Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicago-area women find peace through strength

Despite all the "community activism" through the decades by Saul Alinsky disciples such as Barack Obama, the best efforts of ACORNers, and some of the strictest laws on private ownership of firearms in the nation shoved onto its citizens by the Daley combine, Chicago is an increasingly dangerous place to live, work and visit. Women there are turning their back on the "conventional wisdom" they've been fed about gun ownership and firearms training. They're shopping in gun stores, taking firearms training and heading to the range in record numbers.

Chicago is one of the few places I've been forced to draw a firearm in defense. I traveled there during an icy March weekend more than 20 years ago with some family members. We were returning to our hotel on a street that intersected Michigan Avenue. A group of eight men began to tail us as we took corners and crossed streets. As they started to close in, I noticed a stout, steel-plate dumpster in the middle of one block, I got behind it as the three others I was with started running. I flipped my coat tail back and drew my revolver. The stalkers suddenly figured out it was best to turn around and find more ideal prey.

Mayor Daley and the Chicago police wouldn't have approved. But they weren't around to notice. Gun control isn't reasonable or safe. It just makes it easier for criminals to victimize law-abiding-but-defenseless citizens. Hats off to the armed citizens of Chicago.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A passage from a journal

It's late and sleep eludes. So I'm reading some passages from the journal of Albert Jay Nock, 1873-1945. This one I'd like to share with you.

"Lord, how the world is given to worshiping words! Eschew the coarse word slavery, and you can get glad acceptance for a condition of actual slavery. A man is a slave when his labour-products are appropriated, and his activities are governed by some agency other than himself; that is the essence of slavery. Refrain from using the word Bolshevism, or Fascism, Hitlerism, Marxism, Communism, and you have no troubles getting acceptance for the principle that underlies them all alike--the principle that the State is everything, and the individual nothing."

Nock, a friend of William Jennings Bryan and one of the lights of the early Progressive movement, eventually found these advocates of "change" and "reform" to be "political Frankensteins." In the State, he held no trust. He viewed Statism as a cancer that would eventually throttle the power of independent moral judgment in its citizenry.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Give him a teleprompter or something ...

Uhh, perhaps, uhh ... the's president's low, uhh ... approval ratings, uhh ... could, uhh, I'm sorry, uhh ... pick up, uhh ... 20 points, if he embraced, uhh ... a robust process to, uhh ... find a press secretary to replace, uhh, Robert Gibbs.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Prediction and an Apology

I, at this time more than 48 hours before the official announcement, predict Chicago will not make the final cut for the 2016 Olympics host city despite the redistributive-changer-in-chief's visit to Copenhagen to sway the International Olympic Committee.

Keeping President Obama's UN speech in mind, I'm also apologizing to our poor, huddled, exploited, global brothers and sisters--particularly the citizens of Madrid, Rio and Tokyo. Our president's old-fashioned wielding of power isn't any way to "embrace a new era of of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect

" or forging a future out of deeds rather than speeches. No wonder the world may sometimes view the United States of America with "skepticism and mistrust" for this isn't a shining example of change in word and deed--"a new era of engagement with the world."

A Democrat, former House Speaker Tip O'Neill, once said, "All politics is local." In any attempt to understand the timing of President Obama's trip to Copenhagen, keep in mind he's an old-school, Chicago politician, i.e., a "community activist." He's doing the bidding of the Daley machine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Polansky: Wanted and Desired

Roman Polansky, "one of the world's outstanding film directors" has been a fugitive from justice for more than 30 years. Despite all his prestige and the public relations campaign his posse has been helping Polansky run from Europe and Hollywood, he plead guilty to a crime that earns him a slot on the sexual predator registry.

Why the governments of France and Poland believe Polansky should be cut loose is beyond me. If those nations wish to be sanctuary countries for child abusers and rapists, let's export several boat loads.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Job "Creation"

Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, consumed enough Diet Coke last week to blast him out of a slumber. Then he noticed the record-setting unemployment rate, held an interview with news media, and said it will remain "unacceptably high for a number of years."

So, in a play on Sheryl Crow and Obama lyrics, a change wouldn't do you good.

Larry, will you ever be able to explain to me how Obama can claim how he and Congress have created or saved 1 million jobs this year via the $787 billion, budget-busting, economic "stimulus" plan? The Obama administration's own numbers show 492,ooo jobs lost in July and August and 6.9 million total lost since the recession officially began. It sounds like fuzzy math and voodoo economics all over again, Larry.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Three-for-one swap

After looking at the news page this morning, I propose this trade with Venezuela: three of our left-wing radicals who slept through economics courses for one of theirs.

The trade: Obama, Pelosi, and Michael Moore (who now thinks capitalism is an evil that cannot be regulated) for Hugo Chavez. Why? Because, with the red shirt, Hugo stands out at town hall meetings.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Strange Sake?

Japan's first lady, Miyuki Hatoyama, is one multi-faceted lady. She's traveled to Venus, knew Tom Cruise when he was Japanese, and has been abducted by space aliens. She also serves as Yukio Hatoyama's, her husband and prime-minister-elect, chief stylist.

Maybe Cristophe, hairstylist who's groomed many high-flying politicos such as President Bill Clinton, should open up a sixth salon on Venus.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Transparency and Open Government

I'm keeping President Obama's executive order regarding transparency and open government in mind as I watch the spinning, red numbers grow larger and larger here.

