Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Truck is fixed

I got my truck back today from the body shop. I had been in a fender-bender on March 6th and I've been driving a rental. While a new Ford F-150 is a good truck with a lot to recommend it, it wasn't my truck.

I'll have to buy a new pickup eventually, but right now mine is running good, the body is repaired and I don't have a truck note. I can drive it like I own it.

Pickup guys know what I'm talking about. I felt like I had to baby the rental. Now I'm back in my pickup and life is better. Lots better. Later this evening I'll get out and stow everything I normally carry. It's in boxes in the garage.

It's amazing the amount of stuff I normally carry in my pickup.

Stevens Model 62 - In comments

I was moderating comments yesterday and found a comment about a magazine. I approved it then had to go back and find it in the original posting because I thought it deserved an answer. The comment was on this post back in 2005 and comes from a young anonymous poster:
im only 15 years old but i too am tired of all day work of loading that darn magazine time and time agin. and i cant find a place to buy a new one does any one know where i can find one at?
Yeah, son, I do. You can find them at Wal-Mart. I've bought three or four there, in the sporting good section. Any good gunsmith ought to be able to find a couple of magazines for you. Look on the racks at Academy or your local sporting goods store and see if you don't find those magazines there.

Reloading magazines can be time consuming, but it's part of shooting. When you shoot the gun dry, you've got to reload. However, if you learn something from every shot, you'll find that the magazine reload gives you time to think about your target and your technique.

I'm glad you found my posting and glad you took time to ask. The Savage Model 62 is a find little rifle for lots of rimfire tasks and should serve you well for many years. Thanks for reading PawPaw's House and if you have any more questions, come on back.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Centerfire Sunday

This afternoon, after church and lunch, I went out to the Woodsworth range to play with my Savage 10 in .243 Winchester. The little rifle shot the scope off, back in February. I ordered new bases and rings and installed them this morning. I took the time to make sure everything was tight and that all the screws were properly secured.

I started with some old reloads and got the little rifle on the paper at 25 yards, then moved to the 100 yard line. After getting the scope dialed in, I switched to my hunting load. This load gives me good power, with a measured velocity of 3105 fps and a standard deviation of 24. The bullet is a 100 grain Hornady that I picked up cheap a couple of years ago. They sold as blemished bullets and I bought a thousand of them. I've got lots of hundred grain Hornady's. They're not as uniform as I might like for target work, but I get around that problem by taking out my digital scale and sorting them by weight. I place similar weights in zipper bags.

Whether a bullet weighs 99.8 grains or 101.2 grains matters little to the deer it hits. He probably won't be able to tell the difference. However, those little differences in bullet weight make a difference on the target line. So, I sort by weight and use like weights when I'm reloading.

After getting the little rifle to shoot close to point of impact, I posted a new target at the 100 yard line and got out my hunting ammo.

That's the best three shot group I've ever shot with that little Savage. It's a hunting rifle with the sporting barrel. It's dead stock, with no tweaking, yet that 3-shot group measures just 0.337. I called it a fluke and shifted to the next target for my final five rounds. A final scope adjustment and I settled down on the bags.

Five shots into 0.847", clustered on the bull. I was out of ammo, so I put the little rifle into its case, cleaned up my bench and came home. I'm completely satisfied with my efforts today.

Earth Hour

Earth hour. Supposedly a celebration of life, we were supposed to dim our non-essential lights for an hour last night, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. I forgot.

Not that it mattered much. Saturday was busy. I started in the backyard by sinking three fence posts, complete with concrete bases. Then Milady and I climbed on the Goldwing and went to get the bike blessed. The local chapter of the Christian Mototcyclists Association was having a bike-blessing at a local park. We prayed over motorcycles, then helped ourselves to red-beans and rice while we visited with other bikers. After about an hour, we came home. The temps were a balmy 60 degrees and Milady was about frozen when we got home.

Son Matt called. He's beginning a major remodel of his house and needed to borrow my Sawzall. I suspect that before this remodel is over, most of my carpentry tools will be at Matt's house. That's okay. He's a mechanic and I've borrowed his tools and expertise many times. I grabbed the Sawzall and headed that way. I got involved in the carpentry and got home just before dark. Plenty of exercise, and I feel it in my neck and back this morning.

So, during Earth Hour, the only light burning in my house was the TV in the bedroom. Milady and I had retreated there after supper and when Earth hour officially began, I was probably asleep.

