Saturday, January 31, 2009

Then came Daschle

You remember Tom Daschle? Democrat Senator from South Dakota? Yeah, him. He's slated to become the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. Then we find out that he's got tax-cheat problems of his own.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), President Obama's nominee to be secretary of Health and Human Services, neglected to pay more than $100,000 in taxes connected to a Cadillac and driver provided by a wealthy friend and business associate, according to media reports.
Then we learn that he's become a multi-millionaire since being a Senator. He gives speeches to healthcare providers.
Tom Daschle, tapped to be President Obama's health czar, was paid more than $200,000 by the health-care industry in the past two years, according to documents obtained by Politico.

The former Senate majority leader, who gave speeches to firms and groups with a vested-interest in the administration's upcoming health reform, collected the checks as part of a $5 million windfall after he lost reelection to his South Dakota seat.
Can you say Conflict of Interest? I knew you could.

We've got Hillary Clinton at State, when her husband is doing business with foreign governments. We've got Geithner at Treasury, a confirmed tax cheat. Now we've got Daschle at HHS, getting honorarium from healthcare providers.

This is shaping up to be the most corrupt cabinet since Grants.

Outrage!

Where's the outrage, people? People are dying and FEMA isn't on the scene.
Dozens of deaths have been reported and many people are pleading for a faster response to the power outages. About 438,000 homes and businesses across Kentucky were without power, down from more than 600,000, the largest outage in state history, and as far away as Oklahoma, around 10,000 customers still had no electricity.
I'm sure the local crews are working as hard as they can. If you've never been caught in an ice storm, you don't know how bad it can be.

Once in Kentucky and once in Natchitoches Parish, LA I was caught in an ice storm. The one in Louisiana was worse because we had no clue how to react. We lost power early on, but we had a fireplace and were able to boil water on a propane stove for drinking and sponge-baths. Five days later, after the thaw, the power company made it down our little country road.
Local officials grew angrier at what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Kentucky's Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees.

"We've got people out in some areas we haven't even visited yet," Smith said. "We don't even know that they're alive."
I'm sure President Bush will be widely blamed. Oh, wait. Bush isn't President any more. There's that Obama fellow in the White House now. I wonder how he's holding up under the strain?
WASHINGTON — The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”
Well, that answers my question. People are freezing to death in Kentucky and the Lightworker has the thermostat up high enough that orchids will grow in the Oval Office.

That's HopeyChangey at its best.

**UPDATE** Bill Quick asks:
“Where is the mainstream media, screaming in one united voice, that the absence of FEMA demonstrates the utter fecklessness and failure of the current President and all his policies?”

Plus his barely concealed racism, of course.
Indeed.

Arms = Education

Let's face it, I'm a lucky man. I am lucky to live in a place where firearms are accepted and understood. Where I don't have to repeat myself and where most folks understand the value in a firearm.

Via SayUncle, we go to San Diego where some there are consumed with pants-shitting-hysteria that there is ROTC on the high school campus and that some of them have pellet rifle teams.

I believe every high school should have a rifle team. Guns are educational on many levels. Between the metal work and the stock work, there's a couple of years of good solid vocational training there. On another level, there is the lesson that something powerful can be used for good or evil and both are contained in the single item. It's purely the choice of the user as to how it's used. Another lesson might be that some actions cannot be undone. A bullet fired can't be recalled. Handling firearms teaches responsibility.

For others, the lessons might come from the science of ballistics, both internal and external. Recoil, trajectory, energy, these are all hard sciences with practical applications in science and industry.

Then, of course, there are the Humanities, where we could study the phobias and mental health of people who are afraid of a simple inanimate object. Hoplophobes, Jeff Cooper calls them. They're simply irrational and I think Hoplophobia should be considered a mental illness, treatable by medication or electric shock.

So, in one rifle (or shotgun, or pistol), we can study history, science, the humanities and vocational education. Anyone who says that firearms have no business in a high school is simply a nitwit.

Football

Your curmudgeon is given to understand that there's a football game on TV tomorrow, one that he neither cares about nor intends to watch. There hasn't been a Super Bowl since the old NFL merged with the AFL. Since then, they're all in the same league and it's just a league championship.

In short, all tomorrow means is that we don't have to listen to anyone talks about football for.. oh... maybe two or three months.

If PawPaw were the super-duper silly-games commissioner, the following rules would be in effect. Football would run from September 2 to January 1. Basketball would run from January 2 till April 1. Baseball would run from April 2 to September 1. Soccer would be banished from American shores. Other silly games could be played during the months not already scheduled.

I call them silly games because I don't believe that they're sports. Sports are endeavors where there is serious risk of bodily harm. Many people attribute a quote to Hemingway that "There are only three sports - bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games." Some don't believe he said it. I don't care. The point is that a sporting endeavor should have some element of risk beyond the merely coincidental.

All the rest are silly games.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Health care in the stimulus

The Wall Street Journal has the news.
Tom Daschle is still waiting to be confirmed as secretary of health and human services, not that he's in any rush. Democrats are already enacting his and Barack Obama's agenda of government-run health care -- entirely on the QT.
They learned with the Hillary Healthcare Debacle that most Americans wouldn't like talking about increasing spending on health care while in the middle of this huge financial crisis, so they just went ahead and wrote it in to the stimulus bill with nary a word from the leadership.
Still, it's the "stimulus" that has proven the real gift horse -- a behemoth that has allowed Democrats to speed up the takeover of health care under cover of an economic crisis. They initially claimed, for instance, the "stimulus" would provide Medicaid money to states struggling to pay existing bills. What in fact it does is dramatically expand the number of Americans who qualify for Medicaid.

Under "stimulus," Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.
This crap sandwich keeps getting more aromatic. Rather than risk a debate and transparent government, they're trying to stealth it into the stimulus.
Add it up, and Democrats may move 10 million more Americans under the federal health umbrella -- in just four weeks! Good luck ever cutting off that money. Meanwhile, the Democratic majority is gearing up for a Medicare fight, where it may broach plans to lower the eligibility age to 55. Whatever costs accrue, they'll pay for by slashing the private Medicare Advantage option.
It's time to write my Senators a scathing letter. This stimulus is stimulating me nearly into open rebellion.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rangel Rule?

