Monday, March 31, 2014

Crappy Job

Sometime this weekend, I found that the toilet in the bath-house wouldn't flush.  Oh, it would flush all right, but the bowl would fill and the water would sit there and drain out slowly.  Very slowly.  So, today I determined to find the source of the stoppage.

Got home, removed the toilet, and found a Bic Lighter wedged crosswise in the outlet with a huge wad of toilet paper and other biological material behind it.  I decided that I had the toilet out of the bathhouse, so it was time to give it a good cleaning.  Started cleaning it, then found a crack, from the base to the bowl.  Cursed like a shipwrecked sailor.

You see, I had been seeing a little water on the floor of the bath-house but couldn't figure out where it was coming from.  Now I know.  Cracked bowl.  Leaking.  Cursed some more.  Got in the truck and went to Lowe's.  Bought a toilet.  Lowe's gives a Veteran's Discount.  Imagine that.  About 10%.  Hooray, Lowe's.

Came home, installed the new crapper.  Threw the old one out in the backyard.  Probably going to plant daffodils in it. (not really, Milady wouldn't stand for that).

I've got the Bic Lighter, and one of my kids is going to admit to ownership.  Then they'll be reviled.  There is no sense flushing a Bic lighter.  However, the bath-house has a new toilet, and PawPaw is having a drink.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Covered California

ABC News reports that a California couple received a voter registration card from Covered California with the box pre-checked for the Democratic Party.  They're considerably confused, because they're life-long Republicans.  From ABC News.

The full video is at the link, but it seems that someone in Covered California, the ObamaCare exchange in California is pre-marking the voter registration cards it sens out as part of the effort to increase voter registration.

The Democratic Party is a corrupt organization and the RICO statutes should apply.

Sunday Morning Dawg

With the unsettled weather this week, the dog has been staying close to Milady's chair.  We never know when a thunderstorm is going to pop up, and the dawg hates thunder.  We've tried thunder shirts, we've tried lots of things, but he's still terrified of weather.

It's going to be all right, Pup.  This weather will settle out soon and springtime will have arrived.

Look, old man, the sun's out.  Let's go find that cat!  Y'all enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bostitch BT1855K

Doing the tile job last week, my son loaned me a Bostitch BT1855K pneumatic stapler for the molding.  Amazon sells them here.

This thing is a little darlin'.  With a small pancake compressor, nailing molding was easy-peasy.  If you're looking for a small pneumatic brad nailer, this thing has the PawPaw seal of approval.

Thanks, son.  I'll get this back to you, pronto.  I'm probably going to order one of my own.

Tile Job

Milady bought some tile last week.  She got tired of the linoleum in the guest bath and wanted to upgrade just a little bit.  Luckily, her son (and my stepson) is a floor installer, by trade.  Milady corralled him into doing the installation, but he insisted that I do the trim work ('cause he ain't a carpenter).  Stepson brought Grandson along as a helper, and to start learning the craft.  The boy will probably never be a floor-installer, but it never hurts to learn as many building crafts as you can.  You never know when you'll want to tile a floor.

I have one more piece of quarter-round to tack in.  It's been painted and it's drying.  I'll tack it this afternoon and this job will be done.  I think it looks good, and Milady is really pleased with it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Democrats in the News

Theyre getting arrested like crazy.  State level Democrats across the nation are being picked up for corruption, bribery, and perjury.  The list includes:

Three California state senators
Speaker of the Rhode Island House
Mayour of Charlotte, NC.

All Donks, all elected.  All arrested.  I'm sure that there are more arrests to follow, but you won't read about it in the mainstream news.

The Democrats seem to be a corrupt organization.  It's worth noting that Harry Reid was not a wealthy man before he began public service, but now he's worth millions.  How might one become a millionaire while serving as a US Senator.

It's time to apply the RICO statute to the Democratic Party.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NLRB: College Athletes are Employees

An interesting take on college football.  Via Hot Air.
The ruling distinguishes walk-ons, who receive no financial benefit from playing and are given more freedom by coaches to behave like normal students, from scholarship recipients, who receive $75,000 or so in tuition and other benefits each year and who are forced to follow employee-like rules set by their bosses/coaches. They’re recruited for football, they spend most of their time on football, and they answer chiefly to the athletic department, not the academic faculty. Put all that together with the fact that their activities generate tens of millions in revenue for the university and ta da — you’ve got an employment relationship. Can’t wait for the first strike during bowl season.
I've said for years that the lowest level of professional sports is college ball.  There is too much money on the table to recognize it as anything but professional.  When the football coach at a state university is often the highest paid employee in the state, it's hard to argue that state priorities aren't out of order.

Let's go ahead and recognize college ball as professional, and the NCAA can just deal with it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Boys Being Boys

It looks like the President's Secret Service detail has crapped in its own mess kit again.
Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said.
Evidently, after the last scandal, they instituted a rule of ten hours between the bottle and the throttle, but these guys disregarded that rule.  They'll be disciplined, and they may or may not have their careers affected, but the fact that this incident comes on the relative heels of the Cartagena incident shows a rot at the head of the Secret Service.