Not that I cared one whit about Earth Hour. My philosophy is that the Earth has been swinging around the sun for millions of years, certainly long before we climbed down out of the trees. It did fine before us and it'll do wonderfully after we're gone. It heats up and gets cooler based on principles that we're just learning and don't fully understand. The idea that man can influence any of the Earth's climate is a supreme arrogance and the longer I watch the climate-change gurus, I'm convinced that arrogance is the predominate personality type. I've got a sneaking hunch that Mother Gaia cares not one whit what we do.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marlin Model 60

The Marlin model 60 is a quintessential .22 rimfire rifle. Marlin has been making them for a lot of years and they're easy to find new or used. I've bought a half-dozen over the years, but the kids keep packing them off. I think that I still have one, but I'd have to go look at the gun rack.

There is nothing fancy about a Model 60. Plain wood, plain ole gun, plain ole fun. Lots of kids have learned on Model 60's and they are one of the better values in the gun world today. Marlin has made over 11 million of them.

They're easy to take apart when you know how, and Junior has given us a page that shows the disassembly of the little rifle. Go here and he'll tell you all about it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday afternoon

I got off work, came home and changed into blue jeans. We're heading to Jena to eat supper with Milady's family. She has a sister in town and when some one comes in, the family normally gathers.

It'll be fun. I like my in-laws and enjoy spending time with them.

Tomorrow is more fence maintenance. The fence I put up four years ago, which I thought would last 15 years, needs to be propped up again. For those of you putting up wooden privacy fences, 4X4 treated posts are better than 3" thin wall pipe.

More later.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weight Watchers

Milady started Weight Watcher's last month. Since we married in 2003, I've gained a few pounds. It's time to lose weight and we're both watching our points.

She's going to meetings and learning all she can, and weighing-in and making progress. I'm piggy-backing off her learning and weighing in on a home scale every Thursday afternoon when I get home from work.

It's amazing how quickly you watch what you eat when you make a commitment to make a list, every day, of what you consume. It's frightening. It's also cool. I've fought weight all my life. Being in Army helped, because I had to maintain a certain PT level. The commander wanted to play "Show and Tell" every so often, and failing a PT test or the semi-annual weigh-in is detrimental to an officer's career. I retired from the Guard in 1999 and quit running. My max weight for the Army was 196, and I brushed against it my last year in uniform. When I retired, I quit running and I've gained about 10 pounds a year since then.

It's hard on my heart, hard on my legs, and I can tell I'm carrying too much weight. It's time to trim up. I want to live to be a hundred so I can aggravate my kids.

When we began a month ago, I weighed in at 260.8 pounds. Now, exactly 4 weeks later, I'm at 252.0 pounds according to my bathroom scale. That's two pounds a week and not bad for an old fart. I've started back walking and we'll keep this up until I'm back to my fighting weight, somewhere about 175 pounds.

Life goes on.

Lever action cycling

The father of my best friend once told me that every man should have three things in his life to give him the red-ass. A wife, a Dodge truck and a Winchester rifle. He was referring, of course, to the lever action Winchester Model 94.

The lever action is a mechanical device and it's intended to be operated robustly. Whether in the old Model 94, or the Rossi, or the Puma, or the Marlin variety, trying to operate it slowly, cycle it gently, is a recipe for disaster. The latest iteration of the question is over at the High Road.org, where a forum member makes the following observation:
I have a Rossi 92 that likes to let the 38 rounds stand up and not feed into the barrel sometimes. I think that is mostly when I try to cycle it slowly.
There's the glitch. Cycling it slowly.

I've owned lever actions from both Marlin, Mossberg, and Winchester. I like them all. But, they like to be cycled firmly.

The Marlin 1894 series are susceptible to something known as the Marlin Jam. This is a design flaw in those particular rifles where lever has a little cam that bounces against the carrier. That cam is left with a sharp edge at the factory and over time, it cuts a groove in the carrier. The fix is simple, easy and effective. Remove the lever and with a file or stone, relieve that sharp edge. Round it off a little. Not much, just a little. The link above will show how it's done.

But, for the vast majority of feeding problems with a lever action rifle, the main cause is trying to be gentle with them. Operate the lever robustly, with vigor. You're not going to break it. Crank it forward till it stops, then bring it smartly to the rear and your feeding problems will take care of themselves.

I'm glad we cleared that up.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogroll Cleanup

My blogroll hasn't changed much in the last couple of years, because I'm lazy and because I read the blogs I have listed there.

One recent addition, and one change. First the change.

My daugher-in-law, Melissa, has a family and archaeology blog over at Rediscovering Florida. She is originally a Florida Gator and currently works for the City of St. Augustine. She captured my son a few years ago and after he graduated they took my grandson to the Sunshine State. He's a manager at a Big Lots and she's got a cool job digging in the dirt. Go over and give her a read.

