Mar 31, 2010

Spring Cleaning

The result of a hard day's puttering. Pride has a comparative element, and the place looks impressive only to those intimately involved in sweeping up and hauling out just under ten gallons of sawdust. That became landscaping material. Another two or three five-gallon pails, full of this and that, are on their way to the landfill.

Having certain acquisitive and retentive traits leads to clutter, but I applied Step 2 of my program, asking frequently: "What's the worst thing that can happen if I toss this box of crap?" Usually the answer was "A trip to town on the virtually non-existent chance you someday really need (a short piece of web cargo strap; a rusted Taiwanese center punch; a coffee can stuffed with audio cable and RCA plugs, etc.") The payoff is the ability to find things like my hammer and the drill press.

How to go to college

The pliers are by Crescent, although hard use and patina removal over the decades have obscured that fine old company's lettering.

They and some cousins rode the leather tool pouch at my hip from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. five days a week for something over two years at Northern Iowa.

Mornings were devoted to the rhetoric of Edmund Burke, the impenetrable intrigue of Chinese and Japanese history, and Professor Erma Plaehn's unusual understanding of how government really works as opposed to the bull slung by my high school civics teacher.

And delighting in the only academic saint I ever met, Dr. M.B. Smith. He taught me about psychology and the strange behavior of crowds, although his courses were offered through the English department. Once in a while you could get him to reminisce about his days as an irregular in Bataan and Mindanao.

Evenings were sometime devoted to debauchery, sometimes to study, and depending on the state of my finances, sometimes to tending bar at the Circle in Cedar Falls or the Golden Garter in Waterloo.

But the pliers really define those years me, in part because they came with a WW2 Jeep, still in near-military attire. I ranged it topless far and wide across the campus, the tool pouch magically transformed to 1911 leather, filled with a service auto, cocked and locked. My assignment to add an outlet to the house mother's apartment in Campbell Hall became, for a few fantastic moments en route, an order to capture Rommel, alive if possible. The fate of Overlord depended on me.

Note the grips wrapped with friction tape, a wonderful product now harder to find and sometimes revoltingly called "hockey tape" because puck thumpers like to wrap their handles in it. The 3M version goes for nearly five bucks a small roll, about what we paid for a case of the stuff. What you see above, however ugly, has endured since at least the 70s. I am always alert for a box of auction sale junk containing a few rolls. It is to plastic tape what burled walnut is to synthetic stocks.


You got dirty working for the excellent Eugene Eddy, foreman of the college electrical shop. You got frustrated. You got tired of working over your head in crawl spaces while breathing the mouse-crap laden dust of a century-old building. But you endured because you liked eating.

It's one way to go to college, and I hope a couple of lads I love don't have to do it like that. But remember, guys, if necessary and with enough balls, you can.

Those Madcap Hoosiers

The Carbon Motor Corporation sells its CMC gimme caps for $15.95, and God knows what they're asking for their cars. Could be that they know it doesn't matter since the people buying them will be spending other people's money.

Memo to the Republican National Committee: Before again soliciting my vote to put you in charge of the economy, please be so good as to provide evidence that you now understand some situations require cash on the barrel head in order to avoid embarrassing Page One publicity. Such as perv strip clubs.

(No pervs were intentionally insulted in the making of this post.)

Mar 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

Tamara, after noting teevee news sneering at the intellectual rusticity of Tea Partiers:

And while you're in Broad Ripple you should peek at Roberta's take on the Hutaree bust. I tell ya, the Roseholme girls are on a tear. It would be a bad day to be canvassing their neighborhood for the DNC or PETA or something like that.

Hutaree and me

I reserve judgment. Some of these guys seem to be guilty enough of something, but from the evidence so far shared with us it seems to max out at giving life to nocturnal emissions inspired by bad teevee movies and cheap video games. If they're what the cops imply, fine, take them off the streets, but it would be nice to see evidence of some specific crimes beyond extended emotional adolescence and aggravated Bubbaness.

It's useful to remember that "conspiracy" is about the easiest charge to level against some kook you don't like.

The wires emphasize the alleged perps began undergoing military training a couple of years ago.

If so they're pikers. At age eleven the Boy Scouts put me in a khaki uniform with a dangerous knife sheathed behind my right hip. We saluted the flag a lot. We had a special hand shake, and we pledged ourselves to religious values and to The United States of America. Every day at summer camp we marched to the rifle range for basic training in careful one-shot marksmanship.* A couple of times a year we'd even have a potluck with our parents present, and they would applaud as older men awarded us badges and medals for various militaristic achievements which could easily be turned against established authority. Shooting. Fire building. Stalking. Orienteering. And so forth.

No wonder we turned out to be such problems for the more elevated and sensitive elements of our society.


*I really miss those Mossy 144LS rifles, especially the one I bought and then idiotically sold. If you happen to have one, talk to me. I have cash aquiver for even a reasonably decent example.

Mar 29, 2010

Gurgle Gurgle

The Kiwanis station wagon sleeps with the fishes as of some time this afternoon, making my earlier arrogant prediction only semi-moronic.