I suspect that the leadership has forgotten about Choir Practice, a leadership tool used in police agencies nationwide, that seems to have fallen out of practice.  When the team is doing scary stuff, or is undergoing a stressful duty, it's okay to ask the very best of your team, but after it's over, a good leader gives them time to relax and a place to decompress without danger to his career.  It's one thing to manage a team, it's another thing entirely to lead a team.  A good leader takes care of his people, and part of that care involves helping them through the stress, helping them decompress, and if they want to get a little drunk as part of that decompression, to give them a place and time to do that.

If your people are getting drunk before a big detail, you've got a leadership problem.  It speaks to a piss-poor management style that all the rules and regulations in the books won't help.  Yeah, the guys screwed up, but I'd bet that the leadership is so friggin scared of screwing up that they've forgotten how to lead people.  That's where the problem is, not the three guys who went partying the night before.  Yeah, they screwed up, but they were allowed to screw up.  That's a leadership issue.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Protective Vest - II

Last week I talked about protective vest systems, and yesterday I did a little online research.  Then, during my break, I headed over to our local cop shop and talked with the good people there.  They fitted me with a Blauer Armorskin Vest and showed me how the system works.  I like the system, so we talked about it some more, and the told me that the Sheriff had approved it for uniform compliance, so I contracted for one, with a couple of the base shirts.  While you can wear the vest carrier over the uniform shirt, I really like the base shirt, as it's made in a way that everything sticking out looks like a class A uniform shirt, but underneath it is a cool-mesh type of fabric.  Hot Louisiana summers are tough on old fat men wearing vests, so anything I can do to be a little cooler will be a big help.

Of course, the cop shop is going to put on patches and piping, to make it visually resemble the uniform shirt that we wear.  I should be able to pick it up next Monday, and after I've worn it a little while I'll give a full review.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Taco Soup

I had intended to grill on the charcoal pit today, but the weather changed on us and it's relatively cool outside this morning.  Drizzling rain, wind out of the northwest, so we decided to make a Taco Soup to fill the bellies that will arrive here later.

Taco Soup.\


1 lb hamburger
1 lb bulk sausage
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can original Rotel
1 small can chopped green chilis
2 cans whole kernel corn
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans red kidney beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix.

Brown your meat. Drain it. Dump all the other ingredients on the meat and heat it. We normally let it simmer for a half hour or so.

Serve over corn chips. Garnish with shredded cheese.

It's simple, it's tasty, and it warms the belly well.  I love a good dump-and-go soup.

Sunday Morning Dawg

We've had generally beautiful weather this week, sunny days with cool mornings and warm afternoons.  Most days I wear a jacket in the early mornings and shuck it at noon.  Absolutely gorgeous springtime weather.  The dog's enjoying it too.  We've taken his sweater off and washed it for next year, and we're spending as much time as we can outdoors.

It's finally springtime in Central Louisiana and while that  means that the grass will soon need mowing, it's time to get out and enjoy the weather.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Don't Tread

Those of us who study American history know that the Gadsden flag was designed by Colonel Christopher Gadsden during our Revolutionary War.  It was a warning to tyrants and proudly flew at various places and times during our search for freedom.  Most recently, it has become the symbol of the Tea Party, a strong, grass-roots conservative movement that is opposed to big government, especially big government spending.

A powerful symbol of resistance, the Gadsden flag has flown proudly over patriots in wartime and peace, immediately recognized as a uniquely American symbol.

Now, it seems, the ObamaCare bunch is trying to co-opt the symbol into a laughable parody in support of big government.

That's just sad.  Everything about this law is unworkable, and they're in the final push to see if it can be saved.  I don't think that this symbol represents what they think it represents, but the idea that they're this desperate is a telling indictment of big government.

Instapundit says:
Only a historical illiterate — which is to say, pretty much all modern lefties — would think there’s anything racist about the Gadsden Flag. As for the ObamaCare version, well, that’s just pathetic.
I agree.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Protective Vest

God knows I hate a kevlar vest, and I know that I've got to wear one, that's not the question.  The Sheriff buys me a very nice vest every few years, and I've hated every one of them.  What I hate about the damned thing is wearing it underneath my uniform shirt.  It looks like crap, and I sweat like a hog and after a few hours my tee-shirt is sodden.  It's a miserable, uncomfortable existence.

Talking to a buddy today, he tole me that some folks are going to external plate carriers, and that there are some very nice ones being made that closely matches the uniform.  You put your badge and name plate on the carrier and wear it outside the shirt, like a vest. Sort of like this:

My buddy also told me that they have extra pockets and that a local store sells them and that several deputies have gone to the external carrier rather than the under-the-shirt carrier.  I may have to wander down the street next week and see what's available.

If any of my readers have any input, I'd be pleased to consider it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday Thud

For no particular reason, this day seemed to drag on, and on, and on.  Running errands on my lunch hour, and Milady called to say that she started a bathroom remodel, and getting back to work for the final push, and I realize that I have a headache.

