Saturday, February 28, 2009

Veloci-Word

Velociman is one of the first bloggers I ever read on the internet. (Actually, the first was the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler). He's been almost a daily read ever since. His works are rant, his method sometimes borders on madness. But, he always makes sense.

His post from yesterday captures the same frustration I'm feeling with our President and captures a mood within the country that's slowly simmering into the national consciousness.
In essence, Barack Obama would be a far superior leader if he would just shut the fuck up, and allow the gears and cogs and magnetos of capitalism to correct the course, and slowly rebuild the wealth of the nation. Which, if a healthy nation is his desire, he could do most easily.

Of course, this seedy grifter desireth it not. He intends to beat the fucking bongo of bitterness, and will burn the village that is this nation, in order to save it in his own likeness.

Obama would be wise to venture outside of his palace, and eschew the ministrations of his handlers and sycophants: there is a gutswell of opprobrium for this shallow man and his shallow plans. A wellspring among those grassroots the left so loftily took for granted when they were merely the impersonal proletariat. Before this is all over Barack Obama may indeed turn America upside down, but not in the manner he intended. And this will not be brother against brother. This will be the indignant, abused, condescended upon masses of millions turning upon the elite one thousand in the great swamp city. One can only take so much from a person by force, and bequeath to another by fiat, before even the mildest of men will cry enough. Where pools the tar? Where, by God, are the feathers?

Apocalypto!
Go read it all.

Good Morning

Michael Ramirez does it again.



You betcha!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday afternoon recap

When we started counting, the day the stimulus passed, the DOW was at 7850.41. This afternoon, it's at 7062. It dropped 119 points today, after learning that CitiCorp is in the crapper. Nearly 800 points lost since Barry got his stimulus.

Heck'uva job, there, Barry.

I went over to the VA hospital today to see a friend, Junior, who is recovering from gut surgery. I haven't been in that hospital in 20 years and it's a whole lot bigger than it was then. And, construction work is ongoing. It's good to see that the VA is taking care of our servicemen.

In a few minutes, Milady will be home from work. We'll take our walk and decide what we want to have for supper. It's time to begin the weekend.

Obana Speaks

And the Dow drops 88 points. That link might expire quickly, but yesterday he gave a speech and the Dow dropped.

Maybe if he wants to stimulate the economy he should just keep his mouth shut.

I gotta go to work.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dow's down again

Obama gave a speech last night

Today, the Dow dropped 80 points.



Is he trying to run us into the poor house?

Mortgage notes

I've owned three houses in my life. Well, I bought them. I haven't paid a single one off yet, and I live in a house I bought in 2004. I like my house and my wife and I can afford the mortgage note.

I don't know what it's worth. I've got a pretty good idea that it's worth about what I paid for it. Local housing prices haven't seemed to fluctuate much in the past couple of years. It's a suburban house on a suburban lot and it would be listed as a 3BR, 2B, garage, brick veneer. Lovely back yard with privacy fence. If you've ever looked at the classifieds you've seen a million of them.

I understand that we're bailing out folks who can't pay their mortgages and I'm pissed off about it. So is this guy, who writes it better than I can.
The only people affected by plummeting real estate prices are the ones who bought a house that cost more than they could afford, hoping for a spike in value so they could sell at a profit or take out a new loan based on an increased value. Their home wasn't just a place to live; it was an investment they thought they could liquefy at will. If we're saving these poor souls from the 26.7% drop in their investment, we should give twice as much aid to everyone who has lost approximately 50% in the stock market since its peak.


If you watch the cable channels, you've seem the Flip This House type shows. Folks buy a house, fix it up, then sell it for a profit. It's good work if you can get it. On the other hand, if you buy a house at the top of the market and try to sell it at the bottom of the market, then you're going to lose money. That is really basic.

Another thing that's really basic is that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Right now, people aren't willing to spend top dollar on real estate. The market is depressed and it's a buyer's market. Credit is tight and there isn't much money flowing. However, if you live in the house and pay the note, you'll be okay. It's the American Way. The most traditional way of accumulating wealth in the United States is with real estate. The house you buy and live in.

I have absolutely no sympathy for those folks who bought more than they could afford and now they're stuck with a note they can't pay. Screw 'em! That's the American Way.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Scopes

Over the past several years I've come to have some opinions on scopes that are out of the mainstream. I like optics on some rifles, but the trend toward ever more complicated scopes baffles me. I'm a big fan of the Weaver brand of fixed-power scopes, like the K4 and K6. There's less to fiddle with, less to go wrong, less to worry about. They either work or they don't. Mostly, they work and work well for years.

So, I'm reading Field and Stream and I go over to Dave Petzal's blog and read what one of his correspondents has to say.
“In regard to optics I have had a lot of scope problems for a long, long time, regardless of make. When I’m asked what my favorite make of scope is, my reply is ‘I hate them all equally.' I have crippled and destroyed dozens and dozens of them. Between loose erector systems, separated lens elements, parallax adjustments going deep-six and flash dots blinking their last, I’m amazed we haven’t all gone back to Lyman 48s.

“Bum optics come in all shapes, right out of the factory box, usually within 50 rounds or after several hundred rounds, the latter being the worse case as it always happens when the client is standing in the middle of the Moyowosi Plain—or at the bench or a shooting editor.

