Aug 31, 2011

Why we're broke

Y'know, Sweetheart, you really shouldn't drop your business card on the island when you're using the citizens' credit card to fill up the citizens' car while you're on the citizens' clock, on your way to some place where they need a little consulting and managing.
Some nosy ex-reporter may pick it up, read it, and get to wondering, "What the heck does this woman actually DO for a living?" 

Beware of open carry

--If  you left your SW Model 59 in the truck and

--If you walk out to fetch it and

--If if it seems too much bother to tuck it into your waist band, out of sight and

--If you sort of let it hang down along your leg so as not to seem to be "brandishing" to nosy neighbors and

-- If your excitable young Labmaraner is jumping and prancing around you, licking at everything she can reach and

--If she can reach the gun for slobbering purposes and

--If you lay the 59 on a shelf before wiping it down and

--If you forget to wipe it down for two days, then

-- You will have a substantial rust spot on your blue steel slide,  proving beyond doubt that dog saliva does not contain WD40.

Aug 29, 2011

Illinois concealed carry -- changing the debate

No, we didn't actually lose everything when Illinois lawmakers turned down a CCW bill, and Don at  Push the Pull Door explains it.

The essence is that forcing the argument into a framework of individual freedom and responsibility is an important incremental  victory*, but Don's piece handles it in sharp and cogent detail.  I suggest reading the whole thing even though it's  an older post I just ran across. He is now on the TMR blog roll.


*Remind anyone else of Ron Paul' progress?

Aug 28, 2011

Oh for God's sake...

Borepatch zeros in on a bit of government hypocrisy and backs his case with a link to a Barack (I DO TOO create jobs!) Obama pledge to dump stupid federal regulations.

Mr. President, you missed one or two.

Still grumpy over that stupid gun show experience yesterday, I went to the BATFE site and doodled around in the half-cured Bondo  describing the  process of getting a C and R license. I learned:

Only Elmer Fudd rates a federal firearms license. PDF alert. It is the application form which demands to know  if you hold a valid hunting license. You check a yes box or  no box. Be careful:

1.  If you answered "NO," you likely cannot lawfully possess a firearm and therefore cannot be a federal firearms licensee. 

The godawful free-range idiocy of that doesn't need elaboration for anyone who ever devoted three neuron-seconds to firearms issues. All I can figure is that the feds are in a tizzy to keep broom-handle Mausers out of the hands of PETA activists.

The form also requires you to list your race. And here I sit all embarrassed for believing all these years that my betters in Washington were sweating blood to create a color-blind America.

Loophole sidebar

Otherwise  it was a fine show, hundreds of interesting old pieces, and it's hard to say enough about how well the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association operates these things.

The personal take was paltry. I scored a few badly needed Case Guard boxes at less than a buck each.  I also couldn't resist $10 for a NIB Jap scope, 4x32, sold decades ago by Montgomery Wards (EDIT: and/or Western Auto?)  as a   "Revelation."  A guy can always use disposable optics. Come to think of it, I recall that some of these early Japanese scopes were rugged, not unlike Nikon rangefinder cameras.

Loophole AAR, Highway 86, and the Feds: A TMR twofer

(1) The deep Colt blue was mostly gone. Long ago, in the era of home-accurizing GI 1911s,  someone stippled  the frontstrap and mainspring housing. Otherwise it was a perfectly straight and decent WW1 1911, and at a negotiated $650, I was a buyer.

Then the federal government jackbooted my butt. Neither of the two Iowa FFL dealers I know was at the Sioux Falls show, nor were any CR holders. So I walked away, money sadly in pocket, pistol still on the Salt Lake City dealer's table.

Thanks to the feel-good FFA of 1968, my masters denied  me the privilege of  a perfectly harmless transaction. No irony exists in the fact that if the show had been held ten miles to the east, just across the state border, I could have bought the old war horse perfectly legally -- in the same state which officially  permits me to buy, own,  and carry about anything short of an NFA machine gun or whippit.


(2) Not far from me runs Highway 86,  connecting I-90 with this little resort area. It's an ancient, hilly two-lane. It arguably carries enough traffic to justify planned rehabbing.

The Iowa DOT recently held a meeting to "seek public input" (Stop that disrespectful snickering, right now!) on the plans. Landowners along the route were there to input displeasure at the eminent domain procedure which would take strips of their land  on one side of the road when government already owns the land on the other side.

Our Iowa bureaucrat explained that the public land was DNR/USFWS-owned for the benefit of mosquito ponds, snakes, tadpoles, and swamp grass.  True, the relatively tiny reduction would amount to a fart in a hurricane in terms of wildlife habitat, but federal law prohibited diversion of even one square inch of it. Sorry folks.

Federal law pays far less attention to forced seizure of folks' front yards. In other words, If you're a snail  darter you're gold. If you're a taxpaying citizen, piss off.  


The good doctor Ron Paul proposes to shut down about half the federal government. Sir, that would be a reasonably good start.

Aug 27, 2011

Come, Let Us Loophole Together

The disbursing officer has delivered a small wad. The motor pool has assigned transportation.  G2 reports sortie conditions favorable.  Over the top, Lads! Westward, Ho!