The new link on the blogroll is Mike Vanderboegh who writes at Sipsey Street Irregulars. I've never met Mike, but in a lot of ways, I've come to learn that we're on the same side of the barricades. He hasn't been blogging long, but he's stirred up some crap. And, he's finishing a book that should be finished soon.

Looking for a fight

From Sipsey Street, we learn of an article that talks about our President's Volunteer Corps, who is trying to pump up popular support for the President's budget.
Volunteers fanned out across the Birmingham area and Alabama Saturday to pump up enthusiasm for President Barack Obama's budget proposal in much the same way they did to win over voters during the presidential campaign.

About 30 volunteers in Birmingham canvassed shopping areas and other high-traffic locations to talk about the need for health care reform, an education overhaul and environmentally friendly energy development.
As far as I'm concerned, it's great to band together to get organized politically, to change the face of government through political means.

I'm wondering what these folks are organizing for?
Those who gathered at Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham were urged to enlist others who share Obama's vision and to stay away from trying to convert naysayers.

"We're looking for supporters," said DeHaven of Hoover, one of the event's organizers. "We're not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army."
Not looking for a fight? But later, when they have an army, they'll be looking for a fight?

I don't know what kind of fighting these people are talking about, but they'd best be prepared to reap the whirlwind if they sow the breeze.

There are certain folks in this country who are concerned about the way the political winds are blowing, and they're drawing parallels from the history books. They guys over at Sipsey Street are watching the wind closely.

It behooves us all to watch for a coming storm and prepare for the weather.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


What's this all about? I'm having trouble envisioning this firearm.
A Boyce man was arrested Saturday afternoon after he shot a neighbor’s car with a BB gun that he had illegally converted into a shotgun, officials said.
He shot his neighbor's car. Not normally a good idea, and how might one convert a BB gun into a shotgun?
According to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Pickering taped a pipe to the end of a BB gun that held a shotgun shell. When Pickering fired the BB gun it caused the shotgun shell to be discharged. The homemade gun was very dangerous.
I'm still having trouble envisioning this thing. A pipe holds a shotgun shell. Taped to the barrel of a BB gun. When you shoot the BB, it hits the primer of the shotgun shell. Yeah, I'd say that is dangerous, on so many levels.
Pickering was booked into the Rapides Parish Jail.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dog Blogging

We've got a dog. A Shih Tzu named Beau. Shih Tzu's are long haired dogs, bred in China, descended from the Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog. And Beau is a kitchen dog. He hunts anything that's dropped on the floor.

He's a long-hair and yesterday Milady decided to give him a clipping. After a long winter and a luxurious winter coat, he certainly looks like a sad little dog today.

Here's a side shot.

With that long-haired head and close-clipped body, he looks like he's front-heavy.

I bet he's a lot cooler, and when we take walks, it'll be easier to get the cockleburs out of his coat.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Let's talk about immigration for a moment. It was one of the big concerns during the presidential campaign and it's still a topic of discussion, especially considering the turmoil we're seeing in Mexico.

My forebears were immigrants. Many of the people in the United States today come from immigrant stock. My people on my Daddy's side came from Germany. My people on my maternal grandmothers side came from Canada. They were evicted by the English and made one of the legendary trips of mass migration. Longfellow tells the tale in his epic poem, Evangeline. My maternal grandmother spoke French as a first language. The families of my paternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather were both Scots-Irish stock.

My wife's people are of Irish stock. We're mutts, all of us. Were it not for immigration, we wouldn't be here today.

Generally, I'm for immigration. Let'em come. Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. There is enough America here for everyone.

However. There is always a however.

Let's not do this nilly-willy. My folks came through Ellis Island, where they were processed, poked, prodded and fed. Only when the government was satisfied that they were suitable were they allowed in. They could immediately get jobs and pay taxes.

I propose that we institute Ellis Island-type reception stations, where immigrants are likely to enter our shores. We should be able to make do with a dozen or more scattered around the borders of the United States. Put one on the east coast, one on the west coast and scatter several along our common border with Mexico. Let all and sundry know that here is the place to cross. Set up dormitories with a thousand beds. Take people in and test them for common communicable diseases, give them a visa. With enough medical staff and high-speed background checks, we should be able to process a couple of thousand at each station every 48 hours.

And, round up undocumented immigrants. Take them home, by bus if necessary.

Secure the borders. Let the world know that we're a shining beacon of opportunity, but that we respect our laws and will deport any that break the laws.