Headaches are something I just don't get.  I've been on aspirin therapy for high blood pressure for five or six years, and because I take an aspirin ever morning, I simply no longer get headaches.  Today's must have been from squinting into the sun while I ran an errand for my sister, combined with the accumulated stupid from driving in traffic at the time school lets out.

The stupid has been strong today, and I can't wait to get home, take my boots off, and scratch the dog behind his ears. I may be forced to pour myself a tight drink.  Oh, the stupid has been strong today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Steel Target Update

It's been a while since I talked about my steel targets and we've been through some revisions, so I thought I'd give a lesson's learned update.

I really like the gong targets from Quality Targets, especially the 9" flat-topped gong.  We've been shooting it for two years now, and it is holding up remarkably well to everything we can throw at it, from .22LR, through the various .30 calibers, all the way to 7mm RemMag and .45-70.  This is a really great target and I wish I had a dozen of them.

One thing I've learned is that hanging them from chain is problematic when you're teaching grandkids.  Grandkids tend to miss, occasionally, and they'll shoot your chain, so I cast about looking for something sturdy enough to withstand centerfire bullet strikes and still hold the target.  I think that discarded fire-hose will the key, but more on that later.

Several months ago, a friend brought me some steel blanks.  He works in a steel fabrication shop and they had a custom order for some steel parts.  He doesn't know what type of steel it is, but tells me that it's the hardest thing he ever cut.  They're 6" "mickey-mouse" circles and he thinks they'll stand up to centerfire bullet strikes.  The steel measures 0.370 on my micrometer, and seems fairly heavy.

At about the same time, elder son was able to scrounge some 8" diameter fire hose that the local station was throwing away because it is out of spec.  Fire hose is tough, and stiff, and I had a helluva a time cutting it, requiring tin snips to cut the rubberized fabric.

So, I mounted the gongs to the fire hose with bolts and washers.

I'll hang the whole shebang with chains, and hopefully the chain will be far enough from the target that the grandkids won't hit the chain.  The firehose is tough enough so that the bullets should just zip through without much damage, and the yellow background gives good visual contrast.  The little homemade target is on the left and the Quality 9" gong is on the right.

As you can see, the big gong has been struck numerous times and is holding up well after two years of getting hammered by grandkids.  I hope the smaller gong holds up as well.  I've got three of those and I have high hopes for them.

Inspire Magazine Calls for Car Bombs in U.S.

According to Fox News, Inspire Magazine is calling for car bombs in the US and Great Britain and includes instructions on how to assemble the components.
The spring 2014 edition of Inspire magazine, seen above, urges jihadists to target specific U.S. locations using car bombs. Detailed instructions and simple diagrams on every step are provided.
Al Qaeda is calling on terrorist affiliates to detonate car bombs in major U.S. cities, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, in the latest edition of its Inspire magazine.
The issue comes nearly a year after the Boston Marathon bombing, and as the city readies new security measures for this year's race, being held next month. Inspire is the same magazine that included instructions for how to make pressure cooker bombs, which were used in last year's Boston attack. 
The Times of Isreal has another article, liking to Inspire.

Yeah, car bombs in the US will go a long way toward accelerating the date that we start playing "Cowboys and Muslims" here in the United States.  I don't think that they want to go there.  Religion of Peace, my ass.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fast Eddie Announces

Edwin Edwards, our four-term governor, and convicted felon has announced his candidacy for the US House of Representatives.
Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) announced Monday he will enter the race to replace Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in the state's 6th Congressional District.
Edwards, the 86-year-old who served an eight-year prison sentence after leaving office, told a crowd in the state he would reenter the political fray despite all the reasons against it.
"I acknowledge there are good reasons I should not run. But there are better reasons why I should," he said, according The Times Picayune. 
Edwards is a much beloved politician who dominated Louisiana politics during the '80s and '90s, to include during his racketeering trial and conviction that caused him to serve an eight year sentence in the federal pen.  Lots of folks would vote for Edwin tomorrow, and it looks like they might get the chance later this year.

Instapundit goes snarky on us, saying:
  Remember when Nancy Pelosi said we needed to “drain the swamp” in Washington? Instead, the Dems are recycling crooked pols from the Bayou State.
Louisiana politics is different than everywhere else, and no one needs permission from the party to run.  We sort out our politicians in our jungle primary system, and sometimes we get weird results, like two Republicans in the runoff general election.  Edwards didn't have to ask permission from anyone to run, and I'm sure that his conviction and jail time will serve as heavy fodder in the campaigning.  Still, a crowded primary plays to Edwards strengths, and I don't doubt that his sense of humor will serve him well.  My prediction?  He'll make the runoff.

The Great Coliseum Kerfluffle

My home town, in Rapides Parish LA, has a venue, the Coliseum, that was built when I was a kid, to host the local rodeos and the parish fair.  At the time it was built, it was a nice venue, on the outskirts of town.  A big building, with a dirt floor to support the rodeo, plenty of parking, and nice seating under a towering roof.  I can remember, as a child at age 11, going to the rodeo.  That was 50 years ago.