Hey, I'm in agreement with this. Congressman John Carter, R-Texas, has introduced a bill to let taxpayers pay their back taxes without any interest or penalties. He uses Congressman Charlie Rangel D-NY as his inspiration. Congressman Rangel is, of course, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee.
The legislation calls for the creation of what he calls the, "Rangel Rule," -- drawing attention to the recent legal issues of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., enabling citizens who fail to pay taxes on time to do so later with no additional fees.

Rangel, who writes the country's tax policies, acknowledged last fall that he failed to pay thousands in real estate taxes for rental income he earned from a property in the Dominican Republic.

As of September 2008 the Harlem Democrat reportedly paid back more than $10,000 in taxes but that did not include any IRS penalties.
Rangel's a crook, in violation of several state and federal laws. He's the tenant of several rent-stabilized apartments in violation of local law and he has been delinquent on his taxes and fails to pay penalties or interest as required by law. No one's going to enforce the law against Rangel, though. He's a Congressman and they have certain priveliges that the rest of us don't enjoy.

So, this bill allows the rest of the taxpayers to do what Charlie Rangel has been doing as a matter of privelige and entitlement.

I think I'll call my Congressman and tell him to support it.

Boyd's stocks

Y'all might remember that I dropped my Savage 30-06 last November and broke the stock. I hunted with another rifle for the remainder of the season, but this past Monday I ordered a stock for that rifle. I ordered the Boyd's JRS laminated stock in a color they call pepper laminate. It's grey.

When I ordered it, the website said that the item was in stock. I waited till this afternoon to check my card account and my order at Boyd's. It hasn't been processed, so I sent off an email. They returned my email promptly. There was some problem with their inventory system and they don't have that stock (or any Savage stock, evidently) in inventory. They promised that they could have me one in six weeks.

I told them okay. Whereas I'm interested in getting the stock and installing it, I'll want to bed it and the weather right now isn't conducive to good bedding. Not that I've ever bedded a rifle, but I've worked with epoxies and know that freezing temps aren't the best for curing epoxy. The weather in March will be better, so we'll wait till March.

I'll need to order a better trigger guard. The one Savage put on the stock is an ugly plastic. I never noticed it on the ugly plastic stock, but with this laminated stock, I'm going to order a nice matte metal one. Brownell's has them in stock and I'll order one next week, along with the bedding compound.

I hope I don't glue the rifle into the stock.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No time to spare.

That's what our President is telling us about the fantastic crap sandwich he's trying to push through Congress. He tells the truth about what is going to bring us out of a recession, though.
Hours before the House was expected to approve his program of well over $800 billion, largely along partisan lines and in the face of heavy criticism, Mr. Obama tried to convey his message far beyond the corridors of the Capitol and into boardrooms and living rooms. The future of the American economy rests less in his hands than it does “with American companies and workers,” Mr. Obama said.

“They are the ones whose efforts and ideas will determine our economic destiny, just as they always have,” the president said. “For in the end, it’s businesses, large and small, that generate the jobs, provide the salaries and serve as the foundation on which the American people’s lives and dreams depend.”
Well, if that's the case, why not let the companies and workers decide how the economy will be saved?

As far as I can tell, this recession started with the housing bubble and has spread to the rest of the economy. Economists will tell you that economies are prone to cyclical swings. We've been riding a long upswing for about the past thirty years and most of the bubble came to be based on government intervention in the housing markets. Fannie and Freddie really did a number on the economy, but my faith in the American worker tells me that the economy will do what makes sense once the government quits meddling in it. Leave it alone and it'll adjust. A lot of the volatility in the markets right now is based on not knowing what the government will do in the next two weeks, or two months.

I think our President is wrong on the stimulus, and I think that the reason he wants to push it through so quickly is that the longer the American people look at it, the more it seems like a boondoggle.

Octuplets??

I saw this story in the paper today. A woman in California has given birth to octuplets. That's right. Eight.

Just damn.
Even as the birth of octuplets at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center drew attention and applause from around the country, questions arose Tuesday about whether the mother's doctors did enough to prevent such a risky pregnancy.
I hope that the mother and all the children are healthy. Really. A birth of this nature is fraught with risk and I hope everything turns out okay for everyone involved.

However. In sixteen or seventeen years, all these kids are going to start driving. Pretty much on the same day. How'd you like to see that insurance tab?

I'm glad my four are grown and gone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Landrieu votes for Geithner

The Senate voted 60-34 tonight to confirm tax-cheat Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. He was head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, but was working for the International Monetary Fund when he had his tax troubles. The whole deal was about $34,000 dollars in back taxes that he paid late. He said it was an oversight. A simple mistake.

Right.

Mary Landrieu voted to confirm.

I'll remember that when it's time to vote against Mary.

Political Choices

Via MSNBC (aka, the Obama Channel) we learn that the Lightworker has a choice to make. Who's he gonna piss off? Ted Kennedy, or Mass Governor Deval Patrick. They're firmly on opposite sides of the debate over the Nantucket wind farm.
A leading foe of the $1 billion project is Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., an early and influential backer of Obama's presidential bid. A strong proponent is Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a close friend of Obama and a source for some of his best campaign speech lines.
On the one hand, Obama campaigned for more sources of renewable enegry. On the other hand, this wind farm can be seen from Kennedy's Nantucket home.

This oughta be interesting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Revolver work

Between bouts with the Savage today, I took the opportunity to do a little trigger work with my Smith & Wesson Model 66. I acquired this revolver soon after I began police work, sometime in the early 1980s. I think I gave $150.00 for it, and it's still worth that.



It's had dozens of cases of ammo through it. That simple little pistol was my primary duty weapon for over two decades. I resisted the Wondernine revolution of the latter part of the twentieth century, opting to stay with the tested .357 magnum. There's a lot to like, still, with a .357 in a rural jurisdiction.

Today, though, that revolver has been retired from active service. I took it out today to work some target loads through it. It's always liked a light charge of Bullseye under a 148 grain hollow-based wadcutter, and I had some loaded so I gave it a go. It worked just fine. If anybody needs a good recipe for a .38 special target load, 2.7 grains of Bullseye under a 148 grain HBWC and any standard primer. Low recoil, low velocity, and high accuracy in every revolver I've ever tried.

