Friday, February 28, 2014

Interesting Analysis

An interesting analysis, from the Cripple in Atlanta.
1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
The poor in America have things that the poor in other countries can only dream about.  Yeah, we've got our problems, but grinding poverty isn't one of them, not in the sense of grinding poverty of most of the rest of the world.  When you understand that the normal, historical, history of man over millenia is sitting in the rain, wondering where your next meal is coming from, we've got it pretty good here, in this country, in this age.  Yeah, we've still got some work to do, but our capitalism has made even the poorest of us wealthier than  kings of several centuries ago.

The biggest reason that we still have grinding poverty in this country is the Democratic party, who parlays the greatest bigot in history into political heroes.

Mardi Gras

Today officially starts the Mardi Gras season in central Louisiana.  There's a parade rolling down Jackson Street even as I type this, with cheerleaders and bands and floats.  The Children's Parade is tomorrow, and the main Parade is Sunday.  Because Alexandria is in Central Louisiana, we'll be back at work on Monday and Tuesday with the only nod to Fat Tuesday being the Wednesday services at local churches.

Normally, PawPaw would be in Mamou, LA on Mardi Gras, but this year I have to work.  Such is life in the fast lane.  PawPaw probably won't be at any parades this weekend.  Central Louisiana has no idea how to properly do Mardi Gras, and their celebrations are a dimly heard resonance, barely worthy of notice.

I'm going to have my Friday afternoon celebratory cocktail, then Milady and I will probably go to the auction.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Long Day

Twelve hours in the boots make for a long day. It was a good day, but a long day. Working on a project that we should be able to talk about next week. Came home, did some bookkeeping, trying to get it all done. 

Watching the intertubes, and Harry Reid is a damned liar, but you all knew that. We still don't have the full story on his penchant for pederasty either. I don't think that we'll ever know the full story on that, because the man is an veteran liar.

 I'm going to bed. More stuff tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let Freedom Ring

Proponents of gay marriage are winning the argument, they're winning in town halls and in the courts and in the state legislatures, and I think that's a good thing.  Many, many Americans are re-evaluating their knee-jerk opposition, and that's a good thing.  Freedom for thee means freedom for me, and freedom is always a good thing.

I see today that a court has struck down Texas' law against same sex marriage, and I see that enormous pressure is being placed on Arizona governor Jan Brewer, and both of those are good things because they expand freedom.

However, (and there is always an however) I am concerned about the holier-than-thou attitude about some of the gays, not only requiring that people respect their rights, but wanting to require those people who opposed them to participate, like the couple who sued the baker in Colorado when he didn't want to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding, and based that desire on a firm religious belief.

Of all the pundits writing about this monumental moment in gay-rights history, I think that Andrew Sullivan says it best in his piece from Monday.
The truth is: we’re winning this argument. We’ve made the compelling moral case that gay citizens should be treated no differently by their government than straight citizens. And the world has shifted dramatically in our direction. Inevitably, many fundamentalist Christians and Orthodox Jews and many Muslims feel threatened and bewildered by such change and feel that it inchoately affects their religious convictions. I think they’re mistaken – but we’re not talking logic here. We’re talking religious conviction. My view is that in a free and live-and-let-live society, we should give them space. As long as our government is not discriminating against us, we should be tolerant of prejudice as long as it does not truly hurt us. And finding another florist may be a bother, and even upsetting, as one reader expressed so well. But we can surely handle it. And should.

Leave the fundamentalists and bigots alone. In any marketplace in a diverse society, they will suffer economically by refusing and alienating some customers, their families and their friends. By all means stop patronizing them in both senses of the word. Let them embrace discrimination and lose revenue. Let us let them be in the name of their freedom – and ours’.
I don't think that any gay couple would suffer one bit in trying to find someone to bake a cake, or take photographs, or any of the myriad of tasks that are normally contracted in the standard wedding.  Just because Baker A really doesn't want to bake the cake, doesn't mean that Baker B wouldn't jump at the chance.

But then I see another business who intends to discriminate in the name of gay rights.
 David Cooley, the founder of The Abbey Food & Bar located at 692 North Robertson Blvd., has announced the popular gay bar will add any legislator in any state who votes for “bills to allow for discrimination against LGBT people” to a “Deny Entry List.”
Heh!  Really?  You're going to discriminate against discriminators by discriminating?  Okay, have fun with that.  I'm sure that there's another watering hole down the road who'll serve them, which goes to my (and Andrew's) original argument.

But, especially in the wedding business, it's best to have someone who graciously, lovingly, enthusiastically provides the services necessary.  You don't want to be like this poor gal.

