Thursday, April 30, 2009


Two items blooming in the back yard.

First, the asiatic lilly.

Then, the climbing roses on the arch near the back yard gate.

Springtime in Louisiana. Take time to smell the flowers.

Today in History

April 30, 1975 is the generally accepted date of the Fall of Saigon. The end of the Viet Nam war. The date when the American presence in Viet Nam was distilled down to the roof of one apartment building near the American Embassy.

I was a senior in college at the time. In sixteen more days, I would take the oath of an Officer in the United States Army, and commence upon a career that spanned 25 years and caused me much pride and pain and joy and sadness. I still love the Army and the soldiers that serve in it.

Most people don't realize that it wasn't the military that lost Viet Nam. It was the Congress. Totally controlled by the Democrats, they cut off funding to the Vietmamese Government. No, the military didn't lose the war. The last US combat unit had left Viet Nam in 1972. The North Viets had signed peace accords and had agreed to not militarily conquer the South. They lied, as Communists will always lie. The Democrats in Congress allowed it to happen.

Maybe it was supposed to be. I don't know, even at this late date, if that country was worth saving. I entered a military that was at a low ebb. Drugs were rampant. Lots of senior officers and enlisted were retiring. Gerald Ford was president. It ws a hell of a time to be a soldier.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spitzer on guns

Did y'all see that Eliot Spitzer, the whoremonger ex-governor of New York, has come out of hiding long enough to give us advise on gun control. Yeah, that's right. He wants to advise us.

Just for the record, he feels that our President should accomplish gun control not by legislation, but by fiat. Yeah. By executive order.
Political reality makes even a modest gun law a difficult legislative sell. But if the Obama administration really cares about limiting gun violence, it could pursue a different strategy, one that doesn't involve Congress and isn't likely to provoke a storm of opposition.
What he's proposing, actually, is that the government only buy guns from companies who toe the line, whatever line that might be.
Modern government is not only a lawmaker. Indeed, the most effective executive powers may not derive from statutes at all. The government that President Obama oversees is also a gigantic, well-funded procurement agent. And it can—and should—use that power to change American gun policies.
I can see where this is going. If you want to sell to the government, you've got to quit selling to.. who?
More fundamentally, companies could be told to stop selling certain types of weapons to the general public. If a manufacturer did not comply with any of the limitations, then it would be excluded from the list of companies with which the government would do business.
Yeah, that's where I thought he was going with that. Then he goes and gets all socialist on us.
In this era of government ownership of financial institutions, we are getting more used to the notion that government as an economic actor can exercise its power in differing ways. After all, firms that received TARP money are subject to a bevy of pay restrictions—wisely constructed or not—and were forced to cancel showy parties and retreats.

If we can use a capital infusion to a bank as an opportunity to control executive compensation and to limit use of private planes, why can't the government use its weight as the largest purchaser of guns from major manufacturers to reward companies that work to keep their products out of criminals' hands? Put another way, if it is too difficult to outlaw bad conduct through statutes, why not pay for good conduct? Why not require vendors to change their behavior if they want our tax dollars?
Well, Eloit, to answer your question, no we're not getting used to the notion that goverment as an economic actor can exercise it's power in differing ways. I'm personally not used to that idea at all. It smacks of socialism.

I'd recommend that gun manufacturers follow the example of Ronnie Barrett and refuse to sell to any agency who tries to push such nonsense. Ronnie's guns were outlawed in the state of California for regular citizens, and Barrett quit selling to California agencies. In his words:
Barrett cannot legally sell any of its products to lawbreakers. Therefore, since California's passing of AB50, the state is not in compliance with the US Constitution's 2nd and 14th Amendments, and we will not sell nor service any of our products to any government agency of the State of California.
Ronnie Barrett is a great man, a great business man, and a staunch defender of the 2nd and 14th Amendments. I can't see that refusing to sell to California has hurt his business any. To the contrary, it seems to have helped him.

My last words to Eliot Spitzer? Hey, Eliot! Go play with your whores and leave the rest of us alone. You had your chance and you blew it. Blew it. Heh!

New Stock

Some of my regular readers, (both of you) might remember when I dropped my Savage out of a stand last November and broke the stock. For the record, here's the picture.

Then, I hemmed and hawed and worried about which stock to get. I ordered one from Boyd's, but their customer service is the worst in the world. After four months and numerous emails, I decided I wasn't going to hear from them, so I cancelled the order.

Then, I started looking again for gun stocks. Flipping through a Brownell's catalog one day last week, I noticed an unassuming entry for something called a Wood Plus stock (catalog 984-000-003). It's just a plain-jane walnut stock and the price is right. I looked for them on-line, but Wood Plus doesn't seem to have a web site. They sell through Brownell's though, so I ordered one, along with a metal trigger guard, #855-000-078.

I'm convinced that someone at Brownell's is paid to fill orders, because the next thing that I knew, I got an email telling me that the order had been shipped. Today when I got home, I found the package on my doorstep.

No, it wasn't a drop-in fit, but it was close. A half-hour's work with a rat-tailed file and it dropped in. I needed to relieve a little wood around the trigger so that all the little bits would move easily. You can, of course, click the picture for a bigger view.

Nice job, eh? I like it. I'll have to mount the scope, and take it to a gunsmith for a recoil pad. All of my rifles have recoil pads. I've also got to decide whether or not to bed the rifle. When I was putting it together, I noticed that the Wood Plus people had machined out a notch behind the recoil shoulder in case I decided to bed it. that's a nice touch. I'll probably shoot it, then decide.

The barrel channel is already relieved enough so that the barrel floats. It seems to be a well-made hunting stock. I like it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter switches parties

I understand that Arlen Specter, Republican from Pennsylvania, is switching parties. He's now going to be Democrat. Good for him. I'm sure that he'll continue to serve the good people of Pennsylvania.

Good for us. The Congress now has a majority of Democratic members, the Senate has a supermajority that can kill debate and move their agenda. The White House is firmly in Democratic party hands. There is no reason why they can't do everything they want to do. No reason at all. It's a win-win for one-party government.

So, they either have to govern, or shut-the-hell-up. They've got all the members they need to do anything they might need to do. The Republicans can't obstruct any item of their agenda. It's all Democratic all the time. They own it.

It's going to be an interesting ride. Some of us are going to be taking notes.

RIP, Pontiac

I understand that Pontiac has fallen under the knife and will no longer be. That's a shame, I guess. I've never owned a Pontiac although my first father-in-law owned several. He didn't cuss them, but he was a GM employee and a GM driver.

My room mate in College had a '48 Pontiac Sedan. We double-dated in it a couple of times. Once, there were six of us in that car. Two in the front and four in the back. It wasn't crowded back there, either. The seats had been re-covered in nylon seat covers and they were as slick as greased... well, they were slick.

