Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pawn Shop Score

I walked into my favorite pawn shop today and the counterman had two customers looking at guns. This weekend starts the squirrel season in Louisiana and the gun counter is a busy place. Yesterday, I took my .45-70 Handi Rifle off layaway and had seen something on another rack that piqued my interest.

One of those things in which I am always interested is gun cases. Soft sided, padded gun cases. I never have enough gun cases. I'd estimate that I've lost, destroyed or given away a hundred over the past twenty years. The pawn shop had three used cases hanging on a rack beside the main counter. I took them each down and inspected them. They'd been used, but the zippers worked and the interiors were clean and had no tears or other defects. Best of all, they were marked at $7.95 each. I took them to the counter and placed them on the glass. My counterman and a customer were quibbling over a Remington 870.

"What are you looking for today?" the counterman asked while the customer shouldered the shotgun.

"Gun cases. Make me a deal on these three."

"I'm busy trying to sell this fellow a shotgun. I may have to throw in a case to make the sale."

I laughed. "Now, you're for sure going to have to give him a case, and you've got a bunch of new ones. I'm interested in these old, nasty, used, worn out cases."

He snorted. "I ain't got time to play with you today. Give me twenty dollars and get out."

I laughed and dropped a twenty on the counter. As I was walking out, I heard the customer ask for "one of them forms."

Ruger LCP

This past spring, I bought a Ruger LCP to carry as a pocket pistol. The little .380 has become a near constant companion. I keep the dirt out of it by the simple expedient of carrying it in an Uncle Mike's beltclip from which I cut the belt clip.

The little gun, from the first, fired Winchester White Box ammo just fine. It ran like a champ. I had also purchased a box of Remington Green Box hollow points and it wouldn't chamber that round. I asked around on a couple of forums and that seemed to be a common failing. The little pistol wouldn't go into battery with the Remington ammo, the slide stopping about a sixteenth of an inch from battery. It was aggravating, to say the least.

Until I remembered the Lee Factory Crimp die. I've used this die in other calibers and have come to rely on ammo processed through the die. The FCD post-sizes ammo that is completely loaded. I ordered one from Midway in .380 ACP, and it came in earlier this week. I ran the Remington ammo through the die and could feel the cartridges being resized. It wasn't much, but it was there. My calipers showed that the ammo was being squeezed in the neighborhood of 0.0005 of an inch. That's half a thousandth, but it was enough.

I took the little pistol out and ran it this afternoon with the Remington ammo. Bingo. It feeds, fires, extracts without issue. I'm carrying good hollowpoints now. I probably won't run any ammo through the little pistol that hasn't taken a trip through the die. The factory crimp die is that good. It's for ammo that has to work, every time. If reliability is an issue, it only takes a few minutes to run a box of cartridges through the die and it sure makes a difference in all my pistols.

Dick Lee is a genius.

A Crisis

The Treasury wanted 800 billion to prop up ailing banks, and Nancy Pelosi couldn't seal the deal. She herself, personally, screwed the pooch so completely that the blame for this debacle should fall on her.

Then, declaring it a crisis, Congress recesses till Thursday.

I can see my boss, the Sheriff, in an important meeting. "We're in a crisis, ladies and gentlemen. Take off two days and come back on Thursday morning."

Pelosi is an idiot. One third of her party voted against her. She's so pathetic that she couldn't get her own people behind her. The Democrats are in the majority, remember? If she could lead, she could do anything she wanted.

And now I understand that Treasury is going to pump 630 billion dollars into the ailing banks anyway. What did they need Congress for?

The Dow, on news of Pelosi's screwup, fell 777 points. Which is to say, not even 10%. If the Dow had been at 5000, then 777 points would have been something to worry about. But it's not. It closed yesterday over 10,000 which five years ago was considered Fairy-Tale land. If the Dow had lost 4000 points yesterday, that would have been a crisis. A drop of less than 10% is only a blip.

This won't be a crisis until it starts looking like a crisis.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another bad idea

From Clayton Cramer, we get another bad idea regarding bail-outs. Clayton recognizes it as a bad idea but there is an interesting lesson here:
But there was an intriguing point hiding in an email I saw recently. The email suggested that instead of giving $800 billion to bail out a few Wall Street mortgage giants...why not bail out ordinary taxpayers. Doing the math correctly: $800 billion divided equally over 125 million households (which I think is about right) would be $64,000 each. I rather suspect that such a distribution would enable a tremendous number of Americans to make house payments until the economy recovers. For others, it would pay off their credit card debt and put tens of thousands into the bank.
If you're going to give money to deserving individuals, why not give it to the American people? I understand that this is a bad idea, but no worse than bailing out investment banks, who should have been smart enough to see this coming.

I don't buy into the gloom and doom of the folks who refuse to let a couple of investment banks collapse from the weight of their own bad investments. I think a bailout is a horrible idea. I especially don't like the idea of organizations like ACORN being able to enrich themselves at the expense of the American public.

As I understand it, the FDIC was set up to provide insurance for small depositors that their deposits would be safe in member institutions. That's enough government intervention for me. If the fat cats lose their asses in the market, that's part of doing business.

This is interesting

It looks like the Army is seeking ideas about replacing the M16/M4 individual weapons platform. From Military.com:
In late August, the Army issued a solicitation to the arms industry asking companies to submit proposals that would demonstrate "improvements in individual weapon performance in the areas of accuracy and dispersion ... reliability and durability in all environments, modularity and terminal performance."

And in a dramatic gesture that could throw the door wide open to a totally new carbine, the service did not constrain ideas to the current 5.56mm round used in the M4.
Well, they're not asking me, but if they did, I'd tell them to keep most of the M16/M4 package. It's reliable, it's easy to manufacture, it's user-friendly. I'd change the caliber, but that's my personal bias. There's nothing inherently wrong with the current class of 5.56 ammo in an infantry rifle. I'd like to see something in 6mm or larger, but again, that's just my bias.

If the Army wants something more modular, it's hard to get more modular than the AR/M4 package. The whole rifle is held together by two pins and swapping parts is easy.

Hat tip to Ahab.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tired of Politics

I'm tired of politics. Tonight is the first Presidential debate, and Congress is squabbling over the Wall Street Debacle. Whatever happens on Wall Street, Congress will turn it into a debacle. It looks like the Democrats want to hand a chunk of cash to ACORN, the commie organization that is currently being investigated for voter fraud.