Let Freedom Ring.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fifty Years

Has it been fifty years?  I guess it has.
Liston was the most intimidating fighter of his day, and considered by some, at the time of the Clay fight, as among the best heavyweights of all time. Many were reluctant to meet him in the ring. Henry Cooper, the British champion, said that if Clay won, he was interested in a title fight, but if Liston won, he was not going to get in the ring with him. Cooper's manager Jim Wicks said, "We don't even want to meet Liston walking down the same street."
But, after seven rounds, Liston couldn't answer the bell and a young upstart named Cassius Clay became the heavyweight champion of the world.  Two weeks later, Clay changed his name to Mohammed Ali.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Louisiana's Jungle Primary

Louisiana has an odd little primary, a way of choosing candidates without regard for party affiliation.  This isn't any secret to those of us who live in the state, and we can debate the merits of the system all we like, but I think that our jungle primary serves us well, even if it does lead to some strange outcomes like the 1991 gubernatorial election, which pitted a known crook against a known Klansman.

The way it works is simple.  We set a date for a primary election, and everyone interested in the race throws their hat in the ring, regardless of party affiliation.  If someone wins with a majority, that person is elected and a general election is unnecessary.  If no one wins the primary with 50%+1 vote, then the two vote leaders go to the general election.  Party matters not, and we might have two Republicans, or two Democrats running against each other in the general election.

I mention all this because of a piece Andrew Klavan wrote, over at Pajamas Media, where he bemoans the civil war going on in the Republican party.
We need to talk this out with good sense and without pompous ranting. Politics is the art of the possible. Writing belligerently purist articles, blog posts or comments is relatively easy. Winning elections is hard. Barack Obama is one of the most destructive presidents this country has ever seen, but a talented politician. If stopping him in his tracks requires stomaching some RINOs here and there, it seems a no brainer: It must be done. Ann may have put her case a little too forcefully in the debate above (she’s not exactly given to dithering!), but surely she’s right in the general principle that strategy — and victory — have to come before purity.
I concur.  Louisiana faces a truly important election this year when we decide who  will represent us in the US Senate.  Our sitting senator, Mary Landrieu is the Democrats darling, and is certain to gather an impressive percentage from that side of the aisle.  Mary will certainly be in the runoff.  Her two main challengers are Bill Cassidy, a Republican congressman (and Republican establishment favorite), and Rob Maness, also a Republican (and touting himself as the Republican Alternative).  Cassidy has the backing of the establishment and Maness has the backing of the conservatives.  It's going to be interesting.

What's for certain (and I'm no political seer) is that Louisiana has a history of shocking results in our elections.  Strange things happen in strange electoral procedures, and Senator Landrieu, while certainly a Democratic powerhouse, from a strong political family, is facing a serious challenge during the time when the headwinds are decidedly against her.  The question is; who will oppose her in the runoff?  Will it be the establishment guy, or will it be the newcomer?

This past November, we elected a political newcomer, Vance McAllister to represent Louisiana's 5th congressional district.  McAllister was a true newcomer, had never run for anything in his life and had decided that he could best represent the people of the district.  He won handily over the establishment favorite, a guy named Neil Riser, the establishment Republican.

That's the strength of our Jungle Primary.  Neither Cassidy nor Maness need to spend any money in a bruising Republican primary.  They can both run against Landrieu, and if the political pundits are right, one of them will face her in the general election.  There is no reason to run Tea Party vs Republican Establishment unless Senator Landrieu is defeated in the first election.  This is going to be an interesting election year for Louisiana.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Morning Dawg

A couple of times a day, the dog and I walk out to the street, either to check the mail or drop the trash.  And the dog enjoys these little jaunts, if only to sniff at the ground near the trash container, or to sniff theh grass near the mail box to see what errant dogs have passed by.

Sniffing at the trash receptacle.

At the mail box.  I guess it's kind of like checking the answering machine, just something we do when we pass by.  It's a good thing he doesn't have a cell phone, cause he'd probably have a Facebook account.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Breakfast

Over at Boned Jello, they're talking about breakfast, and they start with this wrongheaded idea of what liberals think conservatives eat for breakfast.

Well, some of that is true.  The gun is angled wrong for a fast grasp, and mine would probably be in a strongside holster, and the egg is sunny-side, which Milady likes, but I've always thought that one egg is simply silly, so they try again.

That's a little better, because we've got the pancakes and the bacon, but why is there cream in the coffee?  And what's up with the toast; are you making a sandwich to take with you?

