Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I see where LTC(R) Bruce Crandall was awarded the Metal of Honor at a White House ceremony recently. Then MAJ Crandall was the guy depicted in the 2002 movie "We Were Soldiers".

For many Americans, the Huey helicopter hovering above a landing zone came to be an icon of the Vietnam unpleasantness. Ferrying supplies into a battle or braving hostile fire to bring out the wounded, the sight of a Huey was a great comfort to the soldiers on the ground and came to symbolize the conflict that flickered across the television of us at home.

The citation reads, in part:
While medical evacuation was not his mission, he immediately sought volunteers and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, led the two aircraft to Landing Zone X-Ray. Despite the fact that the landing zone was still under relentless enemy fire, Major Crandall landed and proceeded to supervise the loading of seriously wounded soldiers aboard his aircraft. Major Crandall's voluntary decision to land under the most extreme fire instilled in the other pilots the will and spirit to continue to land their own aircraft, and in the ground forces the realization that they would be resupplied and that friendly wounded would be promptly evacuated. This greatly enhanced morale and the will to fight at a critical time. After his first medical evacuation, Major Crandall continued to fly into and out of the landing zone throughout the day and into the evening. That day he completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire, retiring from the battlefield only after all possible service had been rendered to the Infantry battalion. His actions provided critical resupply of ammunition and evacuation of the wounded.

I am in awe of such men. This award is long overdue.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Homemade Dipper

I made a powder dipper tonight. Crude by most standards, it'll serve me well.

It's cut from a piece of .45-70 brass and has a coat-hanger wire handle. It holds just exactly 27 grains of my surplus 4895, which I use for cast bullet loads in .30-30. Under a 311041 bullet, this load gives me avg 1900 fps out of my Winchester 94 with no leading. It is a great load for deer, hogs, and similar game.

The bullet is cast on my bench from wheelweights I've scrounged. The brass is recycled. The powder is surplus. The only thing I use that's new is the primer. I figure these loads cost me about 5 cents apiece to put together, which is very, very inexpensive ammunition. Figure a dollar for a box of twenty.

I like using dippers for all but the most exacting ammunition. I find that when I use a dipper I get extremely consistent powder charges, in the neighborhood of 1/10th grain. Plus, I don't have the hassle of setting up the scale and the trickler and the powder measure. When a dipper is set for a particular powder charge I can make ammo anywhere.

Write your Congressman

As I have often said in this space, I think it behooves each of us to write our Congressman frequently. If you don't write him or her, then they have no way of knowing what you think about a particular issue. And nothing strikes home like a Post Office Delivered, Hand Signed Letter.

I just wrote my Congresscritter about HB1022, the new Assault Weapons Ban. Many of you can probably predict my feelings about this steaming pile of legislation. If you can't, my letter is here:
Dear Congressman XXXX

A bill pending before the Congress, HB 1022 purports to be new legislation to reinstitute the Assault Weapons Ban. As you know, certain firearms were banned under the first assault weapons ban that sunsetted in 2004. The DOJ study on the effects of the ban released in 1999, said that a significant impact on gun related crime as a result of the ban was not seen nor expected, given the fact that “assault weapons” were only very rarely used in crime.

Targeting a certain group of firearms based on cosmetic and ergonomic features that have no impact whatsoever on the weapons’ lethality simply does not make sense to me.

In my opinion, we should target the people who commit crimes, rather than the tools they use. Regardless, the weapons listed in this bill are very seldom used to commit any crime.

As there has been no substantive evidence presented that an assault weapons ban had any significant effect on reducing crime, and as it represents a serious infringement on Second Amendment rights that has produced no worthwhile public safety benefit, I respectfully urge you to oppose any effort to renew the ban.

I also request a response about your views on this most important matter.

Write your Congressman. It's important.

Hat tip to Xavier

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Open Carry

There's a thread over at the Other Side Forum about a bunch of guys who got together, decided to exercise a right, and went down to the local pizzaria with pistols strapped on their legs. The police showed up, with predictable results.

Here's the deal. The guys weren't doing anything illegal. Open carry is legal in Virginia, as it is in most states. Most state laws don't cover open carry, ergo, it ain't against the law.

If you go over to the Second Amendment Foundation, you can find a link to all of the state's constitutional provisions concerning the right to bear arms.

The provision of the Louisiana Constitution that I'm familiar with says this:
The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.
Many states have similar wording.

Open carry is generally legal in the United States. The most common example is when a sportsman carries a rifle or shotgun afield for hunting. Long guns are notoriously hard to conceal. If open carry wasn't legal, we wouldn't be hunting.

