Friday, November 30, 2012

The Case for more Guns (and more Gun Control)

The Atlantic posts a reasonably balanced look at guns in America.  The author's bias shines like a lighthouse beacon.
 Many gun-control advocates, and particularly advocates of a total gun ban, would like to see the United States become more like Canada, where there are far fewer guns per capita and where most guns must be registered with the federal government. The Canadian approach to firearms ownership has many attractions—the country’s firearm homicide rate is one-sixth that of the U.S. 
However, he does go shooting with Dave Kopel while in Boulder, CO. and even comes to a remarkable conclusion
But I am sympathetic to the idea of armed self-defense, because it does often work, because encouraging learned helplessness is morally corrupt, and because, however much I might wish it, the United States is not going to become Canada. Guns are with us, whether we like it or not. Maybe this is tragic, but it is also reality. So Americans who are qualified to possess firearms shouldn’t be denied the right to participate in their own defense. And it is empirically true that the great majority of America’s tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners have not created chaos in society.
I think on the whole, it's a well-balanced article.  Go read it.

TGIF

It's been a long week, we're picking up speed at the high school.  Both basketball and soccer seasons are in full swing, and PawPaw finds himself coming around corners.  Next week I'll be at the school three nights.  However, this night is mine as is the entire weekend.  Milady and I are probably going to slip off later and have a little fun.  I fully intend to be on my deer stand at daylight.

Did y'all see where they think they found ice on Mercury?  Yeah, the closest planet to the sun, what I've always understood to be a baked rock.  It seems to have polar ice in places where the sun don't shine.
You might have thought there was a snowball's chance in hell of finding ice on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. Now measurements by NASA's Messenger spacecraft suggest there is about 100 cubic kilometres of frozen water at the planet's poles – roughly enough to fill the Dead Sea.
I grew up transfixed at the space race and sat enthralled as we learned more about this solar system. We're still learning things we couldn't imagine forty years ago.

And, even today, the only footprints on the moon are American.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eleven Most Important Guns in History

Popular Mechanics published a photo gallery of what they consider the eleven most important guns in history.  They include the first hand-cannon, the Uzi, the AK47 and the Garand.  They talk about Maxim machine guns, and they talk about the much loved M2 (Ma Deuce).  Regarding handfuns, they talk about the Colt Peacemaker and the 1911 pistol.  All worthy, historical, significant designs. Then, they come up with this monstrosity.


Perhaps the most innovative small arm of recent years is the XM-25 "Punisher" 25-mm grenade launcher. A laser measures the range to the target, so the grenade can be set to explode midair at the exact point it passes over a foxhole or a wall to target enemies behind cover. Five weapons were issued in Afghanistan on a trial basis in 2010 and they have had good reports. However, the XM25's estimated cost of over $30,000 may prove to be something of a limitation for now.
I've got to scream Bullshit! That thing isn't important. While nice, while interesting, it certainly doesn't have the cachet, the history, the excellence of the Colt Peacemaker, or the 1911 as designed by the sainted John Moses Browning (PBUH).  It certainly doesn't show design excellence, or elegance like a Maxim or innovative design like the AK47.

Popular Mechanics is a great magazine, but they're off the mark including this prototype in their list.

Sec State

Hillary Clinton has told her boss that she's leaving and she's made no secret of it.  She wants to go home and rest, and as much as I disagree with the woman, I think that she's earned the right to do just that.  Who, oh who, will relieve her?

One of the two front runners right now are UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who is being pilloried over her lying to the American public about the Benghazi debacle.  I doubt that she could be confirmed if nominated, but stranger things have happened.  The other front runner is that asshole, lying traitor, John Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts.  We might do well to recall what his war buddies said about him just eight years ago.
"During Lt.(jg) Kerry's tour, he was under my command for two or three specific operations, before his rapid exit. Trust, loyalty and judgment are the key, operative words. His turncoat performance in 1971 in his grubby shirt and his medal-tossing escapade, coupled with his slanderous lines in the recent book portraying us that served, including all POWs and MIAs, as murderous war criminals, I believe, will have a lasting effect on all military veterans and their families. Kerry would be described as devious, self-absorbing, manipulative, disdain for authority, disruptive, but the most common phrase that you'd hear is 'requires constant supervision.'" -- Captain Charles Plum, USN (retired)
Unfortunately, I know of no law that prevents a lying, traitorous, sack-of-shit to be a US Senator. If there were such a law, we'd certainly have a better class of people in the Senate.

 In John Kerry's case, I believe that he has repeatedly lied to the American people, mischaracterized the service of a half-million Americans for political gain, and has cast discredit upon himself. The only thing that John Kerry deserves is the lasting enmity of the American people.

 Oh, and while we're at it, why hasn't someone hanged Jane Fonda for treason yet?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Trash-Talk

The idea of Obamacare is just starting to kick in with a lot of people and they're starting to see the light.  Some folks will never see the light, and this cartoon from the Grouchy Old Cripple illustrates it precisely.

You can look for more and more of that to happen under the current regime.  Look for more layoffs in the various industries, look for other employers to cut employees under the magical fifty, look for part-time workers to have their hours reduced.  Business exists to make money for the shareholders, not to pay for health care.  Many employers feel that healthy, happy employees are more productive and many employers offer a health plan as part of a benefit package, but under this government program, it's easier to scale back employee costs than to try to expand your business.