No guys, first of all, it's gauche to have a gun on the table.  If you're expecting company, a short-barreled shotgun in your lap is so much more genteel.  And, no proper southern breakfast is complete without biscuits and gravy.  And, while we're critiquing, I don't see any hash-brown potatoes either.  I guess I could make do with the Jameson's but I'd rather have a shot of Jack in my morning coffee.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the range.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ragnarok

A palate cleanser for a Friday afternoon, but it appears that the world might end on Sunday.  The Viking apocalypse Radnarok is set to happen on Sunday, February 22nd.
Viking warriors have begun to arrive in York in preparation for the end of the world.
'Norsemen' from across the UK and further afield are converging on the historic Yorkshire town as Ragnarok, the final bloody battle predicted in Norse mythology approaches on February 22.
Believers say that when the fateful day arrives Earth will split open, unleashing the inhabitants of Hel.
The wolf, Fenrir, son of Loki, will break out of his prison and the Midgard snake Jormungand will rise from the sea.
Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it?  For myself, I'll be carrying my Airweight to repel the hordes.  Tomorrow morning, I plan to go to the range to give the rimfire rifles a workout.  I haven't had any trigger time in several months and it appears that tomorrow will be a good time to work my trigger finger.  Rimfire target work might be a good prep for a Viking apocalypse. 

Pravda Anyone?

The story I've been following this week is the FCC's intent to interview news broadcasters to see how they determine which stories get covered, or get lost in the noise.  However, the Friday Afternoon News dump seems to indicate that the FCC is abandoning this line of questioning, after severe pushback from media sources.

Hopenchange covered it today in his editorial cartoon.
I don't see how this would be much different from watching MSNBC, where the government line is always given top billing.

We have to watch our government closely.  They need adult supervision.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ruger American Rimfire

Today at lunch, I went to the local Academy Sports store to check on ammo availability.  They had Aquila .22LR, so I picked up two boxes at $4.49 per box.  I'll add that to the stock.

While I was there, I coon-fingered a Ruger American Rimfire.  I like the rifle.  It has stock inserts to raise the comb for scope use, the blueing was nice and it seemed like a very nice little bolt action rifle.  The only sticking point, for me, was the Academy price of $269.00, which is better than the MSRP of $329.00.  Academy stocks both the regular and the compact model.  A side-by-side comparison shows the compact model to be about 2" shorter in length of pull than the longer rifle.  If I had to choose, I'd probably choose the compact, simply because I like short rifles.  The American Rimfire uses the standard 10/22 rotary magazines, so those should be easy to find.

However, the Academy price on a Ruger 10/22 is $200.00, and on the Savage 64, the price is just $149.00.  I've got a Savage 64, and it's also a very nice rifle, accurate, dependable, and simple.  I like the Model 64, even if the stock is  bit flimsy.  But I really like the single-stack magazine it uses.

I didn't buy a rifle today, but it was nice to look at the new Ruger American Rimfire.  If I'm in the market for a rimfire bolt-action, I might give the rifle  second look.

Glowball Warmening

Global warming, or AGW as the believers refer to it, has taken on a life of its own, regardless of the science behind the movement.  Al Gore aside, his minion, John Kerry was in Indonesia last week, talking about the dangers of manmade global warming.  He referred to skeptics as "flat-earthers" denying science at their peril.
In a Feb. 16 speech in Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry assailed climate-change skeptics as members of the "Flat Earth Society" for doubting the reality of catastrophic climate change. He said, "We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists" and "extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts."
The only problem with the AGW scenario is that  the measurements don't match the model.  Two very knowledgeable  scientists, Richard McNider and John Christy, take Kerry's arguments apart in the Wall Street Journal by explaining that the observations don't match the model.  They present this handy little graph which shows the difference between the predictions and what we're actually seeing.

The red line is the prediction, the blue lines are the actual measurements.  The red line hasn't predicted the blue line in some... oh... thirty years.  In short, the current AGW model is poor at predicting actual temperatures.  We note, with some amusement, that Kerry burned over 12 tons of carbon fuel in the atmosphere while making his predictions about carbon-based warming.

If he's willing to burn 12 tons of carbon to make a speech about global warming, I have trouble believing that it's a problem.  Especially when the predictions don't come close to matching the observations.

When they start acting like it's a crisis, I'll believe it's a crisis.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good Numbers

Good numbers on my semi-annual checkup.  A1C down, cholesterol down, B/P down, everything else in range.  Doc says to keep doing what I'm doing, and he'll see me again in six months.  He suspects that I might live another six months, or he'd have set the appointment a lot sooner.

He didn't even chew my butt today, because I lost a few pounds.  This is great news, and I think we'll head down to the Mexican joint to celebrate.  I feel like fajitas.  I'll bring the dog the tortillas, because he loves them and I'm trying to get off the wheat.

I still don't like doctors, but today was almost painless.  (Then again, maybe he suspects I'll die in three months and he won't have to put up with me anymore.)  Naah, that couldn't be it.

Sub-Par

It seems that an anonymous street artist in Santa Monica is papering the town with stickers that show President Obama as sub-par.