“The one exception to this is the lowly fixed-power scope. I have a 3X that I’ve used for 30 years to break in rifles, and it’s probably survived 5,000 rounds of .375, .416, and .458 with never a hiccup. But the optics companies are giving the public what they think they need, which is variables. I understand it’s not easy to make a scope; that a lot of crap has to fit inside. But I am the guy who has to wring the whole mess out, and I don’t believe in Santa anymore. When asked to try out the latest optical marvel I feel like sitting in the corner and puking on my shoes.”
My feelings exactly.

That's not to say that I don't own variable scopes. I own variable scopes because what I want in a fixed power scope is hard to find or overly expensive. I believe that I could do all the shooting I want to do with a good fixed 10X, a good fixed 6X and a good fixed 4X.

I've got an old Burris 2.5X fixed power scope mounted on a Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. That scope was sighted in sometime about 1980 for the Remington 200 grain factory load. Today it still shoot true with that load. I reload for it now, but I've found a load that duplicates the factory fodder. At 100 yards, you can still cover the group with the edge of your fist.

My .30-06 carries a fixed power Weaver K6 and that has always been enough scope for that rifle.

I'm not saying that a high-dollar 12-36X variable doesn't have a place on a rifle. I'm saying that those are scopes for precision uses. I'd venture that there aren't a thousand people in the US who uses scopes like that. I don't see that I need to buy one.

I really wish that someone (Burris, Weaver, Swift! You listening?) would make a decent 10X fixed power scope and market it at about $250.00. I wager they'd sell a lot of them. I know I'd buy a couple.

Good Morning Tuesday

In a few minutes I'm going to start the day, but along with the second cup of coffee let me make a prediction. The Dow will uptick today, and if you watch certain sectors, you'll see investors taking advantage of deals. There are some values out there after every downswing but you have to find them.

That's not to say we'll start a recovery today. The market doesn't trust Obama or his plans. And, this cannot, in any way, be blamed on President Bush. The market is very good at processing information. Bush is gone and the market could care less. The market today is processing information from the past couple of weeks.

That's one of the weaknesses of the market. It's too near-term. Never mind that Company XYZ has had two decades of solid growth and stable earnings. What happened last week determines the value of the stock.

I know how to determine the value of one share of common stock, and it's a straightforward mathematical equation. Anyone can do it. The market factors in uncertainty, and the markets are operating in uncertainty, which is to say, risk. Until Obama removes some of the uncertainty, they aren't going to trust him and that's a fact.

So, today, look for upticks in certain sectors. I don't believe we've hit the bottom yet, the Dow may be heading for 5,000. Too much uncertainty in the market. However, now's a horrible time to sell. If you can hang on to your stocks, hang on for the long ride. That's the only sure way to wealth in the market. Hang on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Market plummets (again)

The Dow Jones Industrials closed down 250 points to rest at 7114 at closing.

The hell of this information age is that most information is instantaneously available. When I was in college in the early '70s I was amazed that I could get the Wall Street Journal in my mailbox every morning. I'd read it over coffee at the Student Union and set out for my classes. I thought that was remarkable, that I could read about Thursday closing prices on Friday morning, all the way across the continent.

Now, the information flow is instantaneous. I can see and react to information as quickly as the traders on the floor. So can the traders on the floor. They're doing what the market does: respond to information in a timely manner, affecting the prices of the stocks that are listed.

Right now, the biggest information flow is coming out of Washington, and the market is responding to it. Dramatically. Obama and his minions are killing the market. The best thing they could do is just leave it alone. Quit dicking with it. It'll be okay. We're going through a downturn right now, but the Gummint is making it worse.

Today in History

via Mostly Cajun, we are reminded that one of the seminal battles that shaped the United States began. Today in 1836, General Santa Anna stole a march on the Texians in San Antonio and arrived in that town. The Texians retreated into an old Spanish mission, named Mission San Antonio de Valero, commonly called The Alamo. While historians even today still research the list of people who were inside the mission, it's commonly regarded as fact that William Barret Travis, James Bowie, and David Crockett were killed in the ensuing battle. They held the Mexican Army for thirteen days, allowing Sam Houston time to organize his forces.

A small band of free men stood against a tyrant. They died for their efforts. Without them, Texas might still be a Mexican state, along with Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

**UPDATE** Post updated to correct Bowie's name. I had him listed as David Bowie. He was, of course, James Bowie.

What's in your wallet?

Reading the Wall Street Journal today, I learn that our government is thinking of buying a big chunk of Citicorp's stock.

I've got a Citi card in my wallet. I owe them some money, but my credit is good enough that they keep raising the credit limit. That's okay, because I use it very sparingly and keep the balance low or at zero.

Hey, Gummint! Instead of buying stock, just pay off my balance. That'd do a number of things. First, it would pump capital into the bank. Next, it would free up my dollars for other purchases. Third, the government wouldn't have any ownership stock in the bank. That sounds like a win-win-win for everyone involved.

Of course, I'm a middle-class white guy who pays his mortgage and uses credit responsibly. The current government has no interest in helping anyone in my demographic.

More the shame.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras. Carnival. Fat Tuesday.

We in Louisiana bring a distinctive flavor to this festival. Food, music dancing. The little towns celebrate Mardi Gras in a different manner than the big towns, like New Orleans. I'm sure that the Oyster is going to parades and partying in the Big Easy.

We're partying in the little towns too. One of the signature songs that you'll hear all over south Louisiana tomorrow, is la danse de Mardi Gras, a cajun tune about the festival. Here, it's performed by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.



That's Cajun folk music. Lots of folks perform music like that all over this state. Some make it big, some don't. Some musicians are only known in their region.