And I don't give a shit. Not a single crap. I'm listening to the Tioga Indians hand the Bolton Bears their ass. It's the third quarter and Tioga leads Bolton something like 28-14. Tioga has dominated Bolton all night.

I made an order this week from Midway USA. Midway is a gun supply store. They let me have an account and a wish list, and when I want something I put it on the wish list. Some stuff has been on there a couple of years. Other stuff stays there a couple of weeks. The way the wish list works is that if you find something you want or need, you put it on the wish list. Some things, like .30-30 brass, stay on the wish list permanently. When you check the list, if something's on sale, it shows a little red Sale! flag.

Right now, I'm waiting on

1. Williams WGRS sight for an H&R rifle.
2. Lee handles for a 6-banger mold
3. Lee Factory Crimp die for .380 auto, and a shellholder for same
4. A Remington recoil pad for a Model 7600, wood stock.

The only thing I really needed was the sight. The rest of the items were on sale and I can use all of them.

While I typed the paragraphs above, Bolton scored another touchdown. The score is 28 to 21, Tioga leading. Friday night is High School Football, and I follow my Bears. They break my heart. They really do.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Portland 6?

I see near Portland, Oregon, someone hanged an effigy of Barack Obama in a tree, outside a Christian university.

I wonder if Jesse Jackson is going to show up and work the crowd for money? Or if Al is going to arrive and berate everyone for being a racist?

Clean, liberal, leftwing Oregon has closet rasists? Who knew?

All this time I understood that the Deep South was the only place that harbored racists.

I guess not!

Roosevelt on TV

Another Biden bonehead minute. He was talking to Katie Couric on a train and said that Roosevelt led during the Crash of 1929.
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, "look, here's what happened."
Really, he said that.

The CBS story, along with the video, is here.

The only problem is that Roosevelt wasn't the president then. Herbert Hoover was. And television was a couple of decades away.

Obama is proud of his choice for VP. I'm amused at his choice. Laughingly.

McCain suspends campaign

The big news today is that Senator John McCain is suspending his campaign to focus on the congressional bailout. CNN and Fox are both on it.

That's news, I guess. From what I'm reading, the Obama camp is trying to decide whose idea it was to suspend the campaign.
But McCain’s camp said Obama never reached McCain in the morning call because he was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress. Afterward, McCain phoned Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem. Obama said the two still plan to issue a joint statement.
I hate to tell the Obama campaign, but it looks like the statement has already been made.

I'm concerned too, as we all are. I'm concerned that Congress is asking the wrong question. The question they're asking seems to be; "What can we do about this mess?", when the question should more properly be "Should we do anything about this mess?"

Ron Paul says it best in his recent statement on the crisis.
Every government bailout or promise thereof leads to moral hazard, the likelihood that market actors will take ever riskier actions with the belief that the federal government will bail them out. Bear Stearns was bailed out, Fannie and Freddie will be bailed out, but where will the line be drawn? The precedent has been established and the taxpayers will end up footing the bill in these cases, but the federal government and the Federal Reserve lack the resources to bail out every firm that is deemed “too big to fail.” Decades of loose monetary policy will lead to a financial day of reckoning, and bailouts, liquidity injections, and lowering of the federal funds rate will only delay the inevitable and ensure that the final correction will be longer and more severe than it otherwise would. For the sake of the economy, I urge my colleagues to resist the temptation to give in to political expediency, and to oppose loose monetary policy and any further bailouts.
Indeed. Congress is setting a dangerous precedent here in not letting companies fail.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Digital Camo on the street

Gore, Inc, the manufacturer of Gore-Tex has come out with a new line of camouflage they'll be launcing soon. Called Optifade, it's designed to work against a deer's eyes to make a hunter more invisible.
For now, thanks to decades of research into ungulate vision combined with the latest in military concealment technology, hunters can don a computer-generated camouflage with fractal designs that look nothing like a shrub or a tree, at least not to the human eye. Named Optifade, it’s being introduced this fall by W.L. Gore (the makers of the breathable Gore-Tex rain gear) and promoted as the first camouflage scientifically designed to make hunters invisible to deer.
Maybe so.

I'm not much of a fanatic on camo, but I spent twenty years in the Reserves or Guard, and I've worn a lot of camouflage. Give me a warm pair of Olive drab pants, a good coat of Hunter Green, and a basic brown cap and I'm good. To comply with the law and safety, I've got to top it with 400 square inches of hunter orange. Thankfully there is some good research that says deer can't see hunter orange. The Gore-Tex research showed that:
The research revealed that deer vision is a little blurrier than human vision — about 20/40 — and that deer see the world roughly like a human with red-green colorblindness. Their eyes have only two color receptors (unlike the three in the human eye). Fortunately for hunters, they have a hard time seeing blaze orange. But they’re more sensitive than humans to light at the blue end of the spectrum. And thanks to the eyes on either side of the head, they can see a field of vision covering 270 degrees.

I'm not much of a fan of digital camo, but I'm not much of a fan of camouflage either. I think that a lot of the camo sold today has more of a CDI factor. (Chicks dig it!) Feel free to disagree with me in comments.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On electing Judges

The way we select judges in the state of Louisiana is a problem. That problem is that they're popularly elected and you can't run against a judge unless you're an attorney. Any attorney who makes his living in the court system won't run against a sitting judge unless they're virtually assured of an easy win.

As evidence, I lived in Natchitoches Parish from 1981 to 1999 and during that time, no judgeship came up for election. Generally, if you're elected to a Judgeship in Lousiana, it's almost a lifetime appointment.

Jeff Sadow talks about it here, and links to a Shreveport Times article. I agree that the way we elect judges is problematic. Jeff and the Shreveport Times both recommend that we appoint our judges, but I think there is an easier solution.

Noawadays when a Judge's term is expiring and no one opposes him or her, the Judge goes in unopposed. That's the problem. The people don't have an opportunity to choose.

I'd like to see a provision that if any elected official, judges, coroners, representatives, you name it. Any elected official who found themselves unopposed would face a referendum of the people. An up or down vote. If he was voted in, we'd keep him. If he was voted out, he was fired. The election officials would set an abbreviated election schedule to fill the post, but the guy who was just voted out was ineligible to run for two terms.