I understand that Saturn has been whacked, too. As I recall, Saturn was formed to fix what was wrong with car companies and give consumers what they wanted. So much for that.

Oldsmobile is gone, and I'm given to understand that Hummer and Saab are on the block, too. That's five in GM's stable that are no longer viable marques. What's left? Chevy, GMC trucks, Cadillac and Buick? Did I forget any?

Lots of news agencies will be talking about the restructuring, but I'm told that the Government will be a majority shareholder. UAW is going to have a sizeable share, and the bond-holders will get a minority play. The question becomes, will the motoring public trust a company run by the government and the union? Trust them enough to actually buy cars and pickups from them? Trust them to stand behind their vehicles and honor warranties?

Who knows? It all depends on what the vehicles look like and how they perform. I'm not holding my breath that General Motors will be here in another year.

Carter on Guns

Did y'all see this. Our favorite kicking-boy President, James Earl Carter, holds forth in the New York Times, wondering where is the assault weapons ban?
THE evolution in public policy concerning the manufacture, sale and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons like AK-47s, AR-15s and Uzis has been very disturbing. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and I all supported a ban on these formidable firearms, and one was finally passed in 1994.
Really? You all supported it. We tried it for ten years and found that it didn't work. It was feel good legislation. Like most feel good legislation, it had no grounding in reality, so it had no influence on reality. It was allowed to expire.
I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes. I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office.
Here's where Jimmah establishes his cred as a hunter and firearms owner. A Fudd, if you will.
But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives.
Here's where he dances in the blood of the victims. Leftists always want to dance in the blood. Let's not debate something based on logic or reason. Let's talk about victims.
An overwhelming majority of Americans, including me and my hunting companions, believe in the right to own weapons, but surveys show that they also support modest restraints like background checks, mandatory registration and brief waiting periods before purchase. A majority of Americans also support banning assault weapons.
Oh, really, Jimmy? Which survey is that? I've done a lot of studying and I've never seen a survey like that. I've seen other surveys though, where a majority.. an overwhelming majority of people support the idea that you restrain yourself from lying to the American people.

Thanks, Jimmy, you lying sack of excrement! Your support of an assault weapons ban is a sure-fire indication of how left-wing an ideal it is. If you support it, it's a political loser. You're a political loser, Jimmy, and you have been since America woke up in 1979.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pool Opener

On the last Saturday in April, we generally celebrate Quinton's birthday and that's the day that the pool is opened. Every year they pester and beg and cajole and now they know that on Quinton's birthday, the pool is open.

Today I decided to learn to upload video and embed it in my blog. Here's a quick vid of the pool opener yesterday.

Other folks dropped by to enjoy the water, to include nieces Gabrielle and Olivia.

Here in Louisiana, it's the swimming season.

Iron Sights Sunday

I went to the range this afternoon with three rifles, all centerfire and all iron-sighted. First up was the Marlin 1894C, in .357 Magnum, with a handful of the Ranch Dog loads. This load consists of a standard primer, 12.0 grs of Alliant 2400 and the Ranch Dog TL-358-180-RF gas check bullet. It's potent medicine in the little carbine, and it shoots to nearly one ragged hole at 25 yards. At 50 yards it opens up a little bit, but I'm shooting into the front sight, so I really can't complain about the accuracy of that little rifle. The bullseye I use has a 6 inch bull and at 50 yards the bead on the front sight completely subtends that 6" bull.

Then, we switched to the Winchester 94 in .30-30. This rifle is one that I use as a loaner and grandkid rifle. I mounted a Willams FP sight, with a firesight front. It shoots okay, but I'm not satisfied with the load for that rifle. I've been trying to work up a 170 grain load, and the old standard, with 30 grains of IMR3031 and a Remington 170 grain round nose bullet, just doesn't shoot well in that rifle. I get groups in the neighborhood of 5 inches at 50 yards, centered on the bull. For any of these rifles, I eschewed the sandbags today, being content with resting my elbows on the bench and shooting them like I hunt. The sight on this rifle, again, completely subtends the bullseye, but I'd like to think that this load/rifle combination would do better than 5 inches, but alas. It would certainly knock a deer over, but I'm not happy with the accuracy of that rifle. More work is necessary.

The third rifle today was the Handi-Rifle in .45-70. It likewise sports a Williams peep sight and a front Firesight. Like the other two rifles, that Firesight subtends the 6" circle at 50 yards.

With my Sharps, I'm able to keep a 500 grain bullet inside two inches at 100 yards. For some reason, the Handi-Rifle doesn't like that load combination, so I went down to the 405 grain soft lead bullet that I cast from a Lee mold. I load it over 2.5 ccs of IMR 4895 with a tuft of pillow Dacron betwixt the bullet and the powder.

I haven't put this load over the chronograph yet, but I will soon. Recoil is stiff in the little Handi-Rifle, almost punishing. I hadn't sighted the little rifle with this load, indeed, this was the first time I've tried IMR4895 in this caliber.

The more I use IMR 4895 the more I am amazed at the versatility of the powder. Originally designed as a military powder for the .30-06, it is one of those sleeper powders that you turn to when you want a versatile, reliable powder. I've used it in .30-06, .308, .243, .25.06, .30-30, .35 Remington and now in .45-70. It may not be the best powder for every application, but it is a good powder in a lot of applications. Before supplies of surplus powder ran out, I bought an eight pound jug. I've got a little over half of it left.

I should have bought five of those jugs. At any rate, I'm pleased with the .45-70 load in the Handi-Rifle and I'm through with load development for that rifle. Next time I take it to the range, I'll take the chrony so that I can get some figures, but with the little rifle shooting into 1.5 inches, I'm satisfied with it as a deep-woods rifle. Did I mention that the recoil of this load is fairly stiff?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Think about this for just a minute:
The Treasury Department is preparing a bankruptcy filing for Chrysler as a matter of “due diligence,” Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said yesterday in an interview.
If the government is able to prepare a bankruptcy filing for Chrysler, what's to stop them from preparing a bankruptcy filing for you?

We've got a government that is too big and too powerful. It's time to rein them in.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More on 20 gauge

Responding to Rivrdog's comments, where he said:
I still recommend the 12 ga. Reduced-recoil loads are now available in 2 3/4", and mini-shells are available that reduce the recoil well below that of a 20-ga, but still deliver six 00 pellets at 1300 fps, or a 7/8 oz slug, same as a 20-ga.
That's true, Rivrdog, and for most users, and especially the ones who can only own one shotgun, the 12 gauge is certainly the most recommended choice. If a new gunner asks me what shotgun he should start with, I'll most often recommend a 12 gauge pump, either in Remington, Mossberg, or Winchester flavor.