In the old days, when state constitutions were being written, most states adopted constitutional provisions that allow citizens to bear arms. Bearing arms means carrying them. Some states adopted provisions that discuss concealed weapons, because at the time, bad guys would conceal weapons for nefarious purposes.

Each state's laws and constitution vary to some degree, so the usual cautions apply. Don't do anything that might be illegal. However, open carry is legal in most states, simply because it isn't forbidden. The vast majority of states make concealed carry illegal, but open carry isn't even discussed.

This all reminds me of a converstation I heard between a rookie officer and a veteral sergeant. It's tranlated for clarity, without the use of police codes, but basically, it went like this.

Rookie: There's a guy carrying a shotgun down Fifth street.

Sergeant: What's he doing with it?

Rookie: Nothing, just carrying it over his shoulder. I'm going to approach him and see what's going on.

Sergeant: You're going to leave him alone. It isn't against the law to carry a shotgun in this state.

Rookie: Okay.

Louisiana law talks at length about concealed weapons, but has very little to say about open carry. It is generally not illegal.

I suspect that the officers in Virginia who approached the guys in the pizza joint were fully aware of the prohibitions against concealed carry but were taken aback when confronted with armed men carrying openly enjoying their pizza. Those guys were exercizing a right.

We've all heard the old mantra about physical exercise "Use it or Lose it". The same philosophy applies to rights as well. We should exercise all our rights regularly.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Petzal Logs On

Dave Petzal has a blog too. Over at Field and Stream. He doesn't get it either and he remarks that:
For the last several days I’ve been visiting all manner of blogs and chatrooms, which has reminded me of when I used to deliver used clothing to the local mental hospital. I’ve tried to make some sense of it all, but because the waters are still full of blood and body parts continue to rain from the sky, I haven’t come up with any Great Truths.
We're still learning too, Dave, but the dynamic has shifted.

Here's a lesson, Mr. Petzal. Zumbo called for the banning of certain firearms simply because they don't look like a scoped deer rifle. He called them terrorist rifles. Within hours, the Brady Bunch had picked up his comments and trumpeted that a respected hunting writer had called for a ban on assault rifles. Reading his words was like being stabbed in the back by a trusted uncle.

We've got to be careful when we talk about banning some weapons. Back in the day when I was raising children, my second son wanted to hunt and was old enough to sit on his own stand. The only rifle I could afford for him at the time was an SKS, which cost about $150.00. Poor folks like to hunt, too. Some can't afford $1000.00 rifles and $500.00 scopes. That $100 Mauser (a true military arm) imported from Europe suits them just fine.

The bigger lesson, Mr. Petzal, is that since 1994 the RKBA crowd has learned to mobilize. The internet lets millions of us exchange ideas, talk to our Congressmen, network with others, and even.. yes.. call for the firing of someone who works for a major outdoor magazine and calls us terrorists.

Mr. Petzal. The dynamic has shifted. We're the customers that drive the major chains and they listen to us. Their ear is as close as my Send button.

Hat tip to Xavier.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Zumbo's newest apology

I just found this at Ted Nugent's site, and thought maybe I'd respond to it. Zumbo is always invited to comment here, just as everyone is.
The last few days have been an educational experience, to say the least. My ill-conceived inflammatory blog, as all of you now know, set off a firestorm that, I’m told, has never before been equaled. I’m not proud of that.
Let me say this at the outset. My words here are from the heart, and all mine. No one can censor me, and I answer to no one but myself. And I have no one to blame but myself. Outdoor Life, a magazine that I worked for full-time as Hunting Editor for almost 30 years, fired me yesterday. My TV show was cancelled yesterday. Many of my sponsors have issued statements on their website to sever all relationships. This may cause many of you to do backflips and dance in the streets, but, of course, I’m not laughing, nor am I looking for sympathy. I don’t want a pity party.

They say hindsight is golden. Looking back, I can’t believe I said the words “ban” and “terrorist” in the context that I did. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that. I can explain this as sheer ignorance and an irresponsible use of words. What I’ve learned over the last few days has enlightened and amazed me. As a guy who hunts 200 days a year, does seminars on hunting, wrote for six hunting magazines, had a hunting TV show, and wrote 20 books on hunting, how could I have been so ignorant and out of touch with reality in the world of hunting and shooting?

But I was. I really can’t explain it, maybe because I just summarily dismissed the firearms in question in my mind when I saw them in magazines and catalogs. I saw one “black” firearm in a hunting camp in all my 50 years of hunting, and I shot one last year off a boat when fishing in Alaska. To tell the truth, it was fun and I enjoyed it immensely, but I never considered one for use in hunting. I have to tell you that I have had a revelation. I’m learning that many of my pals own AR-15’s and similar firearms and indeed use them for hunting. I was totally unaware that they were being used for legitimate hunting purposes. That is the absolute truth.