Let's say you've got a judge or a sheriff who runs the parish like his own little fiefdom. When it comes time to elect him, no one wants to run against him. So we have an up or down vote. If the people vote against him, the official gets the boot and we get a new election. The outgowing official is prohibited from running.

It's a fairly simple approach, it gets us away from appointed officials, and it reminds the elected that they're still answerable to the people. It's a win-win.

Washing machine repair

Washing machines are magical, okay? I know they're machines and I'm pretty handy with machines but I don't like working on them. We own a Kenmore 70 series direct drive washing machine and it had a small leak. I turned it over on its back and it looked to me like the discharge pump was leaking.

Today I went to Appliance Parts, a local outfit and asked them. The counter guy went over to the parts bin and took out a pump. The general consensus of everybody present was that if the machine is leaking, the discharge pump is the culprit. I asked if I needed to take off the cabinet and another guy at the counter, an actual appliance repairman, said that he always takes the cabinet off, but there's enough room to make the repair without removing it. He takes it off because he knows how and it makes everything easier to see. Fifty bucks later I was out the door.

I got home and put the machine on its back. Fifteen minutes later I was done. Two clips hold the pump to the shaft. Two hose clamps hold the hoses to the pump. It literally took longer to get out the tools than it did to change the part.

That was entirely too easy and we're washing a load of clothes now to see if I've stopped the leak.

**UPDATE** Yeah, it was too easy. As soon as I typed the above paragraph, I went into the laundry room and saw a small puddle of water on the floor. I drained the machine (I thought!) and tilted it back. I saw a few drips of water near the lower hose clamp and loosened it so that I could make sure it was aligned and re-tighten it. The hose came off and about three gallons of water hit me in the face.

That was pleasant. We have a three gallon mop bucket and I filled it from the spill. The floor in the laundry room has been thoroughly mopped. I re-seated the hoses and made sure they are tight. It looks to be holding.

There is never anything easy when you're working with appliances. On the plus side, the floor under the washing machine is sparkly clean.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Driving referrals

One of the way people find this blog is through search engines like Google, or Yahoo. That's okay. It lets folks find my little site and it brings traffic. I don't use this site as a money-maker. It's a simple little blog about guns and politics and whatever catches my fancy. I do it for me, not for you. However, I understand that a lot of folks share my interests and I want to make the site relevant to those who like the same sort of things I like.

When I check my referral logs, the two search phrases that stand out are

1. Remington 870 pump shotgun or some variation on that phrase.

2. Reloading for the Savage 110 .30-06 or some variation on that theme. So, as those are the two most common referral strings, it's probably time I talked about them again.

First, the Remington 870 shotgun is the pre-eminent pump shotgun of the late 20th century. Remington got it right when it designed this shotgun and they're still making them. That's not to say I don't like other pump shotguns. I have owned or shot them all, from Mossberg, to Remington, to Winchester. Right now, I own both Winchester and Remington pump shotguns and I have to admit that they're all great guns. However, the Remington Model 870 is one of the greats. You can buy them used for about $175.00 for a beater with surface rust. Or you can buy a brand new one in a dazzling variety of barrel lengths, chokes, finishes, and gauges. They're all great shotguns and if you're looking for a pump shotgun, the Remington is a great place to start looking.

Now, about Savage rifles. Everyone who reads this blog knows that I like Savage bolt action rifles. I consider the AccuTrigger one of the greatest engineering feats of the past twenty years. It's that good. I own a Savage bolt in .30-06 and one in .243 Winchester. One of my sons has the LEO version, a left hand .308 with the heavy barrel. Another of my sons has a 7mm Magnum with a heavy barrel. Each of them are accurate and very shootable.

My choice of powders for the .30-06 boils down to two powders that I've come to like over the years. IMR 4895 was designed for the .30-06 and is a great place to start for both Garand loads and more stout hunting loads. It's a good powder that's been around for a long time and performs well in the .30-06. The other powder I like, for heavy hunting loads is Reloder 22. It was designed as a magnum rifle powder, but it's got good bulk and is forgiving of a lot of faults. I like Reloder 22 in the .30-06 and it's performed well in the .243 with heavy bullets.

I won't talk about load recipes, but I've found that nearly a full .30-06 case of Rel22 with either a 155 grain or a 165 grain hunting bullet gives better than 2750 fps with standard deviations around 12 fps. There is a lot to like about Reloder 22 in the .30-06. The Alliant powder data center is here, for all your reloading recipe questions. You can use it interactively, or you can download the free reloaders guide.

Iron Sight Sunday

I went out to the range today, for the first time in about a month. Between the hurricanes and the clean-up, I haven't had any trigger time in a while and I was getting testy. So, I loaded a couple of lever actions and went to the LDWF range at Woodworth, LA.

First up was the rifle that lives under the seat of the truck. It's a classic .30-30 Winchester, the Winchester 94. I wrote it up over at the Frugal Outdoorsman It was made in 1965 and was one of the first of the non-commemorative Winchesters in an attempt to prop up sales after Winchester changed the production methods of their rifles after 1964. It's been described as "Winchesters first attempt at increasing the horrible sales of the post-64s by putting a dress on a pig."

It's a great rifle and the load that I prefer in it is the Lyman 311041 bullet, lubed in LLA, sized to 0.309 with a Hornady gas check. I load it over 27 grains of IMR 4895 and it gives me an average 1855 fps, with an SD of 17. That's a great deer/hog load.

Last week, while at training, we talked about head shots, and at what range an individual might take a head shot with any reasonable expectation of success. I posted a standard B-27 target at 50 yards and noticed that the bead front sight of the Winchester almost completely subtended the head portion of the target at 50 yards. Offhand head shots were easy. This rifle isn't a target rifle, but the Winchester 94 platform has been an excellent hunting rifle for over a hundred years and continues to please shooters all over the world. A dozen shots and I was done. This rifle is ready for the deer woods once again, and it stands ready to be pressed into whichever service I might call on it to perform.

Next, I took out the Marlin Model 1894C. I bought this rifle last year and it's outfitted like the Winchester, with a Williams FP sight. I was shooting .38 specials in it, my reload of a Lee tumble lube semi-wadcutter bullet that weighs about 158 grains. I power this load with 4.3 grains of Unique in whatever range brass I can find. The load is a good steady performer in my revolvers, and every revolver I've ever tried shoots this load accurately. This load is fairly anemic, giving me about 850 fps out of the revolvers, but it's accurate as the day is long. It's helped me to win a few shooting matches when the good shots were out doing other things.