I believe that America is big enough for lots of immigrants. Certainly the recent history of undocumented immigration shows that for much of the world, America is still the place where people want to be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Preventive Maintenance

It's time to start worrying about springtime here in Central Louisiana. Temps today in the mid 70s and we're off and running for the grass cutting season. Thistles abound, and I hear mowers running all over the subdivision. Yeah, yeah, I know. We've still got the Easter cold snap to get through, but the grass is growing. Easter is late this year and it's the middle of March. If a cold snap is coming, it better get busy. Spring is upon us.

The guy across the street has already cut his yard twice.

I don't mind grass cutting, but I hate working on lawnmowers, so this year I started early. I got a new battery to replace the three-year-old one in the riding mower and I made sure the oil was changed and the electrical connectors were sound.

I just went out and started the riding mower and the push mower. Both fired-off with minimal effort. Tomorrow and Friday are long days at the school. We've got an open house scheduled along with a softball game tomorrow and on Friday, we've got both a district track meet and the ROTC military ball scheduled. PawPaw has two long days on tap, so don't look for any blogging till the weekend.

Saturday morning I'll mow the grass for the first time this season.

Well, Duh!

Gun buy-backs don't really affect street crime. For starters, the price paid is often ridiculously low for a functioning firearm, and criminals don't want to show up around the police with a gun.

It looks like the folks in New Orleans are learning that lesson.
(New Orleans) -- Give up your guns and get some greenbacks. Nice concept, but not for cutting down street crime according to law enforcement experts interviewed by ABC26 News today.

Clergy members and cops today announced another gun buy-back event scheduled for next month, but one gun guru and deputy chief say such programs don't necessarily stamp out street crime.

District Attorney investigator, firearms instructor and contracted fugitive transporter, Michael Jurina said buy-back programs are great for getting guns from well-intentioned people who either want to get rid of a rusty weapon or avoid becoming another statistic. Jurina added the programs are best for preventing potential accidental discharges, not for stopping street crimes.
As an avid gun collector and hobbyist, I know that some guns shouldn't be fired. At some point in any gun's life it eventually becomes worn-out and unsafe. These firearms are normally relegated to a top shelf in a closet and sometimes don't see the light of day for decades. They become worthless. Moreso if it is a piece that was inexpensive when new. These are perfect pieces for a buy-back.

The problem for buy-back guns, is how to dispose of them. Certainly, any police officer who participates should do a couple of things. First, run the serial number through NCIC. If the gun is stolen, the police would certainly want to return it to it's rightful owner and investigate the person who turned it in.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, take the guns to a ballistic lab and have them test fired. Check the basic bullet markings against known gun-crime bullets in your area. The greatest irony of a gun buy-back would be to buy the gun that police have been looking for to solve a murder or string of murders. I've got to note that getting this type of data is time-consuming and that the gun has to be treated as evidence the whole time.

So, when conducting a buy-back, it's incumbent on the agency to get enough data from those turning in the gun so that they can be tracked if it turns out the gun is evidence of a crime.

Gun buy-backs are a pain in the butt for thinking police officers.

Then too, we have to remember that New Orleans is the place where the last gun confiscations happened during a natural disaster. New Orleans Police Department still has guns that they seized during the Katrina debacle and have not returned. Suits are still pending in that matter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Some idiot Senator from Iowa has lost his damned mind. And yeah, so we don't have to play "Guess The Party", he's a Republican.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested on Monday that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.

The Republican lawmaker's harsh comments came during an interview with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT. They echo remarks he has made in the past about corporate executives and public apologies, but went further in suggesting suicide.

"I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed," Grassley said. "But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.
This guy is around the bend. He should immediately be censored by the Republican leadership. Better yet, drummed from the party and impeached from the Senate, if such a thing is possible.

Not only has he over-reached the bounds of political discourse, he's insulted one of our trading partners.

He should do the honorable thing. Resignation. Not seppaku.

Hat tip to Mostly Cajun.

How progressive are you?

This quiz, over at American Progress.org intends to rank people on how liberal or conservative they might be. I've taken it twice in the last two days, and like many of these quizzes, my answers varied some from day to day.

However, when I took it today, I learned:
Your ideological score is 124/400. This makes you very conservative. The average score for Americans is 209.5
The hell you say. Yesterday when I took it, I got a score of 104/400.

Hat tip to Grim's Hall.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bass Tournament

Today, under leaden skies, rain-soaked skies, I helped the Boy Scouts conduct a bass tournament at Woodson's Landing on the Saline-Larto complex. It was a small tournament as such things go, but there were four others in the area and we attracted twenty boats and raised some money for Scouting.

Above, a view of the landing and the tournament stage. We had a fair number of sponsors and were able to give some good prizes, to include a small boat, motor and trailer as a door prize.

The fellow in the Scout shirt weighing the bass is Phillip Kubes. He and I were Scouts together as boys. His dad and mine were best friends.