That being said, my grandfather, and my first wife's grandfather both shot a 20 gauge to the exclusion of the other gauges. They believed that a 20 gauge didn't punish the shooter like a 12 gauge and held the opinion that the 20 gauge was so close in utility to the 12 gauge that the difference in recoil alone was worth having the smaller shot string. They were both market hunters in their youth and might shoot a couple of cases of shells during a duck season.

You're right in general that the 12 gauge is a more versatile bore and can be loaded up or down to suit the shooter.

One thing I've noticed recently is that the Winchester 1300 shotguns are looking like a good deal on the pawn shop shelves. The used 870's are starting to be pretty "picked over" and the Winchesters are languishing. I've been in the market for another 12 gauge pump and those 1300s are looking pretty good.

I've owned three or four of the Winchester 1300 series over the years. They've always been good dependable shotguns. The only one I have now is a 20 gauge, but I like it a lot. Probably in the next month or so, one will find it's way home. I'm looking for a 12 gauge, 28" vent-rib, with screw-in chokes. I don't currently own a 12 gauge sporting shotgun.

The POR economy.

From a Chicago paper, of all places, we learn that tax receipts are down 14 percent this year over last year.
This year, it’s shaping up to be the “Bailout Year Bummer.” Uncle Sam’s fiscal year began on October 1 of last year, mere days before Congress passed the legislation that has come to be known as TARP, and a bit more than three months after Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to starve the economy of energy and punitively tax its highest producers, creating what I have since called the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.

Through March, federal receipts were running 14% behind the previous year. Each month during the fiscal year has trailed the previous year, and degree of the difference has steadily increased.
I was pissed at President Bush over the bailout, because he's a smart guy, has an MBA, and was supposed to know better. I'm not pissed at President Obama over the bailout, because he's a lawyer, a socialist, and doesn't have a clue what he's doing. Being pissed at Obama over the economy is like being angry at the retarded guy who does what is in his nature. Be pissed at the handlers. The retarded guy can't help it.

I am pissed at folks like Geithner, who should have a clue what they're doing. Guys and gals like Geithner should be standing on the president's desk every day shouting "What the hell are you doing?" Advisers are supposed to ... advise... not be a yes man. Every time I look at Geithner, I feel like he's going to get on his knees in front of Obama and beg. The guy looks like such a twit. And, he's performing like a twit.

SO, Pelosi, Reid, and Obama promised to starve the economy of energy and punitively tax the best producers. Suddenly, tax receipts are down. How's that working out for you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ayoob on Shotguns

I've always been a fan of the 20 gauge shotgun for hunting and skeet shooting. I use a 12 gauge in my police work, but I've always maintained that the difference between the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge for self-defense is the difference between teeny and meeny. A 20 gauge #3 buckshot load carries 20 pellets of about .25 caliber. At any rational self-defense distance that load of 20 gauge buckshot is going to do all that needs to be done, with about half the recoil of the 12 gauge.

It looks like Mas Ayoob agrees. For those of you who don't know Ayoob, he's an old-time police officer and writer who is teaching for an outfit called ProArms.

So, for those folks who don't want the recoil of the 12 gauge shotgun, the 20 gauge is easily available. I own three or four because I like the gauge. As it turns out, it'll do the job just fine.

Hat tip to Xavier.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Take 'em down!

That's what the Chief of Police of Milwaukee, Wisconsin says his officer will do if some one exercises their civil rights. From Clayton Cramer:
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said he’ll continue to tell officers they can’t assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years.

"My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it," Flynn said. "Maybe I’ll end up with a protest of cowboys. In the meantime, I’ve got serious offenders with access to handguns. It’s irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just carry it openly no one can bother them."
The only problem with that approach is that the Wisconsin Attorney General has said that openly carrying firearms is perfectly legal in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Attorney-General recently issued an opinion that because of the Wisconsin Constitution's bear arms clause, the open carrying of a firearm is constitutionally protected, and by itself, does not qualify as disorderly conduct.
So, the Milwaukee PD will put people on the ground who are conducting themselves legally. That sounds like appropriate policy, right? It sounds like a good way to get sued under a 1983 civil rights action.

According to Snowflakes in Hell,
If the City of Milwaukee wants to deal with multiple federal civil rights suits, under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code, they’re welcome. In fact, I dare him to do what he’s suggesting. I would remind Cheif Ed Flynn that Section 1983 allows a plantiff to sue you personally, not just you in your official capacity, for violation of civil rights.
As I understand the federal civil rights statutes, that's right. Once the lawsuit is filed and the state says that they told the offending officer that such conduct was legal, the state can say that the Chief was acting "outside the scope of his employment" and voila, the suit becomes an action against the individual officer. That means that any awards granted are to be paid by the individual officer. The Chief is setting himself up for a multi-million dollar lawsuit that he'll be personally responsible to pay. They can attach his retirement, his paycheck, his personal assets. The Chief may wind up subsidizing someone's ammo bills for a long, long time. Any of his individual officers who have likewise been told that certain conduct is legal, may also be sued. Individual police officers are charged with obeying the laws and reporting orders that violate the civil rights of citizens. Our oath is to the Constitution and the law, not to the bureaucracy.

The "just following orders" defense died at Nuremburg.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer, but that's my cop-on-the-ground understanding of the civil rights laws.

**UPDATE** Here's the money quote from Clayton.
I do wish liberals would get past their enthusiasm for shoving people onto the ground for exercising their constitutionally protected rights. But then they wouldn't be liberals, would they?
Well, that's not absolutely correct. My best friend describes himself as a liberal, and he and I are sometimes worlds apart on social issues. He's next door to me on the gun issue, though, so not all liberals are screaming gun-banners.

**UPDATE** Instapundit logs in on the issue.
So if you see Police Chief Ed Flynn, put him on the ground, take his wallet away, and then decide whether he’s accepted any bribes that day. If, after doing that, you think the money’s his, give his wallet back. Who cares what the law says? It’s the Milwaukee Way!
And Insty is a law professor, so he knows what he's talking about.

Hat tips to everyone concerned.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More TSA nonsense.

I was digging around today on the TSA website, and found an interesting article on Fox News. It talks about the TSA not screening small airlines. Seriously.
- The federal government is once again trying to increase security at airports -- this time targeting private airplanes and their passengers.

Just a few steps after getting out of their car, passengers are on their plane and within moments will be airborne. No hassle flying-if you can afford it.
I started thinking about that, and was about to get riled up about the TSA extending their reach, increasing the size of the bureaucracy, but then it hit me.

If you're rich enough to afford a charter, you don't have to go through the TSA hassle.
Business groups are fighting the plans saying they would be too costly -- all at a time they simply can't afford it. They also say the rules are unnecessary. Most of their jets -- they insist – aren't targets for terrorists.
What they're really saying is that their high-roller clientele doesn't want to be subjected to the same hassle that the great unwashed masses are exposed to on a daily basis.