If John lost money he should consider it a cheap reminder to avoid believing known liars.

Iowa Shall-Issue CCW Law: Got It.

The Iowa House has approved the shall-issue bill 81-16. Minor amendments sent it back to the Senate which approved them 36-4.

It 's now up to Gov. Chet "Ya Big Lug" Culver, and virtually everyone is assuming he will sign it.

It may be of more interest to most readers that an apparently good reciprocity provision is part of the bill. While I haven't seen the final wording, it appears to be a straightforward invitation to come strapped if you have a permit from your own state. The House beat back an effort to complicate things with a state-by state review to make sure your permitting laws are as wonderful as ours.

Some details are here.

The Glory that Was

You can get your morning giggle in the day's opening business report where Reuters predicts your stocks will go up because Greece is selling some bonds to finance its spending habit. All the cool cats in the European business rackets helped arrange things because Greece, like Bernie Madoff, is just to big to fail, its experience at the hands of Rome a while back to the contrary notwithstanding.

Imagine that. Your RGR and SWHC going up or down based on whether Pappa Papadopalos can borrow enough for another shot of ouzo.

Are we absolutely sure this globalization business is such a good idea? :)


The TMR will not become a full-time Iowa political blog, despite the recent emphases. Can I help it if we are the center of world attention lately?

However I will report, as a matter of public service, so you can cancel your plans to visit, that It Has Begun.

We will be subjected this week to visits from both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. It's the price we pay for being first to hype presidential candidates through our intellectually impenetrable early caucus system, the scheme that gave you Obama.

Romney says the trip isn't political. He just wants to howdy us while signing his new book in Des Moines. (Believe it. Mormons are like Georgia peanut farmers. They would nevah lie to us.) Santorum is still attempting to construct a sentence containing a verb.


THE SHALL-ISSUE BILL: It's still awaitinig House action after 44-4 Senate approval. It is supposed to pass easily, but it is now having to compete with last-minute maneuvering to grab what little tax money is available for lawmakers' pet causes. It's possible it could get lost in the shuffle. The rep critters could establish enough political cover by assigning it to a committee where it could be left to bleed out. We'll see.

Mar 28, 2010

Controversially speaking

My newspaper, companion of my childhood, once upon a time an outlet for my words, always a source of bemusement, reports this morning:

"The Senate passed a controversial bill that would allow sheriffs less discretion in granting permits to carry concealed weapons."

I wonder if the meaning of the word "controversial" even cracked the consciousness of the writer and editor.

The shall-issue bill cleared the upper house 44-4, raising a certain objection to the sentence quoted above. To wit: "Holy pschitt you freeken moron, how the freek controversial can the damned thing be if it pleases pleases almost everyone in a fractured Senate -- Democrats, Republicans, drunks, sleepers, and the confused statist dudes who got elected last cycle only because their counties were pissed off at George W. Bush?"

(That was unforgivably vulgar, but it made me feel better.)

Actually, I doubt "controversial" was the product of any cognitive/analytical process at all. It was just a series of reflexive keystrokes hardwired into the brain of journalists who are required to mention firearms.

Mar 27, 2010

Iowa Senate Approves Shall-Issue

The vote in favor was 44-4.

The bill has been sent to the House. The lopsided Senate vote suggests Democratic leaders have decided to kick it up to the governor.

The chief remaining legislative question is: Does leadership control its representatives well enough to get a clean House passage without amendments?

UPDATE: The legislature changed its mind and decided to quit early yesterday and take Palm Sunday off. It returns Monday. No word yet on exactly when the House will take up the shall-issue bill.

Shall-Issue Update -- CCW politics in Iowa

(Dramatic music UP , FADE , and OUT to intonation Welcome to today's episode of ... The Eleventh Hour.)

Lawmakers in Des Moines are saying they will debate and perhaps vote today on SF2379 which would make Iowa a a shall-issue state and add CCW reciprocity. The current plan is to begin in the Senate, then, if it passes, to flip the bill to the House. Any assignment to a committee is a bill killer.

You always look for a little humor when dealing with these critters, but the only funny thing I've seen so far is the Des Moines Register headline; "Gun Bill Doesn't Please All." ( Really? No shit Sam Spade?)

But the headline does highlight a possibly ugly little scenario. While the NRA backs this bill, rival Iowa gun organizations differ. One favors the measure while another believes it is too weak. I am sure some of the reported disagreement is manufactured as political cover for some politicians to vote against it on grounds that it didn't go far enough. Allowing for the usual ignorance among the electorate, the lawmaker can tell his leftie constituents that he voted against CCW expansion. He can tell his 2A backers he did so because he was waiting for a better bill to come along. Politics as usual.

The other routine killer ploy is passage in the Senate and amendment in the House, complicating things just enough so that all 150 solons can throw up their hands. They're trying to make this their final day, and the action down there has already begun looking like a bunch of community college freshmen on spring break in Matamoros.

Again, Iowa readers, please pick up the phone and ask your critter nicely to support Senate File 2379.

Some of the details are here, especially in the sidebar.