We had a good time, cooked a bunch of food to share and give away, and told lies to each other. Laughter and fellowship with dear old friends. And we made some money for the Boy Scouts. It was a good day.

The guys that shared my Scouting experience as a youth are all life-long friends. There are so many shared experience, both enjoyable and uncomfortable that shape who we are, what we've done, and how we live our lives today. I like spending time with guys who know that On My Honor is the first oath we shared.

I've taken other oaths during my life, but the one I learned at age 11 has done more to shape my life than any of the others. That first one taught me how to live by an oath.

Geese in the yard

Years ago, as a boy, I was enamored of Canada geese, probably because they were forbidden from the game lists in Louisiana. Every so often, a small gaggle would fly past the blind and I'd watch them, enraptured with their majesty and beauty. They always seemed the very essence of wild freedom, of traveling to far-flung lands and having homes on the wind.

Thirty years ago the Canada goose was endangered and a worthy game animal. They mate for life and travel together. Wary birds, they normally eschew human contact. They were wild and free and don't mix with humans.

Nowadays I live in a subdivision that surrounds a water-filled gravel pit. It's a lake of sorts and we fish in it, look at it, skip rocks across it. The grandkids love that I have a lake and we use it often.

Today we have two mating pairs on the lake behind the house. They roam the yards eating greens and whatever else a goose might find to eat. It's not at all uncommon to go out for the morning paper and find geese grazing near the driveway culverts.

It's jarring. We don't seem to bother them at all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wal-Mart down

We learn this afternoon that Wal-Mart, the huge retailer has been downgraded as a stock, based on fears that Card-Check legislation might affect the profitability of the company. According to Reuters:
March 10 (Reuters) - Citigroup downgraded Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) to "hold" from "buy" saying the proposed card check legislation would increase laborcosts and could be a significant drag to earnings for the world's largest retailer.

"We believe that WMT would be the primary target if EFCA/card check were to be passed," analyst Deborah Weinswig wrote in a note to clients.
Isn't that just fine and dandy. It hasn't passed yet and the threat of it is causing stocks to fall. According to the same article:
The legislation will be introduced on Tuesday in the U.S. Congress and if passed, it will make it easier for workers to unionize.

Known as "card check" or Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the legislation would let employees form a union if a majority of them in a workplace sign authorization cards. Wal-Mart shares closed at $47.51 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to market data, Wal-Mart closed today at $48.94.

Card-Check is a bad idea. A horribly bad idea. It's big labor's main objective at this point and it's bad for the economy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jackie and Dunlap

Jackie and Dunlap, over at Red State Update, talk about Bobby Jindal's speech last week.

Somehow, I missed both the speech and the coverage, so I'm glad I got this review from the boys over at Red State.


Alabama and Germany

My wife and I both have family in Alabama, and indeed one of my grandchildren was born in Birmingham, AL.

By now we've all heard of the horrific shootings that occurred there yesterday and we've all read the conflicting reports as the police and the news media try to get the story right.

And we've heard of the horrific school shooting in Germany, where a former student went into a school and murdered several people.

Both of these incidents are tragedies of the first order and I have no compulsion to dance in the blood of the victims. Mothers in both incidents are crying tonight, trying to make sense out of what is a senseless tragedy.

The anti-gunners are already ramping up the outrage. The Brady Bunch is timely off-the-mark with a call for more gun control laws. (They get no links from me, the worthless bastards.)

My question to them is a simple one. If rigid gun control laws prevent such shootings as the one that occurred in Alabama, how is it that such a thing occurred in Germany? How did the rigid laws in Germany prevent that tragedy?

My thoughts and prayers go out to the survivors of each incident.

Pelosi's Plane

I know that we've got Air Force One for the President, and if Smokin' Joe needs to go somewhere, I guess the Air Force should whistle up something for him, but the Speaker of the House? I didn't know we flew her around.

Looks like she's using the Air Force as her own personal airline.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly requested military aircraft to shuttle her and her colleagues and family around the country, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group.

Representatives for Judicial Watch, which obtained e-mails and other documents from a Freedom of Information request, said the correspondence shows Pelosi has abused the system in place to accommodate congressional leaders and treated the Air Force as her "personal airline."
It seems that she's pissed off because the Air Force has told her it has no G5s available for the Memorial Day weekend.

The G5 is the Gulfstream V aircraft, also known as a C-37A. It looks like this:

It's a nice ride. Still, she doesn't deserve anything like that. If I were the Air Force general in charge of Speaker Pelosi's transportation, what I'd give her would be more in line with something like this:

I'd park a raggedy J3 at Andrews and paint her name on the window. It would be available to her at any time.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Body Shop

I went by the body shop to check on my truck today. When I got there the owner of the shop was finishing the disassembly of the damage and was ready to call in a parts and labor estimate to the insurance company.