I'm loving it.  If the guy decides to make bumper stickers, I'll buy a couple for friends, family, and acquaintances.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fourteen Hours

Fourteen hours today in my boots, I just came in and hung the duty belt on it's hook in the washroom.  Made a couple of fried egg sammiches on toast.  Poured a stiff drink.  Long hours today; not bad ones, but long ones. In just a few minutes, I'm going to lay my sorry butt down.  I spent the last couple of hours exploring the mysteries of the vehicle code.  There has been some changes since I worked the road, and I've got to get them in my head.  But, reading the vehicle code is like reading Sanskrit.  The legislators in this state need to re-write the whole thing.

We'll do it all over again in ten hours, and see if we can't do it better tomorrow.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eight Colors

Talking recently with a friend, I mentioned that I know eight colors, the eight they taught me in first grade for art projects.

Red, yellow, orange, blue, purple, green, black, and brown.  Those are the colors.  Teal is a bird, mauve is a girl that lives down the street, and burgundy is a drink.  Ivory comes from elephant tusks, and fluorescent is a type of light fixture.

Needless to say, I didn't spend much time in art class after the first grade.  I have to admit that the colors they're referring to these days, especially in the military fabrics have me a mite amuzed.  Flat, dark earth is brown, as is coyote tan.  They're both brown.  Don't get me started on pastels.  When we move into this house, Milady told me that she was going to do the bedroom in toile.  I asked what color that is.  She's still laughing about that one.  Turns out it can be any number of colors, maybe blue, or brown, or black.

Let's keep this simple.  There are eight colors.  That's enough for anyone.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rimfire Sunday - Tiny Grandkid edition.

Last week when we went shooting, some of the smaller grandkids pitched a fit, because they never got to go shooting, so PawPaw decided that this Sunday would be a rimfire day, and the youngest members of the family who wished for trigger time would get an opportunity to participate.

Here, grandson Ely, coached by his father, engages a small blue crow (center left of the photo) with a .22LR Cricket rifle.  The crow wobbles when hit, and the crow wobbled quite a bit during the course of the day.


Here, Jada-bug, another minuscule member of PawPaw's clan, explores the mystery of the .22LR cartridge, coached by PawPaw hisself.  Jada kept trying to engage the 100 yard gong and was considerably exasperated when it didn't move as she struck it.  She did make that crow wobble quite a bit.  During the course of the day, she warmed up to shooting quite well.  I think I may have another shooter on my hands.

PawPaw didn't get much trigger time today, coaching the little ones.  I'll get my range time later, but I see now that I need a few more reactive targets.  The little ones like seeing something move when they shoot it.

I'm glad I stocked up on rimfire ammo when I had the chance.

Sunday Morning Dawg, Winter Weather Edition

We had winter weather this week, along with an appropriate power outage.  The dawg, of course, was completely confused, wondering why his humans wouldn't "do the switchy-thing" and turn the lights on.  I tried to tell him that there was no wattage hooked to the switch, but he's not an expert in Ohm's law, so he didn't understand.  He did enjoy the fireplace which we used to keep ourselves toasty warm until the lights were restored.

When the humans won't turn on the lights, having a fire in the fireplace is a decided plus.  It does a dog good to lay by a fire.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meme - Carry Gun

My son wants to talk about carry guns.

Okay, I'm an old-fashioned guy and I prefer a simple pocket pistol, tucked into my pocket.  My standard has been the Smith and Wesson J-Frame, in .38 Special.   A couple of years ago I gave away my Model 60 and opted instead for a Model 38.
It rides in my pocket constantly.  If my pants are on, this little gun is in my pocket.  I do have holsters for it and I had to use a holster last summer when I qualified on the Louisiana POST course with the little revolver, but this little gem slips so easily into jeans, or slacks that having a holster is almost redundant.  And, it is hard to say it's not concealed when it is completely in the pocket.

Milady, on the other hand, is a fan of the .32 caliber, specifiically the .32 SW Long.  She had me cast about for a nice .32 revolver so I found her a nice used Colt Pocket Positive last year.  I looked around and found that Buffalo Bore makes self-defense ammo for that caliber, so I bought her a couple of boxes.and I feel that she's reasonably armed with the little gun.  She shoots it well and it goes everywhere with her.


Those are our daily carry guns.  What do you carry?

Marlin Model 60

It's hard to find a more common .22 rifle than the Marlin Model 60.  In production since 1960, the things have been made for over 50 years and Marlin has made over 11 million of them in various guises.  They're all pretty much alike, but the one thing they all share is that they are simple, dependable, rugged, durable rifles that are found almost everywhere.

PawPaw has bought several over the years as training rifles, once the kids and grandkids got old enough and practiced enough to get away from the single-shot .22s.  The Model 60 is a good introductory rifle to the semi-auto realm and PawPaw is always on the scout for a good deal.

Today I stopped by my favorite pawn shop to look at guns, and sure enough, he had one Model 60 on the shelf.  It just came out of pawn, and this one is the Glenfield Model 60 that Marlin built for sale in hardware stores.  Same rifle, different roll marks.  They're simple to work on, easy to disassemble, and parts can be bought at lots of online places.  The fact that they're accurate little rifles doesn't hurt things a bit.