My biggest regret is not the financial impact of all this. I’m almost 67 and retirement is an option. The dreadful impact here is that I inadvertently struck a spear into the hearts of the people I love most…America’s gun owners. And, even though this huge cadre of dedicated people have succeeded in stripping me of my career, I hold no grudges. I will continue to stand as firm on pro hunting as I’ve ever done. But what’s different now is that I’ll do all I can to educate others who are, or were, as ignorant as I was about “black” rifles and the controversy that surrounds them. My promise to you is that I’ll learn all I can about these firearms, and by the time this week is out, I’ll order one. The NUGE has invited me to hunt with him using AR-15’s, and I’m eager to go, and learn. I’ll do all I can to spread the word.

I understand that many of you will not accept this apology, believing that the damage has been done and there’s no way to repair it. You have that right. But let me say this. I mentioned this above, and I’ll repeat it. I’m willing to seize this opportunity to educate hunters and shooters who shared my ignorance. If you’re willing to allow me to do that, we can indeed, in my mind, form a stronger bond within our ranks. Maybe in a roundabout way we can bring something good out of this.

Jim Zumbo
Well, hell.

You took a heck of a hit, Jim, but you called a lot of good people terrorists. You can work your way back, and I'd like to offer some advice.

1. Keep writing. Blogger is free. You're a good writer and I've agreed and disagreed with you over the years. Don't quit writing.

2. Keep hunting, but more importantly, go shooting. Find a public range and meet the people who read the stuff you write. You'll probably meet some who actively took umbrage at your dismissal of black rifles.

3. Join a local club and see what's happening in the shooting world. A couple of hours spent once a month working a local club will help you to stay grounded in the sport. Teach kids to shoot. Help at the local "sighting-in day".

4. Go to a couple of local matches and see what the guys are using. Get out to Camp Perry if you can and let us know what you see.

We change minds one at a time. Let us change yours.

Nothing personal

Based on some recent conversations I've had about police work, there are a few things that the general public doesn't understand.

First, if I give you a ticket, it's nothing personal. I'm doing a job.

Likewise, if I arrest you and cart your butt off to jail, it's nothing personal. Next week, I might not even remember your name.

The police don't just show up when you and your wife are having an argument. Somebody invited us. Probably a neighbor.

If I'm working traffic on a particular stretch of road, I don't catch every speeder. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch all the fish in the lake? Me neither. I just catch the ones I can.

Law and Order is Hollywood. It's TV, which is to say, fantasy. I do not get DNA results in an hour and I haven't seen a single good latent print in the last five years.

No, I can't test that unknown substance and tell you what it is. If it isn't yours, get rid of it.

Glad I could clear that up for you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Big Mamou

We got back from Big Mamou a couple of hours ago. My new daughter-in-law had never been to a traditional country Mardi Gras.

You can't go to Mamou unless you pay tribute to Fred's Lounge. Our second stop was there for pictures. You can, of course, click the pictures for a larger image.

Here my daughter-in-law, left, and my daughter pose in the door of Fred's Lounge. This is the location of a long running radio show featuring traditional cajun music. Fred's has been the center of the Mardi Gras celebration for as long as I can remember.

Then, we danced in the streets and awaited the return of the Courirs. These guys dress in costume and go from door to door around Mamou, partying, chasing chickens, and begging food for a community meal. It's all done on horseback. Vast qauntities of beer are consumed during the day.

By the time they get back to town, the horses are tired and the men are... a little worse for wear. You might notice that every man in the picture is carrying a beer in his hand. This is not coincidence. Every man on horseback was carrying a beer or other adult beverage on his ride through town.

After the parade, we left Mamou and plotted a course for Marksville, home of the only casino in the area. They have, not coincidently, the best casino buffet in the area. We took the kids to the buffet, watched them put on the feed bag, then we trekked back toward home.

Now, I get to crawl into bed to go to work tomorrow, then to church at 6:00 p.m. to begin the lenten season. Lent is the reason for Mardi Gras, after all.

Big Mamou

In a few minutes, we're headed to Big Mamou for the Mardi Gras festival.

Pictures tonight.

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's Official

It's official. Remington has canned Jim Zumbo. On a pretty Sunday in February, Mr. Zumbo made some dumb statements in his blog and ignited a firestorm of commentary that is going to cost him his job. The Remington website says:
Remington is in the process of severing our sponsorships with Mr. Zumbo. A formal announcement will be released by noon today.
I would bet that the rest of Mr. Zumbos sponsors follow suit.