William Baldwin, over at Forbes, talks about states in a death spiral, which he defines as those states who have more people who take from the government than folks who pay money to the government.  It's an interesting article, and you should go read it.

In the good news pile, we find that there is research in Virginia that more guns does not equal more crime, in fact, the opposite might be true.
“So while it’s difficult to make a direct causal link (that more guns are resulting in less crime), the numbers certainly present that that’s a real possibility,” Baker added. The opposite – that more guns are causing more crime – cannot be derived from the numbers, he said. “It’s mathematically not possible, because the relationship is a negative relationship – they’re moving in the opposite direction,” Baker said. “So the only thing it could be is that more guns are causing less crime.”
That is truly interesting.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cease Fire!

While shooting handguns at the annual Thanksgiving Family Shoot, we were running through some reloaded .38 Special.  I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds of .38 special during my lifetime, and we saw something during that shoot that I've never seen.  Somehow, one box of ammo was faulty, with three squib loads.  As a handloader, we want to make sure our ammo is safe and effective, we check and double-check, and obsess about quality control.  Still, stuff happens.

There was a time almost a decade ago when I was playing with reduced loads in some calibers, trying to get the bullet to stop, hanging out the muzzle.  I was never actually able to accomplish that feat.  The bullet would  either leave the barrel and drop just a few feet downrange, or it would stick in the barrel.  I finally abandoned that experiment as unworkable.  Then, Thursday afternoon, we saw it happen.

That's a 158 grain semi wadcutter stuck at the muzzle of a 4" Smith and Wesson 66.  Of course, I was confounded at the happenstance, and we took a minute to review safety processes and to educate the assembled crowd on how something like this might happen and why when you encounter a squib load you immediately cease fire.  The handgun was placed back into service by the simple expedient of grabbing the nose of the bullet with a pair of needlenose pliers and plucking the bullet from the muzzle.  A good safety lesson for all of us.

We experienced another malfunction that I've never seen, a legitimate hang-fire.  This happened shooting shotguns during the skeet portion of the festivities.  My son called for a target, swung on it, and the gun clicked.  He took the shotgun off his shoulder, looked at the action, and the shell fired, a full two seconds after the trigger was pulled.  This with factory shotgun ammunition, bought expressly for this activity.  Good gun handling skills, years of training and experience, and no one was injured, the shot charge went downrange into the trees, hurting no one.  In over 40 years of messing with shotguns I've never seen a true hang-fire until last Thursday.

Enjoy the shooting season, but by all means, be careful.

Sunday Morning Dawg

This is the first for a Sunday Morning Dawg.  Here, I've got two dogs in my easy chair, giving them a good scratching.  We've got Beau-dog, who you all know, and Trickie dog, who you met last week.  I was watching television and giving the dogs their due, when the picture was snapped.  Yeah, I've got my mouth open.  I was probably talking to someone.

That's Beau with my left hand and Trickie on my right.  It's as good a dawg picture as any.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Shopping

I see from the reports that black Friday shopping is as chaotic as ever.  Y'all have fun with that.  For myself, more of my shopping is online and the big ticket items are bought.  One thing I give away is cash, and that always fits, the color is right, and it's easy to store.

I did make it down to the Ace Hardware this morning.  I needed some little one-pound propane bottles and I knew they'd have them in stock.  Some of the grandkids and I are going hunting tomorrow morning and I needed that propane to run the deer stand heaters.

Speaking of deer stand heaters, I'm fond of the Mr. Heater Buddy heaters.  When you're in a box blind like I am, it's nice to take the chill off of the air.  I know that there are purists who don't think that using a wooden box blind is really hunting, and that's okay. I'm realistic enough to understand ambuscade and that's really how most whitetail deer are killed these days. I still like a stalk hunt, and I'm really fond of being in the squirrel woods with a .22 rifle and easing through the oaks.  However, when you've got fidgety grandkids with you, it sure is nice to be in a box blind where the movement of the kids doesn't spook game.  When the kids are warm, they're not as apt to be whining, making noise, snuffling, or otherwise being loud.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lindsey Stone Fired

It seems that last week, a young woman named Lindsey Stone took a trip to Arlington National Cemetary, sponsored by her employer.  She took a picture, a "verbal pun" near a sign near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pretending to yell, while extending her middle finger.  She posted it on her Facebook Page.


Thousands have called for her firing over the blatant disrespect she showed for the honored dead.  When she took the picture, she was within sight of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a place where respect, dignity, courtesy, and silence are required.  Her employer has a statement concerning the firing.

Her defenders have said, rightly, that she was simply exercising her First Amendment rights, that it was a childish prank, and that she should not suffer the loss of her job over it.  Some of that is true.  The First Amendment guarantees that Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.  This was a childish prank and I'm sure that she regrets the frivolous moment.  However, Congress isn't doing anything to her, she is not under threat of prosecution, nor will she be officially punished for a playground prank.  That's the limit of the First Amendment.