Each one of us--rich, poor, child, adult, man, woman, minority, majority, Democrat, Republican, left-wing radical, right-wing extremist--as of this moment own $38,187 of the national debt. Then there's $191,845 per citizen of unfunded federal liability. Tack on more than $24,000 per each man, woman and child of private debt, and each of us should subtract more than $254,000 from our net worth. If you're like me and most ordinary, working Americans President Obama is fixing stuff for, you're a couple of hundred thousand in the hole. And the hole's going deeper, perhaps clear through to China.

That's change we can believe in even before adding $1 trillion--most likely many trillions more using the sordid history of federal cost estimation failures as a guide--Obamacare is estimated to cost. If the Obama Administration truly wanted to fix stuff, it would mandate every American to pass a written economics exam before he or she walks into a polling place.

Buying groceries, gasoline, shelter, prescription drugs, and clothing with dollars that are worth less is the most cruel tax of all. This growing burden results from our exploding national debt. Inflation is this disguised, disgusting tax everyone who spends dollars pays. It has the greatest impact on the people President Obama claims to care about the most, the working poor.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reloading, fixing, and reforming

There's one gun shop two counties south of here that usually has primers on the shelf. Of the dozens of times I've made the 60-mile trip through the years, the dealer has only once not had the primers I needed. This was during the dark ages of the Clinton Administration when Democrats and gun banners were working hand-in-hand to pass Brady II, which would have enacted an "arsenal tax" on firearms, primers and ammunition.

True to form, I found primers there despite striking out at other stores such as Cabela's, several closer guns stores, and many online merchants of reloading components. This dealer, unlike many, hasn't tripled prices on primers. I paid the pre-Obama price for 1,000 CCI No. 41 small rifle primers, 200 Sierra .224 dia., 55-grain HPBT Gameking bullets, a pound of Hodgdon Varget, and some Winchester 5.56mm ball ammo. He said he was lucky to have just received 40,000 small rifle and pistol primers.

It lifted my spirits to see some .223, 7.62x39mm, 9mm, .45 ACP, .380 ACP and .357 Mag ammo sitting on shelves, all labeled with fair-market prices. However, there's one change I hated to see. The dealer had to move the primers, formally stacked on shelves in cardboard, 5,000 ct. boxes--often three or four deep by brand--behind the register because of shoplifters.

The dealer, an honest citizen who faithfully pays his taxes, mentioned he had just emerged from a seven-month battle with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to get it to perform an act federal law requires it to carry out in 90 days or less--approving or rejecting a Federal Firearms license transfer from one business entity to another. The buyer and seller both hired attorneys, who intervened twice by reminding the BATF it is supposed to enforce federal laws rather than break them.

I remarked that his struggle with one federal agency illustrated how silly it was to expect the U.S. government, designed from the start to be somewhat inefficient to preserve individual liberty, to "reform" or "fix" our health-care system. He said, "Yes, we'd die before the feds decided we needed hospitalization."

It will be a pleasure to go back there later this fall and do business with an honorable person.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No, Ed ...

I don't want to shoot President Barack Obama. I'm not a conservative, but I would say both libertarians, of which I am one, and conservatives simply want President Obama to stop shackling us with chains.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

It's not a typical Dog-day summer here. August is usually the time of browned grass and 100-plus-degree afternoon heat. The metal buildings remind me of solar coolers we used to make in science class. Any short-pants-wearing human passing dried-up stalks and sunflowers will receive a rigorous shin pelting from grasshoppers.

A cool breeze and being pelted by little except rain--now that's real change.

The term, "Dog days," or Caniculares dies for all you Latin speakers, can also describe a time period or event proven to be dull, mind numbing, and listless. I've not felt like writing. This use is more illustrative of my summer than the former, which is how Romans viewed the evil days of summer "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813.

I'd rather suffer from a lack of words that be forced by Roman policy wonks to sacrifice a choice brown dog to appease Sirius, the Dog Star, and ward off global warming.

Every winter the Dog Star shines from its home in Canis Major, one of Orion's two best friends. It seems odd that it has anything to do with summer, a languid time for star gazers like me who wait up for the Perseid meteor shower. The clouds moved in to frame Venus just after dark while I checked on the horses. After midnight when the shower was supposed to be at its peak, the multiplied clouds, both languid and boiling, had covered Perseus with a shroud.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Change: Town hall meetings may endanger one's health

The Democrats are dealing with "the fringe" that show up at town hall meetings in new ways: bouncers from the labor unions possibly seeking federal assistance for their steroids, White House strategy planning and video reviews, abandoning town hall meetings all together for conference calls with supporters, and streams of "Organizing for America" messages urging recipients to "fight the smears."

Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina told Democratic members of Congress, "If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard."

Why do union members, seniors, and other people who expect Barack Obama and members of Congress to "fix" health care turn out at these town halls? In this Youtube video of a meeting held by Kathy Castor, a congresswoman from Florida, one of the attendees answered my question:

"She's [Castor] the one with the money! Not you!"

No, Castor's one of several who's put the government nearly $12 trillion in debt.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A new "lawn" rifle

I haven't played croquet, badminton or the fast-paced game of lawn darts in years. Where the yard here at the farm slopes down to the banks of Elm Branch, I have, however, indulged in the decadent sport of lawn riflery.

Steyr Mannlicher US sent out an e-mail announcing the Steyr AUG/A3. The company refers to it as a "sporting" rifle. Because I don't assault anything with a semi-automatic rifle except rodents and other varmints, I refuse to use that verb as a modifier before "rifle". Around here, any black rifle or carbine considered by gun haters to be inherently evil in itself are called something else.

The rifles I use for dispatching pests, hunting, defending my loved ones, safeguarding our home and enjoy shooting and reloading for are called lawn rifles. Lawn riflery, one of liberty's many blessings, is indeed the true sport of Kings--and Queens, of course.