EDIT at 10 a.m. -- A longer-than-expected House Judiciary Committee meeting was still underway a little bit ago. The length leads my mole to think Democrat leaders are likely to permit a vote, He opines that if the vote occurs, the bill will pass. In any case, no one on the liberal side is paying much attention to the merits of the bill. They're slicing and dicing all the ingredients of having a plausible story to tell their people between now and Nov. 2.

If the bill passes, Democratic Gov. Chet "Ya Big Lug" Culver will play the same vote-counting game. He is up for election this year and quite vulnerable. He'll sign if his pollsters tell him to, veto otherwise.

Mar 26, 2010

Sort of a BULLETIN on Iowa Gun Rights; Shall Issue

If you're reading The Travis McGee Reader in Iowa,* I have suggestion for you, and you have very little time to act. The legislative action could come in the next few minutes, possibly some other time before projected adjournment Sunday or Monday.

As a matter of strict political calculation, Democrat leaders in the House and Senate +may+ permit a vote on a shall-issue CCW bill. My reports (I have spies on the floor.) indicate they haven't yet decided if it's politically advantageous to allow their rank and file to vote. Earlier, the top dogs had scuttled the bill.

Radio Iowa, a news service of some integrity, summarizes it:

"Legislators made some final decisions Thursday, with still more looming today — including a possible debate over gun rights. A bill backed by the National Rifle Association could be among the last to clear the legislature. It would set a statewide standard for issuing gun permits, replacing the current system which gives the sheriffs in each of Iowa’s 99 counties the authority to decide who gets a permit to carry a gun and who doesn’t."

The needed action is simple: Call your lawmaker and ask him or her to speak out in favor of permitting the vote. Ask them to put the pressure on the leaders -- Sen. Gronstal and Rep. McCarthy -- to permit the vote. Most Republicans favor the bill, as do enough gun-rights Democrats to provide a margin of victory. Frame your words accordingly, and it can't hurt to politely but firmly emphasize to Democratic lawmakers that your November vote will be heavily influenced by his action here.

(As political background for folks not fortunate enough to live here. Democrats control everything in Iowa right now, governor's office, house, senate. They're frightened to death of losing it all this year. Iowa is a pro-gun state, but rather laid-back about it, so there's never been any very serious pressure by 2A friends to enact shall-issue. The mere fact the liberal Democratic leaders are considering CCW reform indicates their belief that shall-issue has substantial election implications.)


Edit: There isn't time for USPS to do any good. Email is better than nothing, but I suspect the legislators' email boxes are overflowing, so our best shot at this is the telephone. Let's keep trying to get through. And please don't be afraid to talk with your lawmaker's clerk if that's the best you can do. Most of them are faithful about relaying constituent comments.

*McGee foiled some evil here, not far off the Lincoln Highway west of Ames. Free Fall in Crimson is the tag John D. gave the yarn in which Trav allowed as how this was a great place to visit but he wouldn't care to live here.


Mar 25, 2010

A little more on the health care bill

Even some of the proponents agree the cost will be horrible, but they like to point to the "savings"* and tax hikes on the "rich." Personally I would be a little happier with these folks if they had they decency to admit they plan to continue creating money out of thin air forever, or until the Chinese withdraw their permission for America to do so, which ever comes first.


* The "savings" are in fact a politician's guess about what certain costs would have been without this bill minus the same politician's guess about what the those costs will be under this bill. It is a number as meaningless at the term "Honorable" which congress critters apply to one another despite massive evidence to the contrary

Mar 23, 2010

A man should keep his cool about President Barack Obama. He should be mocked as a figure of fun, as a caricature of a President because this is what he is. President Obama is ultimate expression of Chicago ethnic-group and precinct politics.

But it is hard to stay detached and calm while watching him milk government by sob story for every crocodile tear he has in his demagogic soul. He gloats over the Democratic Party Payback Decree he is about to sign. His White House audience of American political masters is applauding wildly as he displays his glee at a bill which (a) will adversely affect millions, because, he claims, (b) it might help three of four of the saddest cases he could find after sending his messengers throughout all the provinces of his realm, looking for anecdotes to fill the void left by his abandonment of rational discourse.

An Unhealthy Interest in Firearms

Posting a picture of himself with an imitation Beretta bedroom pistol on Facebook has landed a citizen of the Place Great Britain Used To Be in prison for five years.

If we were to take the newspaper report at face value, I would add that he also had no healthy interest in preserving his own life.

Now, I don't know if Merry Old Fleet Street has the same multiple layers of fact checking as our colonial broadsheets, but if they do the perp posed with what looks like one of those pot metal nonguns you used to see in one-inch ads in the back of Mechanix Illustrated. According to the report:

"During a search in his bedroom (Bobbies) found an imitation pistol, illegally converted to fire 8mm bullets and capable of killing."

Killing whom, pray tell? The cops might have saved the Queen a pretty pence in incarceration expenses by making the accused demonstrate his gunsmithing ingenuity through discharging one of the "8 mm bullets." My bet would be forearm lacerations and a quick bleedout.

And, Ladies and gentlemen, may I present one of our worst nightmares of the later periods of the Obama Administration.