Back to the 1894C. This little rifle likes the .38 special load that I've described above, but it pushes the bullet out at 1020 fps, which brings it to .38 special +P velocities. That extra foot of barrel really helps that bullet zing along. Shots at the silhouette were also easy, offhand and with an elbow on the table. It's a mild, accurate, easy to shoot load in this rifle, just the thing for teaching young'uns about centerfire rifles. Then too, a 158 grain hardcast bullet is going to leave a mark if it slams into anything with metabolism. I got bored with the 50 yard target and started firing at an old tire that was laying on the 100 yard berm. With each shot I got a satisfying puff of dust from within the hole in the tire, so this ammo will reach out and touch something at 100 yards if I find the need.

One of the range officers wandered past while I was shooting the Marlin and he asked me about it. I let him put a couple of shots downrange and he agreed that it would be just the rifle for teaching children. He said he'd look for one for his daughter.

There's a lot to like about lever action rifles, both in rifle and pistol calibers.

Now, I've got to clean rifles and put everything away. Y'all have a good week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The other No. 2

That's what the New York Times calls him. The other number 2.
But the reality for Mr. Biden is that while running mates are second-fiddlers by definition, the phenomenon of Ms. Palin has rendered him something of a fourth or fifth fiddle. It is not like last month, when reporters swarmed Mr. Biden’s Delaware home and delegates swooned at the Democratic convention. He is now trailed by just a few national reporters, and struggling to break through in a race marked by historic firsts, political celebrities and charismatic newcomers — none named Joe Biden.
That's gotta hurt.

Still, Joltin Joe carries on, one gaffe after another.
The Obama campaign was hoping to reintroduce Mr. Biden this week as running mate attack dog. But his penchant for verbal rambling ensured that much of the attention he drew was unwanted: he said wealthy Americans had a “patriotic” duty to pay more taxes, a remark the McCain campaign mocked relentlessly.
There's good reason to mock that.

And, Biden doesn't seem to realize that some of us think about all things related to a ticket when we decide how we're going to vote.
Leaving the Elks Lodge in Maumee this week, Mr. Biden threw his arms around volunteers, posed for photos, and said he was flattered about the attention.

“Remember, no one decides who they’re going to vote for based on the vice president,” he said. “I mean that literally.”
Here, he's wrong again. I'm voting for the McCain/Palin ticket, not so much on the strength of Senator McCain, but on the strength of Governor Palin.

As an aside, I got an email a couple of weeks ago that claims that Obama is going to dump Biden sometime during the first week of October and name Hillary Clinton as his running mate. I feel, personally, that this communication was a fevered response to the strength of Sarah Palin and I don't think the rumor has any legs, for two reasons. First of all, I don't think Hillary would take the job. I think she's waiting for Obama to fall flat so that she can re-launch her presidential bid in 2012. The second reason is that I don't believe that even the Democrats can be that cynical.

Then again.

A trillion dollars.

A trillion dollars is a lot of money. A hell of a lot. Yet, that's what they're supposing it'll take to bail out the financial markets.

If you're a fiscal conservative, you're probably wondering if everyone in the government has lost their damned minds. I know I'm wondering about it.

When I was in college studying things like accounting and economics and the free markets, I was taught that great risks were often rewarded with great profits. That the more risky the business, the greater the opportunity for profit. But on the down side, you also had a greater opportunity to fail. To go broke. That risk of going broke should be on the back of every manager's mind.

Back in the dim dark ages of my memory, the early 1990's, I went bankrupt. I tried to grab some quick profits, failed, and went belly-up. It was a humiliating experience but it taught me a great lesson.

That's a lesson that Freddie, and Fannie, and AIG won't have to learn. It's a lesson that they should have been allowed to learn.

And, the United States Government should not care one whit, not one copper penny's worth. The managers at Freddie, Fannie, Lehman, Bear, and AIG went on a greed trip. They made bad loans, loans that didn't have a chance of being repaid. They are holding bad paper that has no worth, yet they're trying to balance their books with the bad paper. The market realized that and suddenly, they couldn't move bad paper and they went belly up. That's tough, that's tough, that's the way the market works. They had the opportunity for great profits and they had the opportunity for great failure. They should be allowed to fail magnificently. The market would recover, and life would go on.

And now the government decides to bail them out. We've just become a socialist nation. They ought to go ahead and nationalize the markets, make all assets belong to the government. Without the ability to fail, there is no capitalism, and George Bush just approved the death of the free market. I spit in his general direction.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Biden said what?

Oh, yeah, that paying higher taxes is patriotic. I shit you not.

The money quote, for those of you who might not be able to get the clip:
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says that paying higher taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. …

Biden told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday that, in his words, “it’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

Which would lead me to ask if he's paying higher taxes? I mean, if it's patriotic, then is he doing it? If it's such a good idea, why hasn't he paid extra money into the Treasury? Or is he just another politico hypocrite?

So, now the question becomes... Now that Biden has come out in favor of higher taxes.. (I know it's slated for the rich, but they're higher taxes) is Obama going to admit that he intends to raise taxes?

The larger question is whether or not Biden links the current credit meltdown with taxes for the wealthy? It seems the answer is yes.
We should try to correct the problems that caused this. And what’s caused this? The profligate tax cuts to the very, very wealthy that John wants to continue. What’s caused this is the failure to have regulation so that, in fact — John talks about these CEOs getting these big bailout packages.
Lots of folks are trying to analyze and explain the current meltdown, but no one with any sense has linked CEO salaries and severance packages to our financial troubles. As I see this crisis, it's about securities that are over-valued in the current market, trading those securities on margin, having securities on the books that aren't linked to current assets and the market devaluing those securities and the banks that hold them. Our problems today are a lot more about judgment than salaries.

Biden is a nitwit. He and Helmke should start the Washington Chapter of Nitwits Inc.

