Friday, September 30, 2011

Old Sierra Bullets

Yesterdays post about those old Sierra Bullets gendered a few comments, and I find it interesting that someone other than me cares about such things.

Anonymous writes:
PawPaw, I Googled "sierra harris machine co" and found this from a 2009 post on

Harris Machine Co. began manufacturing Sierra Bullets in 1947 in Riviera, Ca. In 1952 they became an independent co, Sierra Bullets Inc., and sold by Harris. They were in Whittier Ca.from 1952 or 53 until 1963 when they moved to Santa Fe Springs, Ca.
Interesting. I also googled and found that thread. If Sierra was spun off of Harris Machine Co in 1952, that makes those bullets older than PawPaw, who was born in 1953. The other three boxes are marked "Whittier, CA", so if they moved from Whittier in 1963, those bullets are almost 50 years old. Great stuff.

I'd bet that they were probably intended for the .250 Savage, which was at the height of it's popularity back then. I remember an old article that I read as a kid, where either Jeff Cooper or Elmer Keith was talking about the .250 Savage and said that they believed that 87 grain bullets were just a little bit light for whitetail deer in the .250 Savage.

Another anonymous commenter writes:
late 50's, part of the reloading boom post Korean war.Early 25-06 experiments were likely done with those.Quality will be high but likely thicker jackets than these days. Metal drawing technology was not the same as now.
I'll take your word on the jackets and the metal drawing technology of the late '50s early '60s. I have no idea about that and no reason to dispute it. I disagree, though, that they were probably early experiments with the .25-06. The .25-06 was a very early wildcat, the brainchild of a guy named Charlie Newton. In 1912 he looked at the .30-06 cartridge and thought "What if?" Later, A.O. Neidner began producing rifles for the cartridge, using 117 grain bullets from the .25-35. That cartridge has been around for a long time.

It's one of my favorite cartridges and it's all I can do to leave a rifle in the used gun rack when I see that it's marked as a .25-06. We've got one in the family, a Ruger 77 that lives at my son's house. Very accurate rifle with 117 grain bullets. He's normally a magnum shooter, but says that the more he shoots that cartridge the more he likes it. I did the workups on that rifle with Reloder 22 powder and we're getting something north of 2900 fps with 117 Gamekings.

Just recently, I found another Ruger 77, this one an earlier model, probably made in 1970. I couldn't stand it, so it's on layaway at my favorite gun shop. Which reminds me, I need to run by there next week and give them another payment.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the Mail

Several weeks ago, over on the Firing Line Forum, some guys were swapping bullets and I threw my name in the ring. I've been talking to Mike in Texas and he sent me some old Sierra spitzers. They're .257 caliber, 87 grain Sierra spitzer bullets. And, they're ancient.

There's about 400 of them there, and I'm going to try them out in the Ruger I've got on layaway. My manual tells me that with a good slow powder I can push them to about 3500 fps and we'll have to see about that.

The boxes are cardboard and I'm wondering how old those bullets might be? The one in the top left corner says that it was manufactured by the Harris Machine Company of Rivera, CA.

I'm intrigued. Any of my half-dozen readers like to hazard a guess when those bullets were made?

More Fast and Furious

The news coming out of the Fast and Furious scandal continues to grow. The more news we get, the more culpable the highest levels of government appear. Crimes were committed by Federal agents, probably at the behest of elected or appointed officials. Ed Morrissey talks about it over at Hot Air, but a simple Google will get you all the information you need.

The one recurring narrative is that President Obama wanted to pump up the violence in an attempt to re-enact a ban on some firearms. Whether or not he knew any particulars about the operation is hearsay, but we've covered this in the past.

One good thing to be said about Fast and Furious is that the very government of the US has skewed the statistics that the antis will use against us. Any mention of gangbangers, cartels, or criminals having guns can be simply rebutted. Yeah, the government gave them the guns.

UPDATE** I found this article from Forbes when I got home from a football game. Lots of good details, and the author wonders if this might be Obama's Watergate?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Too Much Democracy

I see that ol' Pete Orzag has been drinking the Kool-Aid. Pete, if you recall, had some high-level appointment under the Lightworker and he also believes that we've got too much democracy. Well, Pete is showing his ignorance, because our country isn't a democracy, it's a Republic, but I suspect that Pete is playing to the audience. Still, he believes that democracy is a bad thing. Seriously.
To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.
Oh, really, Pete?