My son will take an expensive trip to the oral surgeon Friday. I don't have the dollars for a Steyr AUG/A3 even if they are truly in stores now as Steyr's message indicates. Prez Obama and Congress will not fund a cash-for-clunkers rebate for prospective gun owners any time soon. Since the battle for health care reform has stalled, those nice men and women from the federal government won't pay for oral surgery, either. Damn the bad luck!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back from the Left Coast

I apologize for not entertaining my VIP readers, my legion of raving fans--the four of you, I think.

It's green this summer in Kansas, which means it has been a constant war with noxious weeds. I gave up last week and spent some time in San Francisco. It was my first time to visit the city on the bay, and it was a pleasant trip. Things were spinning well there including the mass transit system. BART workers refrained from striking. The state of California was still able to get by on IOUs. This week may prove to be different, but Toto and I are back in Kansas. Of course, the state government here has cranked out some IOUs. But we have horses to ride if government wheels stop turning.

Chinatown Gate, Grant Street, San Francisco

News I missed while traveling: China has figured out how to send fresh-breathed men into orbit. This is something I didn't hear discussed in Chinatown. It might have been, but I've never learned Cantonese or Mandarin. I did learn of Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata’s month-long underwear test there from the front of a newspaper dispenser. Thirty days in the same pair of underwear--try that in the Chinese space program, General Yang, and you'll be kicked out and sent to some remote place such as the Wolong Nature Reserve to monitor panda mating.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Stupid Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Did the police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who arrested Henry Louis Gates, Jr., professor and director of Harvard's African-American research center, act stupidly? President Obama, during his latest prime-time news conference, said he did.

Here's the police report, once posted by the Boston Globe but now pulled. There were several witnesses at the scene, Gates' home, where the officer had been dispatched to investigate a potential burglary in progress. President Obama wasn't one of them.

Maybe in the President's mind, everyone has the right to yell, threaten, ignore repeated warnings to "calm down," and to throw a tantrum after a police officer asks a few basic questions in response to another citizen's call.

Perhaps Professor Gates should have a discussion with someone's mama about disorderly conduct and how it's against the law. And the national chief executive should explain why he's encouraging anyone who thinks they are being treated unfairly to disregard and abuse law enforcement officers carrying out their sworn duties. Hint: Don't try it with the Secret Service, BATF or the FBI.

Prosecutors dropped the charge against Gates Tuesday, which seems reasonable to me. A fine or time in the city jail would serve no useful purpose. Hopefully Gates will find some good mental health care. He's a victim of racial profiling, which he describes in this magazine interview.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Smooth Operator

Nah, this post doesn't have much relevance to Sade's 1985 single detailing the life of a cold-hearted, jet-set gigolo nor removing noise from data. So if a search engine brought you to this remote corner of the Web by error ...

"No place for beginners or sensitive hearts When sentiment is left to chance. No place to be ending but somewhere to start."

Europe between 1938 and 1945 was no place for beginners or sensitive hearts, so Winston Churchill tasked "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare," or the Special Operations Executive (SOE), to pry it back from the Third Reich. The average life expectancy of SOE agents serving in occupied territory was six weeks despite their extensive training.

Etienne and Violette Szabó during their honeymoon

Some SOE agents were particularly ungentlemanly--they were women. Section F of the SOE employed 39 female agents in occupied France. Thirteen never returned. Of those, Violette Szabó, who volunteered as an agent after her husband Etienne was killed at El Alamein, is most likely the best known. Szabó, the second woman to receive the George Cross, was beaten, raped, starved, and eventually executed and cremated at the Ravensbrück concentration camp with three other female SOE agents shortly before it was liberated by Allied forces.

If you're like me, avoiding the noise about important issues of the day such as a universal health care "right" that "the rich" are going to pay for, there's relief and lessons to learn from history. Then, rather than working and paying taxes, one can take solace in some Violette Szabó-inspired movies, books and even a video game, Violet Assassin.

I don't think Gervase Cowell, an ex-MI6 officer and British Special Forces Club historian, had Violet Assassin or morphine in mind when he told Queen Elizabeth II, "I help the old to remember and the young to understand."

Friday, July 3, 2009

WWJP: What would Jesus Pack?

I have no doubt Jesus, as range master, oversees a deluxe firearms training facility in Heaven. When he comes again, he'll be toting heat. After all, what we know about Jesus Christ from scripture reveals he was a practical, tactical thinker when he walked among us.

Worship planners at a Louisville, Ky., church held a service June 27 where all were invited to carry their personal sidearms, albeit unloaded. The church also raffled off safety lessons, a concealed carry class and a new handgun.

I'm armed when attending church. I don't check the ammo at the door, either. It's always been peaceful at my church, and it doesn't bother me in the least that the people around me might be carrying as well. When I was in law enforcement, it didn't alarm me when I encountered law-abiding, ordinary Americans, who our current president says he understands, carrying weapons. In fact I assumed my fellow citizens were not much different from me--most of us own firearms and have been using them safely since we could hoist and level one at a target. As far as distrusting or fearing these armed, peaceful, outstanding people, it's not my nature to do so.

Granted, there are some who, in the pursuit of nefarious ends, have abused the power that flows from gun barrels. Despots, felons or any individual or group who takes their freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness to the point of stripping others of their same freedom readily seek such power for themselves. Then there are cretins who happen to possess guns along with other useful but dangerous objects such as golf clubs, baseball bats, a bathroom door ripped off its hinges, or extension cords that they use to maim and kill others.

