Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions ...

are something I don't make. I'm planning to live the way I've been accustomed, which has worked fairly well the past few years. I do plan to increase my carbon footprint this coming year by burning some gunpowder. I'm also going to upgrade my National Rifle Association membership from life to endowment next spring.

Keeping in shooting practice is still more expensive despite drastic decreases in cost for metals such as copper, lead and brass since last summer. Copper prices have dropped more than 70 percent. Aluminum is worth less, too. Unfortunately the price of ammunition, reloading components, and AR-15 receivers haven't went down.

No doubt the types, in the pursuit of their perception of "social justice", will try to thrust their ways upon individuals. These "progressives" represent little change from their 20th-century-socialist ascendants except for new names and faces. There hasn't been a body count in the millions in this country unlike elsewhere. The people haven't been completely disarmed and re-indoctrinated yet.

Keep shooting. Don't forget to take some friends. Don't let the expense or the unfriendly political climate squelch your passion and drive. Exercise those options, which Barack Obama declared as "negative liberties" in 2001, enumerated in our constitution or lose them.

"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government."--James Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Criminal Stupidity

Robert Aragon, 55, isn't a murderer, says his cousin, Kenneth Quintana. "There's no way he could have known this was going to happen," he added.

"My dad, he's a good father," says Aragon's surviving adult daughter, Lorraine Aragon.

As Judge Mark Ingram explained second-degree murder and felony injury to a child charges, Aragon pounded a table with his head and said, "Oh, my God!" Upon hearing his bond was set at $500,000, he said, "I think that's way too high."

Quintana, who was riding with Aragon and his two children, Sage and Bear, when Aragon stuck the car in an Idaho snowdrift Christmas morning, defended his cousin Bob during a telephone interview with a reporter.

"He didn't send those kids out there to die. He just wanted their mother to spend Christmas with them."

Mr. Quintana, if I was the prosecutor, I would have filed the same charges against you. One doesn't have to be too smart to know poorly-dressed, 11 and 12-year-old children may suffer extreme frostbite or die from hypothermia when walking 10 miles in sub-freezing temperatures and snow drifts past their knees.

Aragon and Quintana must have never heard of two legal terms, the reasonable person standard and criminal negligence. That is one of the tasks of defense attorneys--explain legal terms to the criminally stupid.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Igor's Crystal Ball

Igor Panarin's prediction that the United States will break up into six parts received mention in The Wall Street Journal.

Here's a map of how the pieces will fall after the civil war and breakup.

Nyet, I don't think so. Igor, the Alaskans would be a rough mooseburger to swallow even for you ex-KGBers. Then you've separated Kansas and Missouri gun-toting rednecks from Oklahoma and Arkansas gun-toting rednecks. Lumping Tennessee and South Carolina with New York and Massachusetts just won't work. And if you think Texas will dominate the deep South, you've never discussed football with any hardcore fan of a SEC team.

The best propaganda weaves some truth into the govnó. In my effort to wade through Igor's fecal matter, I'd say it was indeed true that U.S. foreign debt resembles a pyramid scheme. There's one more nugget:

Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama "can work miracles," he wrote. "But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

Friday, December 26, 2008

No pollster called me, but ...

I'd pick none of those recorded as "man Americans admire most" in a USA Today poll published today. One-third of those called by USA Today pollsters named the prez-elect.

All of the others listed, including the current president, were at five percent or less. Bush 43 and Sen. John McCain did edge out Pope Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, and the first black U.S. president, Bill Clinton.

Most polls are dubious in my humble opinion. No respectable media outlet should commission or conduct its own polls for the purposes of making news or manipulating public opinion. Media organizations should exhaustively examine and report on the methodology and standards of polls they publish, no matter how "newsworthy" or "respectable" the source seems to be.

Ruby, my dog, could craft a poll of Americans who would pick Hugo Chavez as the most popular American man. After all, Venezuela is one of several American countries.

And then they're outright sexists at USA Today. The women aren't mentioned until the third graph and were segregated from the men. The future Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, rated highest with 20 percent of the 1, 008 "American" telephone and cellphone owners. Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, at 11 percent, ranked higher than Oprah, Vicar of Daytime Television, who garnered 8 percent.