We haggled for a few minutes, and I asked for a 4473.  If it matters, I gave the guy $50.00 for the little rifle.  It's rough, but it's solid and with just a little work it'll be a nice rifle.  The stock is birch, and with pressed-in checkering.


I took the rifle apart and gave it a good cleaning.  I dount that it had been cleaned since it was first taken out of the box.  The insides were filthy, mainly with dust and old oil.  If you've never disassembled a Model 60, Junior has a good tutorial at Castbullet.com.  I've got a nice Nikon 4X rimfire scope set aside for this rifle, which will make it just peachy for the squirrel woods.  Over the next couple of weeks, I'll sand the stock and give it an oil finish.  I believe that the litle rifle will clean up quite nicely.

**UPDATE**  Scope installed.  6 lbs, 13 oz,

I didn't figure it would be that heavy, but there it is.  Still, it's awfully handy.

Remington Moving?

I don't know how trustworthy the source is, but Yellowhammer is reporting that Remington Arms Company is opening a new facility in Alabama.
High level sources have informed Yellowhammer News that Remington, one of the world’s largest gun manufacturers, will on Monday join Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in announcing that they are bringing over 2,000 jobs to Alabama.The company is viewing the move into Alabama as an expansion, but it will likely impact their Ilion, NY plant as well. The New York facility currently employees around 1,200 people. It is expected to stay open, but with a reduced workforce.
New York isn't very gun friendly these days, and smart companies are looking at alternatives.  Labor, capital, and creativity are mobile.  If a political climate is toxic to a business, it makes sense to move to a place that is welcoming the jobs and paychecks.

We'll be waiting for the announcement on Monday.

Hat tip to The Gun Counter.

St. Valentine's Day

Milady and I were talking earlier this week and we recognized that we haven't "cut loose" in quite a while.  It's been a tough winter with lots of family obligations and we needed a little recreation.  As the calendar conspired to make last night St. Valentine's Day, we decided to go out and have an evening of couple-time.

We reviewed options and decided to go down to the local indian casino.  It's small and has been open barely a year, but they put on a really nice seafood buffet   We got to the casino at about 6:00, and the parking lot was packed.  Evidently we weren't the only ones with the idea to enjoy a seafood feast.  So, I got one of those little call-buzzers and visited with folks I know while the restaurant found a table.

After a very pleasant meal, (they bring in crab legs with a forklift, and shrimp by the bushel-basket) we sat for a while, playing video games (it is a penny arcade, after all).  We kind of lost track of time what with all the pretty lights and fellowship.  I looked at my watch and realized that the calendar had flipped, so we came home and fell into bed.  I awoke at 9:00 this morning, not being able to remember the last time I slept till that late hour.

Assessing my liquidity, I am surprised to learn that the machines didn't hurt me a bit last night.  All the coinage is accounted for, with a little surplus.  That doesn't happen often and I'm relatively pleased with the outcome.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finally Friday, More Winter Edition

Regular readers will know that PawPaw missed a few days blogging, and we can blame Suddenlink Communications for the lack of service.  A month of so ago, PawPaw took on a bundle with Suddenlink, our local cable provider.  I've got HDTV, internet, and phone, all wrapped into one seamless bundle.  

On Wednesday, we had a little ice storm.  A piddling little quarter-inch of ice, and Suddenlink went belly-up.  No service at all.  PawPaw couldn't watch TV, nor surf the internets, or even make a phone call on the bundled service that Suddenlink provides.  Calls to the service center were amusing.  They'd tell me that we were having an outage (which I knew) and that we were having an ice storm (which I also knew).  What they couldn't tell me was what, exactly, the problem was and when I could expect a restoration of service.  The Suddenlink call center in Tyler, TX is worthless.  PawPaw was out of service from daylight Wednesday until sometime today.  Several calls over the course of two days always had the same answer.  We were in an ice storm, and our service was out.  

While I was at work today, I googled around and got the name of the Regional Vice President for this area.  I wrote him a two page letter telling him that they suck at customer service and that their managers here have their heads firmly up the fundament.  If I were he, I would take a buggy-whip and proceed to the Tyler call center, where I'd whip everyone in attendance and send them fleeing up the road.  He probably won't go that far, but a wholesale firing would certainly be in order.

But it seems like we have service restored for the moment.  Hopefully it will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More Winter

It's gotten winter again in these parts, and while we're not going to get hammered as hard as some folks, the school administrators got cautious and cancelled school today.  So, PawPaw is home.  Here's what Accuweather is telling me.


It is cool outside and the wind is whipping, which makes it feel cooler.  They're saying we have a chance of sleet tonite, but it looks like it might move north of us.