As time went on, the land around the Coliseum was developed, the population grew larger and the venue got a little shabby.  So, in 2012, the parish police jury asked the voters to dedicate a bond issue, financed by a millage, to renovate the Coliseum, increase parking, and bring the facility up-to-date.

I voted against it, for several reasons.  The Coliseum is bounded by commercial property, residential property, and a major state highway.  There's no place to expand, so the idea of increased parking was a pipe dream.  In addition, the fire district built a big new fire station on the facility, taking land from the Coliseum footprint and reducing the parking.  Additionally, as the population has grown, the already stressed parking isn't big enough to handle the premier events, with cars parking on the median of the adjoining four-lane highway, and clogging up the parking in the adjacent commercial properties.  Police officers who work events at the Coliseum know that it is too small for the crowds it draws.  Working events is often a nightmare because the venue is simply not big enough.

Now, the police jury is suing the architects, who claim that they can't do the improvements and stay within budget.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury directed counsel Monday to file litigation against the former design firm on the Rapides Coliseum renovation project.
The jury terminated its contract with Barron Heinberg & Brocato of Alexandria in August after the firm reported it could not complete the project within the $23 million budget. More than $600,000 had been spent on the project already. The litigation seeks to recoup some of that money.
Well, good for them.  The project didn't make any sense in the first place.  If the governing body wants my input, I'll be glad to provide it for them.  First, abandon the Coliseum.  It has exceeded its design life, and while it was once a nice facility, it doesn't make sense to put any more money into it.

If Rapides Parish needs a venue, then build another one with the tax money that we've already dedicated, or return the money to the taxpayers.  If the Police Jury decides to build, then  the facility should be self-sufficient. with sufficient revenue from promoters to pay for itself.  Just like any business, if it makes money, good, if it doesn't make money then it should be abandoned.  But, whatever the Police Jury decides, pouring money into the old land-locked Coliseum makes no sense at all.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Dawg

We're playing "don't look at the camera" this morning, but that's okay.  It's a nice day to be on the back porch.

If it gets much warmer, we'll have to take that sweater off.  Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, so we'll have to see what green we have to wear.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Recording the Police - Roll Call Edition

It's time to talk about this, as it's something that keeps cropping up, and we've got to get our heads right on it.  So, all you good police officers sit down and listen.

You all know that I've been a police officer from most of my adult life, and you all know that technology is growing with leaps and bounds.  Everyone who has a phone now has a camera, and we have to assume that we're being recorded every minute that we're wearing the uniform.  Act accordingly.

I know some police officers don't like being recorded, and that's tough.  If you are doing your job the way you are supposed to do your job, then the recording won't hurt you a bit.  It's been settled that the police have a right to record things like traffic stops for evidence and I've captured YouTube videos and security camera footage for evidentiary value.

We've got this thing called the First Amendment, and we've got this thing called the Fifth Amendment.  We can't seize property just because some good citizen is standing on the corner recording us.  We're public servants, serving the public, and everything we do is subject to review.  So get over it.  The public can record us doing our job, just like we can record the public.  The City of Baltimore is learning this lesson in a hard way, and I'd hate to see any of my brethren get sued because they did something stupid, like try to confiscate a camera without due process.

Any questions?  Good.  Now, y'all be careful out there.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reduced Loads

Regular readers to my siite know about my fondness for IMR 4895, which I consider one of the most versatile rifle powders for medium rifle cartridges.  You can scroll down thru this link and see the various uses I've put it to over the years.  When I start piddling with a new cartridge, one of the very first things I do is to find a 4895 recipe.  Like Unique in pistol calibers, IMR 4895 is useful in lots of rifle cartridges,  I one time counted the calibers and came up with over 40 in which the powder is very useful.  For myself, I've found it useful in .223, .243, .30-30, .30-06, and .45-70.  IMR 4895 is also a great cast-bullet powder, with lots of calibers.

Eaton Rapids Joe puts it to the test in reduced loads for the .308 Winchester, and tells us that it's a daisy in that cartridge as well.  I don't know that I've ever used it in the .308, preferring other powders in that caliber, but I have to admit that a 150 grain bullet traveling at 2200 fps is going to leave a mark when it hits something.  The .30-30 Winchester ballistics almost mimic that level of performance, and has proven since 1895 that it is a whiz-bang deer caliber.

A youngster in the field can do a lot worse than a 150 grain bullet going 2200 fps.  Anything within 150 yards is their meat if they put the bullet where it matters.  In this day of ultra-flat, whiz-bang magnums, a whole lot of adults would be surprised at just how much venison they could gather using those same ballistics.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stand My Ground

Reading the paper this morning, I see that there is a proposal in the legislature to repeal Louisiana's Stand Your Ground law.  Yeah, really.
Nevertheless, state Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, has filed a proposal to repeal the law here.
“Around the country a lot of young men, particularly young black men, have lost their lives, and individuals who pulled the trigger are using this stand-your-ground grounding as a logic behind it,” he said. “I think we need to rethink that.”
Louisiana's Stand Your Ground law is found as a part of another statute, regarding self-defense.  More particularly, it is found in RS 14:19, which says in part:
C.  A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using force or violence as provided for in this Section and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.