Statistically, the commanding officer of Camp J is more likely to return better armed  from the Sioux Falls loophole than from any other. It doesn't always happen, but the urge is exceptionally strong this morning. He is already working on his rationalizations.

Y'see, with the end-times hurricane about to wipe out  everything from Nags Head to Kennebunkport,  his Federal Reserve Cartoons probably won't  be worth anything Monday morning. Might as well swap them for small machinery designed to make loud noises and irritate teachers' unions.


Maybe something cowboyish? I have a new Stetson, and a fresh complementary firearm seems a splendid idea.  Something in .44-40? That would let me pretend I've just dropped off a herd in Abilene as I swagger on over to Kate's Palace.

But I also have a new Ron Paul gimme cap, so maybe I'll  try to loophole an Oozie.

AAR in due course.

Aug 26, 2011

We're supposed to learn from history, aren't we?

I just saw the latest on the mass east coast evacuations and thought it would be nice to remind local officials of one of the Katrina lessons. Don't forget to disarm the police.

Quick as a flash; Iowa caucuses 2012

Governor Pataki has announced that he will not come visit us here in Ioway tomorrow. We are deeply saddened.

Well to heck with him. Refusing our hospitality gets him booted from your must-read list of people we might allow to succeed His Obamaness. 

We will not accept the excuse that George read the work of a small-time local blogger and decided the revelations  made our caucuses a hopeless cause.

There's an achieve-but-not-maintain joke in here somewhere, but it isn't worth reaching for.

I have a dream, Irene

The significance of the 2011 Great Storm of Doom:

As Hurricane Irene swung north Thursday, putting the Washington region in its sights, Maryland and Virginia declared a state of emergency and Sunday’s dedication of the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was postponed.

That's the WaPo lede graf on its banner story. So you know equal weight must be given to

(a) The emergency -- the death of innocents, jillions in damages (and)

(b) A delay in dedicating a statue.

What I dream of is journalism with a sense of proportion.


Here is a bulletin from The Associated Press. Scientists have confirmed that a huge asteroid will strike Earth on Sunday, wiping out the human race. World stock markets tumbled on the news.

More on Ben's Big Day in Beaver Country

Once in a while even the financial press gets things right. For instance, a report on what Fed Boss Ben might say in Jackson Hole this morning:

Economists said that the recent weakness in the economy stems from structural issues like foreclosed properties and an unskilled pool of unemployed labor that are immune from monetary policy stimulus.

Nailed it. The pool includes those famous young men who speak Ebonic, not to mention equally untalented alabasters, many with cool PhDs in, like, English Lit. (You want fries with your Bullwer-Lytton?)

If Washington and the state capitals leave things alone,  foreclosed properties will in due course become unforeclosed. They will  again trade briskly at their market value. If this means $40,000 for a six-bedroom stunner with lots of granite and travertine, so be it.

The pool of chronic unemployables  is a tougher problem,  but we might start by repealing minimum wage laws as they apply to apprentice arrangements.

We might also start by worshipping a damned good mechanic at least as much as we do a mediocre professor of Sanskrit.  

Mr. Goodwrench can thrive in the free market.  (He can read Marlowe in his spare time if he's so inclined.) 

But In 99 cases out of a hundred, the professor shares a trait with the welfare queen; like her, he can wax fat only at the public trough. 

Aug 25, 2011

Pull up another bale of straw; Iowa Caucuses 2012

Eleven years ago, George Pataki got a big wet smooch from Carolyn McCarthy. You remember her -- the eek-eek-a-gun New York congresswoman. She was rewarding her governor for  signing "the strictest gun control laws in the nation."

He probably won't display a picture of that tender moment Saturday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds where The Great Expecters expect him to further pollute  join the herd of neocons running for president.

Pataki has been mostly under the TMR radar, and I think he's been mentioned here only in passing. Nevertheless, he's now being added to your vital list of other Republicans braying for votes in the Iowa caucuses.

A net search on this guy reveals he's become quite a backer of our veterans.  His pollsters told him they have  become a voting block of heroic size. That makes them heroes to  patriotic George, so he hopes you won't  notice a tidbit from his personal history.

In 1964 he was 19 years old at a time when it was easy to demonstrate your patriotism by fighting bad guys Vietnam. George found it more convenient to march off to Yale.

Aug 24, 2011

The cowering Illini

We should all take turns reminding the world that Illinois, home and political cradle of our president, is the only American state to flatly deny the right of the citizen to bear arms for personal defense. 

Of all land under the American Flag, Illinois is joined only by three outlying territories whose local culture has no root in our historic devotion to Constitutionally protected liberties. These places are American Samoa, The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and the District of Columbia.

Bucky Beaver on salt petre

David E. Jackson would have understood why the pretty alpine park on the Snake River bears his name.

In quest of beaver for the high hats of London and Paris, he roamed the place for a few years. He may even have wintered there among the Crow and Shoshone in 1829. He would have talked to other white folks about the  high valley, and that's often all it took to attach a name to a place in the Rocky Mountain fur trade era.

He would not have understood why Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is the center of the universe this week.

