Mar 31, 2013

Renewal, March 31, 2013

Mar 29, 2013


Mar 28, 2013

I think the Turks on the other side of the island are giggling

In the Pearl of the Middle Sea banks have reopened at last. For what  little good that does you if you're out of oats and your donkey is hungry. The Cypriot politicians get to decide how much of your money you can reclaim from their Russian Mafia Laundromat.

But the Cypriot man on the street is less than panicked, and leave it to England's Fleet Street to live-blog the stiff upper lip:

Cypriots are not only taking their money out of the banks, they are also depositing it.

Kyriakos Vourghouri, owner of a minimarket, waved a deposit slip showing an amount of €678 euros as he emerged from the bank.

"I didn't withdraw any money. I deposited money," he told AFP. "The problem is not in Cyprus, it is in Europe, which has become gangrenous."

I doubt I'd have used the word "gangrenous." I think "monetarily diarrheatic " might be closer.


Can't happen here, of course, what with our commitment to free enterprise and sound money.

Mar 27, 2013

Into the wild blue yonder

My youngest and her man are soon to be airborne, off for a few days of frivolous Walloonery in the zone of the Napoleonic Code where habeus corpus is a somewhat iffier proposition than it is here -- or was, anyway, when their native land was operating under a Constitution.

I don't worry about it too greatly. They're not the kind of kids to get into much trouble. Oh, maybe a snide or otherwise disrespectful comment about governments here and there. A lamentable attraction to foreign food, heavily sauced due to late adoption of a technology called "refrigeration" in those parts.  Nothing, however, really, that should get them gaoled.

The lady identifies "Dinant" as the adventurous element of the trip. I don't know what she means by that and and am afraid to ask.  Wiki informs me that the place held Celts in Neolithic times, so perhaps she just means adventurous communing with our ancestral spirits.

They have also worked a jaunt to the Ardennes into the schedule and promise faithfully that in Bastogne they will turn to face whatever enemy is most obvious and state firmly, "The answer is still "Nuts'."

Mar 26, 2013

Quote of the Day (Clear Thinking in the 50 Words or Fewer Category)

Very tasty free ice cream  this morning from the potential  Empress of the Universe (and I've heard worse ideas). The subject is pedestrian -- shoveling your walks -- but she elevates it to a sizable segment of a world view and prompts a comment which ought to be chipped  into the marble front of every court house in  the land:

"... There are things you should do in order to live in a cultured society, and things you should be punished for if you don't. They are not necessarily the same set of things. Being unable to distinguish between the two is guaranteed to get you a police state."

Gay Day in America

A good day to be very judicious in consuming the output of the electric news from the cable. Anything over a couple-three minutes per hour could warp a mind into believing that there isn't a committed, loving, heterosexual couple in America -- or, if there is, no reason to pay attention to it.

Too much of what I see seems like an offshoot of some sort of old European navel-gazing novel aimed at making me like the idea of  homosexuals getting married, of achieving a class status identical to man-woman unions while simultaneously retaining their grip on the most exalted status in America -- victimhood.

I don't like it. There isn't enough money in the world to buy enough advertising to make me.

So what?

So this:

If the Supreme Court decides the Constitution protects gay marriage, good for the court. It would be the same Constitution and Constitutional reasoning that protects putrid speech. George Lincoln Rockwell.  Al Sharpton.

In a pleasant world of liberty, the court says, "Okay." Then gays marry one another, more or less quietly like most everyone else in the sub-celebrity genre. Then they shut up about it. It is found unnecessary to put their posed intimate gestures on national television in celebration of a new-found diversity.

Of course there are moral and practical objections, just as there are to other  freedoms. The morality can be debated where it belongs, outside the coercive chambers of government. Let a church sanctify gay marriages or refuse. If the Bachman woman and her husband want to operate a pray-away-the-gay business, it is neither official government business nor a fit subject for civil action.

The workaday problems can in due course yield to clear libertarian thinking. Write marriage out of the law books. Eliminate the marriage license. Write it out of the tax code and labor laws. See it for what it is, a moral and emotional commitment between humans which may be based on nothing more than that -- or on a religious ceremony or on a  confirming private contract between the private parties.

I oversimplify of course, but mostly in the quest for clarity and for final burial of the the notion that we ought to keep the 82nd Airborne on high alert for two squigglies holding hands at 42nd and Broadway.

Mar 25, 2013

It helps

Sunrise,  March 25, 2013 (annotated);

Ergo, 10:19 a.m.:

Background checks

I cave in on the the subject, but you have to do it intelligently, that is, my way. The official Jim Teamer for President Campaign position on firearms sales will require documentation for all transactions. Each buyer will provide the seller with the following statement:

I certify that I am of legal age, not a felon, and not mentally ill. (Signature)

It is to be printed on business card stock which may contain no other information. Firearms sellers will be encouraged to retain them in a drawer for a little while.

