Tuesday, May 31, 2005


While in New Orleans this past weekend, we were privileged to have a local friend take us to Mothers Restaurant for a meal. Walking into this place is confusing at first, until you understand the protocol of ordering your food. You basically stand in line at the counter and place your order, pay for it, then find a table and sit. The waitress gets your ticket and makes sure you get served properly. The system works great.

The first thing you notice is the smell of roast beef. Wonderfully slow cooked roast beef. Order a po-boy and wait till it comes out (just a few minutes) and you know why this place stays crowded.

So, today here I am stuck in Alexandria, wondering about lunch and wishing I could go back and get a po-boy at Mothers.


Tuesday morning

I'm sitting here at work on a Tuesday morning with no real duties to perform, except for cleaning my office and getting ready for an extended summer vacation. I work in a High School and the kids were released last Friday. However wonderful the summer break sounds I remember lots of long days during the school year, some of them 15 or 16 hours long. I earned the time off.

My lady has some tasks lined up for the summer, none too onerous or complicated, although the big one requires building a privacy fence around the back yard. The house we bought last summer has no fence around the yard and she wants one so that next spring we can install an in-ground pool. Before I get started with that fence, there are some preliminary tasks to complete, sort of cleaning up some half-finished stuff that I have hanging. The first job on the list is to get my boat welded. I took possession of my grandfathers boat during the Christmas season. It is a 12-foot aluminum john boat that the cajuns around here call a bateau (ba-toe'). My father had the boat leaning against his barn and I asked him what he was going to do with it. He told me it leaked and he was tired of mowing around it, so we loaded it in my pickup. I didn't realize it had belonged to my grandfather until I saw his initials in the bow.

Sure enough, my father showed me where the aluminum welds had cracked on the transom, from years of stress of the weight and thrust of outboard motors. There are a number of rivets that are loose and the boat just needed a little general maintenance to be ready for another twenty years of service.

The first thing I did was to drill out the loose rivets and remove the old rotted transom. The transoms are plywood in aluminum boats of that era. I went out and bought a sheet of marine plywood, cut out a new transom, fitted it, then coated it with four coats of marine varnish.

I found a fellow who can do the welding on the aluminum part of the transom, and getting that done is just a matter of putting the boat in the truck and carrying it to his shop during the business day, a task that is impossible while I am at school. I'll get that done this week. Then, next week, I'll have my elder son come over and we will re-assemble the boat, bucking new rivets into place and making the boat watertight again.

The rest of my summer projects? 1)Install and test three outdoor electrical outlets for the house. 2)Construct privacy fence around the backyard. 3)Purchase and install new countertop for the kitchen island. 4)Plan and install a couple of new shelves in the garage. 5) Secure hosting for a church website, and construct the webpage. That is the list right now. I'll have lots of implied tasks and lists of stuff to check off before it is over. Oh, and the last and most important. 6) Shooting. Lots of shooting.

Time to make my rounds. Today ain't over yet.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hillary (hack, spit, cough)

From Instapundit, we get this USA Today article. 53% if those polled said that they are likely to vote for Hillary Clinton if she runs for the presidency in 2008.

Only if she were running against The Devil Himself.

Naah, couldn't do it, even then. I'd have to sit that one out, sharpening knives and reloading ammo to be cached.

The one thing that gives me hope is that generally, those who start a run for the presidency early are not long in the race. Frontrunners just don't often do that well over the long haul. The 29% who were "very likely" to vote for her represent the base of her support, those Democrats who would vote the straight party ticket regardless.

The President that will be elected in 2008 is likely a person who is still under the radar. It seems to me that both parties need to do some more work. I know for a fact that in Louisiana we generally vote for the person rather than the party. Here in Louisiana, we have open primaries which lead to some fairly bizarre results. We are, after all, the state that gave you the race between David Duke and Edwin Edwards.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Scooter-trash knowledge

Most folks drive to work in cars or pickups (we call them cages). Cage-riders don't feel the world they are traveling through. I own a pickup and my lady drives a smallish SUV, but if I have any choice in the matter at all, I am going to ride the motorcycle. Low environmental impact aside, the motorcycle is fun and allows me to connect with the road in ways that a car just can't.

Once I connected with the road at 35 mph, but that isn't what I am talking about today. I am talking about the emotional connection with nature that is possible only with a scooter. With the motorcycle, you learn defensive driving quickly. Your mind focuses on the next hundred yards of road and you exclude most everything from your mind except that next hundred yards of road. A pothole is uncomfortable in a cage at speed. On a motorcycle, a pothole is potentially fatal.

Other senses kick in and you soon learn to listen to those senses. Some of the things you learn are truly cool. We all learned in high school that hot air rises and cool air sinks, but you don't really understand that until you ride a motorcycle. This morning I was coming to work on the bike. The air was still and the sun was just beginning to peek through the pines. I live in hill country and even though the hills in Louisiana are smallish, they still give enough elevation to feel the air change as you go uphill or down. On one particular stretch of road this morning I was coming down a fairly tall hill to cross a small creek at the bottom.

The still air had settled into its levels and there was perhaps a 20 detgree variation in temperature between the top and bottom of the hill. That small temperature variation made the ride exhilarating, like dropping down into a refrigerator, then climbing out of it. Very nice ride into work this morning.

This afternoon after work, I am going to do laundry and some shopping then pack for the weekend out of town. Blogging will be light to non-existent this weekend, and we'll pick up here again on Monday.

Y'all have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

ACLU and the 2nd Amendment

In comments, Anonymous said:
The ACLU is the foremost guardian of our Constitution. No group, right wing or left wing, can chip at the Constitution without a loud uproar from the ACLU. You, sir, could best protect ALL of your Constitutional rights by becoming a member.

I respectfully disagree. The ACLU does not create a loud uproar whenever a legislature, governor, mayor, or our own Congress chips away at the most important of the Bill of Rights.

As a matter of fact, the ACLU's standing on this most important amendment is not in keeping with current scholarship on the amendment, and reflects a failed interpretation that is steadily losing ground across the United States. To which amendment do I refer? Why, the 2nd Amendment.

To see the current ACLU stance on the 2nd Amendment, we can go here.

The ACLU's stance on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not consistent with the current scholarship on the amendment. Their stance is not consistent with their goal of increasing individual liberty, nor is it in keeping with their stated goal of protecting the Bill of Rights. When the ACLU begins to vigorously defend the 2nd Amendment I will re-examine my opposition to this organization.

Responsibility - Part2

The Preamble of the Constitution of the United States reads:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We read about general welfare repeatedly in the Constitution, and I don’t think the Fathers were talking about welfare like we understand the word today. The Fathers meant that government should promote liberty and facilitate prosperity. They went so far as to enumerate the specific powers of Congress in Article 1, Section 8. Under the Constitution, the only powers that the Congress has are in those articles. For those of you unfamiliar with that section, a brief summary is in order. Feel free to go to the original text if you doubt this summary.
Congress has the power to: 1. Lay and collect taxes in order to pay the debts and provide for the “common Defense” and “general Welfare” of the nation, 2. Borrow money on the credit of the United States, 3. Regulate commerce, 4. Establish rules for citizenship, 5. Establish bankruptcy laws, 6. Coin and regulate the value of money, 7. Standardize weights and measures, 8. Punish counterfeiting of U.S. securities and coins, 9. Establish post offices and post roads, 10. Pass copyright and patent laws, 11. Establish federal courts, 12. Punish crimes on the high seas, 13. Declare war, 14. Raise and finance the armed forces, 15. Establish rules for organizing, arming and disciplining the armed forces, 16. Call up state militias to execute the laws of the nation, suppress insurrections and repel invasions, 17. Administer the seat of government, 18. Administer federal lands, and 19. Make all laws that shall be necessary and proper for execution of the foregoing powers (so-called implied powers).

However, clarification was needed to limit the power of the Government. In Amendment X we read:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Justice Marshall went on to say in 1819 that:
“The federal government is acknowledged by all to be one of enumerated powers… The principle, that it can exercise only the powers granted to it…is now universally admitted.”