Every spring, my department sponsors a shooting match using duty weapons. We throw money in a hat and shoot targets and some folks win trophies and some folks don't, and the money goes to Special Olympics. I think I'm going to load a bunch of those target loads and spend some time practicing. When the match rolls around, I won't embarrass myself.

Aggravating .17 HMR

Most of my rifles can shoot better than I can, and until now, my rifles have been hunting rifles. Until recently, I owned exactly one rifle that I didn't intend to hunt with, and that is a Model 1874 Sharps in .45-70. It's a big ole rifle that shoots a big ole cartridge.

Then my wife got me a Savage Model 93R17 for Christmas. It's a little bolt action rifle with a heavy varmint barrel and it's chambered in .17 HMR. It needed a good scope to take advantage of the accuracy of the round, so I ordered a Swift 6X18X44 scope for it. This is the first time, ever, that I've put a scope on a rifle where the scope cost more than the rifle.

The Swift has good glass and an adjustable objective. I got turned-on to Swift scopes by my brother-in-law, who uses them exclusively on his deer rifles. My youngest son bought a Swift scope for his Savage 10 FP. An afternoon with that rifle convinced me that Swift optics are just fine. I'm not going to compare them with Leupold, or Zeiss, but they're fine optics and very popularly priced.

At any rate, I mounted the Swift scope on the little Savage, grabbed a box of Hornady 17 grain ammo, and headed to the range. After getting the scope dialed in to the rifle at 25 yards, I sashayed out to the 100 yard line, posted the target, and settled in behind the bench. I noticed immediately that the combination of lightweight tupperware stock and good optics made the rifle "twitchy". It wouldn't set still. I fiddled around for a little while, trying to finess my benchrest technique, then noticed that I could see my heartbeat through the scope. The rifle would twitch with a disturbing regularity. It had to be my heartbeat.

I began firing. Sometimes I'd get a three-shot group measuring just under a third of an inch. Sometimes I'd get a three-shot group measuring over an inch and a half. Aggravating.

For the record, the ambient temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was still. Dead still.

The rifle shoots very well. Lots better than I can shoot. The scope is the best one I've ever purchased. I can see right now that the little rifle would benefit from a better trigger, a better stock, and a better guy on the wide end of the stock.

It is very cool to look through the spotting scope and see three little, tiny holes touching near the bulls-eye. It is very aggravating to fire three more shots and see the group open to almost two inches.

If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

Awww, cute!

Isn't that cute. The first "quagmire" article of the new administration. It requires registration to view, but I'll give you what I have.
Fearing Another Quagmire in Afghanistan
By HELENE COOPER
Published: January 25, 2009
Can President Obama succeed in that long-lamented “graveyard of empires” — a place that has crushed foreign occupiers for more than 2,000 years?
We'll never know, Helene, because the Lightworker isn't going to Afganistan. He's the President.

And yeah, Afghanistan is known to be a graveyard for empires. No doubt. But, that's where we're engaged right now. The Taliban is resurgent there. It's a lousy war but it's the only one we've got. But, to answer your question, Obama isn't going to succeed in Afghanistan because he isn't going there. He's probably going to order good American troops to go there.

But don't despair. There's plenty for him to do here. Things like destroying the economy, increasing abortion rights, closing Guantanamo, releasing terrorists. There's plenty of work to keep him busy for a week or so.

But, no, dear. He's not going to Afghanistan. He's not qualified. Never been to Basic Training, doesn't know how to put on battle-rattle, has no idea how to lead a small unit. The President simply isn't qualified to go into a war-zone and lead troops. He doesn't know how to shoot, doesn't know how to fight, doesn't understand the myriad stresses of combat.

He's a community organizer, remember?

Yet, he's uniquely qualified to be the Commander-in-Chief. 52% of the American people said so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go to church this morning and pray for our country. Then, I'm off to the range.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Presidental Memos

Our President is making his Proclamations, Executive orders and Presidential Memoranda public. Extremely public, as they are posted on the White House website. I congratulate him on this initiative.

Anyone can read them. I'm reading the Memorandum entitled "Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning" and I'm wondering.

Why are we paying Mexicans, or anyone else, to have abortions? Is that something we should be spending tax dollars on?

For that matter, isn't it about time we looked at the foreign aid we hand out every year? We're in a recession, remember? With two wars. We're a bazillion dollars in debt. Looks like foreign aid might be one place we could save some money.

Saturday Skeet

For Christmas, one of my kids got me a backyard clay target thrower. I like shooting skeet, of any variety, although I cut my teeth on the old 8 station skeet layout. Still, there's a lot to love about a box of clay targets, a thrower, and an afternoon in a pasture. It's good fun.

My eldest grandson (age 11) got a shotgun for Christmas. A Mossberg 500 youth model in 20 gauge. He's been pestering me to take him shooting, so this morning we took a box of shells, a case of targets and went to an open field.

He did all right for his first time against moving targets, hitting 3 targets for 13 thrown. The weather was cold and windy. The target thrower was inconsistent, and I have to work on that. Still, the boy and I went out into a pasture and shot some moving targets. When we came back, we cleaned the shotgun and put it away. It'll be ready for the next time out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pravda!

Wanna know what the Russians think of Hillary Clinton as Sec State? Read their newspaper.
Hillary Clinton as the US Secretary of State will not change anything. The color of the skin does not change the essence of aggressive politics. She definitely enjoys great respect in the United States as a woman who returned to big politics after the infamous scandal with her husband. Unlike Condoleezza Rice, Clinton has a more subtle perception of the moment. She realizes that life is not based on the American dream but follows a completely different motto: “We either swim or drown.”
Ha! It gets better: On idea that the United States should be using smart diplomacy, they note:
There is an impression that Clinton is either being sarcastic or she distorts the whole history of the United States. America has never had smart foreign policies. America was always solving its problems through wars.


It's a hoot of an article. Go read it. It's some idea of what the furriners think about our new Sec State.

Ya can't get good help these days.

If anybody cares, it looks like Caroline Kennedy took her name out of consideration for the New York Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.

Turns out, during the vetting process, they found a problem with Caroline's household help and her taxes.
ALBANY — Problems involving taxes and a household employee surfaced during the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and derailed her candidacy for the Senate, a person close to Gov. David A. Paterson said on Thursday, in an account at odds with Ms. Kennedy’s own description of her reasons for withdrawing.
Ya know, you just can't get good help these days.

