reloaded countless thousands of rounds of ammo. It has done a lot of full length resizing of magnum rifle brass. It has reloaded case after case of pistol ammo. It taught three boys to reload. It is currently teaching grandchildren to reload. It has been used, abused, and trifled with.

It appears I broke a Toggle Clamp Half.

Luckily, I was able to finish with my Hand Press. Last Christmas, I had considered buying a Classic Cast Press, but when I was ordering it, it was out of stock at the places I normally shop.

So, the question becomes: Do I upgrade, or do I fix the Challenger, or do I both?

Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday evening recap

I spent the morning on the range, working with my duty pistol. Pistol shooting is probably the most quickly eroded of the gunny skills. I shot a couple of hundred rounds of .45 ACP. I had two loads, Winchester white-box 230 ball ammo, and my reload using 0.5 cc of Bullseye under the Lee TL452-230-2R. I cast those out of wheelweights and was gratified to see that they printed with the Winchester White box at 25 yards. My sights are regulated for that load and that is what I qualify with.

I tried to learn something with each shot fired, concentrating on technique each shot. My group isn't as good as it was five years ago, but I haven't been shooting much pistol lately.

I also tested magazines. Sometime last year I had purchased six cheap mags on Ebay. After I got them, I ordered upgrade kits from Wilson and installed those kits. Today I wanted to wring them out and I found two mags that just wouldn't work. One of them wouldn't reliably engage the slide lock. The other bad magazine exhibited a catastrophic failure, blowing out the bottom, scattering floorplate, spring, follower and a full load of ammo across the range. I was considerably amused, but not as much as the rangemaster, who positively guffawed. He thought it was hilarious.

After the .45 ammo was expended, I took out the Model 66 and shot it with my favorite reload until my hand tingled. About fifty rounds of full-house magnum ammo. I carried that revolver during the first 23 years of my career. It was manufactured sometime before 1977. I got it in 1980, on a trade for a Ruger Security-Six. Pinned and recessed, without a dash-number, that pistol was a constant companion through a lot of hard times. It has been retired from active service and is now my woods-packing piece. I really should find a nice piece of leather to carry it in. Some have asked if I regret trading the Security-Six. Yeah, I do. I wish I had it and the Smith.

Tomorrow, I cast bullets and prep brass. It felt good to shoot the pistols today. Qualfications are in June, and I need a couple of more range sessions so that I can better the score I made last year. Qualification isn't the issue, as I have never had any problem qualifying on the police course.

As the sun went down, I recalled that tomorrow begins Daylight Saving Time. Remember to set your clocks forward.

Cynthia McKinney's statement

Cynthia McKinney (Moonbat - GA) has a statement on her Congressional Webpage. It is short and sweet, and drips with honey and light.

It deserves a good Fisking.
March 29, 2006 (Washington, DC) - To the Members of the Capitol Hill Police:

Earlier today I had an unfortunate confrontation with a Capitol Hill Police Officer.
No, earlier today you committed the offense of Battery on an Officer
It is traditional protocol that Capitol Hill Police Officers secure 535 Members of Congress, including 100 Senators. It is the expectation of most Members of Congress that Capitol Hill Police officers know who they are.
Why is that the expectation? Because you are so important that everybody should know who you are? Because as an elected official you don't have time for security screening? Or because as a Member of Congress, the little people should immediately step aside when you come through?
I was urgently trying to get to an important meeting on time to fulfill my obligations to my constituents.
Well, then Congress member, maybe you should have left home a little earlier. If you are late to a meeting, it is no ones fault but your own. If you're late, you're late. The rest of us don't give a rat's ass. It's your fault, suck it up.
Unfortunately, the Police Officer did not recognize me as a Member of Congress and a confrontation ensued.
Why should he? You are issued a pin that identifies you as a member of Congress. You are given an ID as a member of Congress. Use them. Wear them. I'm sure that all Capitol Police officers are schooled in treating Members of Congress with deference all out of proportion to their actual importance. Members of Congress are servants of the people. Is the officer you battered not a person? Had you flashed the card at the checkpoint, you would have been waved through. You didn't. Your overinflated sense of entitlement assumed that you would be recognized as someone important. You're not important. You are a servant of the people.
I did not have on my Congressional pin but showed the Police Officer my Congressional ID.
After he confronted you for blowing past his checkpoint. Had I been on duty, you would have been cuffed, stuffed and fluffed. ID and manners are remarkable attributes. You have Id, but you don't use them. Manners are a different matter entirely. Evidently, your momma did a piss-poor job of raising you.
I know that Capitol Hill Police are securing our safety, that of
thousands of others, and I appreciate the work that they do. I deeply regret that the incident occurred.
Your actions speak louder than your words. I saw your statement on CNN where you said that the reason you were stopped was because you are a black woman. You played the race card almost immediately. If you truly regret the incident, then formally apologize to the officer involved and plead guilty in Court to Battery on an Officer. You did it. Be big enough to admit it.
I have demonstrated my support for them in the past and I continue to support them now.
Oh,bullshit, Cynthia. You support no one. You produce nothing to support anything. You are a drain on the economy of the United States. Every penny of your salary is taken from tax money. You exist solely on the goodwill of the American people. You have a sense of entitlement that is completely out of proportion to the marginal utility of your service. If you were honest with yourself for even a minute, you would know that I am telling you the truth.