So, in this brief reading or our Constitution, we see that the powers of Congress are limited to certain enumerated items, and all other powers are reserved to the States, or the People. Yet, Congress continues to make laws outside of the enumerated scope of their power. And We, the People, allow them to do it. Maybe our ignorance of the law is an excuse, but the ignorance of the Congress surely isn’t an excuse, because they have sworn a solemn oath. Lets look at it.

The Congressional Oath of Office says:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

The pertinent parts are as follows:
1. Support and defend the Constitution.
2. Bear true faith and allegiance to same
3. Take this obligation freely.
4. Well and faithfully discharge the duties.

Now, you tell me. Name me one Congressman in the past hundred years has truly and faithfully limited himself to the powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8? Not a damned one. Each and every member of Congress is malfeasant, and has violated his oath of office.

The problem is universal, and the practice is so commonly accepted that we don’t even think about it any more. Lets say, for instance, that Congress sees a problem with the elderly and proposes a package to assist persons …. oh…. over the age of 70. Most of us don’t have a problem with that. Only that it is unconstitutional. Such a law does not promote the general welfare. It promotes the welfare of a specific group of people, and as such, is forbidden to Congress. That power is reserved to the States, or the People.

Another example: Congress finds that children aren't getting proper medical care and that poor children are particularly at risk. They pass a law subsidizing medical care for poverty stricken children. Unconsitutional. That law promotes the welfare of a specific group of people. It does not fall under the general welfare clause and as such, is forbidden to Congress. That power is reserved to the States, or the People.

Congress is as much to blame for our current lack of responsibility in the United States because they, as a body, have shown absolutely no responsibility for the current state of the United States.

The simple fact is this: If Congress proposes any law outside of the powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8, that law is unconsitutional. Regardless of how much good that law might do, regardless of how many people that law might save. If the law excludes one person from its scope, then that law is plainly unconstitutional because it doesn't provide for the general welfare.

Recently, there has been an uproar over a portion of Congress wanting to limit debate by invoking the Constitutional option. I maintain that most of the legislation passed in the last 100 years, to include Social Security, Medicaire, Medicade, establishing FEMA, all these laws are unconstitutional because they do not promote the general welfare, but promote the welfare of a specific group of people.

FEMA, you say? Yeah, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are the folks who rush to scenes of natural disasters and make federal money available to persons who lost homes or were devastated. They do untold good for many, many Americans. But the law that created them was unconstitutional. It does not promote the general welfare. Taking care of hurricane victims or tornado victims or earthquake victims is the province of the States, or the People, because Congress is forbidden those powers.

I can hear the uproar now: In that view, practically every piece of social legislation in the past 100 years is unconsititutional. You would undo the good works of thousands of people. Yes, I would. Because the founding law was unconstitutional.

Our system of government is set up with checks and balances. When those checks and balances get out of whack, like they have over the past hundred years, then we must count on responsible people to repair them. However, government is all about power, and if you can weild the federal checkbook, you can stay in power. The Courts have virtually abandoned us to the Congress by failing to rein in the power that the Congress weilds.

There is no responsibility in Congress and there is no responsibility in the Courts. Why should We, the People insist on responsible government? And what part does responsibility play in our daily lives?

Enough for now. There is probably a Part 3. Gimee a day or so.

Responsibility - Part 1

Lets talk about responsibility for a few minutes. But first, lets define it:

From Dictionary.com:
Responsibility: n 1: the social force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demanded by that force; "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D. Rockefeller Jr, 2: the proper sphere or extent of your activities; "it was his province to take care of himself" [syn: province] 3: a form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one's conduct; "he holds a position of great responsibility" [syn: responsibleness] [ant: irresponsibility]

A social force that binds us to our obligations. Let’s explore that for a minute, then look at it in the light of recent news. Clayton Cramer links us to this article in the New York Times, which reports a new housing development specifically designed for grandparents that are raising grandchildren. If a person has children, then that person assumes a responsibility to raise those children. However, this project in New York codifies in stone what many of us have suspected all along; that some people have no innate responsibility to take care of their young. I suspect that responsibility is not an innate condition of the human animal. I know that I, and I assume that many of you, daydream occasionally about not having any responsibilities.

If responsibility is a social force, then perhaps we don’t have it innately.
Perhaps responsibility is taught and learned. I know that I learned responsibility from my parents. I learned that with great freedom comes a duty to the society from whence I exercise that freedom. I learned that the family is the basic building block of society. I learned that I shouldn’t expect anyone to take care of me, but that I was responsible for taking care of my siblings. My siblings learned the same thing; that they were responsible for me, yet couldn’t claim that I was responsible for them.

That is a great lesson. That I am responsible for my family, but my siblings aren’t responsible for me. My siblings learned the same lessons, which seems on the face to be a conundrum, but is really simple when examined. Responsibility is individual. We are each responsible for our own actions. I am also responsible for doing my part to uphold the honor and dignity of my family. If I bring a child into this world, I am responsible for it.

So there it is. Responsibility is individual. Either you are responsible or you are not. Yet responsibility is a social force. If responsibility is a social force, then we should expect society to wield that force. To force individuals to assume responsibility, and to exact a price if they don’t. Yet we don’t see society forcing anyone to assume responsibility. And here, I am not talking about the government. I am talking about you and I. I am talking about our neighbors and coworkers and the lady down the street. I am talking about us.

I’m not a trained sociologist and I fear that I have wandered off into the realm of sociology. Thomas Edison wasn’t a trained electrician, either, but he invented the light bulb. Let’s plow ahead and see what comes of it.

As I recall, there was a time in my lifetime when society forced individuals to accept responsibility for their actions. If a person became a parent without benefit of wedlock, that person was ostracized. If a person was unable to support himself, there were programs available, but there was a social cost. The family was shamed. The children were taunted, the parents were talked about, the whole family felt the force of society.

Somehow, the Great Society and the Sexual Revolution of the sixties changed all that. Suddenly, there was an expanded government safety net and families were still at risk, but not from starvation. Girls still got pregnant but were allowed to continue in school. Men were not expected to work, but could claim benefit from the government. The all-powerful government would provide the basic necessities without many prerequisites.

Somehow, sometime, we got the idea that the business of government was to provide for the unfortunate, the lazy, the unlucky. Somehow, we got to the idea that people were entitled to help from the government.

I’m reminded of a story, probably apocryphal, that I heard a long time ago about Davy Crockett’s stint in the US Congress. It seems that there was a widow of the war of 1812. Her husband had served honorably in the military with some distinction yet when he died, the woman was left in dire and necessitous circumstances. A bill was introduced to give her a small pension as thanks for her husband’s service. Crockett voted in favor of the bill. When Davy got back to his district, the voters there excoriated him. They believed that Congress had overstepped their bounds and were incensed that monies had been appropriated for a single person. No matter that the cause was just. No matter that the pension was small. No matter that the government could easily assume the small debt. The voters told Crockett that public monies were not to be used for personal expenses under any circumstances. They had sent him to Congress to take care of their interests, not the interest of some woman. What he had done was outside the scope of the Constitution.

As I get older, I tend to think along the lines of the apocryphal voters in Crockett’s district. I have spent my life taking care of others. I have spent my life taking care of my family. I haven’t asked the Congress for a darned thing. Further, I think that Congress has overstepped its bounds repeatedly in the last century, and exponentially continued to take on responsibilities that are solely the responsibility of individual citizens.

How, you ask? Lets continue this later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Apologies to my half-dozen readers. I found recently that I need to re-examine some of my prejudices and re-think some of my assumptions. I go through this self-assessment process sometimes to make sure I am on the right path, morally and philisophically. As part of the process I do a lot of writing and placing arguments in rational order. The result is a first-person essay that should go well on these pages. Give me a couple of days to finish drafting and editing it, and we'll run it up the flagpole here and see who salutes it.

A teaser:
I’m not a trained sociologist and I fear that I have wandered off into the realm of sociology. Thomas Edison wasn’t a trained electrician, either, but he invented the light bulb. Let’s plow ahead and see what comes of it.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Goin to New Orleans

The Lady and I are headed down to the French Quarter this weekend, on a semi-annual pilgrimage. There are some things that just MUST be done, prices that have to be paid, duties fulfilled, and this is one of them. (Oh, yeah. Twist my arm.)