What is so sad about this kerfluffle is that Mr. Zumbo was a respected gun writer, carried in the leading gun magazines. He was able to hunt all over the world and enjoy the sponsorship of the leading companies. He didn't keep himself current on the state of the shooting world and forgot that his opinions are worth only as much as the people who read him think those opinions are worth. His opinions became worthless literally overnight.

The weight of the online shooting community came out to revile his comments and report those same comments to his main sponsors, Remington and Outdoor Life, both leading producers in the industry. The power of the online community just revealed itself to the mainstream outdoor sports producers. It's a victory for the internet, but it feels like a hollow victory. We were betrayed by one of our own.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Zumbo dumps on the Shooting Sports

I just got through reading a thread over at the Other Side Forum, where they linked with Outdoor Life and Jim Zumbo's blog. In the blog, he denigrates the AR weapons platform, calling them "terrorist rifles" and ..... aargh! Go read it yourself.

The main entry is here. The supposed apology is here.

Then, I wrote an email the online editor at Outdoor Life magazine. I am including it here in it's entirety.
Subject: Fire Zumbo today
To: webmaster@outdoorlife.com
Hi, fellows.

I just read Jim Zumbo's rant against AR and AK rifles and his supposed apology.

To say that I am livid is an understatement. I take particular offense at this paragraph:

"I call them "assault" rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are "tackdrivers."
Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I've always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don't use assault rifles. We've always been proud of our "sporting firearms.""

Who does this guy think he is? The M16 rifle, along with the variants that make up the AR class of rifle is the official shoulder weapon of the US military. With these words, Jim places hundreds of thousands of active, reserve, and guard personnel in the same ranks with terrorists. I carried an M16 for many, many years and I am today qualified with an AR as part of my police training. Does that make me a terrorist? I think not, and I am offended at the implication.

Zumbo isn't anyone that I would want carrying my opinions. I don't think you want him carrying yours. We're all terrorists in his eyes.

I guess all the folks who shoot NRA highpower matches are terrorists, too. I bet the Brady organization is going to have a field day with this. Jim Zumbo just set the 2nd Amendment back thirty years.

I won't buy another Outdoor Life as long as Jim Zumbo is affiliated in any way with the magazine. Fire Zumbo today and get someone who understands all the shooting sports.


Zumbo is supposedly sponsored by Remington. I guess I'll write them next.

Mardi Gras!

It's time for Mardi Gras in south Louisiana. Many towns in North Louisiana have an abreviated Mardi Gras celebration, consisting of one or several parades over the weekend. South Louisiana does it better, making parades for four or five days leading up to Fat Tuesday. The biggest celebration in the state is New Orleans, and those folks are partying right now.

I prefer the smaller celebrations, the street dances held in the little towns.

One old tradition is the Courirs, or people on horseback that ride the countryside in costume, asking for food items for a communal gumbo. The largest such celebration is in Mamou, LA, where the Courirs still ride. They have a song that celebrates there ride and it is sung in the traditional French.

There is a Windows Media clip of the song here. The words to the verse are something like this:
The Mardi Gras come from everywhere, all around around the hub.
They pass once a year to ask for charity, even it's a (sweet) potato, a potato and some cracklings.
I'll be in Mamou on Tuesday to welcome the riders back into town. It's a heck of a party.

This year we get to introduce our daughter-in-law to the party. She's never been to a traditional Mardi Gras and I hope to show her some of our family's heritage.

Closed Primaries?

Somehow, I missed it, but it looks like Louisiana is going to start using closed primaries for the Congressional Delegation. That's big news.

Louisiana has, since 1975, cast its votes in open primaries where all candidates ran in one primary election with the top two finishers meeting in the general election.

Most Louisiana voters are comfortable with the open primary system. Edwin Edwards birthed this system in 1975 when he was the biggest kingpin in Louisiana politics, but said that we'd regret the day that we adopted open primaries.

Open primaries led to some weird results. Most recently, with Democratic mayor Ray Nagin meeting Democratic challenger Mitch Landrieu in the general election for mayor of New Orleans. Again in New Orleans, with Democrat William Jefferson meeting Democrat Karen Carter for the latest 2nd Congressional District race.

When I registered to vote in 1971, Louisiana was under a closed primary system. There weren't enough Republicans to matter anywhere in the state. If a person wanted to be elected, they registered as Democrats. 1975 changed all that, because a person could be registered as a Republican and vote in elections just like anyone else. The only difference was that you had to vote for Democrats because there were very few Republicans on the ballot.