So, if I'm where I have a right to be, there is no legal reason for me to retreat from violence.  I can retreat if  necessary, but there is no legal reason to do so.  If the aggressor is threatening violence, then I can meet that violence without needing to retreat.  That sounds reasonable to me.

I would ask Rep Bishop if those "young men, particularly young black men" (his words, not mine) are committing an aggression, or a burglary, or some other unlawful activity, just exactly what does he propose that the person do?  Should I have a duty to retreat in my own home, or in a place where I lawfully have a right to be?

This proposal by Rep Bishop has no chance of making it out of committee, much less in making it through the legislature, but reporting on it does sell newspapers and prompt blog posts.  It does show that Rep Bishop has a constituency where he feels a need to protect young aggressors from the foibles of their own actions.  It would be better if he would spend as much effort in protecting the good, honest law-abiding people that he represents.  I know that it's tragic when a family loses a "young men, particularly young black men"  but the law is designed to protect the person who is in a place where they have a right to be.

This proposal is a waste of the legislature's time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Well Regulated Militia

Professor Reynolds asks the question in his USA Today column, if a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, are we less secure, or less free?
But although the militia survives in vestigial form in the statute books, as a functional institution, it no longer exists. For law enforcement, the militia has been replaced by professional police, with SWAT teams, armored vehicles and Nomex coveralls; for military purposes, the militia has been replaced by the National Guard, which despite a thin patina of state control is fundamentally a federal military force.
That's a pleasant observation, but I would remind the professor that true militias sprang up in Louisiana during the twin disaster of Katrina and Rita.  Citizen militias formed in places where the government could not reach, to protect life and property.  Militias aren't quite dead yet, although the government wishes they would die.

Still, the professor asks some interesting questions.  Go to the link for the whole article.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Mostly Cajun

My buddy Tanker, over at Mostly Cajun, has a good tutorial on the difference between Cajun and Creole, which most people outside of Louisiana consider synonymous, but we denizens of the state know better.  Louisiana was settled by two French-speaking groups of people.  The French thaht settled the New Orleans area as colonisists, and the Acadiens which came from french Canada.  He even provides a map.

The folks around New Orleans acclimatized into the culture we call Creole which takes its culinary roots from many places with a more European cooking style.that absorbed many cultures from the islands in the Caribbean.  Their cooking style also took cognizance of the fact that as a metropolitan area, there were more restaurants, and people had time to stand near the stove for complex recipes.

Cajun cooking, on the other hand, was more po-folks style.  Meals tended to be simple, belly-filling fare that could be cooked quickly, or could be left alone on the stove without much tending.  A gumbo, for example, can be assembled very quickly and left to simmer on the stove for a long time with just a simple stir when the cook passes by, between other chores.  Jambalaya, on the other hand, is a very quick recipe, taking just a tiny bit longer than it takes to cook a pot of rice.

My food roots tend toward Cajun cooking for two reasons.  First, my maternal grandmother was born on Avery Island and was raised in New Iberia.  Second, my first wife (and the mother of my children) had a lot of Cajun in her blood and her family tended toward the culture.  I learned as much Cajun cooking from her Dad as I leaned from my grandmother.  Don't misunderstand, I enjoy going to New Orleans once a year or so, and sampling their cooking.  It's quite nice.  But, it ain't Cajun.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's a beautiful, sunny, mild day in Central Louisiana, and the dog is spending much time outdoors.

The cat seems to be enjoying the weather as well.  We're all ready for a little springtime weather.

Y'all go enjoy this Sunday.  It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Spring Forward

Yep, it's time to set your clocks ahead, officially at 2:00 am tomorrow morning, in our bi-annual convulsion known as Daylight Savings Time.  You can read all the history at the link, and I'm sure that  many of us remember when it became standard, in our lifetimes, to set the clock forward during the warmer months to save electricity on incandescent lighting.

That argument makes about as much sense as selling a buggy-whip with a new car.  Our lives have changed so much in the past 30 years that I'm not convinced that Daylight Time makes any sense at all, but it's something we do simply out of habit, like Halloween or Memorial Day.  It's simply something we do.

The only ones of us who still set our clocks at 2:00 a.m. are the folks actually working, and it's subject to claim if those folks actually have to set our clocks.  The clock on my cell phone and the clock on the computer will change automatically.  I'll have to set my watch, and the clocks on the stove, microwave, and the clocks in the cars.  Oh, and the alarm clock so that I won't be late for church tomorrow.

Don't forget to set your clocks.