It's one thing to criticize the military  God Himself knows that I've criticized them There is no military member living that can't use a little useful criticism, either individually or as a service.  Criticizing the military is okay. Those folks at Arlington are above reproach and deserve no criticism.  They have given their last full measure of devotion to our country .Especially the Unknowns, who have given their lives anonymously in the service of the nation.  I will brook no criticism, no disrespect toward our honored dead.

No, in Lindsey's case, a nation has risen in full-throated indignation to defend those who gave their lives defending us.  They did not seek government assistance in their indignation, they simply denounced a lout who got herself in trouble over a moment of juvenile foolishness.  Lindsey had a perfect right to do what she did, and thousands of people were perfectly right to call for her dismissal.  That's the way a free nation works.

I do note, from reading the article, that Lindsey is of proper age for military service.  She is also without a job.  She might consider trotting down to the recruiter's office and signing up.  Maybe some good NCO in either of the services will teach her the respect that comes with maturity.

Thanksgiving Gunny Shoot

We do a little shooting every Thanksgiving, after lunch.  Some pictures from today's festivities.

Grandson Jeffrey on the shotgun, grandson Michael on the trap.

Son Barrett cleaning a clay pigeon.  If you look closely at the upper left corner you can see pieces of the orange flyer.

Sister Patricia on a .38 Special.  She hasn't shot in years, yet fell right back into the routine

Nephew Adam on a 9mm pistol.  Adam has a PhD in some esoteric field and works for the Army at the facility near Huntsville.  He told me over lunch that he's working with aluminum as it relates to solid rocket fuel.  He's trying to reduce the smoke in the exhaust plume that a rocket makes when it fires.  Very important work.

A view of the firing line.  You'll notice that one shooter is up at a time, normally with a coach.  The other folks waiting to fire stand behind the equipment table.  Safety first on PawPaw's range.

Grandson Elyas helping to police spent brass.  Notice the hearing protection.  Everybody wears hearing protection on PawPaw's firing line.  We had a great time and folks are napping now, or snacking across the dessert line.  Another Thanksgiving family shoot is in the books.

Thanksgiving

Time for reflection on a beautiful Thanksgiving morning for all my blessings.  I am probably the luckiest, happiest man on the planet.  Not only for having won, but for having lost.  Not only for the triumph, but for the struggle.  For my family, for my church, for the benefits of living in the greatest country in the world.  For the love of a good woman, for laughter and sorrow, I am thankful.



More later, after the meal.  We'll have shooting pictures, which is something to be especially thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Prepping

It's already been a busy day at PawPaw's House prepping for Thanksgiving.  All the chairs are up on tables, the kitchen/dining area is swept and mopped.  The carcass of a turkey is boiling for broth.  When the floor is dry I'll start cutting up sausage for Pastalaya.  It's a recipe that has many variations, and PawPaw will make his own variety.

We have the family over here for the Wednesday night meal.  It keeps Momma from having to serve a meal the night before Thanksgiving.  She does the big feast at her place on Thursday, a traditional sit-down Thanksgiving.

Jambalaya is a cajun specialty, cooked normally in big pots to feed lots of people.  Like most cajun dishes, it's rice based and easily prepared to feed a bunch of people.  This other version uses pasta instead of rice and covers it all with a milk sauce, heavy on the cream and cheese.  I'll be using most of a turkey and a big box of sausage for the meat, along with the cajun trinity of onions, bell peppers, and celery.

Oh, hell, I may as well tell you the recipe.

Pastalaya

One turkey carcass, boiled for broth
Four pounds of sausage
4 cans rotel tomatoes
4 cans cream of mushroom soup
32 oz velveeta cheese
Quart of half & half.
4 cups onion, chopped
4 cups bell pepper, chopped.
some chopped celery, for flavor
3 lbs pasta.  I'm using penne noodles

Peel the remaining meat off that turkey carcass, set it aside.  Save the broth for later.  That's too much flavor to throw away.  Chop your sausage.  In a big pot, sautee your vegetables in a little oil.  When they're done the onion will be translucent and sweet.  Add cream of mushroom soup, rotel tomatoes.  slice the velveeta and add it to the mix.  Stir frequently so it doesn't stick.

Boil your pasta to the al-dente stage and drain it.  Fry your sausage.  I like to put sausage in a big black pot, and cook it all together until it starts to brown.  Sausage is already cooked, but this takes some of the grease out of it.   Drain your sausage.

About this time, add that quart of half to your sauce mixture.

Put your pasta in a big roaster pan. (I use steam-table trays) Add turkey and sausage.  Pour the sauce mixture over the whole shebang, give it a quick stir, and run it into a 350 oven for about 20 minutes, until everything firms up.  You want it a little wet, but not runny.

Tonight we're serving it with a big salad and yeast rolls, but garlic bread would go with it as well.    That recipe ought to serve about 30 people.  It's easy enough to halve, or quarter, but this is not a recipe you want to cook for two people.  You'll eat it for a week.  However, this is a good recipe to take to a church social.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Football

I see that Rutgers and Maryland are joining something called the Big Ten, which is purportedly a football conference. I see that there is another purported conference called the Big East? Whatever the hell that is.
Rutgers is joining the Big Ten, leaving the Big East behind and cashing in on the school’s investment in a football program that only 10 years ago seemed incapable of competing at the highest level…Rutgers has been competing in the Big East since 1991. But the league has been picked apart by conference realignment, and the Scarlet Knights were looking for a way out…The move follows Maryland’s announcement Monday that it was joining the Big Ten in 2014.
Okay, so by my count that makes fourteen teams in an ersatz conference called the Big Ten. Can't those bastards even count? I mean, c'mon, if it is named the Big Ten, how can you have fourteen teams? The mind boggles.