Fortunately none of the latter have shown up in any church I've frequented. It is true a small number of cretins roam our communities, and sometimes they do come into worship centers shooting. If so, it would relieve me if the preacher, Aunt Mabel, or someone in the choir could make a clean, safe hit on him if I couldn't. To lump my fellow citizens in with the cretins as people to be distrusted or feared doesn't make sense.

It does encourage me to see fellow Christians who truly love their neighbors even when they're wearing handguns. I'd never ridicule, raise objections or consider a brother or sister in Christ an "extremist" or "gun nut" for taking steps to protect themselves and others from evildoers. When I pass the peace to other members of my congregation, I truly mean it. To let my fear, mistrust and desire to control others make them more vulnerable in the face of evil--how would that reflect my level of discipleship and faith? So, by all means, bring your guns to church. Hey! Don't forget to load 'em.

This is Independence Day. I'll close with thoughts Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, shared at his inauguration as our third president in 1801.

"Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the governance of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question."

Guns in church, along with so many other things, is a matter of trusting ordinary Americans to govern themselves, a practice Jefferson considered democratic. Aristocrats practice the opposite, as he explained in an 1824 letter to Henry Lee. Trust or distrust? Jefferson's question of liberty will truly be answered in time. That's change we can believe in.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Surviving on hope, prayer, and bribes

Detroit city council president pro tempore and "child of God" Monica Conyers faces a possible sentence of up to five years after her guilty plea last Friday on one federal count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Ms. Conyers
, 44, long dogged by a bad temper, was so quiet in court the judge had to ask her to speak up. Maybe that's because she hadn't strapped on her political "gun" husband, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, 80, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He was back in D.C. saving us all from global warming. His people released this statement following her plea:

"This has been a trying time for the Conyers family and with hope and prayer they will make it through as a family. Public officials must expect to be held to the highest ethical and legal standard. With this in mind, Mr. Conyers wants to work toward helping his family and city recover from this serious matter."

If you're weary of reading about Jacko's autopsy results and legacy, the Detroit Free Press has done an admirable job of covering the FBI's four-year probe of Detroit's pay-to-pay corruption.

Monica and John Conyers, center, with Rev. Charles Adams, l, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Ms. Conyers, who couldn't get on just her $81,000 annual salary plus perks such as a taxpayer-supplied Ford Crown Victoria, should spare the people of Detroit more entertainment and resign before she's forced out of the city council.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Call me Lucifer, a skeptic or whatever, but ...

I doubt Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), co-sponsors of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, or members of their staffs actually wrote it. Few, if any, of the 219 representatives who voted for it or the 212 who voted nay had even read it. The full text of H.R. 2454 wasn't fully released until hours before the historic, transformational vote. Who was awake in D.C. when a 300-page amendment were dumped onto servers at 3 a.m the day of the vote?

Members of Congress knew little about the bill beyond what President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Markley, Waxman, and ex-vice-president Al Gore told them. If you think the cap-and-trade tax to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will only raise your household electrical bill $175 per year by 2020 as a Congressional Budget Office report claims, you also believe in the tooth fairy. The legislative and executive branches of our federal government have a historic tendency to botch estimates such as Social Security solvency, the cost of weapons systems, and Medicare and Medicaid subsidies.

In government I do not trust. It has a known track record. Legislation is crafted by lobbyists--in this case nearly 2,340 authors working for 770 special interest groups and companies. These groups spent nearly $90 million in 2008 for climate-change lobbying. Cap and trade taxes will eventually bring about a cleaner environment by making it too costly for "ordinary Americans" to live, work and invest here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Call for Action

There's a whole lot of community activism going on in Chicago this summer despite the absence of the Gifted One. There's a need for blood donors. If one's in the vicinity and can spare a pint--particularly O-negative--call Lifesource at (847) 803-7943 or register online here.

Despite the high levels of activists and some of the most-restrictive gun laws in the nation, there's too much shooting and stabbing going on there. It's something activists, some who trained and organized with their first friend Barry, are expecting him to fix by more gun laws, stimulus funding, and magical words from the bully pulpit.

Fr. Michael Pfleger's distress symbol, St. Sabina Church, Chicago's South Side

The activists are trying to activate the chief hope-and-change re-arranger. It reminds me of verses in their Bible, Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals:

"Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."

"One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why should anyone care?

I don't care about Jon and Kate Gosselin's "life-changing announcement" scheduled for tomorrow. Until two or three weeks ago, I didn't even know they were on television. I can certainly understand why they get on each other's nerves and recently spent their anniversary 150 miles apart because I don't want to be in the room when they roll onto the screen.

Their kids should divorce them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer breeze

This breeze wasn't a gentle one. It blasted out of the southwest at nearly 95 miles per hour about 10:20 p.m. yesterday. We lost three old trees, two of which were planted by my grandfather back in the 40s. All the buildings were spared. One trailer was knocked off its moorings but remained upright.

The straight-line winds and all the rain knocked out power in several counties and blocked roads with flooding and trees. One of the Sheriff's Department's patrol cars, which was parked, was blown across a road near here. Several buildings were flattened or damaged particularly in two small towns between here and the Missouri border. There are still nearly 5,000 people in our area without power. I've been refueling the generator every couple of hours. Everything's running but the air conditioning.

Ruby was clobbered by a propane grill that landed in front of her dog house. My son untangled her from the wreckage, and she took cover. She seems none the worse for wear today and kept an eye on me while I ran the chainsaw.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who is the slut?

Broad Ripple High School grad and CBS late-night host David Letterman comes closer to the "slutty flight attendant" benchmark than Gov. Sarah Palin.