Her brother, Bill, lives in Ft. Lauderdale, and comes in twice a year to see their Momma. Bill is a large fan of oysters. Bill will eat an oyster any which way, but likes them just fine on the half-shell. The problem with Bill and oysters is that he claims Ft. Lauderdale don't know sh*t about oysters. He claims the oysters served in Lauderdale are rejects from the Louisiana restaurants.

I don't know anything about that, but last summer, Milady and I were in a seafood restaurant near Cape Hatteras, and the oysters there were definitely not the quality to which we have become accustomed.

Anyway, back to Bill and oysters. Bill claims that the best oysters anywhere, bar none, on this whole wide world, can be routinely found at Felix's restaurant on Bourbon Street, in New Orleans. I'm not prepared to debate that with him. So, twice a year, when Bill makes his pilgrimage to see his Momma, he stops off in New Orleans to eat oysters. The Lady and I have taken to meeting him down there and hanging out with him. We indulge ourselves just a bit. We leave the car at the hotel, and either walk or take a cab everywhere. We might be known to have an adult beverage or two. As a matter of fact, after a stop at Felix's the only other ceremonial stop we make is at Pat O'Briens.

We'll probably stop for a little while at Harrah's and play the nickel slots. Nickel slots are an old tradition in Louisiana, going all the way back to the truck stop at LeBeau, where I remember seeing nickel slots in the late '50's, early 60's. The gummint took them out in a fit of regulation sometime after that.

I'm looking forward to it. Just wandering the Vieux Carre, doing the tourist thing.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

ACLU, child sex, and liberals.

From my progressive buddies over at YRHT, we get this little blurb about a child-sex problem in Ponchatoula, LA. It seems that a number of folks in this church have been arrested on morals charges that stem from molesting children and animals.

YRHT says: "Just thank goodness they weren't gay or pro-choice."

Well, you can't have it both ways, guys. If you believe that the ACLU is doing the right thing by defending the gays and the abortionists, then it is only a small step to believe that a child of any age can consent to sex with an adult. I mean, that 15-year-old is able to consent, right? How about the 12-year-old? Or the ten-year-old? Well that is just exactly what the ACLU is arguing. Go see it at Clayton Cramers Blog.

You have to draw the line somewhere, and the progressives and the ACLU are unable to draw a line. They just don't have the ability.

Having sex with a child is reprehensible, and thank God, we made it criminal a long time ago. Whether or not you pretend to be Christian, molesting children is just wrong. Every time, without exception.

ACLU, rope, tree. Some assembly required.

UPDATE: A commenter over at YRHT defends the ACLU, saying that "Except that's not what the ACLU is arguing; they're arguing that a molester who targets a child of the opposite sex shouldn't get a lighter sentence than a molster who targets a child of the same sex. The original blogger whom you refer to misundertands the legal argument and makes a baseless, incorrect and inflammatory statement."

Well, okay. I believe in equal punishment, along with equal rights, but the Left is known to make incorrect, baseless and inflammatory statements too, so lets see what the ACLU says about it.
In representing NAMBLA today, our Massachusetts affiliate does not advocate sexual relationships between adults and children.

What the ACLU does advocate is robust freedom of speech for everyone. The lawsuit involved here, were it to succeed, would strike at the heart of freedom of speech. The case is based on a shocking murder. But the lawsuit says the crime is the responsibility not of those who committed the murder, but of someone who posted vile material on the Internet. The principle is as simple as it is central to true freedom of speech: those who do wrong are responsible for what they do; those who speak about it are not.

Here, the ACLU enters a slippery slope. Free speech is protected, but certain speech is so inflammatory as to be beyond the protections of the Constitution. You cannot shout FIRE in a theater.

In the US, lawyers are allowed to decline to represent clients. The ACLU, therefore, chooses to represent NAMBLA. NAMBLA advocates sex between children and adults. It is very easy to connect the dots. Some things are indefensible and NAMBLA is one of them. If the ACLU were an honorable organization, they would have declined the case on general grounds of practice. The organization is reprehensible.

The ACLU represents NAMBLA. The lawyers can argue about it all they want, but the basic premise applies.

ACLU, tree, rope. Some assembly required.

Friday, May 20, 2005


My Lady and I bought a house this winter. We had previously lived in a condo, while we were shacking up and for a time after we got married. There was no room at the condo for a barbeque pit and I missed not being able to cook in the back yard. When we bought the house, one of the first items I purchased for the house was a nice charcoal pit.

Tomorrow, we are cooking for her shift at work (She is an RN.) Because her shift is stabilized at 2:00 PM till 10:00 PM, and because the hospital is open all the damn time, we are doing a lunch, so those unfortunates who are working tomorrow can come by and eat before the shift starts.

The menu is down-home brisket, cooked slow all night. I'll trim it up at daylight, then crank up the fire a bit and put on some chickens, for those who might not want brisket. For those who want to tempt a coronary, about an hour before feeding time, I'm going to put some sausage on that pit.

The meat course is my baliwick. She is responsible for beans and tater salad. Just a few minutes before the meal is served, I'll heat a couple of loaves of garlic bread on the grill. Lots of iced tea as a beverage, and I don't know what she is planning as a dessert.

We'll be done by 2:00, when a nap will be in order.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Filibuster, and other silliness

From my progressive buddies over at YRHT, we get some groaning about the recent business in the Senate. In this matter, I agree with them, but not for the reasons they would like. The Repubs have said that giving each judicial nominee an up-or-down vote is the way to go. I don't have a problem with that. The business of the Senate is to vote on things. That is what we are paying them to do.

The guys over at YRHT say that doing away with the filibuster option is an evil Republican trick, that it goes in the face of 200 years of Senate rules, that it would irreparably harm the way the Senate does business, and might severely harm the Senate Committee system. I say SO WHAT?

I think that severely harming the Senate Committee system might not be a bad thing. We are paying those folks to be a deliberative body, not to clog up the works. Lets get simple on them. Once a day, get them all together and have someone throw out an idea. Let them argue about it, then vote on it. Limit debate to .... say.... fifteen minutes. They ought to be able to vote on 30 different issues per day. They can do their homework at night, like high school kids. Next day, same deal, get to the Senate chamber at 8:00, work through thirty bills by 5:00. Go do your homework. Half an hour for lunch, two fifteen minute breaks. Keep this up until everyone runs out of ideas, then dissolve the body till next year. We're done.

If they want to go on a trip, or research something, let them do it on their own time, on their own dime. They are only paid when they are in session, and then, dammit, they need to be in the Senate chamber, voting, because dammit, that is what we are paying them to do.

I think this would limit the amount of damage the Senate could do on any given day.

Similar rules for the House would speed things up. They wouldn't need offices, or staff, so the cost of government would go down. The lobbyists would go crazy, because access to Congress-critters would be severely limited.

This is a great idea.


If you don't read Clayton Cramer's Blog, you should. Go look at this post now. A quick excerpt:
"Karl Marx's famous observation that, "Anti-Semitism is socialism for stupid people" is still true. It is equally the case that socialism is anti-Semitism for intellectuals. The same motivation applies: the need to reduce every individual to a member of a class, a race, or a group, with all the real or imagined characteristics of the class, race, or group."

Explains a lot, don't it? Elites aren't happy unless everyone fits into one or more preconcieved groups. Each member of the group is supposed to act a certain way. Us folks down in the South are uneducated racist hicks. The folks from Texas are cowboys. Hillbillies in Arkansas, Crackers in Georgia.

Let me tell all the elitist bastards in the world that I'm not going to fit nicely into your little homogenized groups. I'm an educated white male from Louisiana. I live in a nice suburb. I've been broke and I've been flush, and I've started over from scratch three times. I don't judge a living soul by the color of his skin, but rate everyone by the content of his character. Frankly, I know some elitist types, and all I've seen they are good for is as a bad example for my kids.

Then I read Bill Whittle, who says:
"And why is it that during my four days in the crowded streets of Aspen, Colorado, during this Leftfest, at a time when the town was so blue as to be ultraviolet and visible only to bees, did I see one – one! – black person, and him driving a cab? How long are we going to let these celebrity millionaires, these limousine liberals, these champagne socialists, tell us they are the party of the people, of working people, of the middle class?"