Volokh on Magazines

Eugene Volokh is an attorney, a law professor at UCLA, and a blogger or solid repute.  He looks at a case from Sunnydale, CA regarding magazine restrictions.
A federal district court has refused to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Sunnyvale, California’s ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds. (Fyock v. City of Sunnyvale (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2014).) A large part of the court’s rationale was that “a prohibition on possession of magazines having a capacity to accept more than ten rounds applies only the most minor burden on the Second Amendment,” and I think that’s both correct and legally relevant.
Eugene looks at both sides of the question and iterates the general caution that something that might be unwise my also be something allowed by the Constitution.  Just because it is unwise doesn't make it unconstitutional.
 More broadly, even if bans on magazines with more than 10 rounds are unwise, not all unwise restrictions are unconstitutional. That’s true for speech restrictions. It’s true for abortion restrictions. And I think it’s true for gun restrictions as well.
I believe that the good professor is probably right, although any restrictions on gun rights go jarringly against my grain.  You can go to the link above to read the whole article, but what he's saying makes sense to me.  Not that I agree with it, but that it makes sense.

It is better to elect legislators who celebrate freedom and won't pass laws that restrict freedom.  I note that this case is from California, a state that has enough problems that the legislature shouldn't have time to worry about such things.   Better to elect legislators who expand freedom and celebrate all of the rights of Americans.

The American Dream


It started innocently enough, several years ago.  My youngest sister was sunning in my pool when a friend dropped by on a warm Saturday morning.  Little sister was out-of-work, and was bemoaning her lack of employment.  Our friend remarked, innocently enough, that Little Sister should look to the nursing home industry for employment.  She's smart, educated (which is often not the same thing), and it's a growth industry with our aging population.  We all scoffed, but later that week, Little Sister did her research and enrolled at the local college for some classes preparatory to getting the credentials to administer a nursing home.  Within a year, she was working in a local nursing home as a junior administrator, learning the business.

After a while, Little Sister announced her intention to have her own home. We wished her luck, but somehow the idea of owning and managing a nursing home seemed out of reach, but we started seriously looking into the possibility.  Little Sister did the bulk of the work, and the bulk of the politicking within the family, and started doing the research.

Our family, as are most families, is awash in potential.  We boast cops, teacher, maintenance types, business folk, scientists, nurses and laborers.  A great wealth of talent, if we're properly focused.  Solid, middle-class folks who have done well in our respective fields.  Our individual families are mostly grown, and we're approaching solid middle-age.  I, the eldest, just turned 60, looking toward retirement and approaching my autumn years.

The Plan

One day, after Little Sister had been politicking amongst the family  for several months, we decided that this might be a good idea, so we launched an exploratory venture to come up with a business plan.  If we were going to do this, we were going to do it right, so we pooled a little money, formed a company, and got some good advise while we searched for a property.  We found a place that looked like an opportunity and talked with bankers, accountants, and lawyers.  We signed confidentiality agreements, and began negotiations while we acquired capital.  Negotiations ebbed and flowed, optimism was tempered with disappointment, but we doggedly followed though.  To her credit, Little Sister did the huge majority of the work, enlisting Brother-In-Law to help with negotiations and legal issues.

All this in relative secrecy.  People are talkers, and love to talk about things, and this thing couldn't be talked about.  We had to move slowly, negotiate carefully, and keep our plan close to the vest.  Loose lips sink ships, and some of us had gone all-in on the venture.  We wanted an opportunity to make our mark, and understood that such ventures carry risk, so we kept our traps shut.  (I'm a blogger after all, I talk about everything).

The Announcement

We're launched, and can talk about it.  We are pleased to announce the formation and activation of Steed Care, LLC, a company formed by the family and select friends to manage the first of what we hope are several elder-care facilities.  We believe that this is a unique opportunity to participate in the American Dream, to provide a much needed service, and to profitably expand our horizons.

Wish us luck.  It's going to be a wild ride.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Afternoon

Friday afternoon, and it's been another rollicking-good-time week at the schoolhouse.  The national politics have been interesting and if you've been following the news, you know that we won some and lost some this week, but I'm good with the way things are going.

When I got home, I learned that Milady has bought some ceramic tile from a friend, and that we're soon to pull the linoleum  from the bathrooms and re-do the floors in ceramic tile.  Interesting.  It is pretty tile, almost white with some very dim gold highlights.  She likes it, and that's all that matters.  One bonus to this deal is that her son is a flooring installer and lays tile as his craft.  He does it for a living.  Guess who's going to get paid for this job.

While I typed that last paragraph, Milady leaned over my shoulder and put a bourbon and coke on the counter.  Happy Hour has arrived, so I'm going to sit back and enjoy the afternoon.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Landrieu Votes Yes

Mary Landireu, our embattled Senator from New Orleans voted yes this morning on the controversial nomination of Debo Adegbile as an assistant attorney general.  Adegbile, you may remember was an activist for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.
Several other Democrats in tough races voted in favor of the nomination. Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Begich (Alaska) are all seen as vulnerable in this year's midterms, but all three voted in favor of moving the nomination forward.
I know that attorneys have to represent their clients, but Adegbile went beyond representation to activist on Mumia's behalf, which puts his nomination beyond the pale.  I had written Senator Landrieu on Monday morning and told her to vote against the confirmation.  Senator Landrieu chose to ignore my constituent interest.  That's her choice, and voting for her is my choice.