He earns nearly $40 million each year, almost two times more than Jay Leno despite Leno generating 1.3 million more viewers each night. Les Moonves isn't getting much bang for the buck. Letterman's late night show draws the same ratings numbers as ABC's Nightline. Disney is not paying anywhere near $40 million per year to cover salary expenses for riveting Nightline anchors Martin Bashir, Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran. So Moonves should yank that latest contract extension Letterman's about to sign and spare CBS investors some change during this deep recession.

Letterman's long made money, some of which he then gives away via his American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming, by playing johns--the television networks--against each other. He'll most likely pull it off again as NBC's post-Leno Tonight Show ratings nosedive.

CBS was once referred to as the Tiffany Network because of its fine programming quality during the tenure of its founder, William S. Paley. Under Moonves, Letterman has replaced Tiffany as a "defining icon" of the CBS network. When Letterman remained with CBS in 2006 after flirting with ABC, Mooves said of him, "His presence on our air is an ongoing source of pride, and the creativity and imagination that the Late Show puts forth every night is an ongoing display of the highest quality entertainment."

Les, Dave's a skank. And he's just rolled you.

UPDATE: Letterman squirms a bit while Conan takes a larger share of the late-night audience. Some wonder why he's treated differently than Don Imus.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How stimulating!

They're described in the news media and viewed by those in their circles as being brilliant: skeptical sexist and sometimes-napping Lawrence "Larry" Summers, tax-code-challenged treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman and Obama economic recovery plan author Christina M. Romer, and so many other beautiful people.

These gifted people are steering this nation's, and even the world's, economic recovery from the depths of a recession that, according to President Obama, has been years in the making.

The nation's economic health is on the rebound. Only 345, 000 jobs disappeared in May, which is a signal we should continue to trust in the hope-and-change rearrangers. After all, it far less than the 504,000 jobs lost in April. Even though the unemployment rate has climbed to 9.4 percent and more than 6 million jobs have been lost since December 2007 when the Obama administration says the recession began, we're in good hands. The stimulus plan is working. It's going to be kicked into overdrive. And President Obama, who today promised he would make 600,000 new jobs this summer, isn't going to let its money to be wasted despite what Vice President Biden says.

Summers minus Diet Coke

I'm glad the president thinks there's still rich people out there who can be taxed to pay for my health care reform. There is an economic pump that can be primed by spending money that's created out of thin air--the president and his brilliant New Keynesian economic advisers believe it and therefore so should I.

Sticky prices and wages, menu costs, dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models, credit market imperfections--it's all very stimulating. No wonder Larry Summers is famous for fueling with Diet Coke and Ms. Romer urges the president to swat Larry instead of an insect.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Facebook Question

I'm asked the question, "What's on your mind?" like millions of other Facebook users. Here's how I answered it today.

"Why should I attend a United Methodist church? It has bucked me off more than once. I'm tired of getting back on it. The cross-and-flame logo reminds me of slammed doors, an aching chest, a knotted brow, and annual-conference tears rolling down my cheeks onto my daughter's face as she looked up from her stroller. It's painful. That is what's on my mind this second Sunday of Pentecost."

Five generations of my family have attended a Methodist church two miles from our farm. My great-great-great-great grandfather was a Methodist circuit rider in present-day West Virginia. I was confirmed and joined the United Methodist Church at age 10. I'm married to a United Methodist pastor, an elder in full connection. I usually enjoy traditions and sharing stuff with my family. Is the Holy Spirit moving me another way, or am I simply drifting like the goats Jesus mentioned in Matthew 25?

Wonders in the grass

Ruby, my yellow Lab, and I toured the pastures and hay fields looking for the rascally Carduus nutans, or musk thistle, before sundown. Ruby loped alongside or behind me as I drove the Arctic Cat through handlebar-deep grass. I'd stop every so often to stand on the foot rests and search for the purple buds and stalks of those spiny, alien plants early-19th-century European immigrants couldn't leave home without.

There's a small basin almost encircled by trees near where my great-great grandparents built their first cabin in 1857. It holds a seep, so the grass is even more lush there compared to the surrounding hay fields. I was driving through the basin when I at first thought a woman had yelled behind me. I looked behind to my left to see a newborn whitetail fawn with its legs tucked up underneath it laying in the grass. The knobby rear tires must have brushed against the fawn's rear. It got up, helped out by a nudge from Ruby's sniffer, and wobbled toward dense brush. At the same time, a doe bounded the other way out of tall grass and trees 50 yards farther down the basin's rim.

Anyhow, no larger than that white-specked, still-damp fawn was, it produced a bleat loud enough to overpower the Arctic Cat's racket. I even yelled, "What?" and had started drawing my revolver before I saw its white spots.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I snagged some rarities

... from MidwayUSA today, 20-round MagPul PMAGs, after receiving an automated e-mail that they were back in stock. I've been waiting since October.

I'm still longing for 9mm or .357 bullets and small pistol primers. If the Grinch doesn't interfere, maybe I'll see them before Christmas.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Five secrets that aren't

Financial contributor Vera Gibbons and CBS talking heads Julie Chen and Harry Smith revealed the "dirty little secrets" your bank won't tell you this morning during The Morning Show.

Hint: Banks charge fees, particularly when you try to spend more than what you've deposited. There's nothing hidden or "sneaky" about them if you pull your head out, ask questions, read the information each bank is legally obligated to provide regarding fees, and keep track of credits and debits.

If you share the belief that banks should be service providers rather than a business "out there to rip me off", try taking up math and using a check register. Every bank I'd done business with since age 17 will pass out deposit slips, registers, fee sheets and even an ink pen when asked. If you're not happy, pick another bank, start your own or . . .