Dave trapped beaver. He traded pelts to other businessmen from St. Louis and Taos. A prime pelt bought  him eight ounces of whisky diluted with creek water to 25 proof.  Or four pounds of black powder. Or enuogh vermillion and other squaw foofooraw to guarantee warm companionship in his winter lodge.

The plews he didn't need to buy mountain fixin's were traded for drafts on St.Louis banks -- drafts freely convertible to dollars which, in turn, were literally as good as gold. Such were the days before political piracy evolved into its only logical outcome, the Nixon Shock.

Now, suppose another Jackson -- President Andrew -- had sent an emissary to Jackson Hole. Maybe his treasury secretary Sam Ingham. Sam  would relay word that Washington had decreed that a beaver skin was worth only a half-pint of whiskey in this winter of 1829. And next winter it might be worth only a couple ounces. Or maybe a pint again. It depended  on a lot of things the old fur trapper wouldn't understand.

You just go ahead and picture Davie Jackson getting red in the face and reaching for his Hawken. It's a pretty vision, and I won't interrupt you for a second or two...


A serious omission occurs two paragraphs back. Sam wouldn't have really understood what he was talking about either. Was he just a particularly clueless public titter? Was he a victim of an historical time when no one really understood economic theory and practice?

Nope. Direct your attention to the current hero of Jackson Hole, one Ben Shalom Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He's scheduled to make his  annual speech to big bankers gathered at Jackson Hole day after tomorrow. Anticipation holds world market gamblers in thrall. They await his answer to the over riding question:

How many imaginary beaver skins will Ben create?

Now, why would Ben want to do that, push a computer key or two and make the pixie dust whirl, eventually resolving  itself into rodent fur existing only as 101010101010101010s in Ben's laptop?

Because the real beaver aren't fucking fast enough. That's why.

So the bankers and other plutocrats are hoping and praying that Ben will foretell, via hint and nudge, another economic Viagra dose. Just like he did last year at Jackson Hole when his coy words presaging QE2 sent all the Warren Buffet wannabes into orgasm.

The general view is that he won't stand in the shadow of the Grand Tetons and actually announce another slurp of free mother's milk*, but we can probably count on another hint-nudge.

(N.B. The term "Weimar" has been strictly outlawed in the entire mountain west until Ben and his entourage are safely back in the sanctuary of Never Never Beltway Province.)

It isn't time to use it yet, but a handy Hawkens can be a comforting thing.

*It's my little essay and I can mix salacious metaphors all I want.

Aug 23, 2011

Victoria's Other Secret

Ashley in her undies strips a Glock.

It's in a group of three videos, all more or less idiotic, but if you're bored enough you might like the eye candy.

Aug 22, 2011


For about 30 seconds a sarcastic post appeared here. Something made me double-check a fact, and I discovered I had badly misread a line the source material.   So, for the first time ever, I dumped a post down the memory hole. I owe special apologies to readers who may find it on one of the  blog-feeding services.

Aug 21, 2011

Going Nuts in Burt, Iowa

It will pass, but for about 16 hours I've had the feeling that I am too smart for this world and should spend the day knocking off a few IQ points by watching television.

The hubris results from a huge gun auction in thriving Burt yesterday. When typical opening bids are at retail and escalate from there, you feel pretty damned brilliant for the simple act of keeping your hands in your pockets.

For instance: Kimber .45 Pro Carry, MSRP  $888 NIB, hammers down at $1,050. This happened early, letting us know we were in the wrong place.

The feeling was confirmed. A rattle-trap Winchester 1897, haphazardly polished and reblued,   stock varnished, generic butt plate, brought  $625.  Other sells followed suit.

But, well, you don't  drive 175 miles and come home empty handed. That would be against nature. So I laid in 12 new magazines for a Mini-14 -- $73.42 with the tax, or about six bucks per. The details, just in case Congresswoman Pelosi is keeping track:  Four 20s from Ruger, still bubbled, and eight after-markets,  including three more 20s, three 30s and, yum-yum, two 40s. Vive la revolucion! 

'course, my pardner Jeff the gunsmith had to go and ruin even that by grinning, "What's it going to cost you to fill those up?"  The answer, if you go by the price of .223 sold at the same time and place, is about 65 cents a bang.

Ahh, the gun game. Maybe all of us who play it are the real dummies.

... (pause to ponder) ...  No, come to think of it. Ths kind of thing may actually reflect the  popular view that the Federal Reserve Cartoons we trade for shootin' arn  would  be worth more if they were soft enough to wipe with.

Aug 20, 2011

Party time on the prairie

I was suuuch a good boy yesterday.

A half-cord of logs became cut to firewood length, and a little of it even became split. (Yeah, I have a prosaic earwig this morning, thinking of the frontier editors who referred to the corpse on the saloon floor as a man who became shot.   The ultimate in objective journalism.)

Anyway, a man of my age who has been so diligent deserves a reward. So, by golly, I am going to go here. (PDF Alert.)

Lots of pretty playthings for libertarian terrorists, eh?

Aug 19, 2011

Blog stuff

Borepatch is now on the TMR blog list, and I'm ashamed it didn't happen long ago.