Taken in conjunction with the Guv'ner from NC, you see the narrative don't you? The trial balloons? Less Democracy is a good thing.

I had good Democratic friends tell me that they were afraid that President Bush was going to suspend elections and refuse to leave the White House when his term was over. I poo-pooh'd the idea, because I knew that George W. Bush was an honorable man. But, now we've got two prominent Democrats telling us that we really shouldn't have so much democracy in this country. It's a narrative folks, and not one that a patriot can long stand.

If you take away the ballot box, all you leave me is my rifle. Which would you rather I voted with?

Attack Foiled

It seems that some Islamic jihadist was planning an attack on the US. He wanted to fly remote-controlled aircraft into the Pentagon and the Capitol building.
Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen and Northeastern University graduate, was nabbed in an elaborate FBI sting after he told undercover officers exactly how he planned to arm "small drone airplanes" with explosives in order to hit the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol building before opening fire on the survivors, federal officials said in a statement.
He's a US citizen, too, which makes it awfully dicey.
"Ferdaus envisioned causing a large 'psychological' impact by killing Americans, including women and children, who he referred to as 'enemies of Allah,'" the DOJ's statement said. "According to the affidavit, Ferdaus' desire to attack the United States is so strong that he confided, 'I just can't stop; there is no other choice for me.'"
Enemies of Allah? That says a lot. He's not only a radical Islamist, he's a traitor. I say that he should be charged with treason, given a fair trial, taken out and shot.

To encourage the others.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good Idea, Guv'ner

I was reading the Sipsey Street Irregulars and came upon this little item. It seems that the North Carolina Governor, Bev Perdue, wants to suspend elections for two years. Seriously.
"You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It's a little bit more contentious now but it's not impossible to try to do what's right in this state. You want people who don't worry about the next election."
Do you believe that? Suspend elections? Yeah, that's a great idea. Her office is in full denial mode.
Later Tuesday afternoon, Perdue's office clarified the remarks: "Come on," said spokeswoman Chris Mackey in a statement. "Gov. Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own election instead of what’s best for the people they serve."
Well, I agree with the spokesman, that politicians in Washington should do a better job of serving the people and spend less time worrying about an election.

We note, with some degree of incredulity, that Governor Perdue is a Democrat. She's probably a full-blown politician that wishes she didn't have to worry about the next election. If I were a voter in North Carolina, I'd start working today to make damned sure she didn't have to worry about being elected, ever again.

Settled Science

Several hundred years ago, we thought that the Earth was flat. Turns out, the Earth is round. We also thought that the Earth was the center of the universe and all the stars rotated around us. Then came Gallileo and peed in the Pope's wheaties. The science wasn't nearly as settled as we thought.

When I was in high school, I was taught that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Einstein said so. The science was settled. Then, along comes CERN last week and says it has measured particles that move faster than the speed of light. Hmmm. Isn't that interesting? It seems that science is never settled, after all. As we learn, we learn new things. As we learn new things, the old things are either supported or repudiated. It's science, not religion.

When the weather weeneis tell you that the science is settled, remember Einstein, CERN, Gallileo and all the other real scientists.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Trailer Maintenance

On the way home today, I stopped at the auto parts store and bought enough Timken bearings to finish all the axles on the trailer. New bearings, cotter pins, clean red grease. Done and done. Every axle has new stuff on both ends. Now I don't need to worry about towing the trailer to the lease, or the high school, or any place.

Afterwards, a couple of shots of whiskey and coke and a big bowl of Milady's beef stew. Monday was very good indeed. In another hour I'll be abed, sleeping the sleep of the righteous.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I started jones-ing for a gumbo yesterday in the cool morning air and decided that I'd cook one today after church. So, I went digging in the freezer, found a chicken and some deer sausage from last year's deer. Onions and bell peppers and I had what I needed. Click here for the recipe.

Gumbo is an autumn/winter recipe in these parts, and it's not nearly cold enough outside to justify a gumbo, but I wanted one and I'm the guy doing the cooking today. That's the last of the deer sausage in that pot, so I guess it's good that deer season is just around the corner. I'll let that pot simmer for another half hour, then put on a pot of rice. The kids should have assembled here by that time and we'll eat some gumbo and spend the afternoon watching grandkids.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Occasionally, the dog decides to rip around the house, running at a high rate of speed. We call this "Getting the rips". He got the rips yesterday morning and I was able to catch it on a video camera. So, this morning, you get a video Sunday Dawg.