Here are two U.S. citizens in the public spotlight I admire: Libby Callahan, police revolver champion and four-time U.S. Olympic Shooting Team member; and Thomas Sowell, economist and author. The only politician who comes to mind is former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Infant Lowly, Infant Holy

This Christmas hymn came to mind about an hour before the whole family headed out to Christmas Eve service last night. It was a perfect song for a perfect night, a time of peace beyond all human understanding. Peace be with you all this holy day and always.

Infant holy,
Infant lowly,
For His bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing,
Little knowing
Christ the Babe is Lord of all.
Swift are winging
Angels singing,
Noels ringing,
Tidings bringing,
Christ the Babe is Lord of all.

Flocks were sleeping,
Shepherds keeping
Vigil till the morning new;
Saw the glory,
Heard the story,
Tidings of a Gospel true.
Thus rejoicing,
Free from sorrow,
Praises voicing,
Greet the morrow,
Christ the Babe was born for you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It is Real: Global Warming

The Prez-elect has changed locations. He's left the Windy City for the heat of Hawaii to expose his pecs to paparazzi. This seems to be mandatory for world leaders now--France's Sarkozy, Russia's Putin, and now Barry.

No wonder Obama is concerned about global warming. I'd head to the beach and study climate change too if I wasn't busy trying to keep water lines from freezing here in the Osage Cuestas. No bare pecs here. Frostbite is a real possibility particularly if one slips on the ice, cracks their head, and lays unconscious in the brutal wind for too long.

Here's a political cartoon from Lisa Benson of the Washington Post Writers Group for all the sunbathers out there. Don't forget sun screen. The cooking skin increases harmful carbon emissions.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Test your communication skills ...

before Christmas dinner with the the rogue in-laws or telling someone you tossed the canned fruitcake they unthoughtfully sent.

You may be a jerk, desperately repressed or highly insightful. Psychology Today is "Here to Help".

Me, I'm supposedly insightful and scored an 88: "Your results indicate that you are extremely adept at interpreting other people’s words and actions and seeing things from their perspective, which likely results in very few misunderstandings. You seem to realize that empathy is an essential part of good interpersonal skills and therefore, will do your best to place yourself in other people’s shoes in order to better understand them. You can generally get a good sense of what others are thinking and will likely adjust yourself accordingly if the people you’re conversing with seem confused or perhaps uncomfortable. Good job!"

My two kids may disagree particularly when I say "no" to some scheme they're trying to pull off.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Red-Letter Day

There are days etched into brain cells such as December 7, September 11, and November 22. Many of us have those personal, red-letter days--good or bad--we'll never forget this side of dementia or death.

One of mine is December 19. One-half of a family died that day in a snow-filled ditch following a needless, senseless traffic accident. A man, who had just finished drinking a few beers with friends, ran a stop sign with his pickup truck. It hit the family's van, driving it into the far ditch of a U.S. highway. The truck overturned and another car behind the van struck it.

The family was heading north to do some Christmas shopping in Kansas City. The mother, in the front passenger seat, and her teenage daughter, in a seat behind her, died at the scene. The father, who was driving, and his son survived. It was close, but splendid paramedics on the ground and in the air kept them going until they reached a trauma center. The heros in that place took over. After weeks the father and son left with bolts, pins, plates, crutches and broken hearts.

Yellow blankets completely covered the still forms of mother and daughter. Tears rolled down the cheeks of paramedics, men and women, as they worked to save father and son. Plastic bags, quickly ripped open to free life-saving tools and medications, fluttered on bloody snow.

There was a lady with a broken leg in the car that had been following the van. She sat behind the steering wheel, not complaining and very gracious, until after the med-evac helicopter arrived and left with the father and son.

When I first arrived, the driver who had run the stop sign was wandering around his truck worrying about the damage to it. He didn't seem to notice the victims' fates until I put handcuffs on him. The undersheriff arrived and hauled him to jail. It didn't seem quick enough. I could sense others turning on the man responsible for the twisted steel, broken glass and motionless bodies. Order had yet to be firmly reestablished.

There weren't enough badge wearers there. The ones who were seemed to be taking their cues from me, even though on paper I wasn't a supervisor. Training took over. Disorder rolled back.

This surreal scene from so long ago, out of all I witnessed in 15 years of law enforcement work, comes back to me even in the midst of a sound, summer's night sleep. Sometimes a helicopter flying overhead the farm makes it all come back. I once again feel the grains of road salt and ice kicked up by rotor blades prick my face. I remember the cold, the sadness, the loss, the anger, and two yellow-draped bodies laid out on bloody snow.