Helmke whines some more

Paul Helmke, from the Brady Bunch, is whining again because Congress passed a bill that allows residents of Washington DC to defend themselves.
Yesterday’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives – to second-guess Washington, D.C.’s efforts to re-write its gun laws in response to this summer’s Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment – was a charade. That’s the only way to describe it.
No, Paul. What's a charade is folks like you who want to gut the 2nd Amendment. What is also a charade is politicos like the Washington DC city council who can't understand when they've been thoroughly spanked by the Constitution, and keep trying to pass ordinances that violate the constitutional rights of their citizens.

And Paul goes further, braying about a government's attempt to abrogate a basic civil right.
Regrettably, the bill that passed the House yesterday went far beyond the Norton/Waxman bill – and far beyond what the Heller decision itself requires. Instead the House adopted the gun lobby agenda that nothing should ever be done to "discourage" gun ownership and possession.
That's right, Paul. Most of us are of the opinion that Heller didn't go far enough and that government should be prevented from discouraging citizens from exercising their natural civil rights.

Of course, Paul doesn't allow comments on his blog. He knows that real Americans would rip him a new one. So, fell free to comment here. In my personal opinion, Paul's a nitwit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Distain. Joe Biden holds me in distain. I understand that he was at a rally in Flat Rock, Michigan yesterday and said this:
The Republican party and some of the blogs and others on the far right, are trying very hard to paint a picture of this man, they’re trying the best as they can to mischaracterize who he is and what he stands for.

All this stuff about how different Barack Obama is, they’re not just used to somebody really smart. They’re just not used to somebody who’s really well educated. They just don’t know quite how to handle it. Cause if he’s as smart as Barack is he must not be from my neighborhood.

What an asshole! Biden thinks that I'm not going to vote for Obama because I don't understand smart people. That's probably true. In my extended family we've got an attorney, a neurologist, a certifiable rocket scientist, a plethora of educators and various and other sundry professions. Among my nephews one of them studies marine biology (he plays in mud, okay?) and one of them is doing something with lasers that I really don't understand. He's in graduate school and he was trying to explain it to me, and I was like "Damn, dude. Wear safety goggles, okay?"

So anyway, Biden thinks that we don't like Obama because he's smarter that we are.

Biden can go straight to hell.

I tell you why I'm not going to vote for the Democratic ticket. One, Obama scares me. Not because he's smart, but because he's a Chicago politician, he wants to raise taxes and he wants our guns. I'll cling to my guns, thank you.

And, I'm not going to vote Democratic because Joe Biden is an asshole. An elitist, arrogant, snobbish asshole.

Screw him and the horse he rode in on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm blogging from Bossier City, LA, where I've been sent to learn all about school violence. The training is by the Public Agency Training Council and hosted by the Bossier City Police Department. It's good training, so far, and one more day awaits. We have a good mix of people involved in education attending this class, with both school administrator and law enforcement personnel.

It's good to look at both sides of the picture. Sometimes the educators don't know or aren't familiar with the law enforcement perspective and I admit that I frequently don't understand the educator response to certain situations. It's refreshing to be in an environment where we talk about common problems from different perspectives and gain an understanding about how to better solve those problems.

I'll be in training all day tomorrow, then back home tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin Derangement Syndrome

I was just reading the New York Times (When am I going to learn not to do that?) and stumbled on to Maureen Dowd's latest screed against Sarah Palin.

I feel for Maureen, I really do. They sent her butt to Alaska, where there's ice, and snow, and Russia is just across the strait. I know that she's feeling exiled, but the nastiness of her rant shows just how desperate the Times is to find something, anything, on Sarah. And they really can't find much.
An Arctic blast of action has swept into the 2008 race, making thinking passé. We don’t really need to hurt our brains studying the world; we just need the world to know we’re capable of bringing a world of hurt to the world if the world continues to be hell-bent on misbehaving.
Actually, Maureen, that's been the lesson that the world should have learned since Normandy. If Normandy wasn't lesson enough, then Hiroshima should have demonstrated to the world that we're capable of putting serious hurt on just about anyone. Yet Dowd's screed gets more hysterical, and fails to realize the fundamental mission of NATO and our treaty obligations.
Two weeks after being thrown onto a national ticket, and moments after being speed-briefed by McCain foreign-policy advisers, our new Napoleon in bunny boots (not the Pamela Anderson kind, but the knock-offs of the U.S. Army Extreme Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Boots) is ready to face down the Russkies and start a land war over Georgia, and, holy cow, what business is it of ours if Israel attacks Iran?
Yeah, Maureen, if Georgia joins NATO, and Russia attacks it, we're treaty bound to respond. That's been the reason for NATO, since just after WWII. You probably didn't study history in New York, but the rest of us learned that during the '60s there were two main treaty alliances in the world. NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Those two were the primary antagonists in the Cold War. Palin's answer to that hypothetical was correct and on point. If it scares journalists from the New York Times, then good. It scares us too.

It amazes me how scared the Democrats seem to be since Governor Palin came on the scene. Three weeks ago they were riding high, enjoying double-digit polls. Now, they're barely even and they're not running against Senator McCain, but his running mate. They're trying to convince us that Palin is unqualified to be the Vice, but if she is really unqualified, you'd think they'd be exuberant!

I know that I was exuberant when Obama tapped whatisname as VP. Biden, yeah, Biden! He's a good ole boy from the good ole boy network. Been in the Senate almost forever, yet no one can remember anything that he's done. He's pulling the ticket down like an anchor in a sack. I was thrilled when Obama named him.

They're running against the VP. That isn't a good sign for the party. They've lost focus about the race. It may cost them the race.

Ike repercussions

If you read Mostly Cajun, you know that he works for a pipeline outfit. I bet he's on the job this morning, helping to deliver energy to the rest of the nation. His post from yesterday says:
The plant had water inside my switchgear room. That makes me glad we made the decision to shut the power off before we left. Tomorrow we get to do an inspection and some tests and see about turning the place back on.

As I was surfing this morning, I stumbled on a site called The Oil Drum, where the author looks at the implications of a 10 day refinery/pipeline shutdown. It ain't pretty. It underscores the absolute need to have more refining capacity in this nation and have it spread around so that we don't have any catastrophic shutdowns during a natural or man-made disaster.

One graphic at the site shows just how dependant we are on the Gulf Coast for our energy resources.

That's a map of the Colonial Pipeline Company main pipeline. It runs up the east coast and serves the fine people from Texas to New Jersey. The problem this morning is that it starts in Texas and Texas is shut down this morning. No fuel is going to flow though that pipe today, maybe not tomorrow.