And I should have noticed earlier that Ed Foster signed on as a TMR follower. This will keep me a little more honest with my off-the-wall comments on gun technology. Ed +knows+ guns and gun design.

Welcome to you both.

Back to the future

No political party holds the patent on absolute brain-dead goofiness. Michele offers us two-dollar gasoline, details not quite worked out yet.

In 1972, candidate George McGovern offered every citizen of the Republic $1,000 cash money, details not quite worked out. 'course, George had an excuse. Backing Tom Eagleton 1,000 per cent ate up a lot of his time.

Aug 18, 2011

Really, kids, you hadn't oughtta do that

In general, I oppose vandals. But sometimes they pluck a sympathic note on my heart strings.

Down in our capital city the politicians bought the cops a robotic camera  lashup to collect more speed tax administratively, that is, without all that pesky due-process-of-law crap.

It's in a van, and t'other night somebody egged the windshield in an apparent effort to block the camera view.

No suspects, but if they're caught I suggest they be sentenced to windex the glass and promise not to get caught repeating the offense.  Their court records should be expunged if they aren't again caught throwing eggs at robots for 12 consecutive hours.

Hey guys, let's all go build another nation

If there's a marching club dedicated to chanting anti-Assad slogans, sign me up. He's a brutal tyrant who murders his subjects, and someone should shoot back. That someone ought to be a Syrian.

The new U.S.."sanctions" against Syria won't work very well.  When have they ever, anywhere?

So we can assume Hillary's mouthing of Obama's latest contribution to Mid-East warfare this morning are warnings that we're gassing up a Seal team, a squadron of Cobra's,  and an MEU or two.  The  background message is: "Leave or die, President Assad, because you shoot down your own people."

If nothing else,  this fails the  fairness test. After all, I don't recall the ruling Assad family demanding the resignation of American presidents for shooting down their subjects. (cf. Bush I/Ruby Ridge and Clinton/Waco).

No, no moral equivalence is suggested, but it's an interesting thing to keep in mind as the U.S. foreign policy apparatus ratchets up the possibility that we'll find ourselves bombing wogs in still another sandy country.


Oceania has always been at war with Mideastasia.

Aug 17, 2011

Here is a picture of a bicycle

Ertha Kitt

You can't make this stuff up

How do you streamline government?

 Army Secretary Creates Commission to Simplify Bureaucracy

The release itself is sensible enough as government press releases go,  but I fear the public information officer who wrote the headline was doodling pictures of tanks and guns while his English teacher was explaining the concept of irony.

(H/T to a lad who paid attention.)

Aug 16, 2011

And quickly following our fair report -- no guns in SUX county buildings either

SUX is, sometimes appropriately, the airport code for Sioux City, the Woodbury County seat where the victim disarmament movement gathers steam.

County supervisors have just outlawed carry by CCW permittees in the court house and three other county buildings.  They're depending on that odd application of the criminal trespass laws to get around a very tight state preemption law.

By now the propaganda is familiar.  This time we get it from Supervisor George Boykin who parroted the obligatory horror at the Tucson shooting:  "... mass shootings like the one that nearly killed Arizona Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords in the last year can't be stopped.  But we can certainly take measures to minimize that from happening." 

No you can't, George,  and you haven't. 

George continues that is is important  "to make sure that county patrons were protected from 'deranged' people with a gun."

Care to tell us, Mr Supervisor, about your estimate of the likelihood of derangement by a citizen who (a) has a clean history (b) took at least rudimentary firearms training and (c) jumped through the hoops necessary to obtain a CCW? Please contrast that to the likelihood of derangement by a thug who sees your  "no-guns" sign and giggles hard enough to shake the Hi-Point in his undies.

The best place to track these local gun banners  is over at Stranded in Iowa's place. 

No fair guns

It's official. Your CCW is void at the Iowa State Fair.

We are waiting for a response from Iowa State Patrol Captain Gary Nieuwsma who announced the ban after some Craigslist comments made him or his bosses nervous. The question is: What is the statutory authority for voiding CCWs?

The situation is particularly silly in that the cops announced that there will be no metal detectors, just "no guns" signs.  So Honest Abe will leave his piece locked  in the trunk outside the gates.  Thugeye will giggle and slip his Lorcin in his sock.


I think I know what the captain's answer will be. Since shall-issue became law eight months ago, local officials have discovered a workaround. With the active encouragement of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, they have banned CCW carry  in many public places through a tortuous interpretation of the trespass laws.


There is some history behind this nincompoopery.  The forces of law and order are  under intense pressure from the corn dog lobby to make  sure everyone feels safe there on the gritty East Side.

A  number of fights/assaults/mini-riots broke out last year just outside the fairgrounds. People at the scenes said aggressors tended to be non-white, the victims Caucasian, and one police officer reported the perps were crowing about "beat whitey night."