. . . hire a K9 personal finance assistant.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reforming U.S. health care

Transparency in government hasn't extended to health care reform. Politicians in both the executive and legislative branches talk about reform, but just how it's going to be done hasn't trickled down to the masses. All we know is that the system is broken. All we're told is that it's going to be reformed by the end of the year while there's still political capital, or momentum, to do it. Anyone who questions how health care should be reformed is labeled as a fear monger, deceitful, or defender of the status quo.

Some of the most-balanced information--provided by both liberal and conservative thinkers--I've found about health care reform is here.

Protest funded in part by George Soros

If you're looking for the brand of change advocated by ACORN, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Americans United for Change, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Campaign for Community Change, Children’s Defense Fund Action Council, Communications Workers of America,, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, SEIU, UFCW, USAction, and Working America, go to this site. It's utopian plus being quick and painless.

There are some potential reforms not advanced by the president and Democratic members of Congress such as tort reform, moving the U.S. toward a stronger dollar that buys more, and letting the basic economic laws of supply and demand work. Who pays Medicare write-offs, a prime example of government price fixing? We all do. Costs for services not covered by Medicare go up. Any person who pays out of pocket or participates in a private health-care insurance program makes up the gap. When any person buys goods or services from a corporation or small business, they pay more for those items in order to cover the hike in health-care costs paid by those employers. If those higher costs can't be met by price increases, businesses close or move elsewhere where costs are less.

The U.S. health-care system does resemble one of my father's patched-together, stop-gap fences. It does need reform. Some "reforms" have already been tried--they aren't change. Keeping the nation's rapidly growing debt in mind, government's past reform efforts have failed. I'm indeed a cynic when it comes to blindly trusting the president or any members of Congress, Republican or Democratic, to pull it off before 2010. The only fix I can be optimistic about is to reduce government price meddling and regulation (Can you imagine just what the paper costs that health care providers give us to comply with HIPAA?) so that the laws of supply and demand work.

Reform starts with the individual. If the true costs of going to the doctor, not exercising, drinking sugar-loaded soft drinks, smoking, and all the pills the medicos push become evident, an individual will be at liberty to spend less and live better. That's true change.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another czar

President Obama took a break from fixing health care before the end of the year, nationalizing Chrysler and General Motors, promoting the rapid confirmation of the first Latina to join the Supremes, and taxpayer-subsidized fundraising in Nevada and California for the Democratic National Committee (aka Organizing for America or Obama 2.0) in order to fix the security of the nation's "cyberspace" or "communications and information infrastructure".

Chapter One of the presidential review team's report, "Leading from the Top," calls for "the establishment of a Presidential cybersecurity policy official and supporting structures" among other things. The status quo is no longer acceptable. Anchor leadership at the White House, they say.

Fine, President Obama. Start by ending the flood of e-mail lobbying and donation pleas from you, national poet laureate Joe Biden, Mitch Stewart and David Plouffe of Organizing for America, and others. Powered by Hope, I'm going to do as you suggest and contact the politicians resistant to change in my area. Your cult is sucking up too much vital bandwidth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who is Latino/Latina/Hispanic?

I was reading about President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of the headlines refer to her as the first "Latina" or "Hispanic". Then one reporter, I can't remember which, pointed out that some might consider Judge Sotomayor as being second to Benjamin N. Cardozo, who served on the high court in the 1930s. Cardozo was descended from Portuguese Jews.

Benjamin N. Cardozo, Supreme Court associate justice, 1932-1938

It all comes down to semantics. I found a WikiAnswer to the question, "Are Portuguese people Latino?" It explains all the angles.

The last sentence is true despite the absolutely ridiculous grammatical errors. Hopefully anyone sitting on the nation's high court will agree.

American standard to qualify peoples race/ethnicity are absolutely ridicuous."

Monday, May 25, 2009

German rifle engineering

I spotted a rifle hanging on a rack in a picture taken at the NRA annual meeting that caught my interest: the Krieghoff Semiprio in-line repeater.

No doubt it's too expensive for this provincial, who generally buys a rifle for its action. Then I hunt down a stock, barrel, optics, trigger, etc., over a long span of time to build a new rifle up the way I speculate it should be. Sometimes I don't finish, which leaves some components to for another project I may or may not complete. It keeps life interesting. There's always something to rediscover at the back of the basement shelves.

If you're the type to derive pleasure from being different that every other rifle toter, the Krieghoff may suit you. I doubt anybody in your gun club or circle of marksman friends will have a rifle like it. The Adobe Acrobat Reader file that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page holds more specifics.

The pluses: The no-tools-required, take-down feature that shortens the rifle into two sections no longer than 27.5 inches; interchangeable barrels, magazines and bolt heads; the prominent Combi-cocking device; push-button "Click-and-Go" sling swivels; optional 14 oz. "BreakO" recoil reducer; pre-machined for several types of mounts, which makes it possible to quickly switch to different optics; equally adaptable to both left- and right-handed users; and its 6.8 lb. weight.

Things that cause me pause: The scope travels back and forth with the barrel and forearm when the action is hand cycled. Then I wonder if something like a sleeve or piece of brush could catch between the action and forearm to lock up the rifle. And most of all, how will it group with that moving barrel?

I doubt I'll ever see a Semiprio here in the Osage Cuestas unless a lost Kansas City mogul stops by asking for directions to a hunting lease.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Obama's Organizing for the UK

One of Obama's changes has raised the ire of British investment managers, bankers and stockbrokers. He wants them to collect tax revenue without compensation for their efforts.

Maybe he does somewhat study history. Capital always flows out of a country following a socialist revolution. If he does bully the rest of the world in collecting taxes from U.S. citizens who have invested abroad, they'll simply become citizens of another country such as Andorra or Monaco or form some offshore, dummy corporations.