I was concerned that the damage to the vehicle might exceed the economic value of the vehicle, resulting in it becoming "totalled". He told me that the impact didn't get into the frame rails, the radiator and condenser were still intact and that most of the damage was in the sheet metal. I'll need a new bumper, grille, hood, and maybe a left front fender. Maybe not. I'll also need new bumper hangers. Those are "crushable" and they're crushed, but they're easily replaced. New lights on the drivers side. But, the damage isn't as bad as I originally thought.

He doesn't think the vehicle is totalled and he's in the business to know such things. That's good. So far, I've been very pleased with this pickup truck and even though it's got over 130,000 miles, it's still good for another couple of years. The big plus is that it's paid for and I'm not in the mood for a truck note right now. If I can drive it for another year or so, more the better.

Shopping in Texas

Or Louisiana, or any gun friendly state.

My good friend David sent me this one.

Thanks, David.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday skeet

My eldest grandson got a shotgun for Christmas. A Mossberg 20 gauge. We were waiting for a temperate Sunday afternoon to shoot it and today presented itself.

We went out to the Woodworth range, where they have a 5-station skeet setup. We were alone on the range, so we started him out on an easy incoming target and practiced that until he could break it regularly. Then we went to a going-away target and worked on that till he figured it out. After he was comfortable with the range and the format, we began letting him call for any target he wanted to shoot. He is still having trouble with the crossing shots and I don't think he hit the rabbit target at all today.

The rabbit is a vicious little clay target that rolls along a strip of rubber at about 60 miles per hour. It's a blur as it goes across the range. Everyone has trouble with it. Everyone.

Still, we were out in the air with a couple of 20 gauge shotguns, shooting together on a Sunday afternoon. Being out with a grandson, shooting, is a fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Barney Frank, Hypocrite

Barney Frank wants to prosecute those most responsible for the financial meltdown, brought about by the bursting of the housing bubble. No shit, this is too funny to be fiction. From Reuters:
Now Frank is signaling that he, at least, is ready to begin the equally tough job of trying to fix the financial oversight system to prevent a repeat of the current crisis.

Wrongdoers will be prosecuted, he said. The committee will ask U.S. law enforcement authorities about their plans to prosecute executives and institutions that contributed to the worst financial crisis in generations.

"The American public has the right to know what enforcement actions are contemplated against those irresponsible and, in some cases, criminal actions that led to the current situation," Frank said.
Good job, Barney. Turn yourself in to the local prosecutor's office, because as it turns out, you're the person primarily responsible for the housing bubble. From the wayback machine we learn that President Bush asked Congress for an initiative to regulate Fannie and Freddie and that Congress wouldn't let him do it. Who stood in the way of regulating the housing sector? Ole Barney himself.
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
Yeah, old Barney was at the center of the housing bubble, propping it up. He wanted the bubble.

And you have to wonder why. Well, it's because his gay lover worked at Fannie Mae. Yeah, that's right.
WASHINGTON — Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefitted from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.

So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.
Ouch! That's gotta hurt. It's a clear conflict of interest, but Barney, being ethically challenged, doesn't see it.

It's clearly a double-standard. If a Republican congressman got caught pushing initiatives that benefit his girlfriend, it would be a clear case, but because Barney is gay, no one wants to talk about it.
Frank met Moses in 1987, the same year he became the first openly gay member of Congress.

"I am the only member of the congressional gay spouse caucus," Moses wrote in the Washington Post in 1991. "On Capitol Hill, Barney always introduces me as his lover."

The two lived together in a Washington home until they broke up in 1998, a few months after Moses ended his seven-year tenure at Fannie Mae, where he was the assistant director of product initiatives. According to National Mortgage News, Moses "helped develop many of Fannie Mae’s affordable housing and home improvement lending programs."
Barney needs to shut the hell up and step the hell down. He's guilty as sin, and that from just the troubling perspective of a little blogger in Louisiana who had ten minutes to do a little Googling. Give a good federal prosecutor the keys and ole Barney might be doing the perp walk.

Even Bill Clinton thinks that the Democrats hold the lions share of the blame in the housing crisis.
"I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president, to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Clinton said recently.
And Barney was leading the pack.

Card Check

You remember the secret ballot, where your vote was counted later. Well, union officials don't like the secret ballot. They want Card Check, which means that union organizers get to stand over your shoulder while you vote and look at the mark you put on the paper. They say is makes it easier for them, and I guess it does.

The EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) is neither about the employee or about free choice. It's a union tool, purely and simply.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Well, hell.

Poor ole Hillary. You remember her? Our Secretary of State? It seems that the guys at State can't speak Russian. And it shows.
GENEVA—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.

Instead of "reset," Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”
That's funny, right there, I don't care who you are.

And it's telling. The word "overcharge" might be just the right word.

Unintended Consequences

PawPaw was involved in a traffic accident this morning, headed to work.

Yes, I'm fine. Yes, the other driver is fine. Thanks for asking. She pulled out in front of me and our vehicles met. her's on the right rear corner. Mine on the front left corner. We've both got insurance and my vehicle was towed.

It just goes to show you that you never know when your day will be disturbed.

I'm home right now, talking with insurance agents and trying to get a rental vehicle. I should be back at work later today.

It's just a matter of doing the paperwork. Really, everyone is okay.

San Antonio, March 6, 1836

If you are reading this after daylight, in San Antonio on March 6, 1836, the battle was over. It was a Saturday. Santa Anna had begun his attack before daylight and the defenders of the Alamo were dead. The battle had lasted about ninety minutes. Estimates of the Mexican dead ranged between 60 and 2000, with most historians today placing the number somewhere between 400 and 600 killed. Probably a like number were wounded. It was a tremendous casualty rate. The Texians had acquitted themselves well and had dealt a harsh blow to the Mexican army.

Popular history tells us that a few of the defenders were captured alive and that Santa Anna ordered their execution. Santa Anna had the women and children brought to him. He interviewed Susanna Dickinson (the widow of Almeron Dickinson) and allowed her to leave unmolested. He wanted her to carry the news to the settlers that he was victorious.

Sam Houston continued to try to raise and train an army to resist Santa Anna.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

San Antonio, March 5, 1836

There are some things we know about San Antonio on March 5, 1836. It was cold. Very cold. Just a few weeks earlier, it had snowed on Santa Anna's army as it marched up from Mexico.

Inside the Alamo, a small band of Texians were hold up, waiting. The main body of Santa Anna's army had arrived several days earlier and were steadily gaining reinforcements. The men and women inside the Alamo were cut off from aid and were expecting a general attack. They had been under constant bombardment for twelve days. No one had been injured by the Mexican artillery to this point.

William Barrett Travis called a meeting, probably in the afternoon and told everyone assembled that he expected an attack and that the garrison would be put to the sword. He told his command that anyone who wanted to leave could drop over the wall and take their chances. History tells us that one man, Louis "Moses" Rose chose to leave and deserted that evening.

Travis had approximately 200 fighters inside the walls. Historians have tried to put a number on the men inside the walls and even today can't decide on a firm number. The last one I saw set the number at 195. The number is of little concern. Travis also housed a number of non-combatants; women, children, and slaves. The fighters had no doubt about their fate, because Santa Anna had raised the flag that meant no prisoners would be taken. He considered them pirates, rebels, traitors to Mexico.

History tells us that shortly after dark, the Mexican artillery fell silent. Popular legend has it that Crockett played his fiddle from the rampart, buoying the spirits of the men inside. Fires were lit and the men gathered in small groups, contemplating the morning. As the evening progressed it got quieter inside the mission and the men fell asleep.

The weather continued to be bitterly cold.

Civics lesson, my butt.

The Oyster, (bless his heart) was over at his blog, talking about Joseph Cao, the new US Representative from Louisiana's 2nd District. He and I like Cao, although for probably different reasons. Anyway, the Oyster was talking about Cao's vote on the stimulus bill and quoted a Huffpo article where Cao was having some lighthearted banter with members of the press.
He then added that party shouldn't define a member of Congress and that "we are basically servants of the citizens of the United States."
In comments, I objected to the "basically" remark and said.
No, Congressmen are actually public servants. They are in public service. Their entire function in life is to serve the people in their district.

They should be reminded of this fact regularly by their constituents.
The Oyster made a comment on my little blog and said that he had to give me a civics lesson in a post update. So, I went back to his post, where I found this little nugget.
In the comments Paw Paw claims that "the entire function" of U.S. Reps "is to serve the people in their district."

Not so. U.S. Reps swear to support and defend the Constitution, they do not swear to only serve the people of their district.
Well, Oyster, you're right about the oath. Public officers of the United States take an oath of office. They all basically say the same thing with minor variations, but in the case of a US Representative, the oath is as follows:
"I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
This is generally the same oath that all public officers of the United States take. I've taken it four times. As a young, brash lieutenant of our Army I first took it upon assuming the privileges of an officer. I understood then and I understand now that the oath was to the Constitution. My primary function, however, was to my soldiers and the officers appointed over me.