That's the Wundermap for the state, and I don't see anything that's likely to run over us.  But, I've been wrong before.

Just so today wouldn't be a total waste, I went to my bench to do some reloading.  It's been two years since I reloaded .30-06, so I took the time to prep some brass and refill my stocks.

The standard blogging reloading shot, with a box of ammo.  That happens to be loaded with Reloder 19 powder and Hornady's pretty little SST bullet.  I honestly don't care how pretty a bullet might be, but I like the way the Hornady's fly.  And they fly very well.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Epic Fail (or not, depending)

It seems that this military expert in Badhdad was giving a class on suicide bomb construction when he accidentally set it off.
BAGHDAD — A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.
Lots of damage to the class.
 Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.
I'd bet that the guys on the front row got the worst of it.  Those in the back of the class, not so much.  Still, I bet that the training calendar is seriously screwed up.  I'd bet that there are a lot of bolos in that class

Sunday, February 09, 2014

My .30-06

In 2006 I decided to give an old caliber a chance, and was smitten with the idea of a 100 year old cartridge so I went in my local gun store and asked if they had any rifles in .30-06.  They did, a Savage 110, the standard hunter model with the tupperware stock.  I put it on layaway and got it out several months later, then got about the business of building ammo for it.  It shot well enough, for a standard rifle with a flimsy stock, but I was never really impressed with it.

Later that year I dropped it out of a deer stand, and broke that tupperware stock at the wrist.  So, I put it aside and started casting about for a stock.  I found one several months later at Brownell's and bought it, then spent considerable time and effort at my bench, tweaking the stock to just exactly what I wanted.  I measured the stock every way possible, took off wood where necessary, went slowly and had the action out of the stock numerous times until I had it like I liked it, then bedded the recoil lug.  Then, I took the rifle to a gunsmith to install a nice recoil pad, and I set the length of pull at 13 inches, which suits me just fine.


Nothing fancy, nothing fancy at all.  And, it's not a tack-driver.  It's a 2" rifle, with its standard barrel and its home-whittled stock.  But, it will consistently, boringly, stack bullets into a 2" circle all day long.  Regardless of whether I'm on my belly or on the bench, it's a 2" rifle.

In this day and age of 1 minute rifles, it seems that the 2" rifle has lost its cachet, and I admit that I'm one of those guys who likes accurate rifles.  I put this one aside for other rifles, and although they shot accurately, they simply didn't have the intimacy that this rifle seemed to have.  Still, it languished in the safe while I favored other rifles.  Until today.

This morning, preparing for a range trip with the grandkids, I put away the .308 that is slated to be given to a grandson and took the .30-06 out of the safe.  It felt like an old friend.  When I got to the range, I was a few minutes before the rest of the party, so I dug out a cartridge, chambered it, and threw the rifle up to my shoulder.  The crosshairs settled nicely on the hundred-yard gong, and I let fly.  The stock bucked my shoulder and the gong rang, and I remembered why I built this rifle.  Not for tack-driving accuracy, but for hunting.  Snap shots, woods stalking, sitting in a tree stand.  And, the rifle felt like it belonged in my hands, probably because I spent so much time working it to the point I liked.  Thinning the forend, working the wrist, floating the barrel, this stock is set up to fit me, not some factory's idea of the average rifleman, but me.

This is my rifle.  There are others like it, but this one is mine.  It's fitted to me, and while Savage has built tens of thousands, this one is particularly mine.  The grandkids will get the other rifles in the safe, but my children will have to decide who gets this one, because I'm keeping this one until I'm gone.

Sunday Morning Dawg

We didn't get him to the groomer's this week, it was busy around PawPaw's House, but the weather was cold enough that we decided to hold off until it moderates.  The long hair doesn't seem to be slowing him down much, as you can see when he's playing chase with the cat.

It's good to be a dog on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Name Game

Courtesy of Mostly Cajun, who likes highlighting names, we come to this heartwarming story about crime in Milwaukee, where a violin was stolen.  Not just any violin, but the Stradivarius belonging to the concert master of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Known as the Lipinski Strad, after one of its early owners, the violin was stolen from Mr. Almond as he left a chamber concert performance on Jan. 27. As he reached his car, someone attacked him with a stun gun and grabbed the instrument, driving off in a minivan as Mr. Almond screamed out: “They got the violin! They got the violin!” The instrument case was found hours later, dumped a few miles away.
The goblins, of course, were later found and arrested.
On Thursday, officials identified two of the suspects as Universal Knowledge Allah, 36, a local barber who is being accused of providing the stun gun used against Mr. Almond; and Salah Ibin Jones, 41, whom the police described as their primary suspect.
Evidently the getaway driver is identified as Latoya Atlas.   Mostly Cajun calls this a trifecta.  With names like Universal Knowledge and Salah Ibin, I'm wondering if they weren't adherents to the Religion of Piss.

Heh!