Here is another truth. The folks who elected you are idiots.

No Flag at School

I was reading Michelle Malkin, who linked to this article on CBS News. It seems some students are proudly waving the American flag and getting suspended for it
.(CBS/AP) Dozens of high school students protested a temporary school policy forbidding students from displaying the U.S. flag, as well as flags from other countries, amid racial tensions following immigration rallies.

Skyline High School Principal Tom Stumpf said American flags were brazenly waved in the faces of Hispanic students and in one case a Mexican flag was thrown into the face of another student.
Tom Stumpf is an idiot. I don't know how else to say it.

Let me see if I get this right: Mexicans are agitating for a return to something called Aztlan. American students wave the flag. The American students get suspended. Sounds like Tom Stumpf is a total idiot.
Student Dustin Carlson told Denver station KCNC-TV that he was suspended for two days.

"I'm getting suspended for it and personally I think that's uncalled for," he said. "If this country means freedom, then why can't we fly our own flag? It's ridiculous."
I agree, Dustin. I agree.

However, the last time I looked, advocating for the overthrow of the US Government was called treason. I'm sure that Colorado has such a statute. I know Lousiana has one. It is illegal to advocate the overthrow of the state government. Do you think the Mexican students were suspended? The article is ominously quiet on that score.

Tom Stumpf needs to be taken out and horsewhipped. Don't they have any rails in Longmont? Any tar? Any feathers? Sounds to me like the good residents of Longmont Colorado need to take care of business.

Men and Wimmen

I was over at the Hog and remembered a time when I was single, playing the field.

Just getting over a tragic divorce. My mind was a twisted knot of angst and self-doubt. I knew that I needed to make changes in my life but hated how those changes were being forced upon me. I lived in a small town, less than 20,000 souls. Only a certain percentage of those were willing females. Most of my age group knew one another anyway, from years of taking the kids to baseball games, and street dances, and all the other small town activities that make American society. It was a closed loop.

It was a small town. 'Nuff said.

I maintained the life of a monk for awhile, then decided to get out of the house. I didn't want to forge any relationships of a sexual nature. Not even close. And there was this gal who caught my eye, but I just wanted to hang out. So, in the old-fashioned method of dating, I asked her to a movie. We went to the movie. We went home. Each to our seperate abode. We continued to date over the course of several weekends and one night the question of sex loomed between us. Loomed to the point that she started taking off clothes. I refused. Refused gratefully, gently, lovingly, then told her I'd tell her all about it when I got my thoughts together.

So I went home and wrote a letter. More like an essay. It was a literary work of genius, with multiple revisions and much of the writer's craft, designed to calm her fears and reassure her ego. I generally told her that the last thing she wanted was sex with me. That I was a tumultuous bundle of bits and pieces and that my mind wasn't fully around my divorce. I told her that I was certainly desirous of sex but that I was afraid of becoming entangled in a sexual relationship. I told her that she deserved more, and that with time I would be willing and able to give her more. I told her that when I was ready, I'd let her know; that I thought she was a beautiful, magnificent, strong woman and that when I was ready I would do everything in my power to make the physical act a powerful, worshipful, meaningful experience that we both deserved.

She was smitten. And relieved that her desireability wasn't in question. She swore a girlfriend to secrecy and showed her the letter. Who told another friend. Who told another friend. It was a small town.

She and I eventually had sex and it was wonderful, worshipful, masterful. She gave it everything she had.. Then, a job offer lured her away. I helped her move. And the word was out.

I was besieged. Besieged with offers from women who just wanted to hang out, to be friends. Women who were intrigued with the idea that a man didn't want sex on the first date, or the second, or necessarily the third. Successful, articulate, educated women who had never heard of the concept that a man and a woman could be equals, friends, intimate without sex. Yet they all knew that I was proudly heterosexual, but with boundaries. I was besieged! Besieged, I tell you.

It was a wonderful time to be alive.

Then, one day at a Super Bowl party I met a woman from out of town. She and I became friends. We started dating. We became exclusive and eventually, she asked me to marry her. She is Milady and we have been together for five years. Five wonderful, glorious years. I hope to be with her the rest of my life. We each have our boundaries and we respect them. I have never been more loved.