Yep, he's got the rips.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I check Facebook occasionally, but I'm reading that they've made some changes and have pissed off many of the users by making changes to a program that was easy, intuitive and fun to use.

It's been my experience that programmers take a good program and make improvements on it until it no longer functions.


Dragging the trailer home after the ball game, I thought that I heard a squeaking noise coming from behind me. Got home and did a quick check, one of the trailer bearings had given up. Given up badly. I spent the morning taking it all apart, beating the races out of the hub and cutting the inside bearing sleeve off the axle. It took almost an hour to get the cotter-pin out. Yeah, it was that bad.

I'm not going to mess with it any more today. I'll go buy bearings tomorrow afternoon and put it all back together. Then, later this week I'll check the other axle and make sure that the bearings are good there. An ounce of prevention, etc, etc.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Football

I'm in long enough to hook the trailer to the truck, load the Mule, make sure my ice-chest is loaded, change uniforms and head back to the school. Tonite is Friday, and we've got a home football game. Oh, joy.

I used to actually enjoy an evening of Friday Nite Football until I had to work them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I see that the State of Georgia finally ended the life of Troy Davis for killing a police officer. Good for them. Troy was no angel and he was found guilty in a court of law on multiple occasions for killing that officer. His pleas finally ran out and the state of Georgia did what should not have taken twenty years.

I can say with some certainty that he's guilty. It's one thing to try your case in the court of public opinion, it's entirely another to try your case in a courtroom, with rules and cross-examinations, and discovery and all the other procedural matters that accompany a criminal prosecution. He was found guilty, not once, but several times. When all the appeals failed, they took the case to the public, which matters not one whit. Troy Davis was guilty and that's that.

Many death-penalty cases result in a miscarriage of justice. After long years of legal wrangling, the witnesses die, or the rules change, or the political will just gets tired of hearing about the case and the murderer is set free. I give you the case of Wilbert Rideau, a convicted killer who served time on death row in Louisiana. He murdered Julie Ferguson during a botched bank robbery. Julie's only crime was showing up for work that morning. Wilbert continued to throw up appeals, he continued to exploit the system, he continued to get new trials. Finally, they were able to find a jury who said that it really wasn't murder, it was manslaughter, and Wilbert was released from prison. He's never denied killing Ms. Ferguson. He's never denied bringing a kinfe and a gun into a bank with the intention of robbing that bank.

Wilbert Rideau is a free man, and Julie Ferguson molders in her grave. It's as if she never existed. But that's enough about Wilbert. The less said about him, the better.

Tony Davis wasn't a Saint. Quite the contrary, he was a murderer. The judge that heard the case believed that he was a murderer. Twelve people in the jury believed that he was a murderer.

While we're talking about executions and the hand-wringing of the execution of a cop killer, did anyone notice that Texas executed Lawrence Brewer? Yeah, Brewer was one of those convicted of killing a black man by dragging him behind a pickup truck in 1998. You don't hear much hand-wringing about a white man being executed for killing a black man, do you? No, only if a black man kills a white woman, or a black man kills a cop. Executing a white man just doesn't fit the narrative.

Do I feel bad about Texas executing Brewer? Hell, no. He was a murdering sonofabitch. But, I don't see a lot of outrage over the execution. It simply doesn't fit the narrative.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Buffett Rule

Have you wondered how much money the Buffett rule would bring in? How quickly it would cut the deficit? Turns out, not so much. It's just politics. Warren Buffett is a hypocrite, he's quibbling now about how much money he owes for back taxes, and if he really wanted to pay more, all he need do is to write a check. It's simple. He can pay more if he wants to, and he knows it.

But, if the Buffett rule were imposed, how quickly would it close the deficit?

Yeah, like that's going to help.

DADT repeal

I see that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed. The Obama crew is taking credit for it, and that's fine. Let 'em have the credit for that. Even the Lightworker gets it right once in a while.

I believe that the repeal is long overdue and maybe now the military can move forward beyond the issue. I've known soldiers that I thought were gay, and of course, I didn't ask and they didn't tell. One soldier in particular, a young buck sergeant, a fine MP investigator and a young man with a marvelous career ahead of him. He got out after four years in the military and it was several years later when I hired him as a police officer that I learned he was gay. He's since gone on to other challenges in the private security field, last I heard was working as a risk-management professional for a Fortune 500 company. Helluva guy, great investigator, I hope that he succeeds far beyond what I could teach him.