Senator Landrieu votes in favor of race-baiting cop killers.  That a damn shame and another reason to vote against her in October.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Enforce or Repeal - Slippery slope edition

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the legislature of Connecticut passed certain laws, regulating certain firearms that look like assault weapons and placed the gun owners of that state at risk if they failed to register their firearms.  Those laws became effective at the start of this year, and it appears that the scofflaws of The Constitution State haven't forgotten their revolutionary roots and failed to register their rifles.  When the new year rolled in, thousands (some say tens of thousands) of good, stalwart Connecticut citizens became instant felons, simply for owning the most popular firearm in the US.
Legislation enacted after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT requires that gun owners registered military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines with state officials by the end of last year. But only a few weeks after that deadline came and went, journalist Dan Haar of The Hartford Courant newspaper wrote that as many as 350,000 assault weapons remained unregistered and that “Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals.”
Second Amendment organizations have gavanized against the ban, and they're openly threatening officials with recall.  They're also calling them out, telling them to either enforce the law or repeal it.
Now, State officials look down the barrel of the laws that they created, and it is very probably that they now tremble as they rethink the extremity of their folly. Connecticut Carry calls on every State official, every Senator, and every Representative, to make the singular decision: Either enforce the laws as they are written and let us fight it out in court, or else repeal the 2013 Gun Ban in its entirety.
An estimated 350,000 assault weapons in the hands of instant felons, in the little state of Connecticut.

I've heard for years that no one wants to take my guns, yet that seems to be exactly the options open to the government of Connecticut, and there are a hell of a lot of guns out there.  There's the slippery slope.  Registration leads to confiscation, and the officials of Connecticut had better decide what they want to do.  If they want to start confiscating firearms, they might find that the good people of Connecticut are armed.

I stand with the instant felons in Connnecticut.

Jury Duty

One of the privileges, (or burdens) of American citizenship, is jury duty.  We're discussing jury duty and nullification at this forum, and as a long serving cop, I have my own particular jaundiced view on most juries, that track mostly with the experiences of Mark Twain.  As a young officer I looked askance at the jury selection process and decided that Louisiana's laws were altogether too liberal in many parts regarding the criteria for excusal, and remember one attorney wag remarking that he'd "never trust the freedom of a client to twelve people too stupid to get out of jury duty".

Louisiana later revised its law to make it much harder to be excused from jury duty, and to spread the burden around more fully, although in my experience the Courts do not want anyone who can read, understand basic human nature, or reach his own conclusions to sit on a jury.  Only the dull and illiterate need apply.

Yet, as a police officer, I had many dealings with juries and have to admit that against all odds, they often reach the proper conclusions.  One facet of jury duty, in heinous cases is something called sequestration, which means that the jury will be locked up for the duration of the trial.  Unable to watch TV or read newspapers, they'll be locked into a local motel for the duration, all the more to focus their energy on the task at hand.  It leads to some interesting anecdotes.

One case in particular comes to mind.  A local family had been murdered.  The victims were "salt of the earth" folks, active in the church, hardworking types, who happened to run afoul of a wanted criminal.  The criminal wanted the family car and killed the family to help in his escape.  Truly a vicious, wanton crime.  The criminal was soon caught, jailed, and indicted, and in the normal course of things, a jury pool was selected.

One hundred twenty souls reported to the Courthouse for the jury pool, and on the first day of voir dire, the judge told them that if selected, they'd be sequestered.  He instructed them to bring a suitcase to court the next day, capable of holding a week's clothing.  If selected, they'd be lodged incognito at a local hotel.  Over the next several days, a jury was impaneled, and the trial commenced.

On the fourth or fifth day of the trial, I needed the Judge to sign a court order.  I called the Courthouse and talked with his secretary who informed me that if I were at the Courthouse at 3:00 the judge normally took a recess and I could catch him as he went into his chambers.  So, I grabbed my order and trotted down to the Courthouse where I sat in the judge's waiting room.  In due course, the judge entered, waved me into his office, and asked about my business.  Just about that time, his secretary told him that he "had a call on line one".  The judge held up a finger to me and picked up the phone.

Judging from the conversation, the caller's wife was on the jury.  I could hear the judge telling him that she was fine and that he would pass a message that everyone at home was fine, that they understood how important her service was and that they'd be waiting to rejoice with her when she was released.  The judge took a pen, and asked her name (so that he could pass the message), then looked up at me with surprise on his face.

"Uh, sir, your wife is not on our jury."

"No, sir, she was examined and released on Wednesday.  She is not serving, and was not sequestered."

"I suspect that she is somewhere, watching the news, and will return home as soon as the trial is over."

"No, sir, I cannot recommend an attorney.  We have may fine divorce lawyers in this area. I'd suggest that you look in the Yellow Pages."

"Yes, sir, you have a good day."

I never did find out who the woman was.  I bet that she had some explaining to do when she came home at the end of the trial.