If you dont read the rest of his post, you are missing one of the finest political analysis of the post 9/11 era. Get a cup of coffee, lock the door, turn off the phone and read Sanctuary 1 and Sanctuary 2. It's great stuff.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Acidman takes me on a trip down memory lane, with his recent discussions about alcohol. My Momma has been making wine for the past thirty years and has the recipes for every vat of wine she ever made. She knows her business and there is always something to sample over there. She recently made a deal with a florist to get all the wilted roses. She picks those rose petals off the stems and puts them in a big crock. When she gets it full enough, she adds water and sugar and makes wine out of rose-petals. You amateurs try THAT and see what you come up with. Momma's is lightly flavored, but packs a lethal punch. We call it anniversary wine. If you can't get lucky with a bottle of rose-petal wine, you did something wrong earlier in the day.

But, this story concerns alcohol of a more pure variety, moonshine. Way back in the early 1970's, my Daddy decided that making moonshine was a dying art and he wanted to teach his boys how to make moonshine. Dad's best friend, we'll call him Chester, had a body shop on Lee Street in Alexandria. Chester liked shine, so we decided to set up the still in an old paint booth at the body shop. The still was made out of stainless steel and the piece de resistance was a four foot filtering tower made of stainless, packed with charcoal.

We got some corn and made mash, then let it ferment for a couple of days. When the men decided that the fermentation was complete, we ran a fish-cooker under the boiler (also stainless, with pressure and temperature gages) and started cooking off the mash. Acidman is right that you want to keep the temperature under 200 degrees, because alcohol boils under 200 degrees and water boils over 200 degrees. What you want is the alcohol to boil off of the mash, then cool in your cooling coil, drip down through the charcoal filter, then get captured in a suitable container.

We did that, making about five gallons of crystal clear, absolutely pure alcohol. That afternoon, we mixed up some more mash (I recall using a huge washtub to make the mash), then left the shop. Four or five days later we were back there to run off the second batch. We had just started the fish cooker and went up to the front office for coffee when Mr. Chennault, the head revenuer of our area drove up in front of the shop, got out of his car and knocked on the door. Dad let him in.

Mr. Chennault poured some coffee. "Hey boys, what's going on?"

Chester replied, "Just waiting on a car to dry so we can get it out of the paint booth."

Chennault looked out into the shop. "Ya know? I was driving past here yesterday and caught a whiff of sour mash. Someone around here is making shine, but I can't figure out which shop is making it."

Dad stirred his coffee. "You don't say."

Chennault sipped his coffee. "Yeah, and if I catch them, I'm gonna have to do my job. It's been a long time since I busted up a still. If you boys hear anything, I'd appreciate if you give me a call."

"We sure will."

Mr. Chennault rinsed his cup in the sink and wandered out to his car. We broke the still down that night, after running off the second batch.

Upsetting the Apple Cart

Gary Jones, Superintendent of the Rapides Parish School Board told people today that the number of retiring principals required him to assign principals based on strengths and that some folks think that he is upsetting the apple cart. That may or may not be the case. His assignments can be found here

Mr. Jones has strong credentials in education. He also has strong credentials in leadership. He holds a General's star in the Louisiana National Guard. Jones is no stranger to change of command, a normally occurring part of military life, where outgoing commanders are relieved of command, often to seek further education, work on staffs at higher levels, gain experience in related fields, then return to command at higher echelons. That rotation is part of professional development. It tends to promote the development of officers that have the potential for high leveles of responsibility. It also tends to weed out those officers who, for one reason or another, can't hack it at the higher levels.

Mr. Jones is taking people out of their comfort zone, and forcing change on a school system that had gotten just a little bit provincial. That is good. Education in Louisiana is making progress and we need to promote the best and brightest of our administrators to continue this progress. No one can be allowed to rest on his or her laurels. We certainly don't need anyone building feifdoms at the public expense. The School District should, rightfully, focus all its energy on educating children.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Prediciting the weather is kinda like reading chicken entrails. If you've looked at a lot of chicken entrails, you can identify certain basic characteristics.

Once upon a time I was in the cattle business. Every day after work I would go to my backporch and take a few basic readings. Things like rainfall, wind direction and speed and barometric pressure. I did this every afternoon at about 5:00 p.m. After awhile I began to see a few basic patterns and got pretty good at predicting short-term. Of course, in the summertime, anyone can predict Louisiana weather: The weather forecast for Bayou Derbonne and the surrounding acreage is as follows: Sunny and partly cloudy with temperatures in the high 90's. Chance of rain twenty percent due to isolated, locally severe thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Lows tonite near 70. This forecast will keep a weatherman in a job in Louisiana 90% of the time.

I was stumbling around the internet today and found this article on Encarta. Turns out the most sophisticated weather model we have now can only forecast out to 72 hours. I guess that the local 15 day forecast is just so much bullshit, unless the weatherman is experienced enough to look at chicken entrails.


I've never read Fred until this morning, when Mostly Cajun posted a link.

Fred takes on the plight of the American poor, and decides it is about choices. He knocks it out of the park.

I agree totally and can't argue with a single point he made. Go read the whole thing and tell me where he is wrong.

Koran Flushing and Flag Burning.

I'm sure you've all read about the Koran flushing story that Newsweek ran, and how it resulted in riots, and people are dead, and now Newsweek admits that the story is false.

The Newsweek story is about symbols and the weight that they carry in individual lives. Americans can't comprehend a symbol being so sacred that we would kill or die for it. Yet, there are cultures in the world who will kill or die over a symbol. In the United States, flag burning has long been considered a legal form of protected speech.

I'm just an old veteran who has stood in harms way. I still get teary-eyed when the flag passes by. Still, I'm not going to kill someone over burning a flag. I'll revile them, choose not to associate with them. Won't do business with them, nor buy their products, whether those products be movies or songs. I don't try to wreak violence on flag burners.

My personal forefathers came from Ireland, Germany, Scotland, and France. They gave up their countries to found new families, new associations, new lives in a place where the tenor of a man was more important than the symbols he stood under. They gave up one flag and took up another for a better life. The westward migration of the American experience contains thousands of stories just like mine.

For most Americans, symbols are just that. Symbolic of something else. The Bible to me is sacred for the thoughts it contains and the nature of the divinity it reveals. I believe that the Holy Bible is the revealed word of God. I keep a couple of Bibles around the house, but I know that the presses are cranking out new Bibles even as I type this. I've probably thrown out Bibles in the past, and when the useful life of my current bible has passed, I'll pitch it too.

For me, and I suspect for most Americans, the difference is that I am more a believer in ideas and people than in symbols. Sure, flag burning pisses me off, but I have stood in defense of America and I would stand again in her defense. I would gladly give my life for the people I love and the places I cherish. My wife says that she lives under "my nuclear umbrella", and knows that as long as I draw breath, no one will offer violence to her or any member of my family. My family and my country are not symbols, they are real... they are tangible.. and I would die in their defense.

Newweek should have known better. Just because we Americans hold our symbols so lightly doesn't mean that every one feels the same way.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Pawn Shops

I like a good pawn shop. I'll wander through a pawn shop any chance I get. In this day and age of a worldwide economy and a sameness of goods everywhere, pawn shops offer the unique, the one-of-a-kind, the antique. Sure, depending on the type of shop you have in your neighborhood, there might be a lot of flea-market type goods there, but a really good pawn shop has two critical departments: a jewelry counter and a used gun rack. I've found great bargains on both aisles. Last year I picked up a nearly pristine Winchester .30-30 that was made in 1976. The exterior of the rifle was a little ragged, but the interior was cherry. I bet that two boxes of ammo hadn't been fired through that rifle since in was built. And the price was right. Really right.

I like opals. My lady likes opals. Every time I go into a pawnshop I look at the jewelry counter for opals and over the years I have picked up a few really nice estate pieces. My favorite pawn shop allows customers to put merchandise on layaway, and right now I have a ring on layaway for my anniversary next month. The anniversary piece is a cluster of pale blue topaz, probably 10 stones, with diamond chips interspersed in the mix. When I saw it, I thought it was aquamarine, but the price of the ring told me the stones were topaz. No matter, it is a good looking piece and if I know my lady, she'll enjoy wearing it. This is the shop I trade with regularly, and I normally get a 15% discount just because I am a dependable customer.