I figured that she had a death watch on Uncle Teddy and was positioning to take his Massachusetts seat. No one in Mass would argue against her, and I'm sure she could get around any little thing like a residency requirement.

Taxes and housekeepers, huh?

Infrastructure spending

In the embedded video, Robert Reich, advisor to the President and Charlie Rangel, D-NY are talking about economic stimulus, specifically those infrastructure projects like roads and bridges that the government intends to spend money on to stimulate the economy.



You can watch it if you like, but the money quote is here:
I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers. … I have nothing against white male construction workers. I’m just saying that there are a lot of other people who have needs as well. … Criteria can be set so that the money does go to others, the long term unemployed minorities, women, people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.
So, both Robert Reich and Charlie Rangel want these infrastructure jobs to go to unskilled, unprofessional, long-term unemployed people. Oh, yeah. That's who I want building bridges that my grandkids have to drive across on the way to school.

White male construction workers? Is this government sponsored racism? It sure sounds like it to me.

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Obama and Rangel want to build bridges using unskilled, non-professional, minority, long-term unemployed. That's what they say in the video.

It's all hopeychangey, ain't it? Hat tip to Flopping Aces.

Gitmo

I see that our President is ordering Gitmo closed. Good idea! That ought to keep his base happy.

He's ordered the military tribunals to cease operations for 120 days so that his advisers can study the issue. Not like they haven't had plenty of time to study the issue already. It's the same issue they've been squawking about for the past two or three years. Nothing much has changed.

There's still the issue over whether waterboarding is torture. I'm inclined to vote No on that one. It's something we do to our own military in training. To my way of thinking, anything done in training ain't torture. But, I don't have a razor-sharp legal mind.

I'm pretty sure that Obama has some razor-sharp legal minds on his staff, this ain't nothing new, and they need time to study the issues.

Sounds to me like he's voting present on this one. I've got a sneaking hunch that whatever he decides to do will placate his base, hamstring the intelligence community, and embolden our enemies. That ought to be a joy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pickpockets

I was talking to a guy last night at a soccer game. He's a fairly prominent ambulance-chaser hereabouts and has two daughters attending Georgetown University. Nice kids. I watched them go through high school and his son is presently in high school. We talked about kids and I asked about his daughters and he volunteered that one of them had been pickpocketed while attending the Obama beatification inauguration.

"That's a hell of a note." says I.

"Yeah," says he. "She's okay, but it kind of broke the spirit of the moment. She was kind of depressed about losing her billfold."

She put her trust in HopenChange and got her pocket picked for her trouble. I hope she doesn't become a metaphor for all of us.

Yesterday

I didn't get a chance to watch the coronation inauguration yesterday because like most Americans, I had to work. Worked a 14 hour day.

I did read some news feeds and I was particularly impressed when George W. Bush gathered his legion of Bush-McChimpy-Hitler-Rethuglicans and lead an assault on the Capitol, refusing to transfer power and consolidating a military coup lead by Blackwater mercenarys to have himself appointed President For Life.

Oh... wait... That never happened. The change of power was peaceful, celebratory and President Bush cooperated fully and amicably with the transition.

So, we've got a new President. He's probably feeling his way into the office and finding his way around the new digs. I did see that he's updated the website already. I also see that he hasn't issued any executive orders yet, so it looks like he pissed away the first day in office. I thought he was going to hit the ground running.

I guess not.

I wish President Obama all the best. Truly I do. If he succeeds, the country succeeds and that's where my loyalty lies. To the country.

If he succeeds, I'll just sit here quietly and ignore him. He's the most powerful person on the face of the planet, and the hype has certainly been complete enough that he should be able to do anything. SO, success doesn't warrant comment. He's got all the tools for the job. We'll see if he can wield them.

If he fails, I'll trumpet his failures, large and small. That's my job. I'm the opposition.

And, that's not being mean-spirited. Turn about is fair play. He promised in a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I don't believe that he knows what that means, but I intend to hold him to it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dumb question

Okay, let me ask y'all a dumb question.

Obama moved his family into the Hayes-Adams hotel in Washington on or about January 7th so that his daughters could start school.

Then, Obama gets on a train in Philadelphia on or about January 17th.
President-elect Barack Obama, delivering a pledge "to take up the work'' that the patriots of American independence started here, launched a thematic train ride that will deliver the incoming president to Washington.
That was a HopeyChangey whistle-stop ride, but look at the verbiage "to deliver the incoming president to Washington."

The Lightworker was already in Washington. He got there on about the 7th. Then he takes a train ride on the 17th to get to Washington.

The Question is: Why did he need to take the train to Washington if he was already living in Washington? Why didn't he just stay in town? Was there anything compelling in Philly?

It's theater, pure theater. An auspicious beginning to a Presidency. I remember Lincoln taking a train ride to Washington, but that's because he actually had to get into town. This little stunt was stage-craft, pure and simple.

There's lots to admire about President Lincoln, even if his presidency did carry the United States into a civil war. President-elect Obama might do well to remember that Lincoln deeply divided the nation to the point where open conflict erupted with Corps sized engagements all over the country.

Tomorrow, Obama takes the oath. I hope he studies the words and spends the evening in prayer, contemplating the words to which he will swear. History will judge him as the second president of the 21st Century. With all the comparisons to Lincoln I've seen in the past week, I'm hoping that Obama doesn't divide the nation to the point of open warfare.

Getting it right

I'm struck by this paragraph from the Telegraph:
The American lady who called to see if I would appear on her radio programme was specific. "We're setting up a debate," she said sweetly, "and we want to know from your perspective as a historian whether George W Bush was the worst president of the 20th century, or might he be the worst president in American history?"
I'm going to assume from the question that the lady with the sweet voice is a liberal. She's trying to decide if George W. Bush is the worst president ever, or just the worst president in the 20th Century.

I think that history will record that George W. Bush served from 2001 until 2009. None of those years are in the 20th Century.

The lady with the sweet voice is trying to decide ole Bush's place in history and she doesn't even know which in which century he served as president.