Mechanic-ing Today

Today I'm going to learn something, how to change sparkplugs and coil packs on a Ford modular engine.

I've been changing spark plugs my whole life, but evidently there are a few little tricks that have to be learned on these newer engines, like finding the spark plug in the first place.  Luckily, my second son is an ASE certified mechanic, trained by Ford on Ford engines.  He's going to stand over my shoulder while I do the job, to make sure that the old man doesn't screw up something that can't be fixed.  The easiest thing would be for him to do the job, but then I wouldn't know how.  Knowledge is power.  Lately, I've been plumbing the depths of the ODBII codes, which makes trouble-shooting a whole lot easier.

Coil packs are expensive, but spark plugs are still relatively cheap.  The difference between the economy plugs and the top-line plugs are just a few cents.  He did caution me to buy Motocraft plugs for this job, because Ford plugs work best in Ford engines.  Oh, and I'm amazed how inexpensive auto parts are when you buy them from places like Amazon.com, vs buying them at the parts house.

Hopefully, by the end of the day, I'll be a better shadetree mechanic, and Grandma will get a grandkid fix while we work.

**UPDATE**  That's done.  Found the problem, (a loose connector) but learned how to change a coil pack.  The check engine light is off and a test drive shows no misses.  AND, I changed the oil on the pickup.  The next time that oil needs changing, the truck will have 201,000 miles on it, and it's still running strong.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Knock First

We need to talk about this in the hope of averting future tragedies.

It seems that a Burleson County (TX) deputy was shot and killed while serving a search warrant.  The Grand Jury in that county declined to prosecute the offender for the charge of shooting the deputy.
WASHINGTON COUNTY A Burleson County Grand Jury declined to indict the man who shot and killed a Burleson County Sheriff's Deputy who was serving a search warrant in December.
As tragic as it sounds, that might be the correct result.  It seems that the deputies were executing a no-knock search warrant, looking for drugs.  They executed the warrant during the early morning hours.
 Sowders said he thought giving Magee notice would be, quote, "dangerous, futile, or would inhibit the effective investigation." A Burleson County Judge approved the warrant on December 18, 2013, and in the early morning hours of December 19, a SWAT team made the entry into Magee's home.
Tragically, Deputy Sowders was killed during the entry.  I mourn for Deputy Sowders and his family.

Before I proceed, let me say for the record that I am a serving law enforcement officer.  I've been in police work for almost 34 years, I've been assigned to a SWAT teams and I've commanded a SWAT (SRT) team.  I've done entries and I've served warrants, and I've had the living hell scared out of me several times.  Dynamic entries are dangerous, violent, and intimidating.  I don't like no-knock entries, I've never liked no-knock entries.  I know how to do them, I've been trained in their use, but I still dislike them.

In this case, from all I can understand, Deputy Sowders had acquired information that Mr. Magee had drugs and weapons in his home and that there was a likelihood that if they knocked, Magee would have time to destroy the drugs, so they made a decision to make a dynamic entry into the residence during the early morning hours.

During the entry, Magee shot and killed Deputy Sowders.  These facts are uncontested.  Magee's defense claimed that Magee didn't realize that law enforcement officers were entering his home, but thought that the people in his residence were there for nefarious purposes and intended to harm him or his pregnant girlfriend.  He fired in self-defense.  Evidently, the Grand Jury believed his defense and declined to prosecute Magee for that offense.  Magee still stands charged with other counts, including growing marijuana in the residence.

Again, I mourn for Deputy Sowders and his family.  Dynamic entries are extremely dangerous, fraught with unforeseen circumstances.  I won't second-guess a brother officer, but I will caution everyone to think twice, then think again before doing a dynamic entry, and make sure that it is appropriate for the circumstance and the facts of the case.  There might have been a better way, and we need to think about those better ways to preserve evidence and effect arrest without endangering ourselves and the accused.

I mourn for the family.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Tales from Sochi

As those of you that care (and I don't) get prepped to watch the Olympics this week, some early stories are coming out.  First, from NBC.  The minute you fire up your cell phone, tablet, or laptop, you're hacked.
"As tourists and families of athletes arrive in Sochi, if they haven't been warned, and if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it's probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. Visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked. And as Richard Engel found out upon his arrival there, it's not a matter of if, but when," reports NBC's Brian Williams.
And there will be no privacy, even in your hotel room.
 Engel says, "The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy. Even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything."
And, the water is bad
. My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, "do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous."
I'm sure that "dangerous face water" will be a twitter tag before long.  No wonder the Russians drink vodka.  And, people walk into your hotel room in the middle of the night.