A reputable pawn shop will treat you right.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sunday morning

Sunday morning at Pawpaw's house, and we have one of the young'uns over. Mawmaw made biscuits and white gravy, along with some pan sausage. The living room is a wreck; the detrius of a two-year-old imagination strewn across the floor. He'll leave about 1:00 pm and we can straighted up. Pawpaw's house is extremely happy this morning.

The ride yesterday was magnificent. The weather cooperated with temps in the high eighties and gentle breezes. The local Blue Knights chapter rode to the little town of Olla, where we participated in a fund-raiser event for disaster relief in that little town. I'm not sure how much money we raised, as the final tally won't be in for a couple of days yet, but we rode 100 bikes to the town, held an auction and a raffle, ate good barbeque and enjoyed the company of like-minded individuals.

No pictures of the ride, unfortunately. Minor techical problems with the camera.

The young'un wants to go outside. Pawpaw will find a lawn chair.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Light blogging

Sorry to all you half-dozen readers, but life intruded yesterday and will again today. Yesterday I was busier than a cat in a sandbox (covering up sh*t). I did a lot of writing, but none of it was the blogger variety.

Today is rest and relaxation day. The Lady and I are off for a scooter-trash ride, with a bunch of old retired cops for a truly worthy cause. I'll blog on that later and maybe post a couple of photos.

See y'all later.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Commencement Day

All over the United States, teenagers are preparing for graduation from High School. To them I say Congratulations. High School is an important step along the way of life, and by completing it, and getting your diploma, you have met the minimum standards to participate in adult life.

Minimum Standards. That is all a High School Diploma represents. With one, you can take part in the great American experiment. You can go on to college, you can go on to vocational training, you can go into the military, or the seminary, or just get a job and start earning your way in life. The High School Diploma is the minimum standard.

If you don't have a High School Diploma, you are more likely to experience poverty, unemployment, incarceration, hopelessness. With a High School Diploma, you can still experience these things, but are less likely to. Should you gain more recognized education, your chance of success continues. There are very few PhD's in poverty or in prison.

So, to the graduates of 2005, I say congratulations.

To those dropouts who might be reading this, I say get your ass back in school.

Death Row

Where does Reuters get their writers? This morning we get this story, which is a heck of a piece of hard hitting journalistic breaking news.

So, without further ado, lets look at it.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Death row prisoners in the United States are saying they can't take it anymore and asking to die

No kidding. We thought that was the original idea, when a jury of their peers sentenced them to death.
Behind that trend is the reality of their living conditions -- typically more than a decade of mind-numbing isolation under the specter of death with years of legal wrangling ending in dashed hopes and execution .
Which is years longer than many of them gave their victims. Let the gentle reader be reminded that generally you won't be sentenced to death for killing one person. Most of the time, it takes multiple victims, or multiple felonies (like murder AND rape) to get to get saddled with the death penalty.
If serial killer Michael Ross is executed this week in Connecticut as planned, he will join more than a hundred "volunteers" who have waived appeals and hastened their deaths since capital punishment was reinstated a generation ago.

Tough-on-crime prison conditions and an ever-longer appeals process make dropping the legal fight attractive, experts say.

"The day-to-day experience becomes pretty unbearable," said Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist who told a hearing in April that Ross' living conditions influenced his choice to die

While I have never worked on Death Row, I have worked around Death Row. It is never pleasant there. The simple pall of knowing that death is a constant companion is tough on the employees too. It takes a special person to work on Death Row. However, the people who live on Death Row often earn the right to live in a single cell and look at the world through striped sunlight.
Like inmates on death row across America, Ross is locked up most of the day in a small cell with no access to prison sports or education programs, and no interaction with other inmates.

Yet another reason to stay off death row, not to mention an altogether sterling reason to stay out of prison in the first place.
Ross, who admitted killing eight women and raping most of them, was sentenced to death in 1987. He first asked to waive his appeals over a decade ago.

"There is so little to focus on. There is so little over which individuals have control. There's so little to distract them from the negative thoughts," said Grassian.

After killing eight women and raping most of them, Ross is having negative thoughts? Nooo. You sure he didn't bring a little negativity in there with him? Most people consider rape and murder pretty negative pasttimes. You don't often see them as recommended leisure-time activities.

I could go on, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Civil Liberties

From the Daily Wipe, we get this little vignette. It seems that City Coucilman Myron Lawson wants to ban smoking in privately owned vehicles.

Coucilman Lawson isn't interested that private vehicles are just that.... private, and that this is just an extension of the power of the government over people. The most telling quote comes when he admits that he is against civil liberties.
"I'm about to have all the civil liberties people on me," Lawson said. "I don't care."

Never mind that Lawson took an oath when he was sworn in as City Councilman to uphold the constitution. He's not interested in that. I wounder if his constituents know they are represented by a man who admits openly that he is against civil liberties?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Reading about paranoia over at YRHT, I am recollected of a story from my younger days.

1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations 2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

Basically, when you are paranoid, you have an irrational fear.

Way back in my investigator days I was hot on the trail of a burglar and hot check artist. This guy had burgled about a dozen houses and had hot checks scattered all over the business district of the small town I served. Lets call him Johnny (all names are changed to protect the ignorant). I finally got enough evidence together that a District Judge signed an arrest warrant and I spent the morning filing it with the Clerk of Court, and filing copies with my sister agencies and with the Louisiana State Police. I knew that the guy had recently skipped town, but felt like he would show back up in a couple of weeks. He was on probation and his PO had a copy of the warrant, and I knew it was a matter of time before we picked him up. I got back to my office after lunch, and the receptionist told me I had a call on line 1.

I picked up the phone, "Detectives"

"Yes sir", a female voice on the phone. "I am a nurse at ******* Hospital. We treat mental disorders and I wanted you to know that we recently admitted Johnny and we are treating him for paranoia. He thinks that you are out to get him."

I leaned back in my chair. "You need to quit treating him for that."

"Excuse me?" I could hear confusion in her voice.

"Dear Heart," I started to warm to the conversation. "As I understand paranoia, it is an unreasonable fear that someone is out to get you, and Johnny has every reason to fear that. The next time any police officer sees him, or the next time Johnny reports to his Probation Officer, we are going to put him in jail. A Judge signed a warrant for him this morning."

"Oh, my" she said. "Let me check with the Doctor."

I got another phone call about fifteen minutes later. Johnny was being discharged from the hospital at 5:00 that afternoon, and if I was in the parking lot, I could serve the warrant there.

We picked Johnny up without incident. If someone is actually out to get you, you ain't paranoid.

120 shots

From the Acidman we get a link to this story where a bunch of deputies fired at a suspects car. They fired 120 shots. They hit him four times. In the toe, finger and shoulder . No doubt the deputies are gonna get the living hell sued out of them, but lets look at the situation.

"When deputies arrived, they tried to talk to Hayes. But he sped off,
leading deputies on a chase that circled the block several times at speeds up to 35 mph."
Running from the cops is bad juju. It almost guarantees a trip to the slammer.

"He'd stop and when it looked like the police were going to get out, he'd take off. He was playing a little cat-and-mouse game with them," added Terry Moore, 48, Smith's sister.

Oh, yeah, lets play games when the police come to a disturbance call. Sounds like Terry Moore was enjoying the show, too.

"Deputies used their patrol cars to block Hayes not far from where the chase began."

Okay, the police have him blocked in. Now what? He tries to escape. Lets remember, there are policemen around his car, and he tries to escape. If any one of them believes their life is in danger, he has a right to use deadly force.

At that point, Hayes stopped and backed into the street, toward three officers, authorities said. The officers begin firing, hitting the vehicle repeatedly. In the videotape, a deputy can be heard shouting: "Watch your crossfire! Watch your crossfire!"

Aaah, I was right. He was using his vehicle to try to escape, putting the lives of three officers at risk. No wonder they tried to shoot him. If someone tries to run you over with a car, and you have a gun on your belt, what would you do?

Yeah, I agree that 120 rounds was a bit excessive. One should have done it. Two shots, max. Okay, six if you get really excited.

Remember this. The cops don't dream up situations like this. They just show up when someone calls them, then they have to make the best of a fucked-up situation. Now those good police officers are going to get sued, will have lots of sleepless nights, and will have their careers affected because Hayes wanted to play grab-ass with the police.