Anyhow, there are more Europeans questioning President Obama's right to regulate their governments and financial institutions. This crack in European Obamamania will grow wider as more listen less to what the President says and learn instead from his actions.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Engine of Opportunity

Eliot Spitzer, former New York attorney general and governor, is trying to rebuild his battered reputation after resigning as governor last year. The reason? "Private failings," is the one he offered. In case one doesn't remember, he was being wiretapped by the feds, who were trying to figure out why so much money was flowing in and out of Spitzer's bank account. It turns out he was spending it on hookers.

Day of Resignation: Spitzer and his wife, Silda. They are now in couples therapy.

Spitzer, once heralded as the future of the Democratic Party, has taken up writing opinion pieces. Here's one published April 29 in Slate that Spitzer co-authored with trial lawyer Peter B. Pope, "Gun Control Without Gun Laws: How Obama can use government procurement regulations to limit gun violence."

Keep the following Spitzer quotes in mind while you read.

“I stand before you today because this vision of government as the engine of opportunity is what I believe in.”

“As a citizen, and as the state's lawyer, I believe in an evolving Constitution. A flexible Constitution leaves room for us to consider not merely how the world once was, but how it ought to be.”

"I have always stated that I want ethics and integrity to be the hallmarks of my administration."

"Listen, I'm a fucking steamroller and I'll roll over you and anybody else."

Rule No. Three

I wonder how many e-mails Josh at GunsAmerica TV received after his interview with an Aimpoint representative, Angela Jennings, in Phoenix.

One can see Josh absentmindedly place his finger on the bolt-action rifle's trigger as the interview progresses.

Ms. Jennings, on the other hand, is well versed in gun handling in or out of exhibit halls. Congratulations to all those at Aimpoint in winning an American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Award for the Micro H-1.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"The Fed must not be seen by the public or the Congress as a piggy bank that can substitute for difficult fiscal policy decisions."--Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser

Lighten up, Chuck. And you're judged as being more "sanguine" than your other colleagues at the piggy bank.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Magic Kingdom

A Florida congressman, Rep. Alan Grayson, did some brainstorming during a Disney World trip. Now he's introduced the Paid Vacation Act, which will give us average Americans lucky enough to have a full or part-time job a week or two of paid rest and recreation.

Grayson and his friends at the Center for Economic and Policy Research believe the Paid Vacation Act, if passed, will stimulate the economy "through fewer sick days, better productivity and happier employees."

“There’s a reason why Disney World is the happiest place on Earth: The people who go there are on vacation,” said Grayson, whose district includes Orlando and Disney World. “Honestly, as much as I appreciate this job and as much as I enjoy it, the best days of my life are and always have been the days I’m on vacation.”

Grayson explained it this way on his web site, "In other countries, it’s a matter of right. Everyone is entitled to it. In our country, it is a matter of class. Over time we are coming to realize that whatever your background, wherever you grew up, wherever you live, there are certain basic elements that people need to have enjoyable lives. They need health care. They need a decent paying job. And for a good life, they need time off.”

Skeptic that I am, I'd say the Paid Vacation Act simply duplicates services. The government continues to "stimulate" the economy by expanding the money supply, meddling with interest rates, taking over entire industries, and bullying pension fund managers to sell out those who don't trust solely on Social Security to fund their retirement. All of these actions are driving unemployment rates up, weakening the dollar so it buys less, and increasing the strain on entitlement programs including Social Security.

Paid vacation already exists. More and more of us average Americans are turning to it. It's the U.S. Department of Labor's Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program

And for a good life, we need politicians who don't resort to class warfare, Goofy, Daffy, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and our own greed and ignorance to manipulate us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Joe's bunker blubber

Vice President Joe Biden is good for a laugh a day. While filling in for his brilliant boss, President Obama, at the Gridiron Club dinner, he gave up the "secure" and previously "undisclosed location" of the vice-presidential bunker.

Now Biden's office has released a statement saying he was only describing a former workspace upstairs at One Observatory Circle that has now been converted into a bedroom. But I guess the world knows why the neighbors were complaining about loud construction noises in 2002.

Joe, you're safe. No terrorists--even jacked-up ones--would want to take you out. It wouldn't be tactical.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pasture blasting

It rained again last night, so there is still water standing in the area where I normally shoot. But, to steal a line from Hank Williams, Jr., a country boy can survive.

I went down along the creek where the pasture slopes toward a high bank. Then I taped some targets to the electric fence, fashioned some weights with masking tape and pebbles, and attached them to the targets so they wouldn't flutter as much in 15 mph north wind. I also took the S&W Model 66 and two boxes of .38 Special +P hand loads.

I'm still trying to figure out these new eyeballs. Without glasses, I can't focus on the front sight with either eye. My arms or the handgun barrel--neither are long enough! I'm 20-20 now when it comes to seeing targets. I'm probably going to need a pair of 1.0 or 1.5 diopter-strength reading glasses for pistol work.

So I did as best as I could to keep the red blob (the Smith's red-sight insert) centered on the four-inch bull while shooting double-action from seven and 15 yards.

Two, six-round groups fired double action at 15 yards with .38 Special +P hand loads using 6.3 grains of Alliant Power Pistol and 125 grain, Remington SJHP bullets. The top six rounds were fired after I moved the rear sight up two clicks.

I'm almost out of .357 ammunition and haven't taken the time to load any. That's something I'm going to take care of next week. For now I'm going to work with Power Pistol, Blue Dot and Winchester Auto Comp (if I can find any) paired with 125 or 140-grain Remington SJHPs. Hopefully they'll offer a bit more power, better groups, and no fireball visible to the crew of the International Space Station when touched off in low light.