Yes, there are other colleges and universities that have football teams, but you can't expect anyone to take them seriously?  Even here in Louisiana we have teams in something called the Southland Conference, but those are teams that are second-tier at best.  Now, you're telling me that there are actual conferences called Big Ten (with 14 teams) and Big East?

There is only one conference worth following in college football.  The SEC.  Really, y'all should know that by now.  If it isn't SEC, it isn't actually football.  Here in the Deep South, the SEC conference championship is more important that the BCS championship, because we know where real football is played, and that's the SEC.

On Rice and Racism

I'm following this whole Benghazi thing, from the Petraeus debacle to the Ambassador Rice telling everyone it was a problem with a bad video. Turns out the Director of National Security, James Clapper or his office was the one who put out the bad talking points. I'm also watching folks jump on the racism bandwagon because we simply cannot criticize a black woman who does what the administration tells her to do.

But, I'm thinking about the middle-aged white man whose office gave her those bad talking points for her to parrot on the morning talk shows. Is it racist to set up a black woman to look like she's lying to the nation? Clapper is an Obama appointee, isn't he? Looks like he might be a closet racist.

And, we haven't heard any more about Harry Reid's penchant for pederasty either. What is going on with the Democrats?

Wing Shooting

We hunters understand wing shooting.  Many of us suck at it, but we like to practice, either at skeet on our ranges and pastures, or at clubs set up to take our money and give us a chance for fellowship and competition.  There are some shooters who shoot at live pigeons.  There are other folks who want to shut down live pigeon shoots that have begun using little aircraft fitted with cameras to record the events at live pigeon shoots.  Predictably, those little airborne devices flown over places where people shoot targets from the air, receive attention that is detrimental to the device.
The drone, nicknamed “Angel,” was recording a live pigeon shoot on Sunday around 3 p.m. when investigators say it was suddenly struck by gunfire.
Imagine that! You're flying a device over private property, an area known for shooting things out of the sky, and your device is hit by gunfire! The mind reels at such a possibility.
State Police are investigating the incident. SHARK claims this is the fourth time the drone has been shot at while trying to spy on what they claim are inhumane pigeon shoots.
You've lost four of those things over the shooting line? Incredible! I can't imagine what would be causing that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Morning

PawPaw's watching the Boy-o this morning.  We just finished helping a friend cut up firewood, now we're at home getting a snack before we get into the next project.  At noon I need to leave here to go work a basketball tourney at the high school, and won't be home until about 9:00 tonight.  Not much time for blogging today, we're happy, busy and fully engaged.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Song

Sundeay Morning Dawg

It's a beautiful Sunday morning, pre-Thanksgiving, and visitors are starting to arrive for the festivities on Thursday.  The dog is enjoying the sun, playing on the back deck where it's warm.

He has a visitor too, a sweet little dog named Trickie.  She lives with the daughter-in-law and loves taking naps in the kitchen.

It's just another Sunday, in the South.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Obama's Economy

What we've learned since the election ain't looking so good for the home team.  According to Investor's.com:

Earnings are falling, poverty is rising, food stamp enrollment is skyrocketing, inflation is creeping, coal plants are closing, and small banks are disappearing.  When you take away the Twinkies, it looks like a bad omen for our economy.

As Instapundit says, Obama is going to need a new scapegoat soon.

Oh, and General Petraeus tells us that the original CIA talking-points memo blamed Al-Queda affiliates immediately after the attack on Benghazi.  He doesn't know who removed it from the memo that Susan Rice saw.

Just in time for my Saturday afternoon nap.

On the Trail Camera

I went down to the trail camera today while I was in the woods and swapped SD cards.  The logging activity  on the lease has screwed the deer patterns, but I enjoy looking at pictures on the trail camera.

This big ole fox squirrel is a constant visitor.  Of course, my camera is near my feeder and sits in an oak flat that is full of acorns.  Perfect squirrel habitat.

Another shot of that goofy squirrel.  He seems to like that particular tree.

Two pretty little yearling does cam out about noon-time.  I don't think I'd have pulled the trigger on these.  Give them another couple of years and they'll start producing.  I am thankful that I got no pictures of hogs this time.  Maybe they've moved on.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bulletproof Research

The quest for better ballistic protection is ever on-going and promising results are coming out of laboratories.
Bulletproofing for soldiers and law enforcement officers has lightened up considerably in recent years, but it promises to get insanely thin with new nanotechnology coming out of MIT and Rice University.
I was a veteran cop when Kevlar was first built into ballistic vests and I've worn Kevlar ever since. It's great stuff, but it's heavy and it doesn't breathe well. Wearing a Kevlar vest on a summertime Louisiana day is akin to dehydration and heat exhaustion.  I don't know how our fighters in the desert regions carry all the ballistic armor that they carry every day, walking in that heat and environment.  Anything lighter and thinner that still provides good protection would have uses in both personal protection and vehicle protection applications.