Before  the official spin machine got going, the sergeant in charge of public relations for Des Moines police publicly quoted the street cop's "beat whitey" report. She lost her job. Since then the city, the county, and the state have spent  gobbillions of dollars producing report after report saying, "Nope. Nothing racial here. Move along, folks." (I carefully add that we've also experienced something like "beat blackie nights"  in these parts. There's slime at the bottom of  both barrels.)

h/t Between Two Rivers

Why we're broke

It's almost another of those throwaway stories, a ho-hum piece about a politician riding in a parade, tossing great gobs of candy to kids on the curb.

This time the politician is one Barack Obama parading through the Heartland on his nice new bus (reported cost $1.1 million and guess who's paying).

But I must be confused because His Obamaness swears the trip is not political. He says it's a "listening trip."

Okay. I'm listening, and what I hear is a one-day total of more than  $362 million to (a) make life sweeter out here in Bucolia because he really loves us or (2) buy off some more of us hick voters.  The money goes build new unemployment offices, hire doctors, help hospitals buy computer gizmos,  and set up meetings between people who want to borrow and those who want to lend. And so forth.

The president is not being entirely forthcoming about the niggling detail of where the money comes from. Our Chinese Visa card? Faster presses at the bureau of Printing and Cartooning?

It would disrespectful, even crass, to quiz Mr. Obama about what earthly good the handouts will do for anything other than his campaign to remain publicly housed.

He doesn't even tell us how he swung the million-plus loan for the bus. Maybe a nothing-down deal from Ally Financial (nee GMAC)?

Dear Mr. Buffet

Why don't you just go ahead and write the check?

Aug 15, 2011

The Tenth Amendment

Mitt Romney has learned that the Tenth is useful if you're trying to squirm through charges that your Massachusetts health-care horror was the president's instruction manual for Obamacare.

Mitt is still having trouble with snickering citizens who say, "Oh yeah? You mean govermentalized medicine (or anything else) is okay if we just 
do it one state at a time?" 

Politicians love selective reading of the Constitution. Yep, the final article of the Bill of Rights does say powers not delegated to the feds "are reserved to the states...". They tend to ignore the final words: "...or to the people."

That leads to the Mitty view that it's fine to jail your citizens for refusing to buy health insurance, just as long as it's a state prison rather than a federal one.

Oh well, at least that act of the GOP follies is reminding folks there is such a thing as the Tenth Article of the Bill of Rights. Maybe something will happen to call attention the Ninth.

Aug 14, 2011

Pawlenty out and Sad Fred Karger In; Iowa Caucuses 2012

No one is surprised Pawlenty withdrew. He just did it sooner than expected. Your indispensable guide to presidential candidates is updated. Give me reasonable odds and I'll wager T-Paw is looking at a challenge to Al Franken.

I'm also adding a guy I knew slightly in the Reagan years. He Fred Karger, a gay Republican political "consultant" and operative. I ran into him yesterday and came as close to feeling sorry for him as I can for any hustling aspirant to the public trough. At least he had balls enough to stand right next to the political evangelicals' big tent, talk about being gay,  and hand out post card promos, each with a small jelly bean taped on.  

One Saturday in Ames

The Ron Paul registration tent a few minutes after it opened.

Paul forces have discovered the usefulness of the carnival approach toward saving America. The little kids mobbed this one, pulling themselves laboriously up the mountain for a quick slide down. The point to be impressed on their elders was that two centuries of hard work can be erased by a couple of decades' over-borrowing.  

The Midway --gimme caps, fried food,  free pop, and your choice of petitions to sign. (I limited myself to one, for constitutional carry.)

Somebody in the Perry camp got to feeling uneasy that he had absolutely no presence and that his announcement timing was a gob of spit in the Iowa face. So they hired an untalented middle-school kid to decorate a van. This is about as good as it got for Perry here. 

From the belly of the beast

(I'm still in Straw Poll recovery, tired. So let a rambling personal note to an old and dear friend stand as my interim report on the Ames follies. He writes:

...What about that Ron Paul?  I'll bet the Republican National Committee reached in and burned a few hundred votes, else wise he wold have buried Michelle.  Awesome.  Can he win in January?  End all the wars!  Audit the Fed!  Repeal the drug laws!


And I can do no better than:

The  RP of Iowa runs this show, and the count is accurate. It is a quadrennial fund raiser which generates seven figures for the party, and these guys are smart enough to know that loose tallies would kill credibility, hence the goose.

What makes Paul's finish all the more impressive is his opponent. Actually, opponents, plural.

In running against Michele he took on the entire  Jesus-on-my-Sleeve political apparatus, and Iowa is a fundamentalist bastion.  They are well-funded and exceptionally well-organized. To even approach the numbers of Bob VanderPlatts' crusaders is a victory more than moral.

He also bucked the muddle-headed GOP center, what Goldwater called the east coast establishment, the Rockefellerites who differ with the hard left only in the speed and direction of their statist ambitions. And these guys are even richer than the fundies.

So, I'm pleased with his c. 25 per cent even though yesterday probably marked his personal high point.  You should have noticed by now that the news coverage is concentrated on how soon Michele will burn out, how Romney will fare against Perry, and the level of chaos Sarah will create if and when she jumps in. In media eyes Congressman Paul remains a quaint old fellow with a few useful thoughts but certainly is not a man to be taken seriously. I mean, who cares about those crazy Austrian economists? Who can even understand them? And Murray Rothbard? Whozzat?