Personally, I think history will judge George W. Bush as a good, if not great, president. He presided over one of the toughest periods of American history, during the time when most Americans became aware that we were embroiled in a war against fundamental Islam.

Personally, I'm going to miss him.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Unique Powder

I'm a fan of Unique powder, originally a Hercules brand, but more recently manufactured by Alliant. It's a darned versatile powder, good for many, many uses. If you own a caliber, there is probably a load for it that uses Unique. It's not the best powder for every application, but it's a good powder for a lot of applications. If I had to pare down all the reloading powders on my bench to just two or three, Unique would be sitting on the shelf.

This guy seems to like it too. Go there and read.

Thanks, Joe, for the link.

More on the Coronation

I see that in one of his last official acts, George W. Bush has declared Washington D.C. to be a federal disaster area. Really. As it's been explained to me,
No, it's the inauguration of his successor. The inauguration is scheduled to make landfall on Tuesday and wreak havoc all night long, as Category Five conga lines buckle highways round town, and emergency busboy crews find themselves overwhelmed as they struggle to clear drained champagne flutes. So the mayor, Adrian M. Fenty, put in a request for more federal money, and, apparently, the easiest way to sluice the cash to him no questions asked was for the president to declare a state of emergency in the District and funnel however many extra gazillions he wants through FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

I don't believe that in any stretch of the imagination that the Obama ascendancy should help D.C. qualify as a federal disaster area. It's not like it's something that loomed up out of the ocean, displacing thousands of people. It's a routine change of government. We've known about this for a while. It's not a surprise that we're going to be changing Presidents.

In other news, I see that the D.C. police have declared portions of the city to be a prostitution-free zone. Seriously.
WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- District police have placed signs along 5th and I Streets. They read, "Warning, Prostitution Free Zone." Those who disobey could be fined 300 dollars, and even jailed.
Hah! I guess that means that Congress won't be attending the inauguration. No politicians allowed.

Wasn't it Harry Truman who said something to the effect that his two career choices were either to become a piano player in a cathouse, or to become a politician? Something like that... the correct quote is: "My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Inauguration

One day next week, the Lightworker is going to be inaugurated and I'm told it'll be the most expensive one to date. Some sources say $150 million, some say $196 million. Whatever.

I recall that the Left got its sack in an uproar over President Bush's last inauguration and the pricetag was something like $40 million. It's certainly a hell of a lot more than we spent on Clinton.

On the one hand, it doesn't matter much to me. It seems like a waste of money, of time, of effort, but I can see why some folks would want to celebrate. It's historic, it's farcical, it's dramatic. It's gonna be a hell of a blowout at a time when a lot of Americans are hurting. But hey! It's the Lightworker.

What I'd like to see is a return to fiscal responsibility. Lets set the bar somewhere reasonable on inaugurations. Like the Johnston inauguration. A judge, a bible, and the cost of a plane trip from Dallas to Washington.

That'd be about right.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Israel Shells U.N. Compound

That doesn't sound like a bad idea. With all the artillery we've got a places like Knox and Sill, maybe we ought to rail-load some of it and take it to New York. Shell the U.N. for real.

I digress. Back to the story.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli artillery shells struck the U.N. headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, setting a food warehouse ablaze and drawing a sharp rebuke from the visiting U.N. chief who called it an "outrage." Another Israeli bombardment killed Hamas' head of security.
yada, yada, yada. Wonder why the Israeli artillery would land a barrage in the UN Compound?
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Hamas militants opened fire from the U.N. compound. "It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences are very sad and we apologize for it," he said. The military said it was still investigating.
Oh, really? Hamas was using the compound to launch attacks? Well, that makes the compound a legitimate military target, doesn't it? We've covered this before. It sounds to me like the IDF had every right to shell the U.N. But, the shelling continues, at a local hospital.
After nightfall, shells landed near Gaza City's Quds Hospital, where many families had sought refuge, and the building caught fire, forcing staff to evacuate hundreds of people. According to a hospital medic, some patients were pushed down the street on gurneys; a few held white flags.
Well, that's what happens when you let Hamas use your hospital basement. It becomes a legitimate military target.

Seriously though. I've saved the best paragraph for last.
The attack triggered a raging fire that engulfed a warehouse and destroyed thousands of pounds of food and other aid intended for Gaza's beleaguered citizens. Workers with fire extinguishers and Palestinian firefighters, some wearing bulletproof jackets, struggled to douse flames and tugged bags of flour from the debris. Fuel supplies and cars in a garage also went up in flames.
Yeah, artillery fire is bad about starting fires. My question to the UN would be, what was all that food doing in a warehouse? Y'all selling food to the highest bidder again?

Seriously. The UN has become a terrorist organization and ought to be treated like one.

Worthless bastards.

Arctic chill

It's supposed to be twenty-two-by-Gawd-degrees tomorrow morning.

I'm not in the mood for that. This is Louisiana.

My lady and I were talking earlier about how much warmer the winters seemed now that we're older. She and I both remember houses with little or no heat, or houses with floor furnaces and no insulation. Winter seemed a whole lot colder in those times.

What I remember is having to wear a jacket when squirrel hunting in October and dressing warmly for deer hunting in November. One of my favorite memories is breaking ice in Catahoula lake in December. That hasn't happened lately. It's all that glow-ball warming.

It's cold out there right now, slick, and it's gonna be sure-enough cold in the morning. Y'all keep a fire burning.

Oh, Mexico

I'm seeing in the news aggregates this little piece that says that the Defense Department considers Mexico a candidate for collapse.
Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

“The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”
That's a hell of a note.

Let me say for the record that when I've been in Mexico, the last time in Nuevo Laredo during the summer of '06, I was treated with courtesy, respect, and dignity while I was there. However, on the way home we stopped at a border checkpoint about 10 miles from Laredo and customs officers warned us that the border was getting more dangerous.

Comparing Mexico to Pakistan is pretty harsh, but those guys generally know what they're talking about. I see in an update to an article linked above that the Mexican government is sending fresh troops to Juarez.

We really need to think more about building that fence.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More thoughts on that food article

That food article I talked about this morning? Yeah that one.

The bar we had to cross was under $35.00. I'm going to assume that's for a family of four.