Monday, March 03, 2014

More Winter

Oh, joy.  The National Weather Service tells us that more winter weather is on the way.
Just crap. I'll get up in the morning, and see how bad it is.  Our kin folk up North would laugh at us, but ice and freezing rain don't bode well for traffic tomorrow.
 **UPDATE** at 5:00 pm. Rapides Parish public and Catholic schools closed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 4th.
**UPDATE** at 6:00 pm.

Whoo, dat don't bode well at all for the Mardi Gras celebrations in Southwest Lousiana.  I'd bet that les Courirs will be cold tomorrow.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


Reduction in Force.  It's not a new concept, nor the first time I've seen this ploy trotted out.  It is tough being in the military, and it's tougher when the military goes through a draw-down, yet it's an historical phenomenon and it's painful when it happens.  I see these families struggling with the same problems I've dealt with in the past.
"There are a lot of people in the military who joined to make it a career," she told "We understand that there needs to be cuts, but please don’t forget there are people's livelihoods behind all of these proposals. We're not okay with cuts that feel arbitrary and cuts that break promises that were made when we joined."
Yeah, it's tough, but one thing that is a dead-certainty in the military is that one day, they'll tell you it's over.  Whether you're enlisted or an officer, one day it's over.  For some that comes with retirement, with others it comes at the end of enlistment, with yet another subset, it comes with a letter telling you that you won't be retained.  Either way it comes, it comes.

I live through a RIF in 1976, during the Carter presidency.  The Army decided that it didn't need a whole lot of helicopter pilots because we were no longer embroiled in a big war with lots of helicopters.  Those guys who had joined up to fly, and had no interest in command, were left hanging.  I lived through another RIF during the Clinton years, when the government decided that the Red Threat was no longer a threat and we could live with a smaller military.

In times where there is a perception that we don't need a large military (or when the needs of the services changes) normally under a Democratic president, the military shrinks.  The hard part for many of us was that the criteria for retention was set by bureaucrats to meet the needs of bureaucrats and those service members who met the criteria are retained, while those who don't meet the criteria are released.  Often, it seems that the bureaucrats stay in the service and the war-fighters are released.  Such is the nature of a peace-time military.

It sucks, but it isn't anything new.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog finally got a clip this week, but the chilly weather made him feel cold without all his fur, so we had to break out a sweater.  He was shivering like crazy while we were on the veranda.

He sure looks better without all that shag.  Here's another picture of the Sunday Dawg and the Sometimes Cat.

When the weather warms up, we'll take the sweater off, but he seems ot enjoy it right now.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Auctions are, quintessentially, a marketplace.  It's a very simple form of commerce where buyers and sellers come together.  The Seller has a forum to move his goods, and the Buyer has a place to purchase those goods.  Auctions move across cultures and countries because they are simple, easily understood, entertaining, and profitable for both the buyer and seller.  In this day of Ebay and other online auctions, I would rather go to a traditional auction, while I still acknowledge the benefits of the newer varieties simply because of the human interaction.

In a traditional auction, we find certain set-pieces.  First the venue, which might be a storefront, or a front yard.  Then the seller, who might be front and center, or might be anonymous.  Then the Auctioneer who is always front and center.  It is the Auctioneer's job to control the auction and to get the highest price possible for the goods.  In most cases, the Auctioneer does not own the product, but is only an agent for the sale.  The best Auctioneers are entertainers, jovial, friendly, and know  how to work a crowd.  Last but not least, we have the Boyer.  It's the Buyer's money that the Seller wants and it's the Auctioneer's job to get the best price possible.  It's the Buyer's job to get the product for the least amount possible.

In a pure marketplace, an item is only worth what a Buyer is willing to pay, and it's the Auctioneer's job to find that number.  That's where the human drama unfolds.

You see all types at an auction. Rich and poor, educated and uneducated, of all economic classes.  Everyone is equal at an auction.  It's all based on what you're willing to pay.  For example, I remember a recent auction where a simple, aluminum pitcher was available; one of many items to be traded that night, and a smalll bidding war erupted over that simple item.

Two buyers.  One was a local dealer, looking for scrap aluminum, the other a regular fellow who liked the pitcher because it was one like his grandmother had owned, many years ago.  The dealer knew what it was worth, having bought and sold much aluminum over his career and the regular fellow who knew what it was worth as a senimental object, and knew what he was willing to give for it.  The Auctioneer, trying to get the best price, let the bidding roll incrementally.  The aluminum dealer bidded in tiny amounts, and the sentimental fellow always topped him.  Finally, it went to the sentimental fellow because he was willing to pay more than the scrap dealer.

Young and old, rich and poor, credentialed and common, you'll find all types at an auction.  Everyone is looking for a deal.  It's great entertainment, it's an ancient form of commerce, and it's generally free to the public.  If you're find yourself bored this weekend, go to and find a local auction.  It doesn't cost anything to watch, but put a little jingle in your pocket.  You never know what you might find on the tables, and you're guaranteed to have a good time.