Now, for Congressional races that is going to change. Louisiana is still a state where the majority of people are registered as Democratic. Latest estimates put the percentages at 54% Democratic, 24% Republican and 22% independant or unaffiliated. Some voters who don't pay attention will be shocked during the 2008 election when they're ushered into a Democrat or Republican booth, or they're turned away because they are not affiliated with a party. Yeah, the 2008 election is going to be a nutroll.

I'm all for it. Shaking up voters is a good idea. Having voters crystallize their choices is a wonderful idea. Initially it will only affect Congressional elections, but I think that closed primaries are a wonderful idea for all elections. Maybe it's an idea whose time has come.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Louisiana Roll Call

I see that two honorable members of the Louisiana delegation to the US House voted for the resolution opposing victory in Iraq.

Charlie Melancon, from Louisiana's 3rd district and William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson of the 2nd District voted to disapprove of the surge.

Worthless bastards, both of them.

Charles Boustany, of the 7th District, didn't vote at all.

The rest of our delegation voted to support the troops and fight for victory.

Next up, let's see what the Senate is going to do.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Carbine Update

The long awaited update of the CMP Carbines was posted today.

They're not selling any before 30 April, but it looks like they've got all the manufacturers and we'll be able to specify which manufacturer we want. They're going to start selling the Inlands on April 30th, with the other manufacturers later, probably after September 2007. The CMP is establishing a limit of one rifle from each manufacturer per customer for 2007. I think that is a great idea

Inland, a subsidiary of GM, produced 2,644,048 carbines, accounting for 43% of the total inventory. It makes sense to sell the Inlands first, as they make up the highest share of rifles manufactured. Look for the best prices on the Inlands.

I'm happy that the CMP won't specify a Rack grade on these rifles. CMP says that any rack grade rifles will be maintained as parts and repair weapons. They're selling them as Service Grade, which means they are shooters.

This will be my first CMP Purchase, and I am very excited to see the result.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Carbine, cal .30, M1

The CMP is teasing us with pictures of carbines.

I'm told that if you like axle grease, you're really going to like these carbines. They're returns from Italy, arsenal rebuilds, affectionately called Mixmasters.

I'm hoping for a low serial number Rock-Ola for $250.00.

My paperwork is cocked, locked and ready to rock. As soon as they post the prices, I'm in.

Where's Mookie?

Good question. He ain't in Baghdad, that's for sure. For those unfamiliar with the colloqualism, Mookie is Muqtada Al-Sadr. May he be properly ventilated soon.

Some think Mookie is in Tehran. Some think he is in Najaf. Either way, he has pitched out, hauled ass, left the building.

Ain't it interesting that once the battle is joined, Mookie decides to take a powder?

Rumor is that he took some of his leadership with him. I'm sure his street-level followers are proud that once the shooting starts, their jihadi leader finds it necessary to run away. That fact is sure to figure into their tactical planning. It seems the surge is working almost before it is properly launched. As Forrest Gump would say, "That's one less thing to worry about."

Regardless of where he might be, all he need to is hold a press conference to announce his whereabouts. Of course, he might be concerned that if we know his location the bombs will start dropping almost immediately.

Ray Nagin in Contempt

My email box has been filled with email alerts from the NRA and other pundits have recognized the point, but it bears repeating here.

Ray Nagin found in contempt. It turns out that Ray and his ex-police chief were found in contempt this morning in Federal Court in the suit brought by the NRA to return the guns unlawfully seized during the Katrina debacle.
Judge Carl J. Barbier, presiding over the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, granted NRA’s motion for contempt against New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Warren Riley for “failure to provide initial disclosures and to compel answers to discovery” during NRA’s injunction against the City for their illegal gun confiscation of law abiding citizens following Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
The judge isn't the only one to hold Ray Nagin in contempt. A review of the current literature reveals that one hell of a lot of people hold Ray Nagin in contempt. Unfortunately, the decision of Judge Barbier is the only one that has the weight of law.

Judge Barbier had interesting comments about counsel, too.
Furthermore, Judge Barbier concluded the delaying tactics by the City’s attorney, Joseph Vincent DiRosa, Jr, to be “wholly unprofessional and shall not be condoned”. Mr. DiRosa admitted in Court that he had “no good reason” to explain his actions and has been ordered to pay partial legal fees to NRA’s attorneys for their wasted time and money.
Of course, he's just being a lawyer.

As a cop, I know what would happen if I were found in contempt in a federal or state court. I'd be jailed until such time as the Court decided that I was no longer in contempt.