"Det Chief Insp Reed added: 'What does a normal member of society need with a firearm? 'When we looked at his computer, we discovered he had an unhealthy interest in firearms'."

Of course it can't happen here, and I am pleased to live in a nation where the authorities would never even think of snooping in a citizen's personal computer to discover, publish, and punish his or her unhealthy interests.

H/T to Jay

One way to think of the Sunday sadness: Once you were allowed to participate in American government despite being poor, sick, illiterate, or somewhat stupid. Now you are allowed to control American government because you are poor, sick, illiterate, or somewhat stupid.

Things like this keep crossing my mind:

Have we surrendered America to the the whiners and to the unfortunate? When did this nation decide it was is created to fall to its knees and worship people because they have managed to get sick? Or because in a land where we spend immense fortunes on schools they have remained ignorant and indolent?

This is a place and a culture of compassion and aways has been. From colonial days most American people have given time and treasure to the churches and to the secular helping organizations. Hardly ever did we demand that people we help lead perfect lives. Someone was always there, voluntarily, for the drunks, the addicts, the sick, and most varieties of the merely poor.

When did we decide this marginal section of the population, by their very deficiencies, owned the right to dictate national policy?

PDB is not one of the Americans who looks at the Sunday massacre of the American future and decides to grin and bear it.

(HT Roberta)

Mar 22, 2010


Perhaps the first administrative rule to be written should criminalize homosexual conduct because it is a primary HIV transmitter, and HIV is one of the most expensive diseases the taxpayers are now obligated to treat. Run the idea past Barney Frank.

Roy Steinfort of the Associated Press. RIP

I learn today that I have just lost this old friend, mentor, and boss. In the world of news he owned a broad reputation as a very nice guy and a crack newsman and businessman.

Among all the rest he was a combat medic on Iwo Jima. One of his prized possessions was a print of Joe Rosenthal's classic Suribachi flag raising shot inscribed, "For Roy, Who was There. Joe."

The Firing Pin Journal

Welcome Jay, of the Firing Pin Journal, to the TMR blog roll.

Aside from firearms and limited, intelligent government, we share an interest in large armed things which hang out in and on deep blue water.

Mar 20, 2010

All kinds of p0rn

I'm addicted to ship p0rn as well as gun smut, and Tam has them both at the top of her lineup this evening.

I can't see those carriers without remembering the thousands of Pacific miles I chased them on a little destroyer -- 10 degrees off their stern at 1,100 yards. Plane guard station, the idea being that we could fish out the unlucky pilot who missed his wires.

She also has my thanks for a mention that brought many new readers to this modest little blog. Welcome, y'all, and feel free to stick around. I've been known to do a little pandering myself.

More on Ice

Our correspondent from the edge of the permafrost, near St. Cloud, Minnesota, reports that the Mississippi in that latitude is now open water. Can a shore lunch of walleye be far behind?

That prompted the thought that our local lakes are at that stage of appearing solid while harboring many thin spots. Stupidly driven snowmobiles fall through them in a useful Darwinian adjustment of Northern Plains demographics.

Mar 19, 2010

The highly accurate M1 Carbine

My buddy Ken showed up for tacos with a story and a trophy. He has recently acquired another carbine, a plain-Jane, mostly Winchester, arsenal rebuild. Coincidentally he concocted 100 unremarkable hand loads with GI brass, 110 FMJs, and 2400 powder. The Winchester threw them all over the section. A little investigation revealed an Uncle Wiggly rear sight which could not be snugged down by peening.

Enter epoxy. No home is complete without it it.

With the sight chemically bonded to the receiver of the WW2 relic, he shot five rounds over a rest at 35 yards. He tucked the result in his wallet and, last evening, produced it as the beer was being served . The group was coverable by a quarter, and I don't care if it was only 35 yards. That's impressive.

Mar 18, 2010


The President of the United States of America said:

"I don't spend a lot of time worrying about the procedural rules of the House or the Senate."

I post it without much comment in the understanding that some will recognize the magnitude of the arrogant evil, others will shrug "Huh, so what?"

Mar 17, 2010

Delayed spring

At 43.30 north, the ice persists, and the Kiwanis Club car hasn't broken through yet. (This is a plea for sympathy from readers in milder climes.)

The Associated Press Wins

All criticism of AP is hereby suspended until further notice because of Richard
Alonso-Zalvidar and his editor who report this morning that His Obamness' pants are on fire, or at least smoldering badly. For wonderment, the news in in the lead:

In the nicest possible way the story details what we all know: The President is slinging bullshit, counting on the euphony of his practiced sound bites to trump his inattention to fact. It is a recommended read.


If I ever get around to writing my bodice ripper, I will, of course, portray the noble but misunderstood privateer captain as myself. My most faithful ally will be a gentleman of Castille, cast out of all Iberia for thoughtcrime against the Church and the Crowns. His name shall be Ricardo Alonso-Zalvidar. No other culture can match the Spanish for creating male names which march so nobly across the tongue.