Here a while back, I found a whole ribeye in the grocer's rack, marked off at about $50.00. It looked like a good deal, so I got the butcher to cut it into 1" steaks. He got nine steaks out of the ribeye, so those nine steaks cost me $5.55 apiece.

I picked up a bag of potatoes for $5.00, and some salad fixings for another $5.00.

Lets say that the backed potato and salad adds a dollar to the cost of the individual meal, along with the original $5.55 for the steak. That's $6.55 per plate and for a family of four, I'm still way, way under $35.00 for steak, potato and salad. If my calculator is correct, I spent $26.20 to feed four people.

The more I think about that article, the funnier it gets.

More Bullshit

This idiot in North Carolina wants to institute ID Checks for buying ammunition. You know, bullets. I kid you not.
Community organizer for the local NC ACORN group, The Rev. Melvin Whitley, says it's too easy for criminals to buy ammo, and he plans to close that loophole. ACORN'S initiative would expand the law to include ammunition, and may even include a requirement for bullet permits. "The problem with the law is that it allows criminals to have access to bullets. And it's the bullets that's killing us," according to Whitley.
Except, Reverend Whitley, as I understand Federal law, it's already against the law for a felon to possess ammunition.

Understand that. It's already against the law for a felon to possess ammunition, ergo, every felon who possesses ammo is in violation of federal law. They don't pay attention to the law as it's written, why would they care about your new law?

No, this is just another attempt to further erode the rights of law-abiding Americans. It's also a good way for the good Reverend to get his name in the paper and further the political agenda of his puppet-masters.

If you really want to do some good, Reverend, insist that your local US Attorney prosecute and convict all felons who are found in possession of ammunition. But that would entail actually locking up felons. The good Rev doesn't want that. He wants to make life harder for the rest of us.

I think that the Reverend is a jack-boot fascist, trying to trample my rights. If he's involved with ACORN, then he's probably involved in vote fraud too.

On a shoestring

Instapundit is amused and so am I. CBS claims feeding a family a home-cooked meal for $35.00 is on a shoestring, and asks "How low can you go"?
As The Early Show Saturday Edition's "Chef on a Shoestring," Freitag sought to take a traditional, three-course spaghetti dinner and give it a little twist any family would love - on our new, lower, recession-busting budget of $35.
I've fed ten people for a whole lot less than $35.00. If the chicken was on sale, I could make a gumbo that would feed ten people for under $5.00. That chickens cousin, with some dumplings would feed a crowd for under $5.00. It's hard to beat a pot of red beans and rice, and that's almost free. Way under $5.00, unless you want sausage in it. For that matter, Freitag's Spaghetti dinner could be cooked for not much more than $5.00.

Or, for the truly frugal, a pot of mustard greens and a pone of cornbread is about the cheapest meal I know of. Lots of folks would be proud to have greens and cornbread for supper.

I've known women, who with $35.00 could feed a family for a week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Slow news day

It is. We're waiting for the coronation of the Lightworker and not much is happening. Israel is still kicking Hamas' butt and the Hamas leadership is hiding in a hospital basement.

That makes it a legitimate military target. It must suck to be Hamas leadership these days. I don't think that the IDF will target the hospital, but Hamas makes it so easy to do these things. That hospital is now a legitimate target.

On the local front, PawPaw is very busy at the High School. Big conference this weekend and I'll be there supporting it. That means that today is Day 2 of a 12 day stretch. We'll pick up speed heading to the weekend, total chaos on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, then wind down next week. It's going to be busy.

I'll blog as I am able, but right now I need to run an errand then get back to the high school.

See y'all later.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Truth!

That's what Pravda means. And from the news service of the same name we learn of the larger problem of our climate trends. Glaciation.
The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.
The hell you say.

I put about as much stock in worrying about glaciation as I put in worrying about man-made global warming. Climate comes and goes and it's a mistake to try to equate climate with weather. It's okay for campfire discussion, but conterproductive to worry about such things. The earth will be here spinning along when mankind is long gone. That's the nature of nature.

At any rate, I think it's cool that the definitive commie rag is poking holes in Gore's theories. Locally, I note that we're supposed to get a killing frost tonight, with temps way below normal. Not a record, but certainly way below normal.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Turkey Shoot

Our little church is gun friendly. Very gun friendly. The vast majority of the men are hunters and shooters. Our pastor and her husband are both CCW permit holders. I and a couple of the other men who carry regularly have been told that while it's our choice, the pastor would appreciate it if we kept our firearms handy. It's our version of a Safe Sanctuary policy. I'd expect that anyone who came in to Sunday services intent on having a meek, compliant victim list would be considerably surprised. He'd probably take fire from two or three different angles.

At any rate, during the board meeting today, the church committee asked me to put together a turkey shoot. A fund-raiser, if you will, to bring a little money in to the church. I figure we'll use shotguns in three categories. Under 12, shooting .410 bore, middle shooters, using 20 gauge, and big bore, using 12 gauge.

We can shoot shotgun safely in the side yard of the church. Rifle shooting would be a little more problematic and might be something to work on for later. Shotguns can be fired safely in the church yard, so that's where we'll begin.

We'll let folks use their own shotguns, but the church will buy the shells so that the playing field is level. We'll use promotional loads, in 7 1/2 or 8 shot and measure the closest shot against a center dot. We'll charge a dollar per shell and a shooter can shoot as many times as he or she would like.

I don't have it all down in my head yet, but the concept is coming along. If anyone has any pointers about conducting a turkey shoot, let me hear from you in comments.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dove Loads

The eldest grandson got a shotgun for Christmas and PawPaw went to Academy Sports today to get some supplies for when he starts pestering me about shooting it.

I picked up a case of clays and a case of shotgun shells. They had plenty of shotgun shells and the price was okay on them. I picked up some 20 gauge Remington heavy dove loads for less than $6.00 a box. They're 7 1/2 shot, but they'll do for teaching a young'un to lead a moving target.

When I'm at Academy, I generally pick up a box or two of .223 to augment my meager supplies. They had none. None of any flavor. Very little other rifle cartridges. Come to think of it, I didn't see any .308 either. They were stocked on sporting arms, but the ammo shelves were practically empty.

At any rate, a case of shotgun ammo came home with me. It's been years since I fired a shotgun except for LEO qualification, and a decade or so since I've fired at a moving target. Hopefully, it'll come back to me.