I'm wondering when Nancy Pelosi flies, does she go through the TSA screening? How about Harry Reid? This isn't about Democrats or Republicans. This is about class. If you've got enough political clout or money, you don't have to go through the TSA nightmare.

We've got two classes of people in the air. Those of us who have to let some government minion rifle through our bags and that other class who has the limo pull around to the hangar and they step onto the airplane.

That's bullshit. The rules ought to apply to everyone.

How about this for an idea? If you're a private pilot flying your own aircraft, the TSA gives you a pass. If you fly charters or commercial aircraft, in short, if the pilot needs a commercial ticket, then everyone and everything on the flight gets screened every time.

I'm getting ready to write my Congress critters. The same rules ought to apply to everyone.

New Keyboard

I've had the old HP laptop (Pavilion zv6000) for about four years. It's been a good machine, but recently the accumulated crud and crumbs from living on the dining room table had rendered the keyboard.. crunchy. The shift key on the left side didn't work and typing on this machine was getting to be an exercise in frustration. I blew it out occasionally as well as I could, but when the shift key popped off last week, I decided it was time for some maintenance.

So, I started digging around the web and found a place that sold keyboards for HP laptops. Then I found that I could download the HP service manual for the machine.

I got home today to find a package on the doorstep, so I started supper then went out on the workbench to install the new keyboard. It was easier than I thought it would be and typing on this new keyboard is like driving a new car. It's quick and responsive.

There's nothing like a new keyboard.

Monday, April 20, 2009


We got back to the airport last night about 10:30, came home, fell into bed and got up this morning to the work week.

Some thoughts on air travel. I haven't flown commercially since the early 1990s, so I remember walking into an airport, checking luggage, then hanging out in the terminal until the plane got to the gate. This trip was my first with the TSA. There is a world of difference in what was then and what is now.

I know that we're in a war that America realized we were in when Islamic terrorists used our own commercial airliners as bombs. I know that we've got to protect the flying public. Still, it rankles me to be searched in a public place, to submit to examination of my baggage, and to walk through a metal detector. I'm an American citizen, by God, and being searched is demeaning.

Another thing that rankles me is that the American public generally seems to not mind that they're searched every time that the embark on a commercial aircraft. When I was in the livestock business, I herded cattle through chutes for branding, steering, and worming. Standing in line at the TSA counters felt to me like we were being herded.

There were signs telling us that the TSA employees were trying to do a job and make sure that we were safe. The signs said that we shouldn't submit them to verbal abuse, battery, or spitting, and if we did so, we'd be prosecuted. To be frankly honest, up until that time I had never considered spitting on a TSA employee, but by the time I had gone through the drill, I was amazed that the screeners hadn't drowned in saliva.

Watching them in the airport made me think of the old movies of the Nazis in the train stations, asking people for their papers. I'm sure that was for the safety of the people too.

The people just took it, like sheep. I took it, although it rankled me. I didn't want to cause a scene in the airport. It would embarrass my wife and probably cause a delay in my travel, but I stayed pissed off the whole time I was in the airport. I walked around watching TSA employees, thinking that they were one step from the Gestapo, searching people without cause, being willing minions to an immoral agency.

I may fly again, but there are lots of things that I'll do differently. I know now what to pack, what not to pack, and how to minimize my exposure to the TSA. Those bastards get nothing from me but barely concealed hostility.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday touring

We toured around St. Augustine today with our daughter-in-law, Melissa, and the grandson. We went to the Flagler museum, with is devoted to the gilded age of American history. Lots of nice stuff in the museum. Here's a picture from one of the galleries. You can, of course, click for a bigger picture.

For supper, we went to a little restaurant on A1A the kids said they'd like to try, the Sunset Grill. It's a seafood restaurant near the beach, and comes highly endorsed by the locals. (Joey said that he's tried to get in before and the line was too long.) We started the meal with appetizers; seafood stuffed potatoes and oysters on the half-shell. I had shrimp and scallops with tomatoes, basil, and mushrooms over pasta. Milady had seared grouper, DIL had skewers of shrimp, son had chicken primavera. We passed plates around and it was all wonderful. The best meal I've had in months.

If you're ever in St. Augustine, stop by the Sunset Grill. It'll be worth your time.

Tomorrow, after we check out of the hotel, we're going to eat breakfast with the grandson, take a few last pictures, the head to the airport. We should be back in Alexandria tomorrow night, in time to get ready to start the week.

Friday, April 17, 2009

St. Augustine

This is a pretty little town, I'll give it that. Lots of color, on the buildings and in the characters.

We toured the Spanish quarter this morning and walked across the Castillo, the fort. It's interesting what a couple of hundred years of fort building will get you, and what's Spanish and what's not. The cannons? Many are not and have no historical tie to the fort. They've been donated and provide color. Here's a view from the battlement looking toward the port inlet.

We're supposed to meet the kids for supper in about an hour. More later.

Demon Denim

George Will has a bug up his butt over denim. I was surfing the Post and saw his screed and wondered what in the world has gotten into him.
On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim.
I'm left wondering what the problem is? Is George too haughty for denim? Or does he think it's too tacky to dress in a uniquely American pants?

Rachel Lucas chimes in, talking about denim overseas.
Jeans are an American uniform, and Americans wear them because they’re infantile? Huh. I wonder if that means the 80% of people in denim in the photos I posted this week of Amsterdam are redneck ‘Murricans. They sure must be some smart infantile rednecks because I overheard many of them speaking, and you’d never know so many infantile redneck ‘Murricans could be fluent in German, French, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Italian, and Arabic.
When we hosted overseas students, the one clothing item they all wanted was bluejeans. They shipped them home in bulk.

I don't need to defend denim, so I only have one thing to say to George Will.

Hey, George! Screw you!

Hat tip to Rachel Lucas

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More pics from the Tea Party

Some more pics from the Alexandria Tax Day Tea Party.

Ha! I like that one.

Another look at the crowd.

What does the Tea Party Movement mean? Good question. I suspect that there were a lot of folks there who probably have never been to a political rally of any sort. Three in particular that I'm sure of. By and large, these weren't political folks, yet they showed up at a rally. Maybe that means that more folks are willing to get involved, given the current political climate.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party - Alexandria

This afternoon, Milady and I went down to the Alexandria Riverfront to attend the Alexandria-Pineville Tea Party. It was a beautiful afternoon, just right for being on the levee. Lots of like-minded folks joined us.

Lots of nice folks. I'd estimate the crowd at between 500 and 1000. Lots of patriotic songs and speech-ifying. It was an old-time event, set with new complaints.

Rodney Alexander (R-La, that dummy, my representative) spoke after the citizenry had their say. He'd have done better if he'd sat on the stage and listened.

Rodney, that dummy, got up to speak and tried to defend pork. Rodney thinks that his job is to bring the pork back to his district. He even goes so far as to spell it PORC (Projects of Regional Concern), but the boos from the crowd should have told him that Pork by any other name doesn't smell so sweet.