To be viable six months from now, Paul would need at least very strong second-place finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. (Nevada -- where he might even win --  could help him, but I haven't checked on its 2012 primary/caucus arrangements yet.)  He will get the money he needs for these early contests, but his message is ultimately not salable to 50 per cent plus one at this time in our history.


I was there with one of those unlimited-access badges around my neck, so I got to hang out about anywhere I wanted. I chose mostly to mingle with the enthusiastic youngsters -- kids your students' age. I haven't digested the events well enough to write about them yet, and I have only one firm observation to report: Ron Paul's volunteer co-eds were quite a little prettier than Michele's, but the typical Bachmann girl showed a lot more leg. Make of it what you will.



(Addendum: I hope no one confuses opposition to theocracy with opposition to religion.) 

Aug 12, 2011

Ron Paul and the Seven Dwarfs

No one laid a glove on him last night, but, then, no one really tried to box him into a corner. Paul was his usual thoughtful self which is good for the national intellect, not so good for getting elected.

No one but Rick (I'm holier than Michele, honest) Santorum even swung hard, and he drew boos for saying Paul's Fed stance was "mostly wrong."

It's all background noise now, of course. The debate spin cycle has just a few more hours to run, and by the time the straw poll opens tomorrow the electrical teevee will overload circuits with news of Rick (I'm even holier than Santorum, plus I can do arithmetic and have cooler hair) Perry.

It is no longer about policy. It's about buses from the boondocks to Ames, full of people who made up their minds long ago. Paul has spent money on this little beauty contest. He has the buses and a much better organization than 2007. In the data-free expectations charades, he's tabbed to finish in the top three with Michele and Somebody Else.  The better he does, the more pressure on media types to  quit snickering every time someone uses the term liberty. 

(There are no polls about this straw poll. The universe is too small, the expected turnout ranging from just under 14,000 to maybe 18,000.)


Rocinante is saddled and I've scrubbed rust from the lance.  A new edition of the TSA windmill identification guide is at hand. The house sitter/dog handler arrives shortly.  I am putting aside my general disinclination to join groups larger than 30,000 and attend receptions where people in shined Florsheims notice your necktie.  If this doesn't pay off in at least one belly laugh and several heartfelt grins, I am going to be one pissed off old war hose.

Aug 11, 2011

As Mr. Poe may have explained the straw poll...

The pestilence rages across the countryside, but in the palace Prospero entertains brilliantly. Hummingbird tongues and the finest Madeira please palates, and we dance away the hours while murmuring of our choices to replace the evil king.


A man I admire greatly is coming briefly out of retirement to accept an unexpected  invitation to mingle with the mighty this weekend. He will enjoy the ball and all its dainties.  He will ignore the messengers bringing news of war, of riots, of  financial ruin from the outer world. Royal credential pinned to his doublet, he is  to be protected from all reality beyond the moat.  Like the real lords he will pretend there is no ominous thumping at the gate. And he will, for this brief evening, be correct in doing so. Have not the Duchess Bachman and Lord Perry assured him that they know the incantations to ward off Satan's power?

The gives my dear old friend leave to stay the night, to arise on Saturday and deliver his own ultimately futile decision. That the good doctor from the far province of  Texas should replace the king.

It will be ever so much fun, ne'er mind that lords beyond Ames will ultimately scorn the physician and choose a shaman to vie with the current crowned head.

And there will be other balls, laughter echoing from the gilded walls and unending waltzes from the musicians' balcony. My friend will not let his mind wander too far forward.  One should not enervate one's system with premature concern for  logical processes. Inevitability is a bore. Frightening, yet still a bore, so let others worry about the denouement.


And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. 

Aug 10, 2011

Get a holster, mate

The appendix carry leaves something to be desired.

Uhhh, no, the gun didn't just "go off." Not even a pink Taurus will do do that.

The story doesn't tell us whether he can still count to eleven.

(h/t my buddy Alan)

Aug 9, 2011

Oh Hell, there goes the portfolio

Locked away with the canned meat and emergency medical supplies is my copper hoard, about ten pounds of pre-82 pennies.  Copper has fallen almost 7 per cent, to $4.10, and I am on the road to ruin.

Maybe worse, a forced trip to WalMart  yesterday triggers fear that the bulk packs of .22LR may be in danger as financial instruments. Winchester 555 packs have come down a dollar, to $18.97, the same as  the Federal and Remington 550s.  On the other hand, maybe Winchester is just correcting a marketing error. Perhaps the company couldn't make anyone believe the extra five rounds, the romance of the marque, and the  more colorful packaging  added up to an extra buck's worth of value. Still, the decline  gets my attention, and I'm sure glad I didn't buy any of these little beauties on margin.


Elsewhere on the economic front, the  markets this morning prove me an idiot. I sort of predicted a further slide, but the Dow was up a couple hundred points a few minutes ago.

My defense is that the president and Tim didn't make statements this morning, and politicians with their mouths closed are always bullish signals.