Judge Barbier should lock up Ray Nagin until he complies with the Federal order. It's interesting that in a city with a high murder rate, in a city struggling to get a handle on the criminal element, in that same city the government unlawfully seized weapons belonging to law-abiding citizens.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

December 7, 1941

I don't remember that date, except as a footnote in a history book and from listening to my father and uncles talk. That date, Japanese forces struck Pearl Harbor. The next day, President Roosevelt asked for and received a declaration of war against Japan. Hitler honored his treaties and then declared war on the United States.

It's interesting to study that time period, and most of what I am writing is from memory. The United States, up till that time, had been supplying Britian and the Soviets against Hitler. Convoy after convoy of materiel left the United States destined for the war effort. The US Navy harrassed U Boats that came too close to our coast. Hitler could certainly have taken those convoys of war materiel as provocations to expand the war effort, but he had his hands full in eastern and western Europe.

Now, we learn that Iran is supplying the insurgency. This is certainly a provocation, yet I do not see it yet as a reason to go to war.

Going to war requires two things: An overt act of provocation and a declaration from Congress. That declaration might spring from a number of sources, but is necessary nonetheless.

We have the provocation, yet I don't see that the will of the people to go to war against Iran is yet sufficent to sustain a declaration from Congress. Iran has been provoking us since Carter was president and we are engaged at this time in both Iraq and Afganistan.

I also don't see how our President can attempt to get Congress to grant permission to use force. The political will simply isn't present and having permission to use force isn't the same as a formal Declaration of War.

Our enemies will misjudge our intent at some point in the future. If this is a global conflict then at some point one of our enemies will cause such a provocation that America will awaken and be filled with a terrible resolve.

I hope it never happens, but I feel it is imminent.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Booze in Pineville?

I see in Sunday's Town Talk, where mayor Fields is talking about regulating alcohol in the city of Pineville, citing the decisions of local restaurants to move from Pineville based on the restrictive laws north of the Red River.

I recall a local initiative in those wards in the early 1980s. I was living within the city limits of Pineville and someone had found a loophole in the law to get a likker license. That loophole led to some really weird establishments. I seem to recall a Bob's Auto Parts and Package Liquor, or somesuch nonsense.

Some of the natives were incensed and started circulating a petition to ban alcohol north of the river. The four choices (if I remember correctly) were: 1) ban all alcohol north of the river, 2) sell some alcohol in restaurants, 3) sell all alcohol in package stores and other alcohol in restaurants, or 4) open a honky-tonk on every corner.

I signed the petition, proudly, gladly, thanking the lady who bore it for the opportunity. She thanked me for supporting the banning the sale of alcohol. I told ber that I was glad it was coming for a vote, because I wanted to see a honky-tonk on every corner.

You see, I love smokey old barrooms and clear mountain mornings. I keep alcohol in my house. I have a liquor cabinet devoted to those beverages. I may have a drink every three or four weeks, or I might not. I think that prohibiting alcohol was a great national experiment that ended in 1933. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.

However, I understand that other folks have opinions that are different from mine. I respect those opinions, misquided as they might be. In using alcohol as in most things, great freedom demands great responsibility. Demand responsibility of those that use alcohol. To those that can't seem to be responsible, the jail awaits.

I think we ought to treat adults like adults, and I believe in the democratic process that drives most local decisions. Put it up for a vote. After I vote for a honky-tonk on every corner, I'll abide with the majority.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Pool Project

We had the pool guy out today for a walk-around and to get ideas based on the layout of the backyard.

He said that he wants to bring his installer out next week to shoot some grades and nail down the space he has to work with, and whether or not he'll need to bring in fill dirt. As it turns out, we're going to need a retaining wall on the side close to the house, but he says he often installs pools with retaining walls and he has some good ideas that look good.

Milady is pleased with the contractor and when he works up the price we'll know how bad the damage will be.

Note to Patty: We've settled on this model.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Penny Lover

I was cleaning up some old CDs and came across a recording of Penny Lover, by Lionel Ritchie.

Back in the early '80s there was a trendy restaurant in Natchitoches, LA. It's gone now as trendy things are apt to go. One day my first wife and I met there for lunch. Beautiful spring day. I ordered a stuffed potato and we enjoyed a nice lunch in the new restaurant in town. Penny Lover played on the background music as we ate lunch.

To this day, when I hear that song, I taste that stuffed potato.

Ain't that odd?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

On Oaths

Ehren Watada took an oath. The same oath I took. That oath, sworn by every officer to wear the uniform states:
I, (Full Name) having been appointed a (Rank) in the United States Air Force, 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 upon which I am about to enter, SO HELP ME GOD
Now, he seeks to abrogate that oath.

Arrogant son of a bitch. He promised at commissioning that he had no mental reservation and that he took the oath freely.