It sounds like these Olympics are going to be just lovely.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

CBO Deals Death-Blow to ACA

According to John Podhoretz, the Congressional Budget Office has issued a scathing report on the implications of the Affordable Care Act.
The one-two punch: Virtually as many Americans will lack health coverage in 10 years as before the law was passed — but 2 million fewer will be working than if the law hadn’t passed.
One killer detail comes on Page 111, where the report projects: “As a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA.”
So, the ACA causes less people to have paid insurance and less people to be employed full-time.  I'd say that's a problem for a law that was supposed to ensure universal coverage and get Americans back to work.  Of course, the White House is spinning it as an option.
 The law’s not destroying 2.5 million jobs, says Glenn Kessler, it’s merely inviting 2.5 million employees to quit. How much does it matter to growth, though, if the labor force shrinks on the demand side versus the supply side? 
The argument is that if 2.5 million people decide to quit because health insurance is costing them money, and it's better for them to not work and take advantage of the Medicade expansion, that's a positive?  Really?  How about the rest of us who have to pay for their essentially free health insurance in the form of higher taxes and insurance premiums?

This argument is essentially that it's entirely possible to pick up a turd on the clean end.  The White House has lost me entirely, and I suspect that as the implications of this Act become clearer, the Democrats are going to lose a lot of people.  Of course, Nancy Pelosi has her own take on the matter, totally divorced from reality and divorced from the implications of the report.
Pelosi said she hadn’t “fully” seen the report, but, “this was one of the goals. To give people life, a healthy life, liberty to pursue their happiness. And that liberty is to not be job-locked, but to follow their passion.”
So, Nancy, it was a goal of the ACA to reduce the number of people in the labor participation pool?  I guess we should have read it before we passed it, huh?

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Inquiring Minds

Lest we forget that in 2009, President Obama joked about having the IRS audit his enemies.

Then, this past weekend, President Obama said that the IRS scandal didn't show  "not even a smidgeon of corruption"

Then just exactly why did Lois Lerner invoke the Fifth Amendment in her testimony before Congress?

George Will believes that this is one of the biggest scandals in the past 40 years, and most of the press doesn't want to talk about it.  Why not?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Send Me A Dawg!

We were discussing this just the other day.  The scenario is simple; I or one of my brethren pull over a vehicle for a routine traffic stop.  Something simple, like a broken tail light.  During the course of the stop, we have a hunch that illicit drugs are being transported in the vehicle.  The Supreme Court says that we can detain a motorist for a reasonable time, and when I'm in such a situation, my first instint is to get on the radio and have the dispatcher send me a dog, a trained police K9 with a handler to conduct a sniff-test around the vehicle.

So, if I have to wait on the dog to come to me, and I can hold a driver for a "reasonable period of time", the question becomes; What's reasonable?  Luckily, we have the internets to answer such questions and lawyers to ponder those questions.  It seems that the esteemed Orin Kerr has tackled the question and provides us with a "sorta" answer.
But as of yesterday, the simple (if simplistic) answer to the question might have unusual mathematical precision, at least if you accept the lower court cases as correct. The Constitution allows the police to extend the stop without suspicion for eight minutes, but not a minute longer.
You can go to the link for the full answer, but it seems that one Court has held that eight minutes is reasonable, but nine minutes is unreasonable.  That sounds reasonable to me.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

That Darned Rat

A little palate cleanser, just because we need it,  It seems that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and we're doomed to six more weeks of winter.


Yep, good sunshine behind the groundhog, and Phil couldn't miss his shadow unless he was wearing a welder's hood.  So, now we have the prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil, which is at least as good as the weather-weenies.  Phil predicts weather patterns six weeks in advance, while the weather-weenies are only good for a three-day window.

Y'all go enjoy Sunday.  Say a prayer, watch a football game, and pray for Spring.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's pleasant outside, but the dog was playing "Don't Look At The Camera" this morning.  Of course, after editing the photos, I'm not really sure if he can see at all.

Pretty shaggy, huh?

Yeah, he needs a haircut.  We'll see if we can get him to the groomer's this week.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Reloder 15

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Alliant's Reloder 15 as a medium rifle powder.  It's my go-to powder for the .308 Winchester, and I find it useful for the .223 Remington as well.  It's a great medium rifle powder, and I normally buy it in 5 lb jugs.  I keep a 1 lb bottle on the bench and refill the smaller bottle from the larger.

I was reloading some .308 Winchester this morning, and using powder from the smaller bottle.  After finishing 100 rounds, I was tidying up the bench and noticed that the 1 lb jug was almost empty, so I reached up on the top shelf to get the larger jug.  It felt fairly light, too, so I poured what was left of it into the one-pound bottle.

It's not much of a problem, because my stocks of loaded ammo are good, and I've got just enough in that smaller jug to give me a little planning time, but it's becoming apparent it's time to buy powder.  A quick inventory shows me that I'm down to my last pound of IMR 4895, another medium rifle powder that I like a lot.

I hate paying the haz-mat fees, but I guess it's time to start looking for good deals online.