Cao's duties as a public officer vary, but the entire function of his job is to represent the people who sent him to Congress. It's that old "representative republic" thing. His job is to represent the people of Louisiana's second district while supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.

Then, we should go to Article 1 of the US Constitution, which sets forth the basic functions of the US House of Representatives. There, we learn that among other things, the House is elected from the people and is expected, among other things, to:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States
So, keeping in mind that Cao is supposed to represent the people, while honoring his oath to the Constitution, I would argue that his NO vote on the stimulus was completely in keeping with his duties and consistent with his oath of office.

This stimulus package has created the greatest destruction of personal wealth in the United States in this century. It threatens to burden us with massive debt for many years to come. It is neither an investment, nor is it helping with the recovery. It's a huge spending bill. I would submit that a vote FOR the stimulus was directly in violation of the Constitution to "provide for the general welfare of the United States". Creating the conditions for the destruction of untold wealth in the form of pensions, 401K's, stock portfolios and annuities is not providing for the general welfare of the United States. Some would argue that it hinders the general welfare.

Congress was wrong when they passed that bill. Our President was wrong when he signed it. As bad as the stimulus is, the budget is even worse.

Still, I like Cao. I think that he's going to do fine in Congress. As long as he keeps his job firmly in his head, and keeps his sense of humor about him.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Daily Wipe

That's what Daddy always called the local newspaper, the Daily Wipe.

The headline yesterday was a telling indicator about what passes for news around here: Beaver Dams Hinder Drainage. I'm not kidding.
By damming drainageways, beavers are exacerbating a problem that flooded homes at least twice last year, after Hurricane Gustav in September and during heavy rains in early December.

Rapides Parish Engineer Pete Bruce called it a parishwide problem.

Given the beavers' preference for slow-moving streams and rivers with muddy bottoms and plenty of trees, Rapides and most of Cenla are like paradise for them.
My lady was born and raised in the woods near Jena Louisiana. I was born in Alexandria, but I spent my childhood traipsing the woods and fields around central Louisiana, and raised my family on a small farm in Natchitoches Parish.

When I brought in the newspaper, we both looked at it and I commented on the front page headline. Beaver Dams Hinder Drainage.

She looked at me over coffee. "No shit? Wonder what clued them in?"

"Probably all that water backing up." I pulled on my boots and headed out the door.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Gun epiphany

Over at Oleg Volk's The High Road, there is a great thread on how people came to be gun nuts. The title of the thread is Gun epiphany - what happened to you. My reply is as follows:
I was a gun nut from the beginning. I wore out two Daisy BB guns before I was eleven years old, then stepped up to a Crosman pump pellet rifle. Dad was a duck hunter and I bought my first shotgun at age 13. (That was legal in those days.) I ordered it through a rod and gun club where Dad was a member.

After college I went into the Army and learned all I could about tank warfare, long distance gunnery, etc, etc. After the Army, I fell into law enforcement. Up till that time I had never sighted on a live human being. Being around guns and shooting was an academic exercise and hobby.

That all changed one afternoon in the early 1980's. My partner and I were serving a warrant on a felon who had skipped parole. We happened to learn where he was hiding out and went to get him. We split up to cover the corners of the house and I happened to notice the felon watching my partner. He held a gun in his hands. I drew my revolver, propped against a convenient corner and told the felon to drop his gun. He turned his head to look at me. (I remember this more plainly than I remember putting my boots on this morning.)

For reasons I still don't understand today, (and in violation of all my training) as that felon turned his head to look at me, I thumb-cocked that Model 66. He put his hands in the air, dropped his weapon and proned-out on the ground.

After we booked him, he told the jailer that when he looked at me, he saw the cylinder turn and knew he was a dead man.

That afternoon was an epiphany for me. Being a gun nut became more than just a hobby and I seriously began to study my craft.

Years later, I carried my partner to his grave. He had choked to death, of all things, on a hamburger.

Twenty-six years later, I'm still doing the job.
This is one of the best threads I've seen on the High Road.us. Oleg Volk does a great service to the gun community by hosting this forum. If you're serious about guns, this is a great place to hang out.

Go read.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Gun Rights in D.C.

Senator David Vitter sent me an email telling me that he had co-sponsored a measure that was amended to a bill that would restore the gun rights of D.C. residents.

It passed the US Senate, 62-36. Great. It goes to the House now. If I'm reading this bill right, when it passes, all you'll need to buy an AR in our capital is the money and a 4473. Just like almost everywhere else in the nation.

It'll be interesting to see who opposes it. After Holder's gaffe last week, it'll be really interesting to see who opposes it.