What was sweet was to watch Rodney get booed by a crowd that was predominately Republican. Granted, this was pitched as a bipartisan event, and I didn't see any party politics at the event. But when Rodney stood to defend his porky ways, the crowd booed him. Hopefully he had an epiphany this afternoon.

The police were surprised. I heard that they had predicted that no more than 100 people would show for the event. They were wrong, but we wouldn't have needed them if the crowd was twice as big.

It was a good day to be an American.

BAG Day Gun

This is the first April 15th in a long time that I haven't come home with a new gun.

BAG Day, of course, was started by the inestimable Kim du Toit, who thought it a good idea that everyone take a portion of their tax refund and buy a gun. Preferably around April 15th. The irony is rich.

But, I didn't this year, for a couple of fairly good reasons.

First, and foremost, is that I don't really have the inclination. I've got my guns, a goodly collection, each with its own purpose and discrete place in my battery. I might like to add another at some point, but right now I have the guns to do what I might need to do and don't have anything that's burning a hole in my psyche.

That's not to say I'm through buying guns. Quite the contrary. I know what I'm looking for and I'm perfectly capable of acquiring another couple of pieces. I'm looking, thank you, for some special pieces that I might like to own.

For example.

I don't own a really nice example of a 12 gauge sporting shotgun. I've got what I call the goose gun in the collection and I have some 20 gauge pumps and one .410 single shot, but I don't have a vent-rib 12 gauge. That's something I intend to remedy soon, but there aren't many examples in the used gun racks that have turned my eye. It's something to look for. I'm thinking an 870.

I'd really like a nice, wood-stocked quarter bore bolt gun, either .25-06, or .257 Roberts, or even .250 Savage. I've got my eye out for any of those.

Another rifle I like, and I'm always on the look-out for, is a nice example of a Remington pump. The 760/7600 series. I think those rifles are truly underrated and my collection could always use another. Something in short action, either .243, .308, or a quarter-bore. They're scarce as hen's teeth in these parts, and I'm always on the lookout for one in the used gun rack.

One other might be the Handi-Rifle in .30-30. Don't ask me why, because I really can't explain it. I'm awash in .30-30 rifles. I think I'd like to find one and put a scope on it, then load some .30-30 ammo with pointed bullets. Something nice and light, about 130 grains, and wring it out. I think that might be a lot of fun. I'm convinced that the .30-30 Winchester is one of the premier hunting cartridges of our time and that it's neglected by a lot of hunters. I like the .30-30 a lot, but I'm limited in bullet selection when I'm using the lever-action format. I'd like to have one rifle I could experiment on, because I think that there are things that caliber can do that we haven't found yet.

Yeah, yeah, I know all about GunBroker and like sites. I browse them, but when I want to buy a gun, I want to hold it and dicker with the counterman. I buy my guns locally.

So, what'd you get?

Anti-aircraft gun

Did you see the picture of the pretty young lady recently arrested in Mexico with the arsenal? The Mexican police are engaged in fighting drug cartels and found a young lady along with an arsenal of weapons used by the cartels. Of course, they seized everything, including the young lady. Good for them.

However, the strident trumpeting of the media in trying to describe the arsenal is over the top in volume and absolutely wrong in description.

Here's the picture so you can see it.

The article describes the gun:
Officers recovered a vast cache of weapons including an anti-aircraft gun capable of firing 800 shots per minute, five rifles, a grenade and part of a grenade launcher.
I'm no expert, but I'm fairly sure that the machine gun pictured is a Browning Model 1919. It fires the .30 caliber round so familiar to millions of American shooters. On that mount (properly called a pintle), it wouldn't serve as an anti-aircraft weapon because it's impossible to get enough elevation on the weapon. It's a good infantry machine gun for a number of purposes, but in that configuration, anti-aircraft duties ain't one of them. The article goes further:
The anti-aircraft gun, capable of penetrating armour from more than 5,000ft away and found attached to the top of a SUV, was the first of its type to be seized by Mexican police.
I don't know what sort of armor the gun would penetrate at nearly a mile range, but I'd wager that it would not penetrate the light armor found on most HMMWVs today.

This is just another example of the over-the-top reporting done by most news agencies who have no clue about firearms in general and military firearms in particular. It seems to me that most news agencies would do well to consult with knowledgeable experts before pontificating on weapons.

They found an old machine gun, five rifles, a grenade, and part of a grenade launcher. Oh, yeah, that's a large arsenal. Yeah, right.

Pretty girl, though.

Hat tip to The Smallest Minority, and Instapundit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Acer Aspire One Netbook

Milady got a wild hair yesterday and we went shopping for a netbook. I had looked at them briefly over the last several months and had wondered about them. She had been doing some research and wanted to go shopping prior to the Florida trip.

We found some at Sam's Club but they were sold-out, only had the demonstrator model available. We went over to Office Depot and found the Acer Aspire One netbook. It's the 10 inch version, not the smallest of the bunch. We paid about what Amazon advertises them for at the link.

It's a little darlin'. It doesn't have a CD/DVD drive, but it does have a 160 gig hard drive and 1 gig of memory. Set up was quick and easy and she's using it for web surfing, checking email, and playing solitaire. It weighs three pounds, less than half of what my laptop weighs. It should be great for travel. I need to buy a memory stick so that we can transfer some pictures from my laptop to her little netbook.

I was amazed a computer prices while we were shopping. I bought my current laptop, an HP, about three years ago and as much as I like it, I could buy a better laptop today for less than half of what I paid for this one.

We live in the future. GPS, small portable computers. Stuff I didn't even dream about when I was a child.

Spring Break

I'm on Spring Break this week. School's out, and I'm at home without adult supervision.

Yesterday, eldest son and I went to Momma's house and did some mechanic-ing on some small engines. The log splitter and Daddy's weedeater hadn't been started in several years and we completed the necessary maintenance to get them running. We also did preventive maintenance on the emergency power generator. After we finished, eldest son used the weedeater on the banks of the pond.

Today I'm taking it easy, cooking a Weight Watcher's potato chowder. Except, I'm making a couple of changes. No barley. No thyme. And, instead of Canadian Bacon, I'm substituting cajun Tasso. Milady ran the numbers through her Weight Watcher's calculator and found that Tasso has the same point value as Canadian Bacon. Who knew you could find Fat Free Half-and-Half? Anyway, it's a great chowder and it cooks in about six hours in the crock pot.

Tomorrow I'll be watching grandkids while Momma works. It's good. It's very good. Then, late on Wednesday afternoon, Milady and I are going to the Cenla Tea Party.

Thursday, we're heading to Florida. Going to see the younger grandkid. I'm really looking forward to that trip. We're flying and I haven't flown since pre-9/11/2001. It'll be interesting to see what changes have emerged.