I can hear people now screaming for better police training. What kind of training will will help the police with this type situation? I got a better idea; how about a little responsibility training for Hayes? Playing grab-ass with the police is never a good idea. Trying to run over a police officer is a terrible idea.

But, yeah, lets get those officers out to the range. I'd be embarrassed.

The Writing Process

From the Rottweiler comes a piece fisking the New York Times, and their attempts to restore themselves as a trustworthy newspaper in the American mind. This quote screams out for comment.

"The paper was largely silent during those attacks, and Mr. Keller asked the committee to consider whether it was "any longer possible to stand silent and stoic under fire."

I learned writing under the instruction of a wonderful short story writer, Kate Myers Hanson, who currently teaches at Northern Michigan Univ. I was a member of Katie's writing group for about eight years, and her lessons will stay with me always. There is a process to writing, and once you learn the process it becomes second nature. Editing is crucial to the process and cannot be overlooked.

Good writing takes time. The writer must take the time to examine the manuscript from a couple of different perspectives, one of which is to stand in front of a mirror and read the piece aloud. If anything sounds strange coming out of your mouth, it will sound strange entering the mind of the reader. The writer should read the piece aloud to another person and allow time for criticism. If you can't take criticism, you have no business writing.

While the piece is being critiqued, you cannot defend it. Take quiet notes and make corrections later. No one cares what you intended to say, or what you meant to show in the piece. The work must stand alone, and if you didn't show a certain thing, or convey a certain something, then you failed as a writer. Writers are not allowed to respond to criticism, except to rework the piece.

This writers group was set up for writers of short stories and other printed genre. At the time, no one had heard of blogs, although most of us had heard of newspapers. I am a student of Katie Hanson, so when someone critiques my work, I take notes. I will most likely not respond, except perhaps in an email.

Blogging is writing. It is a lot quicker and a lot dirtier than publishing short stories, but it is writing nonetheless. What I like about blogging is the timeliness of it, the quick criticism, and the ability to instantly update a piece when warranted. I don't pretend to be a journalist, but I am a writer.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Big Fifty

From Say Uncle, we get a link to this story out of the St. Petersburg Times.

Go read the article. I'll wait. - - - - Good, now pay attention.

We all know of Mark Serbu and Ronnie Barrett, guys who build rifles for the .50 BMG cartridge. That cartridge, chambered in the Browning Machine Gun M-2, was my favorite cartridge during my stint in the army and is still serving soldiers well. Mark and Ronnie build target rifles for that cartridge, and they have come under some criticism lately. Anti-gunners say that no one needs a rifle that will shoot a mile accurately. California recently banned those rifles, based on the cartridge alone.

This affect all of us who like shooting long range cartridges. The common-as-dirt .308 will fire a bullet a mile, accurately to about 800 yards. Marine recruits used to regularly qualify at that range. Long range gunners routinely fire Reminton 700s in 7mm Magnum accurately out to that range. The magical one-mile isn't limited to garden variety cneterfire rounds, either. Read the end flap on a box of .22 ammo and you will see that it will carry for a mile under certain conditions.

The anti-gunners say that I am overstating the case, that they want the powerful .50 limited to military and goverment use. The .50 BMG isn't the first cartridge to fire a half-inch bullet. Way back in the late 1800's a guy named Billy Dixon used an 1874 Sharps in .50-90 to shoot an man off a horse at a range of just under a mile. Dixon did it with his Sharps buffalo rifle and black powder.

As I examine my battery I find three rifles that will shoot a bullet a mile and will be accurate enough to shoot a man at 800 yards. All are replicas of rifles built before WWI.

The anti-gunners say that the .50 BMG cartridge will penetrate targets, but that is what rifles are for. Depending on a variety of considerations, all rifles penetrate targets from paper to game animals. We have to go back to 1879 to find the first tests by the US Army on accuracy and penetration at long range. The Sandy Hook Tests showed the relative effectiveness of the current cartridge of the time, the .45-70. Using inefficient black powder and heavy lead bullets, the Army showed that the .45-70 would fire accurately at 2 miles, and would still penetrate through three wooden planks and eight inches of sand.

The fact that the .50 BMG has never been used in a crime has no effect on the anti-gunners. The fact that the .50 BMG is simply an update of cartridges that were first offered in the late 1800's has no effect on the anti-gunners. The fact that the rifles are long, unweildy and impossible to conceal has no effect on the anti-gunners.

Folks, this legislation is a fore-runner to more onerous legislation. They are getting us familiar with the concept of banning individual rifles. Once we are comfortable with that concept , the list will grow.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Gun Pr0n

This will probably be my next acquisition.

The Handi-Rifle, from H&R 1871 in the magnificent 7mm-08 caliber.

I have always been enamored of single shot rifles and this one is a fine example of an inexpensive rifle that turns in magnificent performance. You can purchase one of these for about $200.00 US dollars and spend a little time on the work bench making it capable of MOA accuracy.

This version comes without sights, but with an installed scope block. A scope is almost always required to take advantage of the accuracy of the 7mm-08 cartridge. I like that caliber for a number of reasons. It was developed initially by guys who shot the silhouette game. The 7mm bullet normally turns in better ballistic numbers than the .308 parent cartridge. The silhouette boys found out you could launch the marginally smaller bullet at the same velocities as the .308 with diminished recoil AND, the cartridge gave remarkable accuracy. Yet, bullets in the 150 to 175 grain class give it enough power for whitetailed deer and elk at reasonable ranges. An added bonus is that you can make brass from .308 or .243 cases. If you can't find proper 7mm-08 brass to reload, a trip to any range should reveal plenty of cases to form and load.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Oyster asks, over at YRHT why I support the party of big government.

Right now, gummint is pretty much out of control, and frankly that pisses me off. Our President should get a handle on that immediately, and some of the bonehead stuff on his domestic agenda has been making me crazy. Yeah, I know we are at war, and appropriations has to pay for our boys overseas, but dammit, we don't need things like No Child Left Behind, which is a topic for another post.

To answer the original question.

When I was a young lad, just turned eighteen, my Father took me down to the registar of voters to register to vote. The Democratic Party ran Louisiana in those days and (1971) and I knew that. However, when I actually filled out the form to register, the preprinted form had the block Democrat already checked. That block was checked in the same ink used to print the form. In short, the block was checked at the printers office. There were no other choices.

Shortly thereafter, I was in the service when Jimmy Carter destroyed the US military. I was a company grade officer and I watched as the morale and equipment of the strongest army in the world deteriorated to the point where we couldn't field a complete company of tanks. I also watched, from a military perspective, as he allowed US civilians to be held hostage by a tinpot fanatic.

Sometime thereafter, I switched my party affilation to Republican.

Then came the Reagan years, when I really didn't pay close attention to politics because I was raising a family and starting a career, but what I little I payed attention to, I liked. Strong military, plain speech, easy humor. Reagan made me feel good about myself and made me feel good about being an American. He called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire, and the Berlin wall crumbled through the force of his words.

I was a reservist when George Bush became President and stood with him during the First Gulf War. Years of planning and training made our reserve mobilization almost seamless. The stuff we had been doing at the reserve meetings worked! We defeated the third largest army in the world in just under four days of ground campaigning. We were invincible.

Then came Clinton and the party of inclusion. I watched as the military struggled to maintain the gains that we earned under Reagan and Bush. I listened to the President and his minions talk about their loathing for the military. Bill Clinton came to represent for me the worst of the Democratic Party. He embraced anyone who could futher his ambitions and his agenda. The Democratic Party lost focus, became an amalgamation of splinter groups, each with its own agenda; a tower of babel, if you will, all hawking their individual creeds. The Democratic Party ceased to exist for me as a viable alternative to the Republican Party.

I watched the 2000 campaign with renewed interest. The Democrats again seemed to continue the downward spiral. Al Gore said some things that I felt at the time were unbelievably stupid. He invented the internet, you know. I remembered the message traffic during Desert Storm, and was amazed that one computer at one post could talk to another computer at another army post and that we could communicate real-time, with things like lists of units and photographs of machinery and that we could speed up the planning process. This in 1990. I knew that Gore in 2000 was full of shit.