Maybe the swamp in front of my bench rest will dry before Memorial Day.

Anyone for Yuans?

Bet your bottom yuan ...

Yuan for yuan ...

Sound as a yuan ...

Yuan signs in their eyes ...

A day late and a yuan short ...

Will this become the world's C-note?

That is the sixty-four-yuan question ...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A tax on the ...

very air that you breathe is undoubtedly on the conference table. However, income taxes on the wealthy, no matter if they're engaged in other risky behaviors besides working and investing or not, and consumption taxes on sugary soft drinks, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages are being advanced by the Senate Finance Committee.

Other ideas: punish those who have saved in expectation of bad health and Americans who aren't average because they work for companies with tax-free health care benefits.

My wife, a teacher, just came home from a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She told me the Feds no longer burn money because of the toxic fumes. It's now shredded. I have a plastic bag stuffed with approximately $165 of shredded, "unfit currency" to prove it.

I'll have to stop using analogies such as "up in smoke" or "money to burn" to explain excessive debt monetization and inflation--the tax we all pay despite what we're told--to my kids.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Emerson's essay, "Compensation"

Some of the best teachers I've had weren't popular among the other students. One such teacher introduced me to Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays. After years of reading them, the words still provoke thought and shape action.

An Emerson quote under Brigid's eyes pulled me into reading his essay, Compensation. Here are some ideas from it that are as true today as they were in 1841.

Every excess causes a defect; every defect an excess.

For every thing you have missed, you have gained something else; and for every thing you gain, you lose something.

For every benefit you receive a tax is levied.

Material good has its tax, and if it came without desert or sweat, has no root in me, and the next wind will blow it away.

But because of the dual constitution of things, in labor as in life there can be no cheating. The thief steals from himself. The swindler swindles himself. For the real price of labor is knowledge and virtue, whereof wealth and credit are signs. These signs, like paper money, may be counterfeited or stolen, but that which they represent, namely, knowledge and virtue, cannot be counterfeited or stolen. These ends of labor cannot be answered but by real exertions of the mind, and in obedience to pure motives. The cheat, the defaulter, the gambler, cannot extort the knowledge of material and moral nature which his honest care and pains yield to the operative. The law of nature is, Do the thing, and you shall have the power: but they who do not the thing have not the power.

None of us, individually or collectively, can override the dualist, reaction-born-of-action, "law of Compensation" that Emerson witnessed in nature and our human condition. It's a comfort in these days when words such as change and hope have been misappropriated and rendered meaningless.

A new-to-me Smith & Wesson

I picked up this S&W Model 66, circa 1986, with a 3-inch barrel and round butt from my local FFL this afternoon. It was purchased through, a first for me.

Unlike Model 66s with 2 1/2 and 4-inch barrels, the 3-inch version is difficult to find in any condition. This one was advertised as being 99 percent, which I'd say was an accurate description. It locks up perfectly and boasts a decent double-action trigger. Those are two characteristics many S&Ws from the same era, particularly the stainless ones, weren't blessed with before leaving the factory.

I once owned an identical Model 66, part of a Coast Guard contract overrun, in the late 80s. I carried it off duty in a Milt Sparks Summer Special, which is no longer available for revolvers. This one will ride in a Don Hume J.I.T. SLIDE belt holster for now. The J.I.T. is a tunnel-loop belt slide with a slight FBI rake. Unlike most tunnel-loop rigs, the loop is stitched on the rear of the body more toward the front. One threads their belt through the tunnel first and then under the loop. At any rate, it pulls the revolver butt in so it doesn't print against a cover garment.

I have never cared for pancake holsters for revolvers. The cylinder bulge often seems to press right against the point of my right hip.

One never knows what may be hiding amongst clematis.

Tomorrow I'll wade through the swamp between the house and the range and then conduct a field trial. Alligators don't usually range this far north, but if I happen to find one ...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Flint knapping anyone?

A note from one of the distributors I use for reloading components:

At this time we are not taking any new backorders for primers that are not listed here. We currently have over 50 million primers on backorder. If you currently have a backorder in place your order will be processed as primers become available. Once we begin receiving more primers from the manufacturers and are able to begin filling current backorders we will update the website.

English-type musket flint found in Lyon Co., Kansas

There seems to be a fair supply of #10 and #11 percussion caps. Maybe it's time to pick up a new brace of cap and ball revolvers. Then there's always flintlocks--no flint shortages in Kansas. Oddly enough, I don't have a .22 LR revolver. I've spotted a Colt Official Police so chambered with a 6-inch barrel and some pearl Jay-Scott-Ajax-looking grips.

Yes, I'll remove the pearlies if that Colt finds its way home with me.

Three of Quantrill's men--no pearl handles on their fighting irons.

Happy May Day!

There's all sorts of reasons--green and red--to party hearty today. Decorate and distribute May Day baskets, wash and wax the T-55s and Scud missiles, boycott or strike, and do a little maypole dancing.

Lay down your burdens, procreate and join the parade.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Reformers: "Il faut cultiver notre jardin."

I stumbled upon this quote by Albert Jay Nock, a devotee of Voltaire.

"The only thing that the psychically-human being can do to improve society is to present society with one improved unit. In a word, ages of experience testify that the only way society can be improved is by the individualist method which Jesus apparently regarded as the only one whereby the Kingdom of Heaven can be established as a going concern; that is, the method of each one doing his very best to improve one."

I'll have to find more of Nock's work. It will be good reading during the 100-day party. It is change I can believe in.