As long as soldiers have sex, commanders will have problems associated with interpersonal relationships. We've been dealing with that since the Roman Legions. I've put heterosexual soldiers out of the Army because they couldn't keep their peckers in their pants and we know how to deal with issues of "good order and discipline". Now commanders have one less issue to worry about. As long as a soldier's activities don't affect the unit, there should be no problems.

It was time to repeal the gay ban and I'm glad to see it's gone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knife Meme

Take the knife from your pocket, take a picture, post it on the internet.

Okay, I'll play.

It's a two-blade Buck stock knife, common as dirt, but it provides steel for all the cutting chores that I'm liable to encounter on a daily basis. One of my sons gave me this knife for Christmas, or a birthday, and its been my steady carry ever since.

You do carry a pocketknife, don't you?

Tip of the hat to Say Uncle.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Instapundit quotes Cooper

I normally read Instapundit every day after work. He's a law professor in Knoxville, TN, and many of my readers need no introduction. Still, I was amazed to see the good Colonel quoted on Insty's page.
We are told from all sides that if one wins a lethal encounter, he will feel dreadful. It is odd that no one seems to have felt dreadful about this until very recently. Throughout recorded history the winning of a fight has generally been considered a subject for congratulation. It is only just now that it has become presumably tainted. . . . a predatory felon who victimizes innocent non-combatants on the streets is a proven goblin, sentenced by his own initiative. Some men may be upset by killing him, but not anyone I have met.
I'll be damned.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Evidently, there's been a misunderstanding. I've been getting emails from someone named Jim Messina, who thinks I support President Obama. They're not personal emails, they're spam telling me how I can support the president and offering to sell me Obama paraphernalia to put on my car, to hand out to strangers, to extend the conversation about what a good job our president is doing.
Because I can tell you that the next 14 months will be like nothing you've seen from a campaign. If we're going to win, we have to be tougher, smarter, and more innovative than ever before.
The only thing I can figure is that I gave them an email when I reported myself on Attack Watch and they were too dumb to actually read the report and follow the links. They simply added my email address to an automatic mailing list. If that's being "smarter and more innovative than ever before" then it shows that the campaign is dumb as a sack of hammers.

James Carville said last week that the President should start firing staff. I like Carville, although I seldom agree with him. I give Carville a lot of respect because, like me he's a Louisiana boy, and he's astute politically. Savvy. He knows the difference between a supporter and the opposition. Carville is right. If Obama's staff can't tell the difference between a true supporter and someone who lampoons the President at every opportunity, that person should be fired immediately.

I'm going to leave my name on the email list. It amuses me that the President hires people so stupid that they don't read the comments on their own website. Plus, it never hurts to read their emails to True Believers.

What We Did Right

Bill Whittle is a contributor to Pajamas Media. I've been following Bill for several years. He does a series called Afterburner, where he comments on topics of politics and history. This effort explains smoking guns and barking dogs.

I like Bill's work, I like it a lot.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Not much happening at the manse this week. Except life. Lots of life and grandkids and football games and the dog is tired.

The dog spends at least as much time resting as he does moving around I wished I could say the same thing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

On the Lease

Grandson Zachary went with me to the deer lease today to work on deer blinds. As soon as I turned off the Mule, he headed to the creek to check for sign. Before too many minutes he came chugging back up the hill to tell me that there was deer sign in the sand between two water holes. After I finished my carpentry, we went down to take a look. Sure enough, the boy found sign.

We were met by brother-in-law Chuck and after we checked my feeders, we went over to Chuck's area to check the feeder there. Zachary has grown-up on my Mule, but he was smitten by Chuck's four-wheeler.

We were met by another brother-in-law and we went to his portion of the lease to help him take down a rotted ladder. He'll rebuild it this week. We left the lease at about 11:00 and headed home, meeting Milady at the auction where we spent the afternoon.

Deer season is, by my calculation, only six weeks away and I'm very nearly ready this year. I have some little tweaking to do, but by and large I'm ready.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homemade chicken soup

This is an easy recipe that I've been playing with for a while.