I was taught, way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, that an officer's word was his bond and that the full trust and faith of the soldiers appointed under him relied on that word. That for an officer to betray the trust of his soldiers was an unforgiveable sin. That for an officer to betray his oath was unthinkable. It was simply not done. Not among gentlemen. And that an officer was a gentleman by the Grace of God and Act of Congress.

I personally would rather die than violate that oath. I have only sworn three oaths in my life and I base my conduct and actions on those solemn words.

Ehren Watada missed movement in violation of his oath. He allowed his soldiers to move into harms way without him. He is despicable.

I will speak no more of this.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday notes

We celebrated second son's birthday tonight. He's 27 years old and we went to Sammy's restaurant in Alexandria for steaks. Sammy's is one of the best kept secrets in Alexandria. The ribeye is excellent. I keep thinking I'm going to order the prime rib, but the ribeye always gets the nod. Next time I'm at Sammy's, I'll try the prime rib.

When we got home, I prepped the brass that I fired this weekend. I have fifty rounds of .30-06 and 50 rounds of .30-30 ready to load. As much as I like reloading, I absolutely abhor prepping brass. I notice that the new Lee Classic Cast press resizes brass a whole lot easier than the old Challenger press.

While resizing .30-30, I noticed that the shoulders were coming out with what looked like lube bumps. If you use too much lube, it seems to collect at the shoulder and dents the brass. This isn't a big problem with .30-30 as the case headspaces on the rim, but with other brass that headspace on the shoulder, dents in the shoulder might be a problem. In this case, I took the die apart. A couple of years of crud had collected in the sizing die. A quick cleaning and the brass sized properly. All reloaders should clean their dies occasionally. Squirt a little carb cleaner in the sizing chamber and run a rag through it. The crud comes out easily. Take a minute and wipe off the decapping pin, reassemble the die, and you're done.

Those few cases with dents will shoot just fine. I'm not loading max loads and the brass will blow out under pressure to fill the chamber and the dents will go away.

Now, however, it's bedtime. I've got a 14 hour day tomorrow and five a.m. will come quickly enough.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Bestest Congress Ever!

I just about spit coffee all over the keyboard when I read this little ditty:
Rep. Loretta Sanchez has quit the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, accusing the chairman, Rep. Joe Baca, of telling people she’s a “whore.”
How about that? Rational discourse on the floor of the House.

Representative Baca denies it, of course.
Reached for comment, a spokesman for Rep. Baca's office denied that the congressman had ever referred to Rep. Sanchez as a whore, claiming instead that he had called her a "puta" which is completely different because it's in Spanish.
Oh, okay. He didn't call her a whore. I know very little Spanish, so I googled for a Spanish-English dictionary and found that Whore translates to prostituta. Okay, then. Let's be accurate! What did he call her?

According to this dictionary, he called her a tramp. Which ain't necessarily a flattering term.

I am reminded of an apocryphal tale from the early days of the Texas Republic, wherein Sam Houston referred to another representative as a Bastard. When queried later, Houston said that he wasn't slandering the man, but was merely referring to the circumstances of his birth.

If the Congress can't get anything done, (and I'm beginning to doubt that anything rational or useful comes from Congress, regardless of who is in charge), then they can at least entertain us.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Range Day

Today I took three hours and went out for a range day. I used the LDWF range at Woodworth.

I know that many of you notice that every rifle that the gun rags write about is capable of minute of angle accuracy. Well, that's true, most rifles built today are capable of MOA accuracy. However, most gunners are not. Accuracy is indicative of practice time. Most recreational gunners can get in the three to four minute range and stay there until they get training, then their groups start shrinking. Equipment and technique are important, but they can't take the place of regular practice. Shooting scores are very erodable. If you don't get enough trigger time and learn from each shot, your groups expand.

In short, you won't see any MOA targets here today.

The first rifle out of the bag was the Winchester 94. This rifle has a Williams FP sight with a standard bead. My ammo was my own blend of the incomparable Lyman 311041 cast bullet, lubed with Lee Liquid Alox, loaded over 27.0 grains of surplus 4895. This load is a game-getter. I decided to get off the bench and do some position work with this rifle, to replicate game shots.

I scattered them all over the page at 50 yards. Three rounds each from prone, sitting, kneeling and standing. Still, seven of the twelve are in the nine ring or better. This is the type of shooting that I need to do more often. It's time to load a bunch of these and devote an afternoon to position shooting. This ammo is cast bullet ammo, which means I make the bullets in the garage. The powder is the Surplus 4895 that I have found so versatile, and it launches those cast bullets at an average 1729 fps with no leading.