No, I'm not afraid of flying. I used to rappel from helicopters for fun and profit. I've flown on aircraft with web seats, often with multiple dozens of my compadres, all dressed alike and carrying firearms. I quit that foolishness when I retired the first time.

I'm really looking forward to this week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More on Taxes

From the Wall Street Journal:
A very small number of taxpayers -- the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year -- pay 72.4% of the nation's income taxes. They're the tip of the triangle that's supporting virtually everyone and everything. Their burden keeps getting heavier.

As a result of the 2001 tax cuts enacted by a bipartisan Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, the share of taxes paid by the top 10% increased to 72.8% in 2005 from 67.8% in 2001, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Contrary to the myth that Mr. Bush cut taxes only for the wealthy, the 2001 tax cut reduced taxes for every income-tax payer in the country. He reduced the bottom tax rate to 10% from 15% and increased the refundable child tax credit to $1,000 from $500 per child, both cuts that President Barack Obama says we should keep. In so doing, millions of lower income taxpayers were removed from the tax rolls, shifting the remaining burden to those at the top, even after their taxes were cut.

According to the CBO, those who made less than $44,300 in 2001 -- 60% of the country -- paid a paltry 3.3% of all income taxes. By 2005, almost all of them were excused from paying any income tax. They paid less than 1% of the income tax burden. Their share shrank even when taking into account the payroll tax. In 2001, the bottom 60% paid 16.3% of all taxes; by 2005 their share was down to 14.3%. All the while, this large group of voters made 25.8% of the nation's income.

It's interesting that earners making more than $92,400 are considered the top 10%, and that they pay over 70% of the nations income taxes.

And I wondered why my tax bill was so high this year. Milady and I don't consider ourselves as "wealthy" by any stretch. We're just two folks who've worked hard all out lives.

Everyone should pay income taxes, or no one should. The way our income tax based economy works, it's like a big, inverted ponzi scheme.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Piracy Update

There's an update on the recent story of pirates holding an American merchant marine captain.
MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) - An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a U.S. Navy operation that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.

One of the pirates was wounded and in custody after a swift firefight, the official said.
That's good news. Three pirates dead. One wounded.

What would make a perfect ending to this story? If the US Navy announced tomorrow morning that the surviving pirate had been tried at Captain's Mast, found guilty of piracy, and hanged.

Heavy weather

One heck of a line of thunderstorms are pounding Central Louisiana this afternoon.

The rain is coming down hard and the dog doesn't like the weather. He's sitting in here beside me, and he never sits with me. Not when Milady is in the house. This weather really bugs the dog.

It's a great afternoon for a nap. Milady is taking one. I dozed for a little while, but decided to watch the weather.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday morning shooting

Family is in for the Easter holiday and as is our wont, I went to Momma's house to do a little informal shooting with the nieces and nephews.

I took the Howa 1500, the rifle in .270 Winchester I bought in February. I had decided to gift the rifle to my nephew, Trey. He's expressed an interest in deer hunting and is busy starting a family. Last season, I loaned him a Model 94 Winchester. After I bought the Howa, I started thinking about Trey and decided that the Howa might be a good rifle for him to own.

Howa makes a fine rifle, capable of perfectly capable accuracy. No one can argue that the .270 Winchester isn't a perfectly fine cartridge for deer hunting, indeed for most of the North American game. Factory ammo is easy to find almost anywhere.

So, this morning I took that rifle to give to Trey. We shot it enough that he's familiar with it and comfortable with the operation of a standard bolt action rifle.

As we were finishing up the sight-in process on the Howa, a friend of another niece came out to ask if she could shoot. She's Afton, from Knoxville, TN. We talked for just a few minutes about safety and we discussed hearing protection, and I got Momma's rifle, a Cricket, for her to shoot.

The Cricket is a .22LR rifle, single shot, suitable for beginners. She and I had both agreed that she needed a smaller rifle to begin shooting. She could concentrate on safety and sight work without having to worry about the recoil of the larger rifle.

Here's Afton plinking at a 25 yard target. She seemed to enjoy herself and would probably benefit from a longer stock. Still, she's another new shooter. I hope she gets to practice when she gets back to Knoxville.

On Piracy

Some of my favorite stories from youth revolve around the pirates who plied the waters of the U.S. east coast and Caribbean. Creatures like Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Henry Morgan, and Anne Bonny. Romantic figures who knew that if they were caught, they'd swing from a yardarm. And the men who chased them.

The U.S. Marines have some experience chasing pirates. Their battle hymn remembers it, that whole "shores of Tripoli" thing.

The British Navy fought piracy, too. With wooden ships, black powder cannnon, and swords, they chased pirates across the world in the 18th century.

Today, we're engaged with a spate of piracy in a lawless part of the world. Somalia has long been a sore spot on the ass of the world. It sits alongside a vital trade route and piracy flourishes there. We're now embroiled in a pirate drama that plays out every day in those waters near the Gulf of Aden.

Some say that piracy flourishes when government fails. That because the Somali government has failed to provide basic necessities for it's people, the people have turned to harvesting the easy riches that sail past their shores.

I say bullshit. Somali pirates exist because international law has become a sham. No one pays any attention to international law except for a few of the world's practicing democracies. The United States government might try a few Marines for the regrettable killing of a couple of Iraqi civilians, but by-and-large, international law is sneered at by the vast majority of the world's population.

We live in an age where the President of the United States can order that a missile fly through any window of any building in the world. We live in a world where the ships of the nations can be tracked as they move about the surface of the great seas, yet we're held hostage by a group of criminals in speedboats. It's ludicrous, it's disgusting, and it's the state of the world's contempt for international law.

Yeah, Somalia is a failed state, but there are lots of failed states who don't turn to criminality to feed themselves. Pirates in Somalia have taken piracy to a whole new level by the increasing demand for ransom. This morning, they hold an American shipping captain and are demanding ransom.

Kill them all, I say, and hang them from a gibbet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

All rifles ...

All rifles are a lesson unto themselves. I've learned this from shooting and talking and watching. What a given load does in your rifle might be entirely different from what that same load does in my rifle.

Granted, there are some loads that seem to shoot well in any rifle of a given caliber. These are called standard loads and are used when the particular performance of a given rifle is unknown. For example: If you load a .30-30 case with 30 grains of IMR 3031 and seat a 170 grain jacketed bullet, that load will duplicate most factory ammo and will deliver fair accuracy. Lots of deer have fallen to that load.

However, that doesn't change the fact that each rifle is different. Dave Petzal, over at The Gun Nut, talks about such things. Rifles are different and if you're going to get the best from your rifle, you need to know about those differences.

The Boonie Bench

We lost my father-in-law two years ago. He was known as Boonie by all of us and his love of outdoor cooking, either on an open fire or with a propane cooker was legendary. He was always looking for a way to be comfortable and have his cooking implements at the correct height. One of the things he'd cobble together was a small bench that allowed him to stand comfortably while frying fish and have enough room for his implements.