Rotisserie chicken
Two cartons of fat-free chicken broth
Half bag of no-yolk egg noodles
Handful of shredded carrots

Debone the chicken and drop the meat into a pot. Add the broth and carrots, bring to a boil. Add the noodles, let simmer until the noodles are cooked.

Serve with saltine crackers and sweet iced tea. Oh, yeah. It's what's for supper.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guns America Magazine

Guns America is a sales site, where interested individuals can find guns for sale. Yes, Mildred, it's all legal and no, you can't buy guns through the mail. Although we once could.

Interestingly, they've got an online magazine. I've been browsing it for several days and it's quite interesting. If you're a gunny kind of American, you might give them a look-see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Poverty numbers

It seems that the big domestic news today is that the number of people in poverty in the United States has swelled to a record 46.2 million people. More people are making less money than ever before. Of course, in the United States, poverty is defined as a family of four making about 22,000 per year, and they have things like food stamps, free or subsidized school lunches, and the best medical care that the world can provide. Many get rent assistance and every project I've been around in the Deep South has air conditioning and heating. A person in poverty in the United States lives like a prince in many other countries. No one in the US knows what grinding poverty actually is.

Still, there are more pore folks today than there were last year. This handy graphic from the Census bureau shows how income has declined under this presidency.

So, the question that the pore folks (and the rest of us) have to answer; are we in better shape now than under the last President? I think we all know the answer to that question. One wag opined that President Obama loves poor people, he's trying to make millions more of them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lucas and The Dawg

We've got family over this afternoon and the youngest grandkid is harassing the dog.

I think that the dog is taking it pretty well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Morning Dawg

On this, the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the dog is keeping vigilant watch.

Let's remember to say a prayer for those who lost their lives that day. Lets also remember to remain vigilant against anyone who would threaten our freedoms.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You?

Monday night, September 10, 2011 I was a shift lieutenant at the Detention Center south of Natchitoches, LA. I worked all night and got off after my relief shift counted the jail at 5:00 a.m. I went home and went to bed. My phone jarred me awake at about 7:45, a friend of my fiance. "Get up, Dennis, we're under attack."

"Yeah, right," I mumbled and hung up the phone.

Five minutes later the phone rang again. "Seriously, get up. They're flying planes into buildings." I got out of bed and stumbled in to the couch with a blanket and a pillow, turned on the TV. I was shocked to see smoke pouring from one tower of the World Trade Center. Thinking it was an accident, I walked to the kitchen to make coffee, then walked back into the living room just in time to watch the second plane hit the tower at 8:02 central time (9:02 EDT).

I stood there in shock. "That was no accident."

Our house was under three major flight paths. It was common to walk outside in the morning and see criss-crossing contrails from the myriad aircraft flying from Houston to Atlanta, Dallas to New Orleans, or Dallas to Atlanta, not to mention the north-south flights of the regional carriers. Twenty minutes after watching the second plane go in, I walked outside and looked at the sky. Totally clear, no contrails. Nothing. It was as if aviation had ceased to exist.

I lay on the couch the rest of the day, knowing we were at war. When I got to the jail that afternoon I could tell that the shift I was relieving was visibly pissed-off. So was I. I locked the jail down early that evening and told the control center to restrict the TV channels to CNN only.

Dirty Bomb

Authorities in the US are concerned about the threat of a bomb attack to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. They have every reason to be worried and recent intelligence reveals that an attack may have been planned for tomorrow.

There is no doubt that Al-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist society and that they're preaching jihad.

Were I the President of the United States, I would have yesterday spoken with the ambassadors from the major Islamic nations, and would have passed one small chilling message. If any of your followers executes an attack on the United States, we will retaliate with all the power of the United States. Medina, the Kaaba, and Q'om will cease to exist. They'll all be smoking craters, unfit for human visitation for dozens of years. We'll return the Dome of the Rock to the Israelis and forbid any Muslim from ever entering Jerusalem. We'll launch every Predator and bomber at our disposal and every mosque we can identify will be destroyed. We'll target Muslims praying in the streets and the desert. We'll hound your people unmercifully. We will continue to rain scunnion on your heads until the Islamic faith is cursed as a pox upon humanity and your own followers rise up and hang you.

But that's just me. President Obama doesn't have the balls to do anything like that.