Here's another one. Wayne Toups has been making music since he was a young'un. One of his better know songs was written by a 12-year-old songwriter Louisiana, from south Louisiana, Gary Thibodaux. It's called Take My Hand.

In the video below, pay no attention to the screenboard. It has nothing to do with the song. Listen to the music.



Last, but certainly not least, a waltz that's become the unofficial anthem of Cajun Louisiana. Dewey Balfa perfoming La Jolie Blonde.



One More! One of my favorite Cajun Blues bands. Tab Benoit, with Louisiana LeRoux, playing New Orleans Ladies.



I hope everyone reading this is able topass a good time tomorrow. In the midst of economic downturns, political strife and global uncertainty, it pays to take a day and enjoy the simple fact that we're alive and have our loved ones close by. Laissez bon temps roullez!

The 17th Amendment

I'm no consitutional scholar, nor am I an historian, but I've read the Constitution of the United States. It's a simple little document, actually, six or eight pages depending on how you set the defaults for your printer.

Then the amendments. Ten originally adopted as a Bill of Rights, the remainder as seen necessary. The last amendment adopted in 1992.

It's a remarkable document. Remarkable in itself, but more remarkable lately because you can literally print a copy, fold it, and stick it in your back pocket. You're carrying the supreme law of the land.

In Article 1, section 3, we learn of the election of Senators.
Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.
Aaah. Senators were not popularly elected, they were elected by the state legislatures. A Republican form of government. Truly amazing.

Representatives to the US House were elected by the people. So, the lesser house was elected by the people and the greater house was elected by the states. So, the government was composed of representatives of the people and the states. That's very instructive.

The federal government, as originally intended was composed of representatives of the people, and the states. The People have rights and the States have rights, and the US Government has no rights, no power, unless granted by the Constitution. Truly remarkable.

Along about 1913,we decided that Senators should be elected by the people. Bad idea in my opinion. It provided that states could choose how to fill vacancies, and allowed governors to temporarily fill vacancies by appointment. Hence the Blagojevich-Burris kerfluffle. Now, there is a movement to amend the amendment, providing that Senators should always be elected by the people. This movement is being led by Senator Russ Feingold, who you might remember was a part and parcel of the assault on the 1st Amendment known as McCain-Feingold. Bad idea.

Better that we should abolish the 17th Amendment and return to our Republican roots. The founders intended that the House should be elected by the people and the Senate should be elected by the states. That intention led to the US Senate being considered the greatest deliberative body of all times.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday afternoon range

PawPaw went out to the range this afternoon to do a little recreational shooting. When a reloader is working up loads, there is always some ammo that isn't shot. Differing loads and bullets and they tend to clutter up the ammo boxes. At some point, it's convenient to shoot those odd loads, empty the brass, and make room for trusted, tested loads that work.

Today, I decided to shoot the Savage 10, in .243 Winchester. It's a nice little rifle with very mild recoil. It's fun to work up loads for the little rifle and I had half-a-dozen cartridges each of half-a-dozen loads in that caliber.

So, I went out and posted a target and started banging away, when I noticed that my shots weren't hitting the target. Worse, they were hitting the berm in unlikely places. A quick inspection of the rifle showed me that the rear scope ring had turned loose and the rear of the scope was flopping around as much as 3/8ths of an inch. Not good. Not good at all.

I've heard of scope rings breaking, mostly when mounted to fast-recoil rifles. The .243 Winchester does definitely not qualify as a hard kicking gun. This is the first time this has ever happened to me, and I am considerably dismayed at the result. When I mounted the scope, I used Weaver Top-mount rings and the little lip turned loose. Just damn!

So, I took out the Savage 93R17 and started trying various brands of .17 HMR ammo. I settled on the CCI Hollowpoint 17 grain ammo based on this target.



That little rifle is a shooter. That is a 1" target dot and the inside ring is 1/2 inch. The more I shoot that little rifle the more I like it.

So, next week, PawPaw will order new rings and bases for the .243. It's time to start getting ready for the next hunting season.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Union-busting

I see that the White House has pubished an executive order entitled: USE OF PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS FOR FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

It's quite bureaucratic sounding, and is full of lawyer buzzwords, but the one that lept out at me said:
Any project labor agreement reached pursuant to this order shall: ... (c) contain guarantees against strikes, lockouts, and similar job disruptions;
Which means that the Union doesn't have any stroke on a Federal construction project.

I thought Obama was a friend of organized labor? Yet, they can't strike on federal projects? Whazzup with this?

Frankly, it's my opinions that Unions are a throwback to an earlier, more naive time and that over the past thirty years they've become corrupt, inefficient, and wantonly wasteful in their use of resources. Look at what the UAW has done to Detroit. Look at the agony the Teamsters went through during the Hoffa period.

The United States ought to pass a right-to-work law and bust the unions. Let 'em compete in the marketplace and see how long they last.

Prisoners

It's probably time to talk about this.

Many of you might remember September 11, 2001, where Islamic extremists hijacked commercial aircraft and flew them into the twin towers at the World Trade Center. In the following days, President George Bush told Congress that we were engaged in a War on Terror (WOT) and asked for authorization to use force to kill or capture those extremists. He got it and we began fielding our military to conduct that war.

Part of war is capturing or killing the enemy, along with the destruction of his logistical trains. That's part and parcel of conducting a war.

Others of you might remember that during WWII, we captured German and Japanese soldiers and kept them captive until the end of hostilities. We kept them where ever we pleased and used them as labor. Some in the United States, some overseas.