I've got to fry fish this afternoon at the church. Every Good Friday, four or five of the men get together and fry fish for the congregation. So, this afternoon about three o'clock, I'm heading to the church. I needed a small bench to help with the cooking so today I took a lesson from my father-in-law and carpented a small bench.

I give you the Boonie Bench.

It's four feet long, eighteen inches tall and about 14 inches wide. I say about, because I didn't measure the width. I didn't use a micrometer when I was building this bench. It's all lumber left over from other projects.

You'll notice the small gap between the two top boards. That gap is there to let you grasp the bench from the middle, to move it with one hand. That's one of Boonie's trademark design features.

The material list is tiny.

1 - 2x4x8
2 - 5/4x6x8 decking boards
1 - plywood scrap, cut diagonally into triangles.

It's screwed together with screws left over from the decking project. Total cost to me is zero, because it's all lumber that was used for other things.

I think the old man would be proud.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

More Global Warming

It seems that the Obama administration is immune to actual... science.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.
Has anyone told that dumb sonofabitch that the actual data shows that it's been getting colder for the past nine years? Oh, wait, he's the science adviser. He doesn't have time to look at actual data.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pelosi wants registration

Not that the national news will ever cover it, but it seems that the Speaker of the House wants gun registration.
During an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Pelosi said that the Congress will work to find some middle ground between the previous ban, which expired in 2004, and the precedent laid by the Supreme Court in a ruling enumerating more concrete gunowners' rights last term.
That paragraph sets the tone, and of course, she's talking about compromise.
"We have to find some level of compromise," Pelosi said, citing 53 victims of gun violence nationwide in less than a month. "And we have to rid the debate of the misconceptions people have about what gun safety means."
She wants to know what gun safety means? How about The Four Rules, promulgated by Jeff Cooper. Or, the rules promulgated by the NRA. That's what gun safety is all about, Nancy.

No, she wants more. She'd settle for a total ban if she could get it, but her idea of compromise is registration.
Yes, it is," the Speaker said when asked if the ball is in Congress's court now that Democrats control the White House. "And we are just going to have to work together to come to some resolution."

Pelosi indicated that new regulations might entail registration and prohibitions on transporting some firearms across state lines.
She wants to regulate guns and prohibit moving guns across state lines. She didn't say handguns, nor semi-automatic guns. She said guns. All guns.

I've got a compromise for you, Nancy. NO! Just no. Not now, not ever. Not in my lifetime, or the lifetime of my grandchildren. We've compromised all we intend to compromise.


We learn today that an American flagged cargo vessel was captured by pirates off the coast of Africa.
Somali pirates have now hijacked a U.S.-flagged ship with 20 American crew members on board - the first in “recent memory” according to military officials. The vessel is one of the DoD’s top shipping contractors. The vessel was taking humanitarian aid to Mombasa.
Then, later, we learn that the crew overcame the pirates and regained control of the ship.
BOSTON -- The captain of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship that was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Africa on Wednesday is still being held hostage, according to a crewmember. The rest of the 20-member American crew was able to overpower the pirates to regain control of the vessel, the Pentagon said.
Obviously, this is still breaking and other news agencies are covering it. Details have been sketchy, but it seems that a drama was acted out on the seas near Somalia.

I understand that the Captain of the vessel may be in pirate hands. Again, details are sketchy and updates are frequent. US Naval vessels are enroute to the area.

Pirates should be dealt with sternly. I wonder if Congress is still issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal? If so, it might be entertaining to take a summer cruise in those waters for fun and profit.

Good work to the crew.

Thoughts on Active Shooters

Ron Borsch, a 30-year law enforcement veteran who manages the small SEALE (South East Area Law Enforcement) Regional Training Academy in Bedford, Ohio, has some thoughts on responding to active shooter situations. The gist of it is here.
Borsch, who logged 17 years as a part-time SWAT team member before retiring from street work, has analyzed more than 90 active-shooter incidents on the basis of data largely ferreted out from Internet reports. Most involved schools and colleges, but workplaces, shopping malls, churches and other public places are also represented. Among his findings that have helped shape his tactical thinking:

• 98% of active killers act alone.

• 80% have long guns, 75% have multiple weapons (about 3 per incident), and they sometimes bring hundreds of extra rounds of ammunition to the shooting site.

• Despite such heavy armaments and an obsession with murder at close range, they have an average hit rate of less than 50%.

• They strike “stunned, defenseless innocents via surprise ambush. On a level playing field, the typical active killer would be a no-contest against anyone reasonably capable of defending themselves.”

• “They absolutely control life and death until they stop at their leisure or are stopped.” They do not take hostages, do not negotiate.

• They generally try to avoid police, do not hide or lie in wait for officers and “typically fold quickly upon armed confrontation.”

• 90% commit suicide on-site. “Surrender or escape attempts are unlikely.”

Because active shooters seem so intent on killing, it’s often difficult to convince first responders that “this bad guy is one of the easiest man-with-gun encounters they will ever have,” Borsch observes. “Most officers have already faced worse opponents from a personal safety standpoint than these creeps.”
This guy mirrors my thoughts almost exactly. He makes some good points, the biggest is that when confronted with an active shooter, you don't have time to wait for help.

I'll comment more on this later, but right now I have to shower up and get to work.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Government Motors, again

According to this article, GM doesn't intend to make money on the Chevy Volt.
General Motors doesn't have any money to play around with these days, but new CEO Fritz Henderson is willing to let at least one vehicle program's fiduciary requirements slide. Even though Henderson said recently that all GM models will need to "pay the rent," the money-losing Chevrolet Volt program will not be held to that standard. Apparently, the Volt is kind of like that really cool, constantly broke college roommate that never got kicked out because he had the best music.
How is it that Chevy can research, market and sell a car that they know won't make any money?

Oh, yeah! They're using government money. That is to say, my money and yours.

The quicker GM goes bankrupt and gets sold off, the better for the American taxpayer.

GM - Segway

It looks like GM and Segway are going to team up to make a eco-friendly transporter for use around town.
The struggling auto maker, surviving on a government lifeline, is looking to generate enthusiasm for its increasingly uncertain future ahead of the New York auto show this week.
While GM is trying to generate enthusiasm, more likely they'll generate derision.

That's the God-awful ugliest thing I've ever seen. It looks like a wheelchair with training wheels. I guess when somebody runs over you they can just use the damn thing for a coffin. They call it the PUMA, (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessability), and that's an insult to Puma's everywhere. Pumas of every stripe should rise up and complain.
GM is betting PUMA's more car-like traits -- an enclosed compartment and top speed of 35 miles per hour -- will lead to better results. GM didn't say how much the machines would cost, but research chief Larry Burns said owners would spend one-third to one-fourth of the cost of a traditional vehicle.

