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.