At the Lease

Several of us went to the lease this morning, which will be a fairly common event until the deer season opener. I put out a feeder and a camera, then we went over to help a brother-in-law trim limbs on his shooting lane. We got there just as he was finishing, so we traveled to another stand to scout around a bit. Then went to another stand to check a camera. Brother-in-law tells me that one camera has hogs on it. We don't want hogs on our lease and we'll shoot them off if we get the opportunity. As much as I like pork, I don't like it wandering my deer woods.

I got home to find the house quiet. Milady's at the auction. I'll get a shower and follow her there. It's a great Saturday to be out-and-about.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Decisions II

After work today I went back to look at that Ruger 77 again. It's a first model, with the tang safety and a stock that looks like it was whittled from construction lumber. It's been used, but from what I was able to see in the dim light of the back corner of the pawn shop, it hasn't been abused. The bore appeared to be okay and the bolt doesn't bind. As a matter of fact, the bolt is slicker than snot. It's wearing a cheap-ass Bushnell Banner scope.

Next to it on the rack was a Remington Model 7. I asked to look at it as well, and it's a fine example, in 7mm-08. It sports a Leupold VXII scope and they had it priced at $699.00. I told them that was a fair price for the Remington, but that the Ruger was a bit rough. With the cheap scope, it wasn't nearly the value that the Remington is, but they had the Ruger marked at $469.00.

"So, the question becomes," I looked at the counter-guy with a piercing glare, "what's MY price on the Ruger?"

He looked at the rifle, hemmed and hawed for a bit, then scribbled on his note pad. "How does $350.00 sound?"

I reached into my wallet and took out a Franklin. "Sounds like a reasonable price to me. Let's put it on layaway, okay?"

From the serial number, it looks like that rifle was made in 1970, which makes it one of the very early models. A dollar bill can't slide betixt the stock and barrel, and the wood, though scuffed, will respond well to a little oil. In a couple of months I'll get it off layaway and start prepping it for shooting. If I don't keep it for myself, I'm sure one of the grandkids will love to have it. They're going to wind up with it eventually anyway.

Electronic Warfare

It looks like the North Koreans are practicing electronic warfare, sending jamming signals that messes with the GPS receivers on military equipment. They jammed a US warplane and forced it to land.
The aide said the plane suffered disturbance to its GPS system due to jamming signals from the North's southwestern cities of Haeju and Kaesong as it was taking part in the annual US-South Korea drill, Key Resolve.
When I was a jedi tanker, we knew that the force was strong with us, but we couldn't rely on the electronics in the vehicle. Simple map and compass navigation was the key. Even when they installed GPS devices a good tank platoon leader kept one finger on the map, scrolling across landmarks as we traversed terrain.

I like a GPS as much as anyone, but good navigation skills are necessary for mobile combat, and I'd certainly think that aviation qualifies as mobile combat. As does the naval service.

Getting jammed is good training, and hopefully our guys are learning from it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


I went to the pawn shop today to pay on a layaway and while I was talking with the counter guy, I saw an old Ruger Model 77 in the rack. I asked him if he had any left-hand bolt actions and he said he had two, both Browning A-bolt's in 7mm Remington Magnum. I've got two left-handed grandsons, but I don't want to saddle them with a 7mm magnum. I asked if he had any .308s in stock and he allowed that he didn't. He's got some Remington 770s on order, for the frugal crowd. I finally asked him if he had any quarter-bores and he turned around and picked up the Ruger. It's one of the old Model 77s in .25-06.

Well, damn. I bought a Ruger Model 77 in .25-06 several years ago and I really like that rifle. It's a shooter, averaging under an inch with my handloads. The only problem is that I gave it to my son. While I've never regretted that gift, I've been looking for another to add to the battery.

So, here's the quandary. The gun shop doesn't have any .308s and I've got several. I bought them as grandkid rifles, but haven't decided yet which grandkid is going to get them. Yet, there's that Ruger 77 sitting forlornly in the rack. I'm trying to decide if I should take one of the .308s, probably a Remington 700 ADL and go swap for that Ruger.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Department of Education

Surfing around the interwebs this evening, we come upon this article at Hot Air, that questions Michelle Backmann's idea that we might consider abolishing the US Department of Education.
The not-so-subtle implication of PT’s prominent placement of this Bachmann statement is that it’s obviously extreme. You know those crazy “constitutional conservatives”! But is it? Abolishing the Department of Education might sound like an ultra-conservative pipe dream — and anything but advisable in the Information Age, when education is key to global competitiveness — but, perhaps, just perhaps, Bachmann has a point.
Of course, Bachmann has a point, the same one that many of my conservative brethren have been making for years. The US Department of Education is an unnecessary bureaucracy that had no founding in practice or government until it was founded by Jimmy Carter in 1980. For over 200 years our country had been educating children without a cabinet level department. There's no reason to believe that such a department is necessary now. The very question is one that should be debated regularly by the people, along with the other departments that might once have had a legitimate purpose. As an observer of our school system for the past eight years, I can say with an educated opinion that the DOE does little to educate children and often stands in the way of innovative teaching methods that might not meet the criteria established by a far-off federal bureaucracy.