As Instapundit might say, Faster, please.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

California Rising!

California begins a great new experiment in green economy this week by auctioning greenhouse gas emission credits. There are two possible outcomes, mutually exclusive.
Mary Nichols, who chairs the Air Resources Board, and other advocates of cap and trade contend that in the long run, the business costs will be mitigated by savings from greater operational efficiencies, and that an entirely new green economy base will be created to the ultimate benefit of the state.
Uh, yeah, that's pie in the sky. The state of California is basically auctioning unicorn farts. This following an election where California became the most taxed state in the nation. The other possible outcome?
an equally valid theory is that the state, which is already suffering from a stagnant economy and very high unemployment, will hamstring itself in the global competition for investment capital.
That's probably closer to the truth. It'll be interesting to see which scenario is more valid as this plays out.

This, from the state that gave us Ronald Reagan.

Letters to Congress

I wrote a letter to my Senator this afternoon. Senator Mary Landieu, (D) of Louisiana. I periodically write letters to my Congress-critters. They need adult supervision, and since I'm not there personally to supervise, we accomplish this via email. My letter to Senator Landrieu.
Senator Landrieu
I'm reading reports that the Senate hasn't passed a budget since 2009.
That is distressing. I have to have a budget in my household and the idea that the US Government is operating without a budget is madness.
With the Fiscal Cliff approaching, the government needs to have a budget so that it can figure out where to cut. That's how millions of Americans do it.
Thanks in advance.
I'm sure that she'll get right on that.

Toughest Bridge in the World

Video footage of trucks trying to go under a bridge that's 11'8".

We've got a breezeway at the school that's 12'4" and I've had two trucks get stuck under it in 8 years. Both trucks had good insurance, fortunately.

 Hat tip to The Gun Counter forums.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Petraeus To Testify

Fox News is reporting that General David Petraeus has agreed to testify before Congress.
The logistics of Petraeus' appearance are still being worked out. But a source close to Petraeus said the former four-star general has contacted the CIA, as well as committees in both the House and Senate, to offer his testimony as the former CIA director.
Good for him. Perhaps he can regain some of his honor. I know that the media has been having a field day with him and the salacious tidbits from his affair, but the real questions is what happened in Libya that fateful day. Four parents need answers and a nation needs to know who to hold accountable.

The Money Votes

I don't know if you've been watching the Dow averages, but it has been steadily sliding since the election.
Nov 6 close 13245.68
Nov 7 close 12932.73
Nov 8 close 12811.32
Nov 9 close 12815.39
Nov 12 close 12815.08
Nov 12 close 12756.18
Nov 14 now 12570.95

The country voted on Tuesday, the money is voting now.  Gold is currently trading at 1725.90 per ounce. You might notice that the administration is pushing for higher taxes on the wealthy.
Obama has been pressing to let the George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year for the wealthiest 2 percent of the nation’s households, a tax hike adamantly opposed by Republicans. But Carney suggested that even the revenue generated by letting those tax cuts end would not be enough to tame the national debt and reenergize the economy.
It is refreshing to see Carney saying that the letting the Bush tax cuts expire won't be enough to tame the debt and energize the economy. The only way to do that is to cut spending. Drastically, to the bone. Entitlement cuts by the bushel. No, he wants 1.6 trillion in new taxes. The money folks can see which way this debate is going, and they're dumping stocks.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Product Review Ever!

I've been busy at work today, but I stumbled upon this product review on Amazon.  It's for a men's hair removal product.
At first there was a gentle warmth which in a matter of seconds was replaced by an intense burning and a feeling I can only describe as like being given a barbed wire wedgie by two people intent on hitting the ceiling with my head. Religion hadn't featured much in my life until that night but I suddenly became willing to convert to any religion to stop the violent burning
That's enough for the PG audience, the rest of it gets pretty graphic, but before he was finished, tears were flowing from my eyes and my ribs were hurting.  One grandkid said he'd never heard me laugh so hard.

Hat tip Curmudgeonly and Skeptical.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mediorcrity

On Veteran's Day, it's important to remember the troops who served and the troops who are still serving.  It's also important to give them the very best leadership we can provide for them.  Unfortunately, there's a growing concern that the current crop of General Officers is mediocre or inept, or maybe just merely incompetent.   
A culture of mediocrity has taken hold within the Army’s leadership rank—if it is not uprooted, the country’s next war is unlikely to unfold any better than the last two.
Thomas Ricks makes the case over at the Atlantic.  Go read.  Our soldiers deserve better.

Petraeus, again

After spending yesterday reading all I could about this dirty little scandal, I'm convinced that I'm not really impressed with the General's explanation.  It just seems too mea culpa  to me.  It's easy to resign and retire.  Why air your dirty laundry on the way out the door?

I'm hoping that the General shows up in Congress next week and tells the committee everything they want to know, answers fully all their questions, then says, "But guys, here's some stuff that you have no clue about", then regales them for an hour or so with tales of felonious intent from the first term.

If he doesn't show in Congress next week, then he's just another asshole general officer who has no honor.  It's his choice, he can choose.

Sunday Morning Dawg

I came in late Saturday night after all day at the high school to find the dog taking his leisure on an easy chair.