Together we will sweep the seas of James Taggart's robber ships and, in the end, march ashore to destroy the looters. With victory in our hands, our second matter of civil priority will be to install John Galt as the first President (Provisional) of the Reorganized Republic of Latter Day Objectivists of the United States of America. (Our first order of business, obviously, will be official reinstatement of the Constitution of 1787. )

Creating the female lead has been troublesome. I first looked to the armed libertarian blog world due to the comeliness of its lasses. But could I motivate suspension of disbelief with Abby or Brigid or Johanna or Roberta or Tam in the obligatory scene the fair damsel swooning on the deck of of a Taggert frigate, tattered and trembling in agony at the thought of virtue about to be lost to the to the oily Commodore Wesley Mouch of The People's Naval Squadron?

I fear not. I fear that before I could leap from my quarterdeck to to the rescue, Mouch and all his henchmen would be draped bloodily across stancions, his would-be victim cooly fanning away the smoke from her flintlock. That would make the incomparable me quite superfluous, and that is simply unthinkable.

St. Patrick's Day, 2010

May every reader possess a lorica, spiritual and secular.

Mar 16, 2010

When toilets are outlawed...

Most of us are suspicious of laws destroying a citizen's Second Amendment rights for domestic spats petty enough to draw only a misdemeanor charge. For one thing, any motivated evildoer can find all the weapons she needs right around the house.

I was taken, however, with the creativity shown by one Ms. Johnson of Iowa City who is charged with domestic assault and interference with official acts.

Mar 15, 2010

A Constitutional Response to the Census

Some thought went into the decision to fill in part of the census form. The citizen at this address will report his name and the fact that no others reside here permanently. This meets the need for congressional apportionment data.

Everything else smacks of bureaucratic meddling, such as wondering if I own it or rent it and whether I owe money on it or not. because:

"Asked since 1890. Homeownership rates serve as an indicator of the nation's economy. The data are also used to administer housing programs and to inform planning decisions."

Thank you very much, but my housing program was to save up some money and buy one, or rent one, or whatever, making the details none of your business, President Obama. And I plan to continue planning to make my own planning decisions. And the economy sucks even if you happen to find out I'm in decent enough shape.

The government also wants my sex because:

"...many federal programs must differentiate between males and females for funding, implementing and evaluating their programs. For instance, laws promoting equal employment opportunity for women require census data on sex. Also, sociologists, economists, and other researchers who analyze social and economic trends use the data."

Sociologists, economists and other researchers can ask for my sex in person if they really want it, and I reserve the right to say "yes," "no," or "You can whistle, can't you?"

I also won't say whether I'm Hispanic or not because it's none of Joe Biden's business and because how the Hell do I know if Great-Great-Grandma Grove dallied with a Mexican lad behind the barn then quick like a flash married my great-great grandpa?Same with the next question, on race.

The government closes out its queries by wondering if I sometimes stay somewhere else. Why all the creepy curiosity about who I sleep with?

Mar 14, 2010

Memo to the First Lady's Staff

Re: Michelle's recent public service announcements:

Isn't there some one in the East Wing with authority to order the camera man to drop his angle to about eye level? Shooting downwards on her (especially with a lens slightly too short) is responsible for that stupid startled-fawn look.

Mar 13, 2010

Sioux Falls AAR

Those nice shiny old Colt and SW and revolvers with big holes in the barrel cost a lot of money. Scuza, I mean a LOT of money. Even with some aggressive ad-clicken by my reader friends, I don't think I'll be popping four figures for a New Service any time soon.

This is an outstanding show, meant to showcase (90 per cent or better) pre-64 guns and related items. If you like American frontier weaponry you can drool over hundreds of 19th century Colt Peacemakers and Winchester lever guns, along with a respectable showing of Civil War material. One nice old guy let me handle his Burnside, even to dropping a dummy round into the block and cycling the action a couple of times.

World War Two was well represented and got most of my attention. Adequate and honest Garands are still just under $1,000. M1 carbines run from about $750 up to a beautiful Winchester at $2,950.

The $1100-and-up prices of 1911s have brought many out of the drawers, but I didn't personally spot one I considered "nice," even at $2,000-plus. Webbing has gone beyond ridiculous. Some guys were asking $50 for ratty pistol belts. I wanted a couple more GI .45 magazine pouches but not at $15 each. At that price I'd demand they come complete with a pair of half-dipped mags.

After all the gaping I loopholed only a 1911 mainspring plunger. This time the pleasure was in the looking and the learning.

The following bonus opinion is offered without additional charge: The best place in southwest Minnesota to buy grease and beer after a gun show is the Rumor Mill bar in Adrian, just off I-90. We do recommend you count your change, however.

Let us praise the gun show loophole

The weekend brings an embarrassment of riches. Two large loopholes beckon, one in Sioux Falls, the other in tiny Wells, Minnesota. My usual suspects couldn't agree on a destination, and I've decided to trail along with the westering outfit to the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association loophole.

But I confess I'll miss being at Wells. We traditionally loop there amidst several hundred tables in the Wells public school building. The local sportsman's club runs it, and profits are generously shared with the school. Every few years someone up in the Twin Cities SSR discovers, gasp, a loophole right there where Johnnie and Suzie matriculate, and teevee is pleased to amplify their outraged shrieks. The Wells folks -- school board, city council, churches and all -- just grin them down and keep on loopholin'.