Wouldn't it be cool if there were refineries at every juncture of that pipeline? Where product could be pumped in both directions? Where a shutdown in one area of the country didn't translate into problems for the other parts of the country?

This country needs more refining capacity and we need it dispersed.

Drill now, drill everywhere.

Prescription scopes

I followed a link from Instapundit to Armed and Dangerous about the pending crash of entitlements in the United States. Reading comments, I noticed the following from one of the commenters:
I’m also chuckling over the image of a bunch of old geezers starting a revolution because their entitlements are reduced. Will they have prescription scopes on their rifles?
To which I'd reply. Uuuh, yeah! Everyone has a prescription scope on their rifle. Just in front of the eyepiece there is a small locking ring. Unlock that ring and you can focus the scope to your individual eye. If you wear prescription eyewear you have the option of focusing the scope to your eye with or without your eyewear.

I wear glasses and I favor hunting rifles. I tend to focus my scopes so that the image is in focus with my glasses and I want the image to be in sharp relief when I "throw up" my rifle from a standing position. If I had a benchrest rifle, I might prefer to focus the scope without my glasses. It's all in the individual preferences of the owner.

It's fairly simple to focus a scope. On a pretty day when the sky is blue, unlock the focus ring on the scope and step outside. Quickly look through the scope at the blue sky. Adjust the focus until the crosshairs are sharp and clear. You'll need to do this quickly because your eye tends to compensate for being slightly out of focus. It normally takes me four or five tries before I get the scope properly focused for my eye. The idea is that when you look through the scope, the crosshairs are immediately in fine focus. Lock the locking ring, and you're done.

Then, come the revolution, you'll have a prescription scope, properly fitted to your eye.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


We went to Jena today to buy a generator. Milady has ordered one from Sears, last week, with the ironclad promise that it would be on the truck on Friday afternoon. She sat and waited two hours and was told that her generator wasn't on the truck. It wasn't. I understand that she gave everyone hell, then came home and wrote a scathing email.

Sears ain't what it used to be. Sears was an icon of my youth, a place we trusted. Over the years, I've bought a lot of stuff from Sears. Tools and appliances mainly, but a goodly amount of other stuff. My lawnmower came from Sears. However, the last couple of transactions didn't exactly give me a warm fuzzy feeling. This last transaction, where they failed to deliver a product that was ordered in good faith, is inexcusable.

Simply inexcusable. If a seller is able to take an order, he should know that the product ordered is in his supply chain. If it's not, he shouldn't take the otder. For example: Customer A goes to store B and widget. Store B routinely sells widgets and knows that he can have widgets in on Friday. Customer A comes to the store on Friday and picks up his widget. Everyone is happy.

Another example. Customer A goes to store B and orders and Atlas Rocket. Store B has never sold an Atlas rocket and knows that there are none in the supply chain. Customer A goes away with his order unfilled, but understands.

Lastly, Customer A goes into store B and orders a generator. Store B sells a lot of generators, accepts the order, and tells Customer A that her generator will be in on Friday. Store B, from ignorance, incompetence, indifference, or a combination of the three, fail to supply the ordered generator. Customer A gives everyone in the store a good cussing, then fires off an indignant email to corporate headquarters. Her husband blogs about how badly Sears sucks.

So, today we went somewhere else and bought a generator. It's running in the backyard now, not because it's needed, but because the literature says to run it for two hours then change the oil.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Hits keep coming

I was wrong yesterday about the Ike graphic. It gets better. Look at this thing!

The National Hurricane Center says that this is a big ole storm, and that its physical size doesn't add up to the numbers. The wind speed isn't particularly fast, but the storm is huge. The public advisory says this:
The satellite image shows it covering a sizeable portion of the Gulf of Mexico. Lookee!

That's one big storm, children. I bet the storm surge will start impacting the coast sometime tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take a hike, Ike

This is just about the most complicated hurricane graphic I've seen from Accuweather. Yet, the graphic says it all.

It looks like he's still on course for Texas. You folks in Corpus and San Antonio better hunker down. The hill country is going to get lots of rain this weekend.

The world wants Obama

It seems that the world is going to be disappointed in us if we don't vote for Obama. The Redneck Texan links to an article in the Guardian that's crying the blues for Obama.
Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start - a fresh start the world is yearning for.

The only problem I can see with what the world wants is that we don't much give a damn. I know that I don't. If they want Obama as president, then they need to run him on their own ballots and elect him over there.

To all my European readers, and readers from other countries. Here's the deal.

We founded the United States to be unlike you. We don't think the way you do. We're Americans. We do things our own way, and we argue about it the whole time. If Obama is elected, half of the country will be convinced that we've made a terrible mistake. If McCain is elected, the other half of the country will be convinced that the United States is doomed.

Frankly, we argue about everything. On a day-to-day basis we argue constantly. And here's the deal about being an American. If a person wants a fresh start, they can have it. We give fresh starts all the time. As an adult American, I've started over from scratch, three times. It's hard work, but it's worth it. If you guys want a fresh start, then start working.

If you want to help elect the American president, emigrate over here, get citizenship, and cast your vote. Until then, we just don't give a damn what you think.

Hat tip to Jeff for reminding me to write about this.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More lipstick

I know he didn't go there. No, he didn't.
"You can put lipstick on a pig," he said as the crowd cheered. "It's still a pig."
That'll resonate with voters. The elitists are losing their minds, their sense of decency, and quite possibly the election.

Palin hysteria

You've got to love the way the opposition is getting all hysterical over the Palin nomination. From Salon we read:
Post-convention polls are highly unreliable. But the same Democrats who were crowing with glee a week ago about McCain's off-the-wall choice are suddenly panicking. And you can't blame them. Four years after Americans looked at the first term of the worst president in modern history and decided they liked what they saw well enough to sign up for four more years, it's all too plausible that just when victory is in sight, the most crucial election of our time could be tipped by the 11th-hour appearance of a slick, unqualified, right-wing extremist and religious zealot in designer glasses.
That's certainly a non-partisan take on the issue.

There are problems with the paragraph that go beyond partisan politics. Jimmy Carter was the worst president in modern history, and he only had one term. Actually, Americans looked at the first term of the worst president in modern history and decided to elect a true conservative.