Hug the ones you love. Drive safely.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa is Real

It is doubtful many of you cynical bloggers believe in Santa Claus. You should if you don't want to wind up with a lump of coal in your stocking.

Yes, Santa is real. She's jolly, somewhat rotund, loves kids and hails from Texas by way of D.C. Yes, Virginia and Virgil, Santa is U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). She's a member of the House's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chairs the Water Resources and Environment subcommittee.

The Kansas City, Mo., city council moved to get on the Hope and Change Rearranger's economic stimulus project list shortly after the Prez-elect announced the New-New Deal. It needs 2.4 billion dollars for a sewer project. So today they held a party for Congresswoman Johnson where a batch of inner-city kids wearing green helmets sang and told her how the sewer would help the environment.

She told the attendees there were 2,ooo other projects in the queue already and it was unlikely the city would receive sewer money during the next year. I don't know if that means that the Kansas Citians haven't been good enough this year or Congresswoman Johnson just wants to come back next year for another holiday party.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Somebody else's .45 Autos

Brigid has posted a piece about fitting a pistol to the operator's hand.

She's showing off her Sig Sauer P220 and Colt Combat Commander again, which always reminds me I don't have a .45 ACP right now despite having nearly 2,000 rounds of ammunition for one in the basement bunker.

My first .45 ACP was the best one I ever owned, a Colt Commander I bought on my 21st birthday for a whopping $185. With the alloy frame, it was no burden to pack. The Commander flawlessly fed 200-grain SWC and 23o-grain ball ammunition I handloaded for it. After two years of being spoiled by it, I traded it in for a Series 70 Government. It wasn't near as much fun.

J.A., a friend I made when we both wore badges, is our farrier. The last time he showed up, he was packing a vintage Colt Commander just like the one I foolishly traded decades ago. The anodizing was mostly gone from the front strap, the frame had an old "Bozo" scratch from the slide stop and the blue slide showed honest holster wear. Other than that, it was perfect.

Lusting for a .45--it can morally bankrupt a person.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Plumbing the economy

I've been neglecting the blog for plumbing. I've spent two days digging out a waste line and replacing some water valves. Then I've been feeding the stock, which takes more time when snow and cold takes over the Osage Cuestas.

I've also been plumbing other people's computers. I figured it would be a way to exploit the bad economy--fixing and upgrading older computers people would have simply replaced a few months ago. I contemplated starting my own bank holding corporation to snag increasingly worth-less federal bailout dollars. It is more fun to fix other people's virus-infected computers, however.

A man came by this morning inquiring about a pickup-truck load of old horse manure for a garden. He inquired about composition, quality and price. I told him I'd charge $20, which seems reasonable because I'd have to take the bale fork off the tractor to put on the bucket. He said he might come back next weekend if he didn't find manure at another place. I think he wants perfect, free shit. Could that be why the economy turned to crap in the first place?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here's a change ...

The first Christmas was June 17, 2 B.C., according to Australian astronomer Dave Reneke. The Star of Bethlehem? It was truly a "bright beacon of light" caused when Venus and Jupiter appeared extremely close together.

There's no news that Reneke's findings will create "peace on Earth" and "good will" between the "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays" factions. It could throw marketers off, causing them to start the holiday shopping season before Memorial Day. How it may impact suicide and depression rates, which both spike high around the December holidays, is still unknown.

The religious observations in public forums issue may lessen since most public schools are closed by June 17. It would be tough to keep the grass mowed if nativity scenes cluttered up the courthouse lawn. But there's always Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pagan Yule festivals, etc., in December to heighten tensions.

Al Gore, Earth in the Balance prophet, should be pleased. With the increased June daylight, we can cut down our carbon footprint by running the holiday lights less.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Always Lawful"

"It kind of smells like Nixon and Watergate. But I don't care whether you tape me privately or publicly, I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful."

--Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Dec. 8, 2008

Apparently the feds don't agree. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested earlier today in Chicago. One may follow Operation Board Games here.

Rod is now estranged from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and friends Rahm Emanuel, who is now Prez-elect Obama's chief of staff, and David Axelrod, Obama's senior advisor. It will be interesting to see how this will play out.