Lots of political capital was expended during the past presidential election about the status of prisoners at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One of President Obama's campaign promises was that he'd close the prison at Gitmo and he has since issued orders to facilitate the closing.

Now, the Obama administration has said that military prisoners currently held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan have no constitutional rights. They are correct. Under every agreement or Convention I've ever read or been trained on, military prisoners are held without prejudice until hostilities are concluded. They are simply casualties of the larger war. We've got to feed 'em, treat 'em if they're wounded, and allow the International Red Cross to inspect them, but we don't have to try them and they don't have any constitutional rights. They're prisoners.

After the war is concluded, if we find any war criminals, we can try them in an appropriate forum. See the Nuremburg trials for more information. Or about the Japanese trials. We can try them, imprison them, or execute them as we please. The winners get to make the rules.

Prisoners of war have certain rights, but most of them don't get a trial. They are just prisoners until the war is over, then they're repatriated. That's the way it's always been. In this instance, the Obama administration is correct.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lead-Free

There's a lot of political debate about the role of weapons in National Parks. President Bush signed a rule change just before he left office and some of the gun-banners are saying it was a last minute decision. What they fail to realize is that some of us have been agitating for that rule change for years. The vocal advocates got it put on the calendar for consideration, there were public hearings and time periods to address public opinion. After a lengthy review process the Administration recommended that the rules be changed, and they were. It wasn't a last-minute decision. It moved through the bureaucracy like all rule changes move.

Now there is a new strawman argument. Via Instapundit, we go to Donald Sensing, who writes:
That's the tack that the Obama administration will take: it's the lead that's the problem, so guns must be banned from federal lands. This is not a new tactic, of course, since opponents of Second Amendment rights have long tried to shut down firearms use by trying to cripple ammunition makers and users with absolute liability for ammunition use. It won't matter, either, that ammunition without any lead at all is available on the civilian market. A way will be found, a reason will be given.
The fear of lead poisoning is the alternate argument. Lead is cheap, easily available and makes great bullets, so it should be banned. Yeah, right. Except that the bullet manufacturers are way ahead on this paltry argument.

From the Nosler website:
The E-Tip® bullets are a genuine advancement in lead-free bullet design. Once you try it in the field, you can easily become hooked on the exceptional level of game taking performance. New products should be driven by need and, while we don't agree with California's decision to ban lead in the condor range, we do recognize the intense political pressure that has been placed upon shooters and hunters in the southwest United States.
Nosler is one of the premier bullet makers in the industry. So is Barnes, who was one of the pioneers of commercial lead-free bullets.

If we're worried about lead in the environment, why haven't the popular battlefield parks at Shiloh and Gettysburg been placed off limits? I'm sure that there are hundreds of thousands of lead bullets in those Civil War battlefields. They pose no threat to the Park visitors. The argument that lead bullets is harmful is specious and unenlightened.

One other consideration. Park Service Rangers carry guns. What type bullets are they issued?

If your argument is about guns, make it about guns. We've already got the lead bullet question answered.

On Public Education

One of the bloggers I love to disagree with is The Oyster, over at YRHT. He and I disagree on a great number of things and agree on a few things, and reading his stuff is educational. He's got a great post up our Governor's Louisiana Science Education Act. Lots of good comments. As it turns out, he and I are pretty close on this issue.

I agree that the science taught in public schools should be established science. The science department should focus on those aspects of science that are measurable, observable, and empirical. Philosophy should be taught in a separate department.

I also consider that while the public compulsory education system is a great tool, the primary responsibility of parents is the sustenance and education of the children. Placing the children in the public system does not fulfill that responsibility. It is only one of the tools available to the parents.

I am also reminded of a story from my youth. One night at supper, my younger sister proclaimed to the family at large that she learned in science class that the Earth has two moons. Some of us guffawed. The Old Man fixed her with an amused glare and asked where she had learned such a remarkable fact.

"In my science book." she replied.

"Go get it." the Old Man commanded. The book was produced and sure enough, there on page 68, the Earth had two moons. A remarkable fact. The phone call to the school the next morning was remarkable too. Parents should make remarkable phone calls from time to time. It keeps the administrators honest.

My thoughts exactly

There's lots of political shove-back on the stimulus and I'm hoping that the Democrats are feeling it.

Michael Ramirez captures my feelings this morning.



Exactly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Holder on Race

Evidently, we're a nation of cowards. Michelle Malkin reports that Holder gave a speech today to Justice Dept employees and said this:
“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” said Holder, nation’s first black attorney general.
So, we've elected the first black president, who appointed the first black Attorney General. Remind me how many European nations have done the equivalent?

Well, screw him and the horse he rode in on. He thinks we're cowards and I think that he probably never served a day of his life in the military. Never heard a shot fired in anger. Never done a lot of things that brave people do every day. Naw, he's an elite black lawyer. He's never had to put anything on the line. His entire career has probably been the result of over-anxious people applying the affirmative action plan. In short, he probably doesn't qualify for the position.