**Update** His mother brought him over for a visit this afternoon and he noticed the case of shotgun shells laying on the bench. The pestering has commenced.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Obama on earmarks

Our next president tells us today that he's going to... among other things... ban earmarks.
We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review. We will create an economic recovery oversight board made up of key administration officials and independent advisers to identify problems early and make sure we're doing all that we can to solve it. We will put information about where money is being spent online so that the American people know exactly where their precious tax dollars are going and whether we are hitting our marks.
Hmmmph! Okay, you all see my Porkbusters logo on the right sidebar. I'm behind Obama on this one. Earmarks should have been banned long ago, however, that's the traditional way that pork gets delivered to the district back home.

However, the Lightworker, who is now a member of the Executive branch, has no constitutional way to ban earmarks. According to the way I read the Constitution, all spending bills (read: the budget) has to originate in the House of Representatives, then be voted on in the Senate, then the bill goes to the President to be signed into law. As I understand the budget process, the President doesn't have a line-item veto. He's can sign the budget bill or veto it. This is Con Law 101 and I'd think that he knows that. If not, then we've elected a dumbass.

Now, lets say for example, Senator Ted Kennedy wants a $1000 earmark for some arts council in Boston. Kennedy can probably put something like that in the budget. It's an earmark. Is Obama going to veto the budget over one, single $1000 earmark? The way I see it that's the only way he can fight it.

I hope he pulls it off. I really do. No earmarks. No pork. He said that he's going to ban all earmarks and I'm holding him to it. One earmark and he's failed. By his own admission and by his own definition. He's going to ban all earmarks.

He'll fail, of course, because Congress likes its pork.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Israel Fires on School

I saw the headline earlier today that Israeli forces had fired on a school and over 30 people were dead. Initially, the reports were that a tank had fired into the school and I thought, "Wait a minute. No tank commander is going to fire into a school building. That doesn't make sense. Sounds like mortars or artillery to me."

For those who might wonder, a mortar is an indirect fire weapon where the gunners generally can't see what they're firing at. Forward observers direct the enemy fire, or radar signatures tell the fire direction center where incoming rounds are originating and target the mortars to fire against the opposing mortars. That's called counter-battery fire and it's taught at every artillery school in the world. We're very good at it. So are the Soviets and the Israelis.

As it turns out, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Hamas was using mortar's from the school yard and Israeli infantrymen got in a counter-battery argument with the Hamas mortars.
The infantrymen returned mortar shell fire into the school grounds, the army said. Defense officials told The Associated Press that booby-trapped bombs in the school triggered the secondary explosions which killed scores of Palestinians on the site.
That makes more sense. Hamas used the civilians as human shields. Hamas is a terrorist organization and has no moral standing. Hamas is killing civilians for a propaganda coup and of course, the media promptly reported what Hamas told them to report.

Hamas is scum who doesn't deserve to breathe the same air that people breathe. The sooner they're exterminated, the better.

**UPDATE** Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website entry on this tragedy.

Burris not seated

The Senate refused to seat Burris today. Burris, as you all know, is the ersatz Senatorial appointee from Illinois who got the nod from Governor Blagojevich.

He seems like a harmless enough fellow, although his ego is bigger than his electoral ability. In Illinois, the voters have rejected him several times in the past 12 years. He was state Comptroller, and state AG, but he lost three times for Governor.

The Senate refused him based on the fact that the Illinois Secretary of State refused to sign the appointment documents.

I've got no dog in this hunt, one way or another, but I do have a problem with Burris and it all ties to Blagojevich. My problems are threefold.

1. Blago is a crook who tried to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder.

2. Burris arguably has enough money (have you seen his crypt) to buy the seat.

3. Anything Blago does is tainted. See #1 above. Burris might have bought the seat. That's a big "might", but there you have it. Burris is tainted.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Vote the Graveyards

Here in Louisiana we have a reputation for political corruptness, along with Florida and New Jersey. Let's add Minnesota to that list. According to the Wall Street Journal,
Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as "duplicate" and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes.
Uuuh, no. The only way to explain having more ballots than voters is that the precinct officials are corrupt. Corrupt. They should have seen the problem earlier and taken steps to fix it. Turning in more votes than registered voters is simply, unambiguously corrupt.

As it turns out, Al Franken is helped by this process. I don't think Al is corrupt as much as he's a foul-mouthed, arrogant, argumentative pissant, but more likely the Democratic machine in Minnesota is corrupt.

After eight years of the Democrats hollering about the "culture of corruption", it's refreshing to see all the corruption coming out of the Democratic Party. Even if they are piss-poor at it. C'mon. More ballots than registered voters? Gimme a break.

Lyndon Johnson is probably rolling in his grave, or chuckling up his sleeve. The guys in Minnesota are rank amateurs.

For the record, if Norm Coleman couldn't do better than a couple of hundred votes against Al Franken, then he probably deserves to lose. He should have done better, but he didn't. Still, more ballots than voters? There's only one way to explain that and it ain't incompetence.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

.357 Goodness

I took two .357 magnums out to the range this afternoon, with mixed results. I took my 6" SW Model 27-2 and the Marlin 1894C.

I was using the load I've been playing with consisting of 12.0 grains of Alliant 2400, a CCI small pistol primer, and the Ranch Dog TLC 358-190-TF bullet. This was the first chance I've had to put it over the chronograph and the results were interesting.

The load chrony'd in the pistol at about 1030 fps, average, but I was getting a large extreme spread, in the neighborhood of 100 fps. Sd in the 50's, but the load was fairly accurate in the pistol, in the range of 3" at 25 yards. Recoil was middling stout, but the primers were still nicely rounded. I was shooting the revolver single action with my forearms resting on sandbags.

I switched to the rifle, and the load averaged about 1350 with that same large extreme spread and Sd. Accuracy was good, in the under 2" at 25 yards and opened up to about 3" at 50 yards. That big ole bead on the front sight totally obscured the 6" bullseye at 50 yards and all the shots fell within the bull, so the rifle is shooting into the front sight at 0 yards. It's trifling to complain about accuracy like that.

However, I would like to bring the velocity up to about 1200 fps in the pistol. But, I've never experimented with heavy bullets in the .357 and I don't know what that would do to the pressures.