The last stink got a lot of coverage, and the club decided to toss the banners a bone for their damp diapers. It changed the name from the "Gun Show" to "Sportsman's Show." I hear they passed the resolution unanimously, laughing uproariously.

I'm not looking for any specific loophole item, but I have not been able to go very many days lately without thinking about how nice it would be to have a nice shiny vintage Colt or SW DA with a big hole in the barrel.

Mar 11, 2010

Try the 700 Club

Anyone looking for cheerful spiritual uplift might want to avoid TMR for while.

While I am not ungrateful for the spring melt, three or four days of rain, sun-free sky, huge piles of filthy snow, and boot-sucking mud are beginning to irritate me. In the public market yesterday, smiles were severely rationed.

Mar 10, 2010

Halt! Your papers!

"The Wall Street Journal":

This is the latest incarnation of an old idea which has been implemented helter-skelter, primarily through the Social Security system and some immigrant control programs such as the "voluntary" e-Verify.

But now, led by Schumer and Graham, your senators are thinking of making it universal, something like the much-battered Real ID plan.

In the 1950s and 60, progenitors of Schumer-like statists made international reputations at the expense of a South African government which required "passes" of all black persons traveling away from their home village environs. The hysterical proto-Schumers weren't upset at the pass system as such, only that it did not apply also to whites. The Left held then, as it does now, that tyranny is acceptable if universal; only discrimination makes tyranny naughty.

(Secretly, of course, the 60s American Fabians welcomed the African diversion which permitted hours of self-righteous spewing in lieu of those politically dangerous chores of handling crucial domestic problems such as how to make Peter Paul and Mary shut up.)

You might write your senator and ask him if he'll pretty please say no. Or at least promise us the United States Internal Security and Domestic Passport Law of 2010 will not let the cops run your pass book though the health, firearms, and credit rating databases. To do that a vital government object would have to be served, such as satisfying the morbid curiosity of your demented ex-brother-in-law who owes you money and currently has a job as a Department of Homeland Security computer programmer.

The Dog bites Grandma

His Obamaness is so desperate to salvage anything from his foray into the world of socialized medicine that he's now touting bounty hunters to hound your grandma.

Dog and his tattooed offspring will make damned sure Granny didn't claim to be sick when she really was just pissed off because the cable teevee went on the futz and she had to go the hospital so as not to miss any episodes of "All My Rotten Kids" or whateverthehell soap she likes.

Look, folks, keeping people from stealing money, even government money, is something a proper society does. So is getting stolen money back to its rightful owners.

But at what cost? Medicare and Medicaid years ago hung signs along the Yellow Brick Road to the public trough: : "Come and Get It. Quacks and Thieves Welcome." Professional hypochondriacs got engraved personal invitations.

And now electronic posses are to be deputized to wade through your most intimate records. Yeah, Washington says it will be limited to health records for people using Medicaid and Medicare. This is the same Washington that told us to go a-nationbuilding in the Middle East 'cuz there were all those nukes in Iraq.

I bet uttering the word "privacy" in Washington these days draws smirks from across the spectrum of conventional political thought -- and probably gets you a looksee for the no-fly list as a dangerous radical.


The Broad Ripple lady and her roomie are a couple of teases, what with their tropical bicycle riding pictures and all.

We have a certain amount of snow remaining, even in the sun-drenched areas -- about two feet as of Saturday when the old bridge was snapped on canal hike a few hundred yards from my quarters. There's a little less today, but getting across the field from the house to the water is still snow shoe work.

(No, you can't shoot there. It's inside the village limits and a game preserve to boot. I still carry a belt gun in deference to the cougar rumors.)

Mar 9, 2010

Write your critter

Okay, so maybe it is futile, but I still believe telling the truth to legislators is worth doing. This morning's contribution goes to a state rep here in the corn fields.


Dear _____,

I was taken by a subhead in the Register this morning on the programs labeled "child development."

"Fifty-nine different boards provide oversight of state empowerment efforts. Since 1998, $336 million has been spent, but the number of children helped isn't known."

What on earth does this say about (a) the laws passed by the legislature and (b) the willingness or ability of legislators to pay attention to the results of what they do?

Hiring some people and printing up a new letterhead is not necessarily a good thing, even if everyone screams, "It 's for the children!" A legislator who make this point forcefully is a legislator history will remember kindly.

He could also note that the best child development program is a caring parent with a library card.


I forgot to remind him that any law or program using "empowerment" in the title is 100 per cent certain to be a scam .

As to the Olympics recently ended:

"While enjoying all this Olympic hoopla, we might note that the original Olympic games were pointedly and specifically non-national. Winners were highly honored as individuals, but no notice was taken of their place of origin. Those old Greeks were touchy and irascible people, but they held that regionalism was inappropriate to athletic competition."

Jeff Cooper seemed to get many things right.

Mar 8, 2010

Evading Justice in Massachusetts

Brother Borepatch of Massastan squeeks by. He could have been sent bye-bye for two years for illegal possession of a dangerous object.