He looked up just long enough for me to snap a picture then went back to doing whatever dogs do on a Saturday night.  I swear, that dog is a Democrat.  He doesn't work, expects me to take care of him, and as long as there is food in his bowl and scratching behind his ear, he's happy as he can be.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Petraeus Resigns

Let me get this straight.  General David Petraeus, the Director of the CIA, was boinking some bimbo while he was in Afghanistan.  He comes home, retires, gets appointed as CIA director, then the Benghazi attack happens.  Now, he's scheduled to testify before Congress about the Benghazi attack, but has a bout of remorse and decides to resign based on a lack of judgement.  Am I getting the timeline right?  Yeah, I thought so.

This isn't remotely transparent, and I wasn't aware that boinking some bimbo let you get off the hook for testifying to Congress.  If David Petraeus has any honor, he'll be in Washington next week to testify as scheduled.  If not, then he has no honor, his legacy is destroyed, and Congress should immediately move to strip him of his retirement.

Personally, I always thought that Petraeus was an asshole, but I'm willing to follow assholes who have honor and know their duty.  Now, it turns out Petraeus is just another asshole without honor.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Busy, busy.

I won't have time to post on Friday or Saturday, I'll be working.  Nothing here to look at, move along.

If you're bored and surfing (why else would you show up here?), go read Rachel Lucas, one of the very first bloggers in the blogosphere.  Rachel has been making me laugh for a lot of years.  She married a sailor or some-damned-body and he dragged her off to Italy, but she's still blogging at the link.

Or, go read Sarah Hoyt.  I discovered her recently and there's good stuff there.  Sarah is a writer, and a thinker, and she's very deep.

Rachel will make you laugh, Sarah will make you cry.  They'll both make you think.

I'll be back on Sunday.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Welcolm Back, Carter

Odd-even rationing.  I remember doing this when Carter was president. 
Police will be at gas stations Friday morning to enforce the new system in New York City and on Long Island. Gas will be available to drivers with license-plate numbers ending in an odd number or a letter on Friday. On Saturday, drivers with license plates that end in even numbers of zero can fuel up.
Those were horrible times, and it looks like we're doomed to repeat it. The economy in the crapper, gas rationing, and Iran thumbing their noses at us. God, I hope we can survive four more years.

Financials

I notice that the Dow took another dump today, the second day in a row.  I wonder what caused that?  Oh, yeah, we had an election on Tuesday.  So, the stock market is re-aligning with reality.  Since the election, the Dow has dropped 313 points.

In boardrooms large and small, the directors of companies that drive our economy are making decisions about how to weather the coming storm.  Think retrenchment, think hunkering-down.
A majority of voters decided on Tuesday they do not perceive the coming debt crisis and our short and long term economic health to be as big a concern as whether gays can marry, whether abortion on demand is in jeopardy, whether condoms should be free (and whether male porn stars should be forced to wear them), and whether pot should be legalized. But business owners, being the successfully-demonized, greedy capitalists they are, their election season begins now.
We might be in for quite a ride.

Iran Shooting at Drones

Fox News is reporting that the Iranians fired on a US drone operating over international waters.
According to (Pentagon spokesman George) Little, two Iranian jets fired twice, missing on both attempts -- the drone headed away from the Iranian coast, landing safely soon after at an undisclosed location. The Iranian jets pursued the drone for a short period before giving up.
What did we do? Nothing.
He would not say whether there were actually plans for a military response. Asked if this should be considered an act of war, Little said he didn't want to get into "legal characterizations" of the event.
Well, of course not. What will probably happen is the next time President Imadinnerjacket is in New York, Obama will show up to plant a big wet kiss on his ass.  That seems to be our preferred method of dealing with the Iranians.
The Pentagon announced the incident as the administration imposed a new round of financial sanctions against Iranian officials and entities. They marked the first sanctions since President Obama's re-election Tuesday.
They couldn't have announced it any earlier, it might have affected the election.  According to the article, this incident occurred on November 1.  Today is what... November 8.  It took the Pentagon a week to get the country up to speed.  But, to recap, the Iranians fired on a US asset over international waters and the United States response so far is... nothing.

Election Results

This is interesting.

In 2008, John McCain got 59,934,814 votes, against Barack Obama's 69,456,897. Huge turnout, great numbers.  Obama got elected, you know the rest.

In 2012, Mitt Romney got 56,461,412 to Obama's 59,127,919. Obama got less votes, but the Republicans simply didn't show up.  If the other three million republicans had gotten off their dead asses and gone to the polls, we might have a new president.  Now, we're stuck with Obama another four years.

You sorry sonsofbitches ought to be ashamed of yourselves.  If you're going to win, you gotta show up.  You three million ignorant bastards didn't show up, and we lost.  Thank you very much.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama Wins!

It looks like my worst fears are realized.  President Obama managed to squeak out a victory yesterday in the battleground states and remains the President of the United States.  Good for him and for his followers.  That means we get to keep Obamacare, the President gets to lead us over the fiscal cliff, and the military will be in decline.  The entitlement mentality has finally taken hold in the US.