His wikipedia entry shows that he's only held appointed positions, never worked a day in his life. He's the classic black DC lawyer, working for the NAACP, then appointed to various government jobs. It does show that when he worked for Clinton he was instumental in getting pardons for sixteen terrorists:
Holder was also involved in Clinton's decision to reduce the sentences of 16 members of the Boricua Popular Army, an organization that has been categorized by the FBI as a terrorist organization. The clemency request was initially opposed in 1996 by U.S. Pardons Attorney Margaret Love. When Holder was elevated to Deputy Attorney General in 1997, he was asked to reexamine the issue by three members of Congress. In July 1999, Holder recommended clemency to President Clinton with a report from then U.S. Pardons Attorney Roger Adams that neither supported nor opposed clemency. A month later, the clemency was granted by Clinton. According to The Hartford Courant, the clemency was unusual because it was opposed by the FBI, the federal prosecutor and the victims. According to the newspaper, it was also unusual because, before the commutations, the Boricua Popular Army members were not required to repudiate their actions, and they were not asked to provide any information concerning the whereabouts of Victor Manuel Gerena, a co-conspirator and one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, or the millions of dollars stolen by the group in a 1983 robbery of Wells Fargo in West Hartford, Connecticut.[19]
He thinks I'm a coward. I think he's a jackass.

Hobo's

It's a new restaurant in Pineville, on Highway 107 just out of town. Hobo's. I got off work today at a reasonable hour and Milady and I decided to try it on.

Most of Pineville is dry, but Hobo's has sandwiched itself into the one semi-wet ward on this side of the river. They serve beer in frosted mugs and wine by the glass, and that's okay for a sit-down restaurant. Civilized.

I had a fish plate and Milady tried the babyback ribs. The ribs were good, the baked beans were excellent, and Milady said that she really liked the potato salad. The menu is varied, including barbeque, seafood, steaks, sandwiches, and salads. The sandwiches looked great, with both burgers and po-boys on the menu.

The next time I want a fish plate, we'll drive on down to Cajun Catfish, farther out 107. The fish was okay, but not up to my standards on fried fish. If you've eaten my fried fish, you know what I'm talking about. There are plenty of good fish restaurants in this area, to include AW's, Paradise Catfish, Fant's and Cajun Catfish. The last thing we need is another catfish restaurant.

What we do need in this area is a good sit-down family type restaurant and Hobo's seems to fit the bill. We'll be back. The food is good, the service is friendly, they serve alcohol, and it's in a part of the parish that needs a decent restaurant.

Rahm Emmanuel on Freddie's board

From the New York Post, courtesy of Instapundit, we learn that Rahm Emmanuel was on the Freddie Mac board during the "Fraud Period".
Emanuel served on the Freddie Mac board of directors during the time that the government-backed lender lied about its earnings, a leading contributor to the current economic meltdown.

The Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Agency later singled out the Freddie Mac board as contributing to the fraud in 2000 and 2001 for "failing in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." In other words, board members ignored the red flags waving in their faces.

The SEC later fined Freddie $50 million for its deliberate fraud in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Meanwhile, Emanuel was paid more than $260,000 for his Freddie "service." Plus, after he resigned from the board to run for Congress in 2002, the troubled agency's PAC gave his campaign $25,000 - its largest single gift to a House candidate.
Interesting. Oh! Wait! He's chief of staff at the White House now, trying to get us out of this mess. I guess we'll have to add Rahm to the list.

I swear, our President is lining the White House with crooks and cheats.

Thanks, Barry!

On news of the stimulus the Dow dropped 297 points, to close at 7552.60. Good work, Barry! You're stimulating the economy right into the crapper.

In other news, it seems that Roland Burris lied to investigators when he told them that he hadn't talked to any of Blagojevich's people about pay-for-play. Imagine that! A Chicago Pol lying to us! Chicago politicians don't lie!

From the Middle East, we learn that the madman of Tehran, ole Dinnerjacket whatisname, has said that he's ready to meet with the United States, but that discussions about the nuclear question is a "closed" chapter.

All this HopenChange is interesting to watch. I hope we survive it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

38%

Rasmussen says that 38% of the people think that the stimulus plan will help the economy.

It's my experience that 38% of people don't have a clue about the economy and are economic idiots. The same folks that caused this mess (Pelosi, Reid, Franks, Dodd, Geithner, Obama, etc, et al.) are the ones fixing it. Or trying to fix it using socialism.

In other news, PawPaw is busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Long Distance Family

My youngest son and his wife live in St. Augustine, FL, where she has her dream job. She likes playing in the dirt, digging for old things and trying to make sense of them. She's an archaeologist with the appropriate credentials and works for the City of St. Augustine, the oldest continuous European settlement on the continent.

Therefore, like most grandparents these days, we have to content ourselves with pictures of the grandkid. I consider myself unbelievably lucky that four of my five grandchildren live within three miles of my house. The fact that this blog is called PawPaw's House is a reflection that the most important people of this world call me PawPaw.

However, we have clan in St. Augustine and my DIL has a blog entitled Rediscovering La Florida, where she talks about her work, and from time to time posts pics of the grandkid so that I might watch him grow. She posts four pics this week and I've shamelessly stolen two for family here. You can, of course, click them to make them bigger.

The first is a gratuitous getting-dressed shot.



The second is a beach-bum shot. We should all be so lucky as to be beach bums.



If you have any interest in practical archaeology at all, go over and give her blog a read. This week, she talks about digging up a dog skeleton from grounds associated with an early 20th century hospital. Good stuff.

Capturing some numbers

Yesterday, the Senate passed the crap sandwich bill, along a largely party-line vote. The only Republicans to sign on to the bill were Senators Specter, Collins and Snowe, who, for reasons of their own, decided to defect. For Senator Snowe, it was probably because The One made her feel needed. Whatever. It's done and even though those three have my undying contempt, they gave the President his stimulus.

So, it might be prudent to capture a few numbers, just as benchmarks for the future. This is a great experiment, to see if we can spend ourselves into prosperity. We turn then to the following benchmarks.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price index listed at 210.228 relative to December 2007. Relative to 1967, the CPI is at 629.751.