Then came GWB and the events of 9/11. Suddenly, we were at war. I had retired from the military in 1999 and watched as the President rallied a wounded nation. I was excited and relieved when he made plans to hit the bastards that hit us. From my experience with Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf War, I was personally convinced that Saddam was a madman and was supporting terrorist activity. I was also convinced that he had biologicals and chemical weapons and I thought that Bush1 had made a mistake when we didn't follow through and go to Baghdad. We had his army on the ropes and nothing stood between us and the palaces. We could have taken him in three or four more days. I believe that deposing Saddam Hussein was the right move, just a bit overdue.

Then, came John Kerry and the 2004 election cycle. What a disgusting candidate. Vietnam vet that abandoned his unit after three engagements. Kerry reprented for me all that was wrong with Viet Nam and the way we ran that war. During Kerry's early years after Viet Nam, he allied with Jane Fonda, who in my mind is a traitor. Kerry communicated with the North Vietnamese government at least once during a time when US servicemen were in the field. He still hasn't released his military records, after pledging to do so. Kerry has something to hide, and until we know what it is, we can't trust him.

Yeah, some of the bonehead things GWB is doing on the domestic agenda are disturbing. But, many of the things he is doing on the international front excite me. There are democracies in the Middle East where there have never been before. We are killing terrorists every day, which pleases me. Syria is out of Lebanon. The Iraqi people have a real shot at governing themselves and the Afghans are paving the way for Arab democracy.

Yeah, Bush pisses me off, but that is okay too. He and I are a lot alike. I generally piss someone off daily. I know what he stands for.

I don't know what the Democrats stand for. Mainly, they've been running against the Republicans. If a Democrat wants my support, he (or she) will quit running against Bush and begin laying out plans for securing our borders, downsizing government, and continuing the War on Terror. Just as important, that candidate will have to have solid planks on reducing the budget through downsizing government, on abortion, on gay marriage, and affirmative action.

Enough for now. Did I answer the question?


You can hear a bullet when it goes by your head. A modern jacketed bullet fired at standard velocity creates a sonic boom when it goes by. You hear the little "crack" before you hear the sound of the gun. The first time you hear that sound, it is unnerving, but eventually you get used to it.

Way back in the dim dark ages of my early career, I was on a SWAT Team. We routinely trained to do dangerous things. Our police marksman, we'll call him Steve, was one of the better trained riflemen I have ever know. Standard procedure for us to enter a hostile environment, like a building, was to have Steve provide overwatch for us as we stacked against the door. His rifle was loaded and he was watching out for bad guys. Sometimes we trained for Steve to begin the assault. Steve would fire a round through the door we were standing near. We'd hear the crack of the bullet, then a half-second later the boom of the rifle, and we would enter the building. We trusted Steve literally with our lives and allowed him to fire near us, because we knew that Steve wouldn't hurt us. He was in absolute control of that rifle and he wouldn't hurt us. Trust.

My other team members felt the same way. We trusted each other implicitly. Sure, there were rules of engagement and procedures for handling weapons, but the simple fact was that I had my left hand on the shoulder of the guy in front of me and I was holding a loaded firearm in my right hand. There was a guy behind me with one hand on my shoulder and a loaded firearm in his other hand. When we'd flood the room, each person would break in a different direction and deal with any threats we found.
Many times I would find myself on the edge of an arc of fire, but knew that I was safe, because the guy holding the weapon wouldn't hurt me. Trust.

I taught my sons to shoot, and each the three is better than average with their particular weapons. When we are together on our personal range we observe all the proprieties of safe gun handling. Still, I would enter the arc of fire of any of my sons because I know that they would not shoot me. Not on purpose, not on accident. Never. It wouldn't happen. Trust.

I quit the SWAT team in 1991. I found myself getting a little older, a little slower, my eyesight was a little worse. I knew that my loss of reflex was a simple sign of aging and that I couldn't continue to train with the team because I was slowing down and my aging process might jeapordize the individual members. I was becoming a liability and I owed them more than that. Trust.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


If you were a cop in the last few years, you knew the unidentified child they called Precious Doe. One of the great Who-Done-It's in modern times, they finally solved it.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin


I've been reloading for a long time, and this post over at Mostly Cajun got me thinking about a caliber I haven't yet reloaded for. The .45 ACP. So, I hied myself over to Midway USA yesterday and bought some dies and flip-top ammo boxes. They should be in tomorrow. Next I picked up my manuals and logged on the internet. There is a lot of good information in those manuals and what I was looking for was a good target load for that cartridge. I'm going to cast my own bullets and reload inexpensive ammunition for the pistol, so hopefully I'll get out and shoot more.

It seems from a general perusal of the available literature, that the pre-eminent target load for the .45 ACP is 4.0 grains of Bullseye under a cast 230 grain bullet. We'll see how it does in my pistol.

I've helped a few people get started in the reloading game, and the advise I give to all of them is go out and buy a couple of good reloading manuals. Lee prints one, as does Lyman and Speer. Get the manuals first and read them from cover to cover. The manual gives more than just load data, although there is plenty of that too. Once you have read the manuals, buy your equipment. You don't need everything at once, and you can get started reloading for a single caliber for about $100.00. A friend wrote and article about it here

Try reloading for a little while and see if it is something that suits you. Some people take up reloading as a hobby in itself. If it suits you, you'll certainly spend more money on it. I've been reloading for twenty years, and I'm still buying tools to make it easier and more enjoyable.

It's a hoot shooting your own ammo.

Free-fire zone

I went over to YHRT, a local liberal blog, and found this. I don't have the tape, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the transcription, but lets assume for a moment it is accurate. What we have is radio traffic between Iraelis about the engagement and death of a young Arab female. As regrettable as that might be, we have to remember that the Arabs are using children as suicide bombers, so asking Irael not to shoot children that act suspiciously in a free-fire zone is being naive.

The blogger asks:
It would be interesting to know whether the guns and bullets used to kill this thirteen year-old girl were made in America. Of course, in the larger sense it doesn't matter, since no matter where the guns and bullets were made we paid for it.

Another interesting question is why this kind of thing makes the Arab world hate us. I guess it's just part of their primitive, benighted culture.

Well, I can answer that with some confidence. The last time I looked, Israel had its own weapons manufactory, and made some really nice stuff. They also make ammo, sometimes marked as IMI, sometimes with other brand names. It is really good stuff and I can't imagine them having to import rifle ammunition.

And why would the Arab street hate America for this? This was an Arab/Irraeli engagement. Americans weren't anywhere around.

Wanna hate America? We've got lots of ways for you to hate us. Just saddle up your Jihadi ass, get to Iraq or Afganistan, find an American (they're everywhere) and come out to do battle. We'll give your Momma another reason to wail and your Daddy will be proud of his martyr.

But basically, if you want to hate someone, hate the people who send children into free-fire zones. Those people are beneath contempt.

I'll be damned

Hmmm. I thought this stuff was common knowledge.

English Genius
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Hat tip to SondraK

Wimmen, and how to use them

Christina asks: "Yes, but if the woman says never bed a man with less to lose, then what?"

Aaah, darlin. That is the question writ large on the history of man.

The answer is fairly simple. Therein lies the basis for monogamy, for civilization, for marriage, and surprisingly, for dating.

There is little doubt that adultery is the most corrosive additive that can attack a relationship, because the adulterer has so much to lose.

There was a long time when I was married, and loved the lady to whom I was married. Then I found out she wasn't being faithful. Then we separated, then divorced. Suddenly, I had nothing to lose, and became, frankly, a bit of a whore. Only then did I find out that I had lost my self-respect.

Then, I met a woman. A woman without a relationship. We became friends and shared our lives, and ourselves. After a suitable time, our respective beds. That lady is sleeping in our bed as I blog this. We've been together since we met, have married, bought a house, blended our grandchildren, and begun a life based on shared interests, common love, and a deep respect for one another.

The problem comes when one partner is dishonest. Let's take Rob's BC, for example. She had nothing invested in the relationship, so she had nothing to lose. Rob got screwed over; financially and emotionally. The screwing continues because he still has something to lose. We can't guard against dishonest partners except to be very careful about investment in a budding relationship.

So, the secret is to date one woman at a time. There is nothing wrong with dating someone honestly, finding out that you aren't compatible and leaving. That is called courtship and every animal practices it. As you enter into a relationship, you invest time, energy, and emotional capital into it. The less of each, the less you have to lose.