I intend to be gracious and accommodating, as gracious and accommodating as the Democrats were in 2000 and 2004.  However, I won't be one that claims he's not my president.  He is in fact my president, purely because people I don't agree with voted for him.  I don't for a minute believe that he represents me, simply that he is the leader that the voters wanted.   It'll take a while for me to come to grips with this, so I'll cling to my guns and my religion and hope that this country somehow survives the challenges that will be upon us very soon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Patriotic Chore

My brother-in-law called me about 8:00 this morning.  He had a deer down, a little nubbin buck and wanted help getting it out of the woods.  I motored over to his stand, helped him get the deer out of the woods, then we went exploring for a little while, moving down logging trails that the loggers recently cut through our woods.  Took the deer to the processor, then he went home while I climbed back on the stand.  I sat there till noon and loaded the Mule.  After unloading the gear at home, I went immediately to my friendly local polling place.

Got to the polls and stood in line.  Not a long line, but still a line.  I vote at a very rural polling place, in a Baptist church.  The poll worker told me that we've got about 1400 voters assigned to our precinct and that the voting has been steady all day long.  People are coming in an out, the vote is clicking along.  It's a well run precinct in a rural area.  I'm sure that folks will continue to show up at the polls until they close at 8:00 pm, local time.

Louisiana is not a battleground state and Mitt Romney is expected to win handily.  However, we did have a Congressional race, some state constitutional amendments, and three local option taxes to decide.  I once again took the opportunity to vote against my idiot congressman, Rodney Alexander.  I don't remember who I voted for, but it wasn't Rodney.  The man doesn't have enough sense to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel.  Yet, we continue to elect him to Congress, a living testimonial to patronage politics.

I have now exercised my voting rights and will consider a nap.

When Obama Loses

I'm trying to be optimistic here, but I've hijacked the title of a post over at Instapundit.  If Obama Loses ... We're all a Bunch of Racists. Elizabeth Price Foley also links to an article by David Feith, detailing why we'll all be racists if Obama loses.
If President Obama loses re-election, it won't be because of the weak economy, the unpopularity of ObamaCare, the fallout from Benghazi or any other policy-related matter. At least that isn't how many Obama supporters on the left are likely to explain it. Instead, we'll hear that he went down to defeat at the hands of America the Pathological—a country where bigotry, corruption and political dysfunction reign.
As you're reading this, I'm in my deer stand, clinging to my gun and my religion. Drinking coffee and thinking about the millions of Americans who will vote today, exercising their God-given right to choose their leaders. It's what Americans do, and I admonish everyone to vote today.  Exercise that right, stand up and be heard. But, don't worry about racism.  That has nothing to do with it.  There is no real racism in America anymore.  We elected a black man as President, and now we're trying to unelect him for all the right reasons.  His economic debacle, his bowing to foreign leaders, his unpopular Health Care act, his deplorable reactions to the Benghazi tragedy.  Racism has nothing to do with it.  The fact that he's a poor leader is all the reason we need.

Racism is hurled as an invective and has been so watered down that it no longer has any sting.  I'm personally not afraid of the adjective anymore.  It matters not, and it is almost like Godwin's Law in political discourse.  Whoever hurls the charge of racism has automatically lost the debate.

Hopefully, a nice whitetail deer will show up and I can exercise another of my rights today.  Then, after the work is done I'll go home, watch the returns, and go to bed blissfully aware that I've voted, hunted, gathered meat, and elected Mitt Romney for President.  And, I won't be concerned about charges of racism at all.  If that's the only argument you've got, you've already lost the debate.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Ditch the Electoral College?

Just about this time every four years we get an article that talks about ditching the electoral college.  This year, I've chosen this article.  Just as an example.  The argument is the same.  Let the popular vote decide.

No problem.  Get two-thirds of the Congress to approve it, then three-fourths of the states to ratify it, and we can amend the Constitution to allow the popular vote to elect the president.  Until then, shut-the-hell-up about it.  It ain't happening, folks.

This time around, and probably next time around, we've got the Electoral College to deal with.  Get used to it.  Those are the rules.

Marines Land in New York

According to the New York Post, the Marines have come to New York City to help with the cleanup.
Armed with high-powered water pumps and sophisticated surveying equipment, the Leathernecks, aided by Navy sailors, began their attack on floodwaters from Rockaway Beach in Queens to Midland Beach on Staten Island.
I'm proud of the Marines for helping out our citizens who need help desperately and are not getting that help from the City.  However, there is one thing that the citizens need to realize.  After the water gets pumped out and the surveys are complete, the Army Corps of Engineers are going to re-draw the flood maps.  Whatever the high-water-mark was will reset the 100 year floodplain.  Nothing in the flood plain will be permitted for rebuilding without a substantial flood plan.  Insurance premiums go up, you've got to have flood insurance.  It's quite the bureaucratic hassle.

If you doubt that, ask the residents of the Ninth Ward near New Orleans.

But still, Hooray for the US Marines!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Bloomberg hates Guns

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has denied the New York National Guard the ability to help the distressed citizens of New York because... they have guns.
“We don’t need it,” Mayor Bloomberg said on Wednesday during a press update on the city’s ongoing Hurricane Sandy cleanup. “The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns.”
That's just idiotic, but it is no more idiotic than any other thing Bloomberg has done over the past couple of years.  Why the people of New York elected him, I'll never know.  However, they got the politician that they deserve.