On the other hand, if you want to talk about slick, unqualified religious zealots, we only need to look as far as the Democratic nominee. Only problem is, he can't decide if he's Muslim or Christian.

The opposition should get their story-line correct.

The Peacemaker

Via Kim du Toit, and others, we learn from Radley Balko that Sheriff Lott, of Richland County, South Carolina has acquired himself a new toy.

That's an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). It's a diesel powered, light armored vehicle. Its primary armor is aluminum plate. It weighs about 12 tons. It has a crew of two and can carry eleven infantrymen. The primary armament is the Ms Deuce, the Browning .50 caliber machine gun. It was originally designed to carry an infantry squad, and did a hell of a job for the past 40 years.

It's a cool toy, but what the hell does he intend to do with that thing? A .50 cal? Yeah, right. [sarcasm]That's a suitable weapon for police use.[/sarcasm]

As a current cop, I can't see a use for that thing, except as an all-terrain vehicle in swampy terrain where fording the odd creek or bayou might be in order. It would make a great vehicle for search operations. Other vehicles might do as well, including any of the current crop of 4WD ATVs, which would use a whole lot less fuel.

I deplore the militarizing of the police departments. We're civilians, not soldiers. The M113 is a military vehicle. The Ma Deuce is a huge machine gun. I wouldn't want to employ one in a place where overpenetration and ricochet might be a problem. The .50 cal round overpenetrates like a sunovabitch and ricochets like a meteor. I wouldn't want to fire one in a populated area. By populated, I mean any place where people might be downrange out to three or four miles.

I know how to employ an M113 and how to fight out of one. I've traveled many miles in one of those things. I don't see any way of using it in a police role, unless you dismount the machine gun and use it to protect your SWAT team. Other than that, it's more liability than asset. And, there are better vehicles for protecting SWAT teams that don't cost nearly as much to maintain.

Cool toy, but still. The problem becomes; how's he going to use it to keep people safe?

Ike Update

We're watching Ike. Watching him like a hawk. Accuweather has him coming ashore on the Texas coast, but those of us who remember Rita, in 2005 remember her as taking a jog to the right and coming ashore in East Texas.

A storm that's a hundred miles wide and comes ashore in east Texas is going to have a heck of an impact on Louisiana. Yeah, that puts us in the northeast quadrant of the storm. Not a good place to be.

At any rate, here's the current guesstimate by Accuweather.

I don't want to wish a hurricane on anybody. For all you folks in southern Texas, get ready. I hope it doesn't come here, and I hope that y'all are going to be okay.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Office Talk

I was talking with a teacher today, an experienced professional educator. She graduated from high school in the late 60s or early 70s, hippy-dippy type, very free spirited. In college, she was the president of the Young Democrats.

I asked her what she thought about Sarah Palin. She sighed. "I've never voted for a Republican my whole life. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. She isn't Hillary..." her voice trailed off. "I'm just not sure what I'm going to do. I won't know, probably, until I step into the voting booth."

This gal is a Hillary supporter. Last election, her car had Kerry bumper stickers. She was a huge Bill Clinton supporter. She thinks that the Carter presidency was an unqualified success. Yet, suddenly, the Sarah Palin nomination has her conflicted.

I suspect that there are a lot of folks that think like her.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Watching Ike

Bolton High School hosted Menard last night for the high school season opener. I worked the game and it was good to get out under the lights and think about something besides hurricanes. The weather cooperated with mild temperatures and a gentle breeze. Candidates were out in force, drumming up support for the election scheduled for later this autumn.

This morning, the conversation at church was all about the aftereffects of the storm, and the possible tracks of Ike. He bears watching.

It was nice to have a reasonably normal weekend. I'm thinking that I haven't had any trigger time in the past several weeks and chances are that I won't have much luck next weekend.

Just Damn!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday afternoon Update

The cleanup continues. We went to my son's house this afternoon and cleaned his refrigerator. He's been without power since Monday and we thought it was time to clean the fridge before the power came back on. We threw out everything and gave the appliance a once-over cleaning. The worst is done. When the power comes back on he'll be able to give it a thorough cleaning and buy new food.

Then, we went to Momma's and checked on her. The generator is running and the house is tolerably cool inside. Her antennae is down, but she's able to get two local channels. We cut a tree off the back of the barn and trimmed some low-hanging limbs near the driveway. She's fine. She reports that CLECO said that she'd have power by next Tuesday. That'll make her nine days without power. Thankfully she has a generator that provides everything but air conditioning.

Note to family: There are two big trees down behind the barn. One of the trees clipped the eave of the barn on its way down, but there is no damage to the structure itself. One big pine fell across the garden. Be prepared to cut up those big trees when you come for Thanksgiving. Barrett and I worked for an hour or so this afternoon, but the heat and humidity finally took a toll on this old man. We can walk around the barn now, and I'll keep chipping away at it, but those two trees are huge.

I got a report from second son that the power has been restored to his house near Bentley, LA. He and his wife are going to be there until the power is restored to her house in the Baghdad community. Yeah, in Louisiana we have a community named Baghdad. It's in Grant parish. Those two kids were married in June, and they've been living at her house while they made plans to remodel his house.

Then came Hannah

If I'm reading this map correctly, it looks like Hurricane Hannah is set to ravage the east coast. My nieces in Vermont might get a taste of tropical storm winds.

My thoughts are with you folks. Hunker down. Head inland. Get ready for wind and flooding. Lay in three days of food and camping gear. You might need it. At one point we had our camp stove set up in the garage, making red beans and rice.

I don't wish a tropical storm on anybody. I know, living in Louisiana what the chances are, what the odds are, how to prepare, and still I sometimes get surprised by a storm. I certainly won't wish it on the unprepared.

Rasmussen on Palin

There's a poll out today about Sarah Palin. Most people regard her favorably.
A week ago, most Americans had never heard of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now, following a Vice Presidential acceptance speech viewed live by more than 40 million people, Palin is viewed favorably by 58% of American voters. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% hold an unfavorable view of the self-described hockey mom.
Lets see. 58 favorable, 37 unfavorable. That leaves 5 percent undecided. Those are good numbers.