I won't be found with any other woman because I have too much to lose. I would lose my lady, my home, and most importantly, my Mortal Soul.

Time for me to get dressed and go to work. More later.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Code - Redux

The inimitable Rob snds me over to Tinman regarding a post about The Code among men.

I agree that you should never get a guy in trouble with his lady. That is simply unconscionable. You don't dig around in his tools, and you don't drink his beer until offered one. Standard rules that we all obey.

This little blurb makes me call Bullshit
No matter what, you keep your grubby mitts off a woman that he has touched. That offense is punishable by him slowly crushing your man-sack in a vice-grip.

The actual application is that you shouldn't get caught with your grubby mitts on someone else's woman. But, lets say you are a college sophomore and and an attractive coed tells you that her boyfriend is going to be out of town for a couple of days and she is really lonely at the apartment, and would you come over tonite after dark and park around the block so no one sees your car.

Sure! I'd be happy to. Nothing at all wrong with consoling a lonely lady, as long as she keeps her mouth shut. I don't know the boyfriend, and if she wants to play around, it isn't any of my business.

The secret is never to bed a lady who has less to lose than you do. If she can lose a relationship, a marriage, a whatever, and she wants to keep that relationship, then the guy is safe. The reason for her wanting to keep a secret may be as simple as a really nice apartment that she wants to live in till the end of the semester. If boyfriend finds out, she is evicted. If boyfriend doesn't find out, she can stay. She has something to lose.

Never bed a woman who has less to lose than you do.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


From The Daily Wipe, we get this article on one School Board member wanting to ban smoking on all campuses in the parish.

I've smoked for 35 years, and I will be the first to tell you that smoking cigarettes is dumb, dumb, dumb. Only an idiot would put a cigarette in his mouth. Yet, I do it twenty times a day. I plan to quit soon, and yes, I've set a date and have a plan, but that isn't the focus of this post.

The focus of this post is power in Louisiana politics. The School Board is going to address this issue soon, and member Dr. John Sams doesn't have the political wherewithal to get the ban passed, so he is doing what all minority politicians do: get the media to do the heavy lifting. As a physician, if Dr. Sams can't convince people to give up smoking for all the right reasons, he will try to get it banned for all the wrong reasons. That is what politicians do.

It reads like a liberal screed from the Left Coast. "It's for the children!" "Secondhand Smoke is dangerous!" Tell me, Dr. Sams, how a child will get exposed to secondhand smoke from a teacher being out of sight of a child, outdoors, and lighting a cigarette. Dr. Sams says:

"Our whole society is sliding down into permissiveness," Sams said.
"I think we need to have certain things that are right and wrong. I think trying to be an example for our kids while smoking on campus is just plain wrong."

Yeah, it's for the children. I've known some good teachers and some bad teachers in my life, and I'm not sure I want many of them to be examples to my children. I've known teachers to live together out of wedlock, I've known teachers to drink and drive, I've known teachers who mess around with students. Teachers, like all professionals, exhibit all the foibles of the human race. While we're setting examples, what kind of example is Dr. Sams setting with his ample girth? Is he setting the example that overeating is okay? That not exercising is okay?

Teachers are adults, and students are children, and everyone knows that the rules are different for children and adults. Adults can vote, adults can drive, adults can enter into contracts and marry and do all manner of things that children aren't allowed to do.

This is about power, plain and simple. This is about banning something, taking rights from someone, making it harder for a group of adults to do a job. That's the way the U.S. works these days. Dr. Sams should mind his own business.

Monday, May 02, 2005


This pisses me off. Captain's Quarters details a PDF file released by the Italian media that details the soldiers and units involved in the Giuliana Sgrena incident, to include a detailed description of the checkpoints to include assets and grid coordinates. While the Italian press is despicable for publishing such an article, the officers who released it are criminally culpable for releasing operational security information.

Let me explain it to you. The art of military involvement can be addressed at many levels, from long-range strategic planning to basic small unit tactical employment. Information at all levels is held tightly on a need-to-know basis. As a small unit commander (and I have some expertise in that realm) I have to know the precise locations of all my assets. I will share that information with the artillery unit that is firing support for my company, because the fire direction center at battery level needs to know my exact locations to avoid fratracide. As a Company Commander, I will give my Batallion Commander the general grid coordinates of my assets because he needs to know where my assets are located in the big picture of his fire-control plan. He will not get the exact grid, but will know (via grease pencil mark on a map) where my assets are located. The brigade commander will know generally where I am located, but his map will probably only show a small mark revealing the general location of my company, not the precise location of my checkpoints. He doesn't need to know this information precisely. If every company sent that information to the Brigade planners, their maps would become unbelievably complicated and information overload would soon follow.

In a situation such as a permanent checkpoint at an airfield, companies rotate in and out on a routine basis, providing security for the location as part of a larger effort. Those grids need to be known to the company commander and the artillery battery providing fire support for those checkpoints, but don't need to be shared past that level. If the precise grids for a platoon listening post become general knowledge, the enemy can obtain that information and use it to attack our forces with either direct or indirect fires. The Batallion Commander doesn't need to know where my platoon leaders place their listening posts. The Brigade Commander doesn't need to know where my platoon leaders place their listening posts. That is my job as a Company Commander.

The Italian media damn sure doesn't need to know the grid coordinates of my listening posts. The fact that this information has been released is criminal. It puts American soldiers at risk.

However, a smart Company Commander would use this knowledge to give him an edge. If I suspect the enemy has knowledge of my grids, I am going to move those assets, rendering that knowledge obsolete. I am also going to cover those locations with direct fire, so that if the enemy attacks where I am not, I can use the fog of the battlefield to kill him after he attacks those obsolete positions. I'm sure our soldiers are doing that right now.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Runaway Bride

The Single Southern Guy is all over this one, but I have a few thoughts that might make sense.

It seems this gal out of Duluth agreed to marry this fellow, then right at the last minute, disappears from the area. The family and fiance launch a nationwide search, and she turns up in New Mexico, unharmed, broke, and crying into the telephone. The wedding has been, understandably, postponed.

She got cold feet. Cold feet about a wedding with 14 bridesmaids and 600 guests. I guess so. I wouldn't participate in anything like that either. Rather than being an adult, rather than acting like an adult, she catches the first thing smoking. She lets dad and mom and fiance believe that she has been abducted.

The family says she has issues. I guess so. Emotional issues of the highest order. Dependency issues. Family issues. If I were the prospective husband, I would run, not walk from this disaster of a woman. If she wanted a small wedding, she should have talked it over with her fiance and planned a small wedding. She is an adult, presumably, and could make a decision.

She lied to everyone. She left town with less cash than I take across town. When she ran out of money, she called home. I'd have called in the dogs and left her ass in Albuquerque.

Yeah, I've gotten help from my parents, but I knew I had to tell the unvarnished truth if I wanted to get out of a bind. Lying never helps. If I lied to my old man, he would have left my ass in Albuquerque.

This broad needs to live a real life a while, alone, learning about living in the real world before she starts a life with someone else.

Watch maker

I am just now returned from burying a watchmaker, and the world is a little poorer for the experience. He was my uncle, and he understood the delicate interaction of spring tension and momentum that recorded the time on a wrist. His was a craft of tiny gears and wondrous mechanical interaction. There are very few of his kind left and their knowledge will soon pass into the realm of the archaic. We buy watches now that are pretty much disposable, the mega-stores selling them for tiny sums that make them economically inconvenient to repair. Nowadays when a watch breaks, we take it off and throw it away, the disposable refuse of our times.

As far as I know he was the last watchmaker in this area. His expertise was the old Bulova, the Elgin, the Omega. The fat watches that men wore on their wrists or carried in a pocket. There was a time when the central Louisiana area supported a dozen watchmakers, but the continuing march of technology put them in the class of the wagon repairman and the cobbler. They are a vanishing breed, those old men, and I miss the musty shops and the quiet ticking that permeated them. His kind passed us into a disposable society and he didn't grieve over his loss. He embraced the technological advances that his generation invented. In his last years, he learned to use a computer and chided me gently for not sharing more email with pictures of my grandchildren.

I'm gonna miss him.