H/T to Roberta.

Vintage gun pron

A Remington 514, pretty as only a stripped-down minimalist machine can be.

Gun auction AAR

Six guns sold. Four were interesting to me.

1. A silly basement project mated a breech-plugged octagon Winchester .38-40 barrel to a bolt-action receiver I couldn't identify. The bolt assembly was cobbled to fire the percussion cap. The tube had been bored out to something like .50. The mess was held together by what I suspect was a whittled-on Model 70 stock. I wanted to bring it home and give it warm milk, but passed due to price, $140.

2. A beautiful Remington 1903A3 appeared unissued, and I stuck around to a little more than $500. It brought $650.

3. A decent little Stevens Crack Shot brought $150, and I kick myself for not making the eventual buyer pay a little more.

4. A Remington 514 sported the best metal I've noticed on one of those since they quit making them in 1971, almost mint. Unfortunately the stock suffers from an old kitchen table varnish job. It's flaking, and I plan a careful hour with fine steel wool. At $85 a no-brainer.

The others were shotguns, a 16 ga. Model 12 semi- junker at $400+ and a newish Benelli pump so ugly I flirted with the concession girl while it was selling.

Overall: stupid crowd.

...fair for the Gander

At last report His Obamaness has instructed his infantry to stomp dissenters in the Senate, scrap Senate rules, and pass his health-destruction strategy under a process called "reconciliation."

That process has three distinct characteristics. (1) It was originally enacted to ensure that necessary appropriations bills get passed even when Senators are stymied by deep ideological differences, such as whose state gets the biggest unnecessary bridge. (2) It has been abused by both parties. (3) Permitting legislation with a simple majority, it defies the reason we have a Senate in the first place -- to act as a check on popular passions and demagogues who would inflame and capitalize on them.

The Obama may or may not get away with it, so maybe we should be prepared to cut Him a deal, to wit: Here's your hall pass to screw up the health-care system worse than it is, Mr. President. In return, you must instruct your Senate minions to give us reconciliation status for the Thune Amendment which, after all, was favored by 58 Senators last year.

What could be fairer?

Mar 7, 2010

Buck it?

In a shop session yesterday I noticed that Buck honing oil, at something over $2 an ounce, looks like, smells life, feels like and works like generic automatic transmission fluid at a shade over two bucks a quart. Just sayin'. (And, yeah, I know kerosene, three-in-one, and used 10 wt. crankcase oil work about as well as anything. And spit.)

Once in a while libertarians need to remind themselves that fraud is fraud, whether subtle or brassy, governmental or commercial. We do not often state it this way, but our philosophy operates on a premise that things will get start getting better only after we quit lying to one another.

Mar 6, 2010

I swear by the Almighty I didn't know gun cleaning solvents came in foofooraw lemon scents until I was idly fingering some merchandise at a local sporting goods store. Barrel Blaster by CVA. Maybe using it will help you get lucky, and I suppose it might even clean your barrel.

I doubt, however it will ever overtake the old reliable. Hoppe's No. 9 is the most powerful aphrodisiac known to man. (Do not take internally.)

Mar 5, 2010

Loopies versus guns in St. Paul

It's hard enough keeping track of my own state legiscritters, but a friend to my north passed on timely wire note from the AP:

"...Gun control and gun rights advocates are ready for a clash over a bill that would require a background check on buyers of firearms at Minnesota gun shows. (The sponsor), a St. Paul Democrat , says he's trying to address what he and others argue are gaps in law. Members of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance say the bill violates federal law governing background checks over private gun sales."

Since it occurs that I am acquainted with an influential Minnesota editor, I sent a message to the media:

"Any report on this should probably note prominently that there really is no "gun show loophole." Federal law simply does not require background checks for sales between non-licensed private individuals, anywhere. The point seems almost always to get lost ..."


The "clash" today is in a committee, so passage would be the first of several steps necessary to actually cave in to wet-pants Gophers.

( I think the trimmed-down AP quote is covered by the fair use doctrine, but just in case it isn't I wanna say the AP is a great news organization and all of you should call your local papers and broadcasters and ask them to buy more AP services, which are uniformly excellent according to a blogger who can't afford to get sued.)

Mar 4, 2010

Bulletin: Faulty Political Pitch Identified!

MSNBC is leading the leftist hounds baying after a new GOP fund raising document which, gasp, portrays the Democrats as the "enemy" and embodies a "simplistic" appeal to rank and file donors {the Proles, Tam :) }

I , too, would be appalled at the gall of those Republicans if I could just manage to forget a well-known 1964 nuclear explosion and a famous little daisy-shredding girl:

So the left can wipe the drool from the sides of its mouths, as far as I'm concerned. It's wasted on anyone with even a high-school civics understanding of American political tradition.

Witches in the corn fields, shoo fly shoo...

And some you guys claim my state isn't interesting. I mean, like, have +you+ had to deal with Wiccans in the schools lately?