Mar 23, 2013

In her time...

Well, if that ain't almost as purty as a nice new Remington pump gun I don't know what is.

Saturday Suckage: Remington 31 Surgery?

It would be elective because:

Not  all that bad. She is what it is, used, moderately well cared for over most of her 65 years, tight and working fine. However:

This can be explained. The owner wanted a selection of chokes. This Lyman add-on was popular in the 1940s when this 31 left Ilion.
This defies logic and even a pretty good imaginative stab. Dropped on a spinning stone? An angle grinder gone postal? Pure malice? 

So, despite her classic status, her collectiblity is long gone, victim of  accessorizing mutilation and some unspeakable workshop atrocity. 

 Does she go on the rack as simply a spare for a hunter who arrives empty-handed? No, not necessary. She would be about a fourth spare, and I don't know that many people likely to come for shooting and forget to bring a gun. (Ammo-free visitation is quite another matter.)

Take her to another loophole and try again to get  something like 150 Federal Reserve Cartoons?  It didn't work last weekend. In fact, I don't think anyone even fondled her. Economics: She commanded a bride price  of either $85 or $60, depending on how my CPA decides to allocate the $25 profit from a J.C. Higgins bolt action 12 gauge which accompanied her. So I'm not in over my financial head on this one, The decision is aesthetic, not monetary.

A makeover is possible. Chop her down to the legal limit, smear some JB on the gouge, smooth everything out with files and emery, then bring her to tactical glory with some of that nice black spray 'n' bake stuff from Brownells.

I suppose that would be okay. At least she'd look acceptably tactical if I decided to pose in my GI combat pants, M1951 field jacket, and the beret, if I can find it. I could put it on the internet and be cool.

But it seems like a cruel fate for a dowager who, however time-ravaged, still retains the grace of, errr, well, say, Princess Grace in her time. 

Sometimes a guy just doesn't know what the Hell to do.



Mar 22, 2013

Bernanke takes Econ. 101

If I didn't already know who Peter Schiff is, I'd probably just go along with John McCain and figure him as a libertarian kid in a dorm room.  In fact, of course, he's a grown-up libertarian long past his dorm-room days. Not to mention he has a record of being right about economic trends.

Here he is suggesting again that the warp-speed printing presses tended by Ben Bernanke are likely to complete the destruction of the American Greenback, also known far and wide as the "Federal Reserve Cartoon."

"Nope," says Ben, cuz this year the dollar is actually rising against that ubiquitous "basket of currencies," that is, against other country's cartoons  which also masquerade as wealth.

But Ben tries to be fair, so he signed up for one of my economics seminars here at Camp J.  I served him fresh-squeezed orange juice from a silver ewer, just so he'd feel at home. Then we gamed his rising-dollar theory.

We stood next to a picnic bench and eyeballed our relative height. We agreed I'm a little taller. Then we each stepped up onto the bench and again eyeballed our relative height.

"Dr. Bernanke, would you agree I'm still a little taller?" I asked.

"Well I'll be a sonuvabitch!" he exclaimed. "Yes. I believe your are."


It' a start, but I'll believe that the lesson sunk in when I hear the presses slow.

Mar 21, 2013

Sometimes it's hard to be an Iowan

Diverting the cops is a standard tactical move if you want to do mischief somewhere else, and I suppose calling a bomb threat to a school 20 miles away could work about as well as anything else. That's what a couple of would-be criminal masterminds from Des Moines did up in my neck of the woods..

The results were non-optimum. Their bank-heist take was an employee's purse. The car they stole was recognized and chased. They abandoned it along the wild bluffs of the  Des Moines River and hid in the woods. Officers quickly found them. Homing in on chattering teeth?

Criminey. When even your criminal class apes a Three Stooges plot, you get to thinking about state pride and all.  I may resort to social climbing.  Claim to be from Arkansas or something.

And to think Ayn Rand loved Colorado

Once upon a time in America, usually west of the Missouri, there was a useful tradition in journalism. It was a private-sector enterprise called "horse whipping." An editor usually earned the honor by revealing himself to be stupid, self-righteous, and incompetent.

We take you now to Colorado:

The Clements shooting illustrated why the bills, fiercely opposed by gun-rights advocates, were necessary, said Hickenlooper, 61. In a televised new briefing, the first-term Democrat said the killing, while not appearing to be connected with the new laws, was “an act of intimidation.”

The Hickenlooper mentioned is the governor who privately giggles, we suppose, at his progress in making the Centennial State a gun-free zone if you don't count the criminals.