So, this is a good performing load in both the pistol and the rifle, but I'm not where I want to be, velocity wise. It's a quandary.

How far can you run?

How far can you run in ten minutes? They say an army moves at three miles per hour, which is a half-mile every ten minutes. That's a good walking speed. A half-mile is a good distance, and even an old out-of-shape fart like myself can probably cover that half-mile in ten minutes given the proper motivation. The Palestinians have good motivation. As Yaacov Lozowick explains:
According to the laws of war, placing military ordinance in civilian settings is forbidden because it erases the line between civilians and soldiers, and since getting at the soldiers so as to kill them is permitted, civilians will inevitably also be killed. Hezbullah, Hamas, and the Fatah-based Palestinian terrorists never put any store in any of that just-war theory or practice, since in their self understanding they are victims, period, and no matter what they do will always be justified. Their useful idiots in the West parrot this alongside them, thus demonstrating their rejection of the noble heritage of the Enlightenment.

The practice has booby-trapped Israel, of course. If we hit the terrorists along with their civilian shields, we're damned for waging war on civilians. If we refrain, so as not to be damned, the terrorists are safe, and sooner or later they'll kill Israelis.
That tells the tale. If the Israelis hit the valid military targets in the urban environment that is Gaza, they're putting civilians at risk because Hamas won't separate itself from the civilian population.

So, the IDF has been calling the people in the target area telling them that the area will be destroyed in ten minutes. Get out. Get out now.
The advance of technology, however, has created new possibilities. In the week of air-attacks, the IDF proved it had excellent intelligence, and in many cases targets hit from the air kept on exploding for a number of minutes after they were hit, as the ordinance stored there exploded. More significant, the IDF has figured out how to separate the civilians from the weapons: call the neighbors and give them ten minutes warning. The numbers prove how efficient this has been: prior to the ground invasion, more than 600 targets had been destroyed, fewer than 500 Palestinians killed, and fewer than 100 of those were civilians even by Palestinian and UN reckoning. Of course, there remain the pictures of civilians surrounded by devastation, but they're alive, and it wasn't Israel that stacked bombs in their cellars.


No one would blame the Israelis if they hit valid military targets and let the civilians become collateral damage. The practice of calling ahead gives the Hamas fighters the opportunity to flee and live to fight another day. The practice of calling ahead puts Israeli personnel at risk. Still, the Israelis make the calls because this is a war of information as much as anything. Not a single Palestinian mother or father can claim that the Israeli air force targeted them. They've been given fair warning. Grab the kids and go. In ten minutes, your house falls down.

The Isreali armed forces are proving that they're among the most moral military force in the world. Hamas is proving that it is among the least moral forces in the world. The Palestinian people would be wise to eject Hamas, even at risk of their own lives. There comes a time when you have to stand and choose, and the Palestinians seem unable to make a moral choice.

Friday, January 02, 2009

More Taxes

Via Alphecca, I'm clicked over to this piece where the bureaucrats want more of our money.
WASHINGTON – Motorists are driving less and buying less gasoline, which means fuel taxes aren't raising enough money to keep pace with the cost of road, bridge and transit programs.
That's right. Fuel taxes are computed at the pump, on a per-gallon basis. If we use less fuel, we pay less tax. This bothers our overlords, who don't see the basic disconnect. We're using less fuel, paying less taxes, so we're using the road less.
The 15-member National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing is the second group in a year to call for increasing the current 18.4 cents a gallon federal tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cents a gallon tax on diesel. State fuel taxes vary from state to state.

In a report expected in late January, members of the infrastructure financing commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel tax by about 12 cents to 15 cents a gallon. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.
No, no, no, you dumbasses. Let's cut somewhere else to pay for roads and bridges. Like the TARP money. Let's dedicate that to roads and bridges. Or the Detroit bailout money. Let's dedicate that to roads and bridges. At least it would be a constitutional use of tax money, unlike the socialist bullshit that passes for legilation these days.

Government, through the CAFE standards, tells us we should use less fuel. Drive lighter cars and trucks. Conserve. Now, these dumbasses are upset that we're conserving. They want to tax it. Well, screw them. And the horse they rode in on.

Dude!

It seems that the IDF is going after the leadership.
The day before a powerful blast sent his headless body flying out of his Gaza home on Thursday, senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayan predicted that the Islamist movement would defeat Israel.

"God willing, Hamas will win," Rayan said in a vitriol-laden speech that the movement's television broadcast just after he, his four wives and 10 of his children were killed in the Israeli blitz of the Gaza Strip on Thursday.
Dude! The blast flung his headless corpse into the street. That's rude.

Had Hamas gone about building a nation after Israel pulled out of the strip in 2006, they might have been enjoying a bit of prosperity by now. No, the people of the Gaza strip would rather blame Israel for their lack of prosperity, their political problems, their inability to make progress. It's all Israel's fault, and Death to the Jews. Well, I for one, have no more time for sympathy for the Palestinians living in Gaza. They're all racist, hate-filled, simian-bred, acolytes of a made-up religion founded by a pedophile prophet. The world will be better off when they're all gone.

They're not even good fathers. Look at this guy's example. He's using his home to store weapons and ammunition for Hamas. That makes it a legitimate military target. He knows that the IDF is targeting military targets, so he keeps his four wives and ten children inside.

Hamas brought this on themselves. They've been lobbing Katyusha rockets over the border for a couple of years. A Katyusha is not a precision weapon. It's basically a bigger version of the bottle rockets that kids play with during the holidays. It can be targeted at something the size of a town, but it might hit anything in the town. The kindergarten, the hospital, the empty lot beside your house. It's a terror weapon.

I like the analogy of a drive-by shooting. If someone was driving by your house a couple of times a week, shooting randomly through your front window, wouldn't you want them to stop? It wouldn't matter if anyone was hurt. Just the idea that they're firing into the house is unacceptable.

Well, that's what Hamas is doing with the Katyusha rockets. A drive-by on Israel. And Israel's had enough. It's got to stop.

Sorry about Rayan's kids, but he put them in harm's way. It's no one's fault but his own. He cared less about his own children than he hates Israel, and now his genes are forever removed from humanity. I count that a good thing.