The CPI is a reflection of inflation, which for December 2008 (2009 numbers are not yet released), stands at 3.85%.

We turn then to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the most quoted harbinger of our nation's financial health. It closed Friday at 7850,41. That's a fairly low bar, certainly the lowest DOW since 2003. Still, we'll see how the new Obama economy reacts to it.

Whatever happens, for better or worse, it's an Obama economy. The Democrats gave him everything he asked for. Now, he's gotta perform.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Long hours

fourteen hours yesterday and eighteen hours today, and I'll be sleeping-in tomorrow.

Working at a high school in springtime is dizzyingly busy. We've got track, baseball, softball, and basketball all going on at the same time. Not to mention the theater group practicing to put on a production. Lots of long hours for staff. Lots of long hours for the officer assigned. In a few minutes it'll be time to pull my boots on and do it all again.

More later.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Element Discovered.

Gee, with the posting below about new numbers and this one I found about a new element, this new administration is certainly stimulating the math and science guys.
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.

The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium , an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.


Hat tip: BMEWS

Numbers in the News

This, from Iowahawk.
PALO ALTO, CA - An international mathematics research team announced today that they had discovered a new integer that surpasses any previously known value "by a totally mindblowing shitload." Project director Yujin Xiao of Stanford University said the theoretical number, dubbed a "stimulus," could lead to breakthroughs in fields as diverse as astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and Chicago asphalt contracting.

"Unlike previous large numbers like the Googleplex or the Bazillionty, the Stimulus has no static numerical definition," said Xiao. "It keeps growing and growing, compounding factorially, eating up all zeros in its path. It moves freely across Cartesian dimensions and has the power to make any other number irrational."
Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bummer

I saw this the other day, somewhere, and had to capture it.



It's destined to become a classic.

In other news, the Dow closed up today, 50 points at $7939. It still hasn't recovered from Geithner's testimony yesterday. Still watching Congress, and it looks like they're approaching a deal on the crap sandwich spending measure. I bet that Katrina Mary will vote for it, like she did the last time. We need a decent candidate to run against her the next time her number comes up. I've defended her in the past as an "okay" senator, but I'm changing my mind. We'll see what happens when they get this crap sandwich passed and then they decide to legislate against the 2nd Amendment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Honeymoon is over

I was just over at Instapundit, and came across this little tidbit.
Administration officials were greeted with sarcasm and laughter Monday night when they briefed lawmakers and congressional staff on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new financial-sector bailout project, according to people who were in the room.

The laughter was at its height when Obama officials explained that the White House planned to guarantee a wide swath of toxic assets -- which they referred to as "legacy assets" -- but wouldn't be asking Congress for money. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a bailout opponent in the fall, asked the officials to give Congress the total dollar figure for which they were on the hook.
Looks like the honeymoon is over, doesn't it. Laughing out loud at Timmy "tax-cheat" Geithner. But I'm sure our President is pleased at the nature of the laughter.
The officials said that they couldn't provide a number, a response met by chuckling that was bipartisan, but tilted toward the GOP side.
Hey, bipartisan laughter is the best kind. If you can laugh with someone, you can work with them. So, at least the snickering and sarcasm were bipartisan.

And isn't that what our President wants? For us to be bipartisan? You betcha.

Thanks, Tim

Our tax-cheating Treasury Secretary gave some details about the latest of the bailout and the Senate voted to approve a stimulus package, and the bottom dropped out of the stock market. Thanks, Tim.
The strength stocks showed last week vanished on Tuesday after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did little to slake traders' thirst for details on the U.S.'s plans to aid ailing financial institutions.

Investors also shrugged off the Senate's approval of an $838 billion fiscal stimulus package and testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who assured lawmakers that 95% of the Fed's nearly $2 trillion balance sheet is "gold-plated secure."
They can blame this on the Republicans all they like, but the simple fact of the matter is that Geithner opened his mouth and the Dow lost over 380 points. The market responds quickly to news, and Tim owns today's market performance. Geithner's announcement sure didn't help things.



This might be a matter of "buy on the rumor, sell on the news". Holding stocks long-term is still the best strategy, but it's no secret that some folks took a beating today on Wall Street.

But wait, there's more. It looks like Geithner is getting hammered from lots of directions.
The reaction from Wall Street was withering. "The bottom line from the Geithner speech is that it was too general, and it lacked the specifics needed to it to be credible," opined economist Brian Bethune of IHS Global Insight.
This administration is learning that if you go to the Street without a viable plan, the market will hand you your ass. That's what happened today.

I bet our President is pleased at this latest news. It's too short-term to know for sure, but it seems to me that the market tanks on news these days. Leave it alone and it'll be fine.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

More on the Spending measure.

Even the Lightworker agrees that the pork-laden stimulus bill is a spending measure.
When asked whether the stimulus package had turned into a spending spree, President Obama acknowledged it with pride. “That’s the point. Seriously, that’s the point.”

But that’s not the point; not the point at all. And it’s a shame BHO doesn’t realize it and a greater shame if he does. The real question is whether current government solutions to the crisis contribute to political risk or reduce it. That means knowing what’s broke before applying the screwdriver to the screw.
The "screw" analogy is very, very apt. Somebody's getting screwed, that's for sure.

Howa 1500

I was in the pawn shop the other day, getting a piece of jewelry fixed when the gun counter guy called me over.

We greeted and spoke and I asked him if he had anything interesting behind the counter.