I'm pretty much on the kid's side. If he wants to build a Wiccan altar in shop class, what the Hell? Why not? His shop teacher telling the newspapers that he personally figures it's bad to worship rocks and trees isn't a really compelling argument. Mr. Shoppie should do his five-day suspension, then go back to yelling at kids to sand the shelf some more.


Have you ever pondered what wonderful things would ensue if we resolved as a nation to outlaw high-school shop classes and substitute a privately owned and operated apprentice program? Fewer mothers of teenagers would get slightly lopsided jewelry boxes for Christmas, but that's about the only major drawback I can think of.

Mar 3, 2010

Size matters; "I charge by the inch."

So says Continental Air Lines in the latest installment of that long-running serial "Beyond Water Boarding; Air Travel Today."

Youngsters should be aware that once upon a time air travel was an experience to be looked forward to, even if you had a "Y" on your ticket.

There oughtta be a law!

Observing the fractured logic and simpleton appeals of politicians and lobbyists for and against a new agency to "protect" consumers in the financial markets, it occurs to me that Congress should pass the following law. Do you agree?

(The last paragraph is especially cuddlesome to a libertarian soul.)

Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which--
is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities, shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.


As used in this subsection, the term "any person" includes any State, instrumentality of a State or employee of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in his or her official capacity. Any State, and any such instrumentality, officer, or employee, shall be subject to the provisions of this Act in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.

After we get this one passed, we just need a companion piece, almost identically worded, which criminalizes the acts mentioned.

Mar 2, 2010

McDonald versus Chicago

Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman covered the McDonald oral arguments this morning and came away with the impression that Heller will be extended across the nation. I don't mean to suggest he is anticipating the Scotus decision, only that in an apparently well-balanced report he interprets the questions and answers as favorable to the plaintiffs. They, as you know, are us, represented by Chicago and Oak Park Second Amendment defenders.

The key is:

"The court has held that most of the rest of the Bill of Rights applies to state and local laws. But Feldman (lawyer for the Chicago gun banners) said the Second Amendment should be treated differently because guns are different. 'Firearms are designed to injure and kill,' he said."

You can almost hear the sighs at that chestnut, and they may have come from some of our Supreme Court foes as well as the five who gave us the Heller relief.

A decision for McDonald will severely limit application of (and perhaps nullify?) the 1873 Slaughter House Cases which permit states and localities to pick and choose among many federal Constitutional protections they must grant their citizens. The Left is no fan of the Slaughter House construction and thinks its abolition might smooth the way for some of its agenda.

A pro-McDonald resolution will still leave us a thousand battles to fight in the cities and states where the spirit of Heller is detested, where bureaucrats and elected officials despair at the notion that a person's right to defend himself is both individual and inalienable. But it will be an easier fight with High Court's basic interpretation of Amendment Two on our side, with the death of the notion that guns are only for those who at the command of the current government administration.

Decision expected in June.

EDIT, Mar. 3: A number of writers are suggesting that the Slaughter House Cases were not successfully attacked in the orals yesterday. Their interpretation is that the justices are unwilling to reopen "incorporation" arguments under the Constitution's privileges and immunities clause since the application of the Second Amendment, as defined by Heller, can be accomplished by application of the due process clause.

A little scatology to start your day?

Standing before the marble edifice, your humble servant unzipped and dug it out. A moment later, tucking in, he thought, "Gosh, maybe me and Teddy Roosevelt have peed in the same place, and I really gotta think about how to treat this in my memoirs."

That relief station in the Old Executive Office Building (nee State, War, Navy) remains in his memory as probably the most hideously expensive go place he ever patronized, but that may change thanks to the lust for votes of His Obamaness and the Spenders.

(Washington, D.C.)-- Planned improvements at a popular lakes area public access are getting a financial shot-in-the-arm from the federal government. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley announced today the National Park Services (is awarding) $179,722 (for) a new shower and restroom facility at ... ."(KUOO)

The "at" is a small state park very near me, and I can't wait until its finished. Then I can hike on over when ever I want and pee and stuff with the warm glow of superiority that comes from eliminating all possibility that anyone else could possibly be using a more expensive pot than I.

I suppose someone will start mouthing off about how we're firing teachers and the roads are a mess, and we're about to raise taxes all to Hell and gone, and the objective of going camping is not really a luxury dump in HGTV-style tiled splendor anyway. Pay no attention. Your elected and appointed officials are the only ones who understand proper priorities.

Mar 1, 2010

Breaking my arm...

Smoking report: Clean 365 days.

Hit a Starbucks On Your Way Home from theNext Gun Show

For the first time since I knew Starbucks existed, I plan to patronize the firm next time I'm in a settlement large enough to support a population of folks who think four bucks is about the right price to pay for a cup of coffee.

I don't know if I'll strap on or not. Maybe the big silver-looking Ruger in buscadero leather with plenty of spare .45C rounds in the loops? That could be fun, but the Starbuckers I've observed through the windows don't strike me as the type to get the joke.

In any case, I do want to leave a few dollars there and to make sure the company knows my two reasons. In the first place it is nice to see a firm not getting all pants-wetty about legally borne firearms on its premises. The second is because I've already had more than four bucks worth of fun watching the brain-frappeed lefties conniptionize themselves.