Besides, QE3 is back in the news. Ben and the guvs are looking for ways to buy more Obama bonds with magic money. True, they are having some trouble figuring out how to spin it as something else which they must do in view of the fact that a number of high school graduates are beginning to see through the scam.

(As Warren Buffet said, "If I own a printing press my debt is always good.")

Vox populi

In riotous London a youth explains his looting:

Aug 8, 2011

Adults in the Room

I know, The  Dow fell  635 points, wiping out five and one-half per cent of all wealth invested in our 30 creme de la creme industries. Actually, things aren't quite that rosy. The broader NASDQ and S&P (Boo!) 500 declined even more.

As our president told us early this afternoon, this is mean and unfair, the spawn of unreasoning fear, panic, He calmly laid out the challenges we face and drew the new road map to prosperity. (It got a little hazy, but I think his route went through Spendmore,  NY;  Taxarichies, CA;  Upper Regulation, NJ; and Pixie Dust, CT.)

There's little doubt that His Obamaness, Secretary Geithner, Chairman Bernanke and key leaders of our congress will be in serious discussions tonight . They will produce plans. They will tell us about how their calm and dispassionate -- "adult," if you please -- decisions have lighted our path.

In other words, expect the Dow to slip another few hundred points tomorrow. If there's anything worse than panic and terror, it is the carefully thought-out decisions of the politicians we've been electing for the past few decades.

Barefoot and pregnant?

No, Gentlemen, that's not a principle we should marry.

With a purse full of francs and something shooty in her garter, she made life difficult for Nazis in France. What more could we have asked of anyone?

RIP, White Mouse.


Does Rick Perry read Mark Twain?

The Recording Angel enforces a powerful distinction between prayer venues.

Rick, I think the Angel will look favorably on your remark that we need help because government has proven it can't solve the problems government creates.

Other than that, you'll probably score poorly with all that arena praying for things to get better. It conflicts with secret supplications of the heart for things to get worse -- that they will get bad enough to sweep you into 1600 Transyl Pennsylvania.

Aug 7, 2011

Holy Moly, Mary, what else do you know about macroeconomics?

The Washington Post hawks itself as a newspaper, and quite a serious one at that.  This is historically accurate, even allowing for its dependably statist analysis of every conceivable topic.

But now? The newspaper presents the debt-limit fight in Captain Marvel form -- a comic strip which the editors almost assuredly wish you to take seriously.

End times defined:  That period in our national history when the Post makes Rush Limbaugh look intellectual.

Armed peasants

It isn't time for this solution in the United States, but unleashing the peasants may not be the worst idea in the inventory.

Down Mexico way, an enclave of murderers and rapists was getting uppity in the environs of Santa Cruz Tepenixtlahuaca, The village doesn't have many local cops, and the federales weren't much help.  So village elders gave aggrieved citizens a green light for direct action.

The results were not optimum. Among other sadnesses, a kid was killed in the crossfire.

This does not necessarily argue against the villagers' strategy. It does suggest the need for a higher level of tactical training for  Citizens Juan and Diego, and perhaps a weaponry upgrade. (I've spent a little time on the Tehauntapec isthmus, and one of the enduring memories is of small farmers carrying their old single-barrel shotguns on slings made of sisal. Their hearts are right, but -- along with a good small-unit training program --  they need a bit more firepower.)

As I say, using armed good guys to rein in village thugs may not be right for U.S. villages yet. But I suppose if I were in the village of New Orleans I might be thinking about it. Or Washington, D.C.

Aug 5, 2011

Gun Porn, and they're for sale

Oh my. It's a spat between my sterling work ethic and my raw desire. Too much actual work staring me in the face to justify the trip, but sometimes a guy's just gotta trust his lust.  See. Palpate. Maybe even buy.

Meanwhile, enjoy the eye candy.

EDIT: The work ethic won.

Spin it, Somalia!

I certainly share Kurt's sympathy for the Somali people  who aren't getting their customary dainties at the post-sundown feasts of Ramadan.

Shortly after he posted, I ran across a later story. The sane world sent food to a Somali refugee camp. Somali soldiers were on hand to guard the supplies but decided to steal them instead. Hungry civilians protested, so the soldiers shot them dead.

Vile, of course, but I don't think it's the real story.

The country's president and prime minister rushed to the camp and planned to speak to journalists.

This marks progress. Somali politicians are learning from from the great democracies. When things go to Hell; when your citizens are starving; when your army mows down your people, why, the thing to do is organize a press conference. Call it the Al Sharpton solution.

Aug 4, 2011

Terror in the Morning

The Headline:

Escalating global fears send stocks  plunging

Personally, I decline to escalate my fear because  I've been soiling small clothes at at alarming rate for about four years now.  Enough is enough.

And if you're looking for a talking point, the world's commercial exchanges have plunged more in the few days since we avoided default than they did in the week prior.

Aug 3, 2011

By Royal Command

Two identical envelopes arrived in the morning post. Two commands from the halls of the mighty. In large block letters I am directed to OPEN IMMEDIATELY.

Go to Hell.

They contain demands for my annual tribute for permission to own my vehicles and trailers.  Today is August 3. The licenses expire September 30. A statutory grace period delays actual delinquency and penalty until October 31.