The DOE is unnecessary. Education is properly the province of the parents and local school boards. The individual state education departments can provide the necessary supervision to ensure that standards are maintained. We certainly don't need a federal bureaucracy.

Bachmann's right. The DOE should be abolished.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday Morning Dawg

As the Weather Channel craps its collective trousers over Tropical Storm Lee, I sent the dog out for a weather report. Here he's taking his leisure on the back porch, watching the rain. He roused himself momentarily to look at the camera.

Yeah, he's worried about it. Can't you tell?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Rain, blessed rain

Tropical Storm Lee crept into central Louisiana this morning and it's raining on my back porch this morning. This is a big, slow-moving system that's going to pump a lot of water into the state.

We're on the western edge of the storm and it's dumping rain on us. I'm not complaining, we need the rain. We're not getting any wind to speak of, small gusts, but we're getting drenched. I had planned to take the grandkids to the deer lease this morning, but I think we'll cancel the trip.

The upside of this whole exercise is that the marsh fire in New Orleans will be extinguished. A marsh fire is a stinky, smoky mess. Dead grass atop the marsh starts burning and it smells like you're burning an outhouse. The Guard has been trying to put it out with helicopters, but that effort was doomed from the start. I feel that the effort was calculated to show the residents that "WE'RE DOING SOMETHING" rather than actually extinguishing the fire.

We're listening to the Weather Channel and they're in full panic mode. It's another disaster, which is the weather-weenies stock-in-trade. I hope that Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans has the pumps working. He's going to need them, but this is only a rainstorm, and we need the rain.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee

I see that while I was at work today, that unorganized tropical wave in the Gulf got its act together and became a tropical storm. It's poised to dump water on us, although I am only on the western edge of the 3-day cone. The Gulf coast from Sabine Pass to the panhandle of Florida are in the way of a massive deluge.

Our skies are cloudy and the Weather Channel is telling me that the worst won't happen until tomorrow. That's good, I guess. We've got the opening football game at the high school and I'm headed back there in a few minutes. I'd really like a good rain to begin at about 9:00. There's nothing like rain to clear a parking lot.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Came home this afternoon thinking I had a free day. As soon as I got comfortable, I got a call from my brother, Mac. Spent the afternoon helping him get his van running. As soon as the van was running, he took off like a scalded ape. I might not see him again for a couple of years.

Mac's like that. He shows up when he needs something then he's gone again until he needs something else. Still, he's my brother.


I parked my pickup in the shade of an ancient oak today and when I got into the cab the internal thermometer registered a balmy 99F. Not bad for the heat wave we've been having. Everyone in Louisiana and Texas is watching a tropical disturbance that's forming in the Gulf.

Here's what NOAA says about it:
You betcha we'll be watching it. I'm not concerned about a Cat1 hurricane, it'll just be a rainstorm when it gets to us, but it will be a rainstorm. Our last measurable rainfall was a week ago, at just under a half-inch. We're still in a drought, and a burn ban has been in effect for several weeks. Yeah, a little rain would be a blessing. A little ten-inch rain would be a blessing.


It's getting so that any time a person makes an argument about limiting entitlements we're branded as racist. Just yesterday I found an article showing that Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN) says that the Tea Party is racist and want to see blacks swinging from trees.
Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat from Indiana who serves as the CBC’s chief vote counter, said at a CBC event in Miami that some in Congress would “love to see us as second-class citizens” and “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree.”
Really? Is that what you really think?

Fine. Whatever you say. The more we cover this debate, the more I become convinced that the Congressional Black Caucus is truly irrelevant to the discussion. They're also a racist organization, in that they limit their membership strictly by race and their rhetoric is inflammatory and insulting. They should be ashamed at the comparisons they make, but people like Rep. Carson have no shame.