'Yeah," he said, and reached behind the counter to get some kind of Weatherby look-alike rifle. "It's a Howa, made in the same factory that makes Weatherby Vanguard and Browning A-Bolt's."

"Really!" I looked over the rifle. It was a push-feed, bolt action with a floor plate. Two position safety on the left side of the action. It once had sights on the barrel, but those were long gone. The stock had a few little dings, but nothing major and the blueing was intact. The caliber was .270 Winchester. A Tasco scope was mounted in Redfield syle rings on a one-piece base. "I don't even reload for this caliber."

"I don't have much money in the rifle. I can let it go cheap."

"How cheap?"

"Under $200.00 cheap."

"Dammit. Give me a 4473."

I"m always looking for an inexpensive rifle. Beater stock. Frugal. It's not that I don't like fine firearms. I do. I appreciate good wood, fine checkering, tasteful engraving. But those things cost money and I've yet to see that spending money on aesthetics helps the rifle shoot at all.

When I got home I gave the rifle a quick cleaning to get the pawn shop dust off of it. I noticed that the barrel wasn't floated and thought that maybe I'd do something about that. But I decided to shoot the rifle first. My boys and I had a range session planned for Saturday, so when I was in Wal-Mart I picked up a box of Remington 130 grain PSP ammo in .270 Winchester.

We got to the range Saturday morning, about 10:00. The boys were shooting their rifles and I was running the spotting scope. Matt had brought two rifles, Barrett had brought one and Michael had brought his Ruger 10/22. We started banging away and talking and telling lies. The boys wanted to shoot slowly, to keep the rifles cool. After a couple of hours, everyone was finished shooting, so I brought out the Howa.

"What ya got, Dad?"

"It's a rifle I picked up this week. I don't know anything about it, don't even know if it'll shoot." We posted a target at the 100 yard line, then I took my place behind the bench, shot a three shot group, adjusted the scope and fired two more. Then we let it cool and waited for the line to "go cold" so we could post another target. While we waited I put a new 3" target dot on a clean piece of paper.

After posting the target, I fired two shots and gave my eldest a chance to shoot. He shot two and turned the rifle over to his brother. He shot two. It's not often that three men can hold and fire a rifle and all the shots are fairly close to the point of aim.



At this point, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this rifle. It's a shooter, for sure. It's in a serious caliber, for sure. I don't know if I should take the time to float the barrel, or just leave it alone. I've got some decisions to make abot this rifle, but one thing for sure is that Howa makes a good shooter.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Leave it alone!

Leave it alone! Quit picking at it! Good advice from a grandmother to a young'un. Picking the scab is bad for the wound.

Knowing when to leave well enough alone is tough sometimes, but that's what the Congressional Budget office is telling President Obama about the recession. Leave it alone.
CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.
Exactly.

Government has no place in the marketplace. Not to prop it up, not to regulate it, not to do anything but consume. Government should contract for roads and bridges and weapons. It should buy a certain amount of paper and pencils, although Congressmen should be trusted with nothing harder than crayons. Above all, the government should not tell business that it's okay to fail. Failure in business should be a bankruptcy-court event. But the very idea that Governmet should be in the business of bailing out failed business? Nonsense!

Government intervention leads to long-term pain. That is what the CBO is telling BHO. He is neither smart enough to listen, nor disciplined enough to leave it alone.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Another long day

It was another long day at work, today, on the neighborhood of fourteen hours. Blogging has suffered.

However, I get home and surf Instapundit and see that other folks are doing the heavy lifting. Over at Dissenting Justice, we see that Leon Panetta tells us that rendition will continue, and will seek permission to use "harsher interrogation" methods when necessary.
Panetta said he would if necessary ask Obama to allow harsher interrogations than those covered by the Army Field Manual, which the president last month set as the government standard. The manual bans techniques such as waterboarding.
So, not only is rendition on the table, but torture is back too. That oughta make liberal heads explode.

The thing that truly bothers me is that our President looks on prisoner issues as a law enforcement problem. He keeps talking about "bringing terrorists to justice". Which to my mind is the wrong perspective. I don't give a tinkers damn if terrorists get justice. I want them killed or imprisoned. Whichever.

Back during WWII,(during the FDR administation) we never talked about trying the German soldiers we captured. We put them in POW camps and worked their skinny asses until the war was over, then we repatriated them. Some of the worst we tried, but the vast majority were sent home after the war was concluded. There was no law enforcement model to follow, we just kept them out of the fight until it was over.

That's what we ought to do with enemy fighters we catch today. Keep them out of the fight until the war is over, then repatriate them. If we discover that some of them are war criminals, then by all means try them after the war is over. Until then, keep them locked up and work their butts off. Let 'em pray to their pedophile prophet, then feed them the same chow the soldiers guarding them eat. When the war is over, send their asses home.

But, the Obama administration is in the rendition and torture business. It looks like the promises to end those practices were just pie-in-the-sky electioneering.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to bed. I have to take a grandkid to the range tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

500 million

Yeah, that's your Speaker of the House. 500 million Americans are going to lose their jobs if they don't pass the stimulus package.



According to the US Census bureau, there are only 305 million Americans in the United States. And we're going to lose 500 jobs.

The woman is stupider than a sack full of hammers. She's a total dumbass. An embarrassment to the Republic.

I can't blame her on The Lightworker. I can only blame her on the Democratic Party.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Paragraphs

It's been a long day, fourteen hours by my reckoning.