My masters are getting cash-flow savvy.  If they can cow me into paying 88 days early, they collect interest and I lose it. Tough luck, citizen.

I know. We're taking about maybe 17 cents cash management advantage, but principle, man, principle. Also entertainment value.

I'll put the still-sealed envelopes into the tickler file. About Oct. 28 I'll stop by the court house and submit in person. I like making the tax collector get her upholstered butt out of her  upholstered chair and actually deal with one of the proles who paid for them.

Gee, it's not even lunch time and I've already committed an act of wanton disrespect to a bureaucrat. Feels quite good, actually.

Aug 2, 2011

Little Abigail, Only 4 Years Old and Already An Enemy of the State

There's a picture of this diabolical  4-year-old  here, along with an explanation of why her lemonade stand was shut down as a menace to the safety and tranquillity of Coralville. Some background:

Coralville is the spawn and sprawl of Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa in the county widely referred to as the Johnson SSR.

RAGBRAI is awkward letter salad for the Des Moines "Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa."  It began in 1973 as a lark for two good writers on the Register payroll. It grew to  attract thousands of riders and the greed of every hamlet it traverses. I mean, this thing  sells papers and makes big money. If you run a seedy bar along the way, RAGBRAI makes your year.

This year the route traversed Coralville, and a number of little kids there decided to pick up some change. What could be more American than such a spirit of entrepreneurship centered on bicycles and lemonade stands under the hot summer sun? For cryng out loud, that's Norman Rockwell's America.

Ambitious Abby enlisted her dad, a medical student, to help. She sold about five bucks worth of lemonade at 25 cents per before the forces of law and order swooped down.

She did not have a special two-day RAGBRAI permit, costing $400, to sell her treats. Officer Friendly came -- and he was friendly, according to reports. He was also  a little embarrassed by this particular crime-fighting assignment. He told her, "The Law is the Law."

So where did this contribution to American criminology come from?  Why, from the good taxpaying merchants of Coralville, who, of course are merely looking after your  personal well-being.

"Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the ordinance was passed to protect riders from possible health risks."

Pardon the vulgarity, Josh, but do you really expect anyone to swallow that shit?

We could have retained a bit of respect for you had you reported accurately, "We were scared stiff that every quarter in Little Abby's pocket was a quarter out of ours. We sort of view a quarter in someone else's pocket as a personal insult." 

There's nothing wrong with your greed as such. You become a vile excuse for a man only when you spew banalities about protecting the public while pressuring your political allies to write laws which permit only you to earn a profit.

Which brings us to your servants on the public payroll. In another source:

"Police Chief Police Chief Barry Bedford ...  said Monday that he feels bad about shutting down the stands, but he said the ordinance is in place to prevent “renegade vendors” from setting up stands without paying the vendor fee and profiting from RAGBRAI. "

It's probably crass to wonder just how bad Chief Bedford feels since Chief Bedford wrote the ordinance.

Oh well. It's  over and we need to move on.

No, wait. There's more. Stand by for a followup report on the state revenue authorities raiding Abby's house with a warrant to confiscate the unpaid 7 per cent sales tax. I mean, 35 cents there, 35 cents there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.

I suppose one permanent result is an Abby with a fear-filled respect for the law, all law. This is a good thing indeed, isn't it?

Bozo saves America

The hyper coverage of inflamed rhetoric winds down. We'll have a contrived high-noon  crescendo of cymbals and tympanis when the senators say "okay, dammit,'' but for practical purposes it's over.  Geithner can keep borrowing and Bernanke can keep printing.

Maybe 5 per cent of Americans understand that there were no budget cuts.  In the first place, there are no budgets in place even for the new fiscal year beginning in 59 days. Those "saved" billions and trillions are reductions in notional dreams of what might be budgeted -- a little or a lot --  beginning Oct. 1, 2011 and extending into the hazy decade of the 2020s.

If you share Barney Franks' vision, the slashes are more horrible than they sound.  Barney would in a heartbeat set up a new cabinet department authorized to expend unlimited sums to define and protect the rights of transgendered Americans. His dream budget also envisions free ice cream at Acorn rallies.

If you share a bed with Michele Bachmann, you dream of a federal budget of zero, not counting special appropriations for hiring shamanshrinks to help homosexuals pray away the gay. (Stop shuddering, fellows. I meant only metaphorical nearness on an imaginary Posturerpedic.)

The Obama dream budget is the amount necessary to buy -- with your money and mine -- 270 electoral votes.


That's what we're cutting, something -- not much -- from a mysterious "n."  So if you follow the upcoming super committee follies with a feeling that the Tremendous Twelve haven't the faintest clue about what they're doing  -- other than capturing air time and ink --   rest assured that your logical facilities are intact.

Aug 1, 2011

Journalism in America: the economics beat

This arrived in my inbox from our pal JAGSC. It's a  photo cutline from a Texas newspaper report on the drought.

"A cotton plant has sprouted through a piece of parched, cracked earth in a West Texas field near Lubbock that was not irrigated.  The irony: While supplies are low, cotton prices are their highest  in years."