Gov. Lawful has long waged a campaign against Illinois firearms manufacturers such as Rock River Arms, Springfield Armory, Armalite and Les Baer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"a date which will live in infamy"

The president-elect, Barack Obama, revealed his plans for a new "New Deal" last weekend. It is appropriate to remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the first deal on Pearl Harbor Day.

Roosevelt's "date which will live in infamy" announcement after Japan's, Dec. 7, 1941, attacks in the Pacific is remembered as one of the most famous political speeches in our country's history. The New Deal and Roosevelt's handling of World War II is legendary. FDR is ranked as one of the most popular presidents ever.

Most overlook or do not know about Executive Order 6102, where Roosevelt declared all privately-held gold property of the government, and Executive Order 9066, which imprisoned Japanese Americans without due process in February 1942. When judges ruled against his policies, FDR replaced them with rubber stampers.

George Santayana reminds us, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." There's no doubt that surrendering the reins of government to one man in 2009 is a mistake, despite how the 21st Century-equivalent of Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" tell us it is necessary.

Check out Richard Olivastros's column, Infamous Day of "East Wind, Rain". It's one more example of how one of our most revered chief executives disregarded constitutional safeguards. FDR was only one man, not a demigod or a king. If presidents are allowed to operate outside the restraints laid out by the U.S. Constitution in times of real or drummed-up emergencies, we're less free thereafter. FDR has been a model for too long. It's time to change back to the Constitution.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"I like to push it to the edge": the NHL's Sean Avery

Sean Avery is another person who hasn't figured out it is a bad career decision to talk about their exs such as actress Elisha Cuthbert and model Rachel Hunter.

I've never watched him play on television or on real-life ice. But if I was his public relations advisor, I'd tell him it makes him look weak, foolish, crude and abusive. Those are all characteristics of a bitter, out-of-control loser.

"He's not only often called the most hated player in the NHL, he loves hearing it."

Sean, I don't hate you. In fact this is the first I've learned that you exist. However, it isn't a mystery to me why girls ditch you for other hockey players. You could, no doubt, boost sales of TROJAN® Her Pleasure™ Vibrating Touch fingertip massagers with your magnetic personality.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Queen of Pain: Tabloid Fodder

Jennifer Aniston is "bummed". She gets too much publicity from tabloids such as Vogue, who took her quote about her ex-husband's replacement wife, Angelina Jolie, being "uncool" out of context.

Aniston, 39, is also a late bloomer and babies could be in her future. I've never watched an entire episode of Friends or seen a movie that she has appeared in, so I don't know much about her talents. However, if I was her public relations agent, I'd tell her to stop talking about her woe-filled personal life and her exs with anyone except her therapist.

With no pictures of babies to peddle, Aniston doesn't have the juice to neogiate favorable press coverage. Leave her alone, you mass media bullies!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aiming for Accuracy: the NSSF Response

It is obvious from partaking of the MSM that the majority of journalists know little about firearms beyond what they view on television or read. Some coverage seems as if its genesis was a Brady Center press release. So it was good to hear about the industry's response, which I have posted below:

NEWTOWN, Conn., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) - the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry - has launched a blog aimed at hunting down and correcting inaccuracies about firearms and the firearms industry. The blog, titled "Aiming for Accuracy," is updated regularly with news, links and other helpful resources designed to promote accurate communications about firearms issues in the media, among bloggers and with all firearms enthusiasts.

"Tomorrow is here," said NSSF President Stephen L. Sanetti. "In order to fully represent one of the oldest industries in the world, it is incumbent upon NSSF to utilize new communications tools. NSSF is dedicated to using every medium at its disposal to set and keep the record straight. We encourage readers to bring inaccuracies in the media to our attention, and we ask NSSF members and other readers of the Aiming for Accuracy blog to forward relevant postings to their local media and their favorite bloggers."

I urge anyone who views inaccurate and unfair news media coverage to compose factual messages to media outlets pointing out the errors. Don't make it a rant. Use these facts the NSSF has provided for a firm foundation. It would be great if every news room had copies of the NSSF publication, The Writer's Guide to Firearms and Ammunition, to supplement their style guidelines.

Also, reach out to reporters in your communities and take them shooting. Many of them are curious about firearms. The most powerful act shooters can take to preserve our rights is to close the gap that inaccurate perceptions have widened between us and others, journalists included.