However, there are several paragraphs worth reading. The first, from The New Editor:
At the dawn of the Obama Administration we have witnessed: four high-level appointees blow up over various issues, tax and otherwise (Richardson, Daschel, and Killefer get axed; Geitner stays); the appointment of at least 12 lobbyists to positions in the Administration -- in direct contradiction of campaign promises; a pork-laden economic stimulus bill without precedent in US history; and the reversal of campaign positions concerning controversial policies like rendition.

The first couple of weeks of the Obama Administration has simply reinforced my stated belief that the Obama campaign and subsequent election represents the biggest, most successful political con of my lifetime.
The second, from noted commentator Victor Davis Hanson:
Millions of Americans don't have either Daschle's or Geithner's resources, yet they pay dearly to go to accountants, honestly turn over all their records, and then pay the full amount of taxation in accordance with their understanding of the law, and the advice they receive from professional accountants.

Yet men both much richer and much more informed about the U.S. tax code not only don't do that, but feel no compunction to rectify mistakes unless they cause embarrassment enough to thwart their careers. Two subtexts as well: there must be many more Daschles and Geithners floating around Washington who don't show up on the radar unless they want a top political appointment; and, two, the old liberal creed that taxes are good and patriotic and are avoided by greedy, selfish conservative elites seems shattered by these examples.

Any more of these stories and we will be on very dangerous ground, since the message is a terrible one to the American people: You pay your full amount, but our elites not only do not, but won't unless they get caught.

This is all about as good an argument for a flat tax as one can imagine.
Words to ponder.

It's been a long day and I'll ponder on them later.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Monday, February 02, 2009

More on Rendition

There's a blogger over at a place called Dissenting Justice who watches such things and he's noticed a major flip-flop from Human Rights Watch over the rendition program used by the CIA.

The problem with flip-flopping is that the Internet is very good at storing data, so old data is easy to find.

The guy over at Dissenting Justice shows us the stance of Human Rights Watch back during the Bush Administration.
The US government should:

Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA's rendition program;

Disclose the identities, fate, and current whereabouts of all persons detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody by the CIA since 2001, including detainees who were rendered to Jordan;

Repudiate the use of "diplomatic assurances" against torture and ill-treatment as a justification for the transfer of a suspect to a place where he or she is at risk of such abuse;

Make public any audio recordings or videotapes that the CIA possesses of interrogations of detainees rendered by the CIA to foreign custody;

Provide appropriate compensation to all persons arbitrarily detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody (emphasis added).
So, cool. They're against torture. We expect that. But now that the Obama administration is working the case, they've changed their mind.
"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president's order was that they want to design a system that doesn't result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured -- but that designing that system is going to take some time."
So, under the Bush Administration they were against rendition. Under the Obama administration, it's okay.

That's a huge hypocrisy.

For the record, I am generally against torture. I don't think it does much good and information gained during torture is tainted at best. However, under the doomsday scenario that there's an atomic device about to blow up an American city and we've got the bad guys, but they don't want to talk? Under that scenario, I say use all the tools at your disposal. It's a no-brainer to be against torture. We're supposed to be against it. I can see that it might be useful in some extremely limited circumstances. I'm not willing to make an absolute moral judgement that it's always bad.

However, President Obama never had that moral equivalence. As recently as January 9th, when our President was appointing the CIA director, the Associated Press recorded these remarks from our President.
"I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture," Obama said, when asked at the news conference whether he would continue the Bush administration's policy of harsh interrogation. "We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals."
Fine words. Good words.

The only problem is, that now he's decided that torture isn't such a bad thing. He just doesn't have the stomach for it, so he's going to outsource it to our allies. That's rank cowardice.

If you supported Obama, you're now officially pro-torture.

Well, poot. Again.

I wear a Kimber 1911 every day for duty wear. A couple of years ago I ordered some custom grips from GunGrips.net. They're a white polymer and have my badge and initials engraved in them. I think they look good on the pistol.



This is my duty pistol. I carry it every day and it's exposed to all the dangers that come from hanging off my belt. It rides in a Safariland Model 6280 holster. As I walk through doors and get in and out of cars, it gets banged around. I try to shield it as much as possible, but it gets its share of knocks.

Today after lunch, I reached down to adjust my belt and felt a sharp edge where there shouldn't have been a sharp edge. I got to my office and looked at the pistol. Damn! The right side grip panel was broken. I don't know when it happened, or how. I know that it felt all right when I put it in my holster this morning, and I don't remember hitting anything, but the grip panel is broken.

Just damn.

So, this afternon when I got home, I attached the stock double-diamonds that came with the pistol. For some reason, I've never particularly liked those grips. They're laminate and they have that big Kimber logo. I think it's the logo I don't like.



Last July, we got a new Sheriff who changed badges for all the deputies. So, the grips I broke were dated. Now I've got to decide if I want to buy a new grip with the new badge, get a set of double-diamonds without that Kimber logo, or just wear the stock grips.

Whaddya think?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rendition, rendition.

Y'all remember rendition? Quaint little practice from the Clinton era? If you capture a terrorist and don't know what to do with him and his home country practices torture, then you carry him home and use the information extracted during the torture. If his home country isn't friendly to us, take the terrorist to a country whut is friendly to us. The CIA has been doing this for years. It makes leftists head explode.

President Obama recently decided to expand the program.
The CIA's secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism -- aside from Predator missile strikes -- for taking suspected terrorists off the street.
Well, he painted himself into a corner. He's closing Gitmo and he can't bring them here. What's a HopeyChangey President to do?

I'm sure President Bush will be widely blamed.