After I ran out of ammo for the .30-30, I broke out the Savage 110, in .30-06. I have made some changes to this rifle since the last report. I have added a better recoil pad and changed the way the scope was mounted.

I did forget to boresight the rifle, so the first half-dozen shots were off the paper and it took another half-dozen to get it into the target area. I wanted this ammo to shoot two inches high at 100 yards. Sighted like that, it'll be dead on at 200 yards and down just three inches at 250 yards. I didn't bring much ammo to the range, and the last three rounds gave me this target.

This load uses the same 4895 powder that I used in the .30-30 load. It's surplus powder and was originally developed for .30-06 military ammo. 4895 has been around in three guises over the years. IMR 4895 and Hogdgon 4895 are both canister powders that are available today. This surplus powder is off the market right now, but has proven very versatile in medium rifle cartridges. I use it in .30-30, .35 Remington, and .30-06.

That isn't too shabby and it shows that I haven't been getting enough trigger time. The rifle is certainly capable of better accuracy than that, and I have only myself to blame for not taking advantage of it. It's time to load some more ammo and make myself get out to the range more often. I need more trigger time.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson

I read Victor Davis Hanson regularly. Whether you like his writing or deplore it, the man is a thinker.

His latest is up at National Review Online.
We are in a rare period in American political history, in which the battlefield alone will determine the next election, perhaps not seen since 1864. The economy, scandal, social issues, domestic spending, jobs, all these usual criteria and more pale in comparison to what happens in Iraq, where a few thousand brave American soldiers will determine our collective future.
Good stuff.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Evidently, Nick Saban, of Alabama, used the word Coonass in a joke. Someone heard it. The PC crowd is out in full force.
As an audiotape spread on the Internet, Alabama coach Nick Saban acknowledged Wednesday using a phrase considered derogatory to Cajuns but said he doesn't condone such language and merely was repeating something a friend told him.
Well, hell. I'm a quarter Cajun. My kids are closer to three-quarters, their mother is full blooded Acadiene. The Cajun people are some of the funniest, modest, forgiving people that ever graced God's Green Earth. We love to laugh, we love to eat and drink and some of the things a person does when they've been drinking is funny. I'll give Coach Saban a pass on this one. Not everyone is so understanding.
Warren Perrin, president of the Council for Development of French in Louisiana, said the term is ``highly offensive.'' ``I routinely state that the use of that term is highly offensive to descendants of Acadians, who are commonly referred to as Cajuns,'' Perrin said.
Oh, bullshit! Who put Perrin in charge of Cajun sensibilities? Some of the crap that CODOFIL has proposed over the years has been fairly silly, in and of itself.

This is much ado about nothing. Nick Saban coached at LSU from 2000-2004 and led the Tigers to the 2003 National Championship. I doubt seriously that Coach Saban meant anything derogatory in the simple telling of a joke. We laugh at ourselves, and we laugh at other people. Laughter lubricates life.

One of these days I'll tell y'all about my two favorite Coonass friends, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux, who live in Avoyelles Parish. In the meantime, try to not take yourself too seriously.

Directin' Traffic

There's this intersection that I work every day. It is, in the parlance, an uncontrolled intersection. One street has the right of way, the other street has stop signs. There is no light. It is just about as simple an intersection as exists in the United States. It sits 1/2 block from a high school.

Every afternoon at 2:37, the buses roll away from that high school. Your intrepid narrator takes his fate in his hands, steps out into traffic and directs the vehicular flow in such a manner that the school buses negotiate the intersection safely.

As police work goes, this is fairly basic.

About once a month, some nitwit has his or her head stuck firmly up the fundament and fails to see a certified officer directing traffic in that intersection and blows through it, or is so fascinated by the sight of that same officer in the street that they fail to perform the simple task of braking in time to stay out of my intersection.

Little girls in Jeep Cherokees are the worst. Because it's ALL ABOUT THEM. One came into my intersection today and I was able to shut her down before she caused a bus accident. Accidents involving school buses are very bad juju.

"Hey young lady! You see me standing here with my hand up? What does that mean?"

"Oh! officer! I though you were waving!"

"No, dear heart. When I put my hand up, that means stop. Got it?"

"Yessir". She started to roll her window up and the vehicle inched forward.

"Stop!" She stopped. "Very good. You sit right there till I tell you to move. Got it?" I turned around and began clearing the intersection. She sat there in the intersection with me until I the traffic cleared.

I turned and addressed her, in a tone calculated to communicate plainly. "Do you think you can get that vehicle out of my intersection without causing an accident, or do I need to begin the whole license, registration, insurance thing?"

She thought she could safely drive to the next stop sign. I allowed her to leave without further comment.