I like her. I like her stance on energy, I like her stance on government. I like her stand on the environment. I also like the "warts" that she's displayed. The problem with her daughter's pregnancy resonates with me. The way she handled her last pregnancy resonates with me. She seems to be more attuned to the difficult decisions that normal Americans make every day. It seems that she's one of us. Someone I'd like to have over for supper, to talk about hobbies and family and getting the bills paid on time.

I didn't listen to her speech the other night. I was busy with hurricane recovery. She'd probably understand that.

Shelter duty

I worked a shelter, yesterday. Evacuees from parishes in south Louisiana fleeing hurricane Gustav. When I got there yesterday morning there were about five hundred souls. Men, women, children, the human condition in all its glory.

They were ready to go home. They were thankful for shelter, they were glad to be safe, but the storm had been three days gone, and they were ready to be home. There was a tension in the air that was almost palpable.

The shelter was run by the American Red Cross. Volunteers from all over the country were stationed at our little shelter. I talked to volunteers from Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Maine, Washington, Nevada, and other states I'm sure I can't remember. They were great, working hard, serving the people.

But the people wanted to go home. So I started asking, getting the Red Cross volunteers to educate me. What I learned is that the Red Cross provides shelter, but they don't control the buses. They provide food, shelter, basic necessities but they have no control over the buses.

Local officials control the buses. Lets say that Chinquapin parish is under threat of a storm and an evacuation is ordered. The buses roll and the people from Chinquapin go to Xavier parish. Three or four days later, the storm is over, the people are ready to go home, but Chinquapin isn't yet ready to recieve them. The folks from Chinquapin who are waiting for the bus have to wait until the Chinquapin officials call for the buses.

Even if Xavier parish got hammered worse than Chinquapin parish, the people from Chinquapin can't go home until their officials call for them.

That's the way it was explained to me by the Red Cross workers. Knowing what I know now, it's a poor system. The great flaw is that the officials who evacuate their people get the say on when those people come home.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What a Jackass!

I understand that Ray Nagin is asking people to not return to New Orleans because vital services aren't yet restored.
New Orleans officials said it would be at least Thursday before people would be allowed back, because the city lacked many vital services.
What a jackass!

Hey, Ray! We're happy to help out. We've got shelters up and running, we're watching over a bunch of your citizens. But, in case you missed the word, we got hammered too. We're trying to clean up, get the power restored and the services back in gear, and you're asking us to keep the shelters open? Your citizens want to come home and while we were happy to help, we'll be happy to see them return. It's not like we don't have plenty to do ourselves.

The storm's over, Ray. It's time to get the people home. In case you're wondering, I-49 southbound is packed. They're coming home whether you like it or not.


Full House

Not the card hand, the grandkids. PawPaw has a full house. Two of the grandkids are without power and are refugee-ing over here, the other two grandkids are about to have a new baby sister and are staying here while Momma is in the hospital. Other various friends and family have been checking in, eating a meal, then leaving to go home and clean up.

PawPaw's house is a refuge, both literally and figuratively. Tonight, at a minimum, we'll have all the beds filled and one, maybe two will be sleeping on the couch.

It's all about family and keeping everyone safe. When the grandkids were frightened during the storm, Milady told them that our whole job is to keep them safe. She's right, of course, as she is about all things. My job is to keep them safe.

PawPaw worked yesterday, keeping the citizens safe. Tomorrow morning I have to go back, watching over citizens at a local shelter. Keeping people safe. That's what I do. Milady goes back to work also, doing her RN thing at a surgical clinic. This week's been a helluva ride and as I type this, a fine gentle rain is falling.

A fine, gentle rain

A fine, gentle rain is falling on central Louisiana tonight, courtesy of Gustav, who has flowed off to the northwest. Monday and Monday night, he lashed us with wind and rain, not being downgraded to tropical storm before he left us. The eye, or what was left of it, passed over us Monday night. Tuesday, I woke to moderate temperatures, a falling rain, and went to work, helping with damage assessments and reassuring the public. This evening, I have family at my house because I have air-conditioning.

Shelters here began closing yesterday afternoon for lack of need. Folks went home after the storm, to clean up and get on with life. I didn't really see a lot of private property damage yesterday. Sure, some trees blew down on houses, some fences were damaged, some shingles were lost, but by and large I didn't see much private property damage. What I did see was a lot of infrastructure damage, lots of trees on power lines, lots of power lines down, lots of poles damaged or destroyed. As a result, a big portion of Rapides Parish and the majority of Grant Parish is without power this evening. Thankfully, temperatures are mild and power crews are working now to try to restore power to as many as possible.

Now, we begin tracking other storms. It's that time of year. In another several days, the power will be back everywhere. In another week, most of the damage will have been repaired. By this time next year, Gustav will be a minor memory.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Monday morning update

It's five a.m, Monday, September 1, 2008 and I'm up, drinking coffee, and looking at the predicted eye path of Hurricane Gustav. There is general agreement that New Orleans might have dodged a bullet this morning. It appears that Gustav didn't strengthen significantly yesterday in the northern Gulf, and while it is going to come ashore as a major storm, it isn't a hundred year event. It's just your average, run of the mill hurricane.

Some disagreement still exists about the reported strength of the storm, but that's probably because it's hovering on the boundary of levels 2 and 3. The track of the storm is such that the eye of the storm will come in near Houma, LA, and cross southwest Louisiana on a northwesterly track. Accuweather shows it here:

while the National Hurricane Center map looks like this:

So, it looks like it's going to make landfall near Houma, and cross into Texas over Toledo Bend, a large lake on the western border. All of Louisiana is going to feel the impact and the only divergence of the models is how fast it will lose strength and disperse. This is still a large storm and we in central Louisiana are still expecting to feel its lash.

Outside on my driveway this morning, the concrete is still dry and the wind is calm. As I type this I'm not hearing the wind chimes that still hang on the back porch.

One thing the models don't show is the turn that most hurricanes and tropical storms make to the north and northeast as they come ashore and start to lose strength. It's been my experience from years of watching hurricanes, that most of them turn after making landfall. Rita did it, Katrina, Camille, Audrey, most of them turn to the right (to a more northerly or northeastely course) after landfall and while they're dying. I'm no weatherman, and I'm sure that the scientists today understand steering currents more completely, and I hope they're correct about this storm.

Still, we're hunkered down waiting for the worst it can bring. All of Louisiana is waiting for this storm and we'll see it later this morning and this evening. Today should tell the tale.