PUMA would have a range of about 35 miles. GM said it aims to use so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology to avoid traffic problems and potentially have it navigate itself through city streets.
Top speed of 35 mph with a 35 mile range. That's the hearbeat of America. You betcha.

Hat tip to Cold Fury.

Steal a Cessna

Did you read about this guy? He steals a Cessna from a flight school in Canada, and heads south.
The plane had been escorted by two F-16 fighter jets since shortly after it crossed into U.S. airspace from Canada, and the pilot did not respond to multiple requests that he establish communications with ground controllers.
They escorted him with F-16s? I'm no pilot, but I would have thought that the top speed of a Cessna would be something under 200 mph. What is the stall speed of an F-16?

Anyway, I bet it was an interesting trip. I wonder why the guy didn't talk to air controllers? I wonder if he'll get to keep his pilot's license? I wonder if a Sidewinder will lock onto a Cessna?

All these questions...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Skeet

This afternoon my eldest grandchild told me he'd like to shoot some skeet so we put the shotguns in the truck and drove out to the Woodworth range.

They've got a nice shotgun set-up, open to the public. It's what is commonly called 5-stand, which in this case means there are 6 traps throwing targets. Shooters fire five shots each from five different stations, for a total of 12 shots per game. The cost is a piddling five bucks. The course is middling rigorous, which means that when I hit half the birds thrown, I feel like I'm doing okay.

Years ago, I shot competition skeet, which is an entirely different game. Skeet will always be my first love as a shotgun game, but 5-stand has a lot to recommend it.

At any rate, the boy and I went out this afternoon to shoot a couple of rounds. He's improving on his wing shooting, getting better a little bit at a time. Wing shooting is something that takes practice. I'm a lot more rusty than I used to be, and the peculiarities of the layout at our local range make some of the targets hard to see. It's part of the game.

We're both having trouble with the high incoming shots. And the low going-away. For that matter, the crossing left and crossing right shots are iffy.

Still, I got out and shot a couple of boxes of shells this afternoon. Took my grandson. His shoulder is pleasantly sore this afternoon.

I hope that soreness doesn't cause a flinch.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The New York Killing

I'm sure you've heard by now of the active shooter in New York. Yeah, the guy put his car against the back door of an civic association, then went inside and opened fire on folks taking an immigration class.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – A gunman barricaded the back door of a community center with his car and then opened fire on a room full of immigrants taking a citizenship class Friday, killing 13 people before apparently committing suicide, officials said.
Yeah, that shooting.

Police said they arrived within two minutes, but
Police heard no gunfire after they arrived but waited for about an hour before entering the building to make sure it was safe for officers. They then spent two hours searching the building.
What? They waited an hour?

That's the damndest thing I ever heard.

If there is one thing I know about, it's active shooter situations. They're my bread and butter, my reason for a paycheck. They're what I study and what I pray I never have to fight through.

The job of the police in an active shooter situation is to go immediately to the sound of the gunfire and place pressure on the shooter. Change his focus from the innocents to the police. The vast majority of active shooters will commit suicide at that point. But, the primary lesson for police officers is: Don't Wait. You go. Go put fire on the shooter. If, when you've arrived, you hear no gunfire, you go anyway. Start clearing rooms, start getting victims out. Other police will arrive shortly and you'll be glad for the help, but don't wait for them. Go.

Once the gunman is isolated, captured, or killed, the focus changes to the victims. Get EMS in as quickly as possible. Start stacking ambulances and emergency personnel around the building and get the survivors out.

Waiting five minutes is unconscionable. Waiting for an hour is cowardice.


The Politico story has been making the rounds. The one about the President telling the bankers...
But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
It doesn't sound like a very amicable meeting.

The Bankers don't have to worry about the pitchforks as much as the Government does. Time and time and time again, when something fails, we hear that the Government has tried to regulate it, or tried to get involved. I'm becoming convinced that Government, Congress in particular is a bigger problem than it's worth.

The government should worry about the pitchforks. Government should always worry about pitchforks.

I'd support a Constitutional Amendment that limited Congress to meeting for one month a year. In fact, forbidding any elected Representative or Senator from even being in Washington DC except for that one month a year session. Make it a part-time job and set the pay at 10,000 for that month.

We have to have a Congress, but we should be able to limit the damage they do.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Overpass Failure

If you haven't seen the video from this traffic camera, it's like watching a train wreck. Well, a truck wreck, actually. A series of them.

Courtesy of Melissa, who turned me on to

Gns in D.C

Courtesy of Say Uncle, we go to this link, where D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson is quoted:
Mendelson says obeying the Supreme Court would hamper public safety. "It would be harder to arrest chronic criminals, because police would no longer be able to charge them with possessing unregistered weapons," Mendelson wrote.
And Mendelson shows that he's an idiot.

It's easy to arrest a chronic criminal who is holding a gun. He's probably in violation of one or more of the statutes that prohibit convicted criminals from having a gun. Possession is possession.

And, if the "chronic criminal" hasn't been convicted of a crime, then he's not a chronic criminal, and all the rights of citizenship flow to him.

We all know that there are criminals amongst us who have never been convicted, but that is more a failure of the Courts than a failure of the law. Mendelson would do better to insist that the criminal justice system in D.C. vigorously prosecute "chronic criminals" and take them out of society. If he's concerned about public safety.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Blagojevich indicted?

Hot Air is reporting that Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) has been indicted for violations of the RICO statutes.
It looks very broad based, and Patrick Fitzgerald appears to have gone after the entire spoils system run by Blagojevich. His co-conspirators in the RICO indictments are:
You can go over and read the whole thing. The co-conspirators are John Harris, his last chief of staff; Robert Blagojevich, his brother; Alonzo Monk, his former chief of staff; William Cellini, Sr; and Christopher Kelly.

Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Little Ribeyes

Milady loves a ribeye steak, and I certainly don't object to eating one prepared properly. Yeah, we're on Weight Watchers and you can have a steak if you count the points into your daily total.

Our local market has a heck of a deal on little ribeye steaks. They average about six ounces. These are whole ribeyes that didn't sell, so the butcher slices them into 3/4th inch steaks and marks them as an economy ribeye pack. You get about ten steaks for about $25.00, and that ain't bad.

This afternoon on the way home I went by there and found that he had some economy ribeyes out. I bought a pack and in about fifteen minutes, they'll be marinating in some Creole Butter. I like the garlic and herb. Tabasco makes a great marinade, too. If you can find it

Tomorrow night is ribeye steak, baked potato and salad. I've got to decide if I'm going to cook them on the charcoal grill, or just sear them on a hot cast iron griddle. The Weight Watchers points on a six ounce ribeye and a baked potato with low-fat sour cream ought to be about 14 points. That's do-able.