The Amendments

Along with the presidential race, Louisiana voters will be asked to decide several amendments to our state constitution.  Here's my take on the Amendments.

1.  Medicare Trust Fund.  A YES vote will prohibit the legislature from robbing monies from the Medicare Trust Fund that provides medical care for our elderly.

2.  Gun Laws.  A YES vote will enshrine gun ownership as a fundamental right and require strict scrutiny from the Courts in gun-rights matters

3.  Retirement Bills.  A YES vote would require that any laws changing retirement for public service workers be pre-filed 60 days before a legislative session.

4.  Homestead Exemption.  A YES vote would grant the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran who had a 100% service connected disability to claim a larger homestead exemption on property taxes.

5.  Forfeiture of Retirement.  A YES vote would require forfeiture of public retirement funds if a person is convicted of a felony that is committed during public service.

6.  Property Tax in New Iberia.  A YES vote would allow the city of New Iberia to grant exemptions to local property taxes.

7.  Boards and Commissions.  A YES vote would change the membership of boards and commissions.  Some boards and commissions have membership based on Congressional Districts and we lost a district during the last census.

8.  Non-Manufacturing Tax Exemption.  A YES vote would allow the Board of Commerce and Industry to grant local property tax exemptions to certain non-manufacturing businesses in parishes that participate in the program.

9.  Crime Prevention Districts.  A YES vote would that any legislation relative to a Crime Prevention District must first be published in the local journal three separate times.at least 30 days prior to introduction. and that the advertisement must disclose if a parcel fee for the district would be imposed.

That's my guide to the state amendments for this election.  I'm probably going to vote YES on all of them, which is something I usually do not do.

No Bottled Water

It seems that FEMA didn't have enough bottled water stored.

FEMA slow to respond.  Bush widely blamed.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog made it to the groomers this week and with the warmer temps we've been experiencing, he looks quite comfortable.

 That's a lottle better, I'd say.  He looks like he's lost 10 or 12 pounds, when it was all hair.  Hopefully he'll get used to it before the next cool snap.

He certainly seems to be a lot more comfortable.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Game Camera Pics

I keep a trail camera near my feeder, to see what's using it and as an adjunct to my enjoyment of the outdoors.  It's a lot of fun to look at the pictures and try to better understand  what species are enjoying the bounty of the feed I provide.  Yes, of course I use the feeder to attract whitetail deer, but it's fun to know that other species are making use of the feed that the feeder scatters about on the ground.  For example, this guy.

In that picture it's easy to identify the species, a big ole fat raccoon, taken at about 2:00 a.m..  Then, there's pictures that aren't so easy to identify, although I didn't have much problem with this species.

That is the back of a hog, a smallish rooter that probably weighs about 60 pounds.  We haven't seen hogs in the trail camera pics for several years, but it looks like this invasive species is making a comeback around our lease.  We have one iron-clad rule on the lease, if you see a hog, shoot it.  If this one comes out during a hunt, I'll be duty bound to send a bullet toward it.   But still, it's fun to go pull the SD card every week or so and take a look at what's using the feeder.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Marathon

Coming closely on the heels of what is arguably the worst storm that New York has suffered in over 60 years, with thousands homeless, food supplies sketchy, and power out over parts of the city, New York mayor Bloomberg decides to go forward with the New York Marathon.  Of course he does.  And, hotels are kicking out evacuees to make room for the marathoners.

Lovely.  Just fricking lovely.   Bloomberg needs his ass kicked.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Dumpster Diving

I see that New York residents are dumpster diving, trying to get something to eat.

Preparedness is paramount when dealing with a natural disaster.  Keep things that won't spoil.  Dried beans, canned meat.  Ganola, cereal, canned milk, bottled water.  Coffee for sure,  A Coleman stove and lantern.

When the wind quits blowing, you might not have any help for three days.  Be ready for those three days.

Coleman Lanterns

 Last year I realized that for probably the first time in my life, I didn't own a Coleman Lantern.  Several weeks later I was at an auction and one came on the block, with a hard case.  A Coleman Perfect-Flow two-mantle lantern.  I snagged the lantern for about $20.00 and considered it a steal.  The piezo lighter works great, and I put the lantern on a shelf and forgot about it.

A couple of weeks ago one of the kids asked me about mantels for a Coleman lantern and I realized that I didn't have any.  So, today when I was at Academy, I wandered down the camping aisle to get some mantels for that lantern.  Coleman lanterns are a buck apiece now.  $3.99 for a four-pack.  Can you believe that?  Highway robbery.  Even on Amazon.com, they're going for exorbitant prices.

I hope I don't need a Coleman lantern any time soon, but if I need one, it's good to have on the shelf.  Of course, back in the day, we'd have to lug around white gas and the current propane models are so much more convenient.  I could tell you a story about a fisherman who used Coleman lanterns to fish at night.  One night he hit a snag and dropped his lantern overboard.  He knew about where he was when he lost the lantern, and every time he'd pass that spot he'd stop for a minute and drag for that lantern, hoping to snag it on a treble hook.  It took about a year, but one day when he pulled the hook up, his Coleman lantern was on the end of the string.

He told me it was still lit, but I think he's lying to me.  Not even an old gasoline lantern will stay lit for a full year.