Hickenlooper's new law primarily outlaws high capacity magazines  -- 15 rounds maximum -- and requires a peaceable citizen to buy a background check if he wants to sell Pa's old L.C. Smith to his next-door neighbor. This sort of policy, he implies, would have kept prison boss Clements alive.

--Never mind that we haven't yet the faintest notion of what kind of weapon was used. The possibilities run from a dreaded assault rifle carrying 30 rounds to a less-dreaded assault rifle carrying only 15  to a single-shot Winchester high-wall in .25-20 to a Ruger Black Hawk sixgun to a  .... you get the idea.

(But wait. One more. A really thorough police investigation would make sure no one stole Shotgun Biden's double-barrel 12.)

--Never mind that the killer may have been been able to pass a background check, or had stolen the gun, or borrowed it from his brother-in-law. Or or or.

Governor, there is yet no reason to believe your linkage exists, and you are blood dancing over the unfortunate Mr. Clement's corpse. We award you the Scarlet Letter D. For demagogue. Or dope. Or duplicitous.

Now, a bit of cleanup here. I opened with a shot at the reporters and editors responsible for the cited paragraph, and that in and of itself is unfair. Carefully and somewhat charitably read, it merely reports the Hickenlooper dissimulation. It becomes both fair and germane in context of the entire fawning report, beginning  with the lede:

Colorado begins the task of implementing its toughest gun laws in a decade even as police searched for a suspect, and a motive, in the shooting death of the state’s top prisons official.

And ending:

Debra Reed, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the Clements killing proved why such laws are crucial.
“This is incredibly sad irony that this has taken place less than 24 hours before the governor planned to sign meaningful gun legislation,” she said. “There is no better illustration of what damage guns can do in the wrong hands.”

Those Brady kids are always good for a dandy tear-jerk finish, aren't they?


The other thing, I guess, is that I'm probably a little over the line in implying that we ought to restore corporal punishment for propagandists posing as journalists.

Okay. I recant. You shouldnt. I will go only this far.  If you horse-whip one who richly deserves it, I shall refrain from editorializing against you.

Mar 20, 2013

Spring officially arrives here at Camp J in  couple of hours. The  current temperature outside the north window  is 10 degrees. We face a predicted high of 20 and an overnight low of one degree above zero.

I know. A simple weather bitch is not thought-provoking, but please bear with me because it illustrates the discussion of high public policy.

The latter half of last year was unusually warm, permitting "scientists" to proclaim the victory of global warming.

The unusual frigidity of the past several weeks is, on the other hand, merely "weather" and thus irrelevant.

Therefore we must permanently abandon the Keystone pipeline because even if it does not destroy the Ogalala aquifer, the more abundant and cheaper fuel will motivate Americans to destroy Mother Earth by continuing to drive automobiles and heat their homes.

Mar 18, 2013

Basic Black Ninja. eh Sarah?

Holy Cow. Did you catch Sarah Palin at the  CPAC laffer?

The part you want begins about 3:13 in.

She obviously quit her governor gig in order to spend more quality time with her Thighmaster. Then she hired the same designer as...

Mar 15, 2013

A certain 777 has zoomed by Gander Center and is chit-chatting with air controllers at O'Hare. The most important man aboard -- just speaking personally here -- will have time to brush the remaining sand from  his Florsheims before boarding the  puddle jumper for the last leg home.

I like life better without having close kin in or near danger-pay regions featuring turbans and small children bearing AK47s.

Mar 14, 2013

Retro-reloading note

Just locked up the loading shack pondering the latest mystery. What the heck kind of brass is that?

About 25 of them from the "miscellaneous to-do" box were plainly head stamped as .257 Roberts from Remington and Winchester. They refused to chamber after sizing. Another dozen Winchesters, stamped "W-W Super"  worked fine.  I didn't feel like pulling the data sheets and getting out the mike, but I suspect I might have a couple dozen "improved" cases.

Minimal rechambering was a popular project for few decades just after World War 2. The usual goal was to increase case capacity by reducing taper and sharpening the shoulder  of a standard caliber. The big attraction was the ease of making the improved cases. You just fired a factory round in the altered chamber and, presto, you had your "improved" brass. They called it "fire forming" or "blowing out."

P.O. Ackley was the Improvement Godfather, and he was candid in admitting that some of his (and other's) wildcats weren't worth the bother. How much trouble do you want to go to for for an extra couple hundred feet per second?

But it's fun to own a handful of "improved" cases for a caliber already steeped in nostalgia. Makes a guy feel all fuzzy and retro. I will not, repeat not, even think about acquiring an improved .257 to fit the odd cases. At most I'll give them some warm milk and a soft place to sleep.


All the .223 McNamara Stalemate is ready to prime. There were fewer than estimated, just over 300, enough to feed a mere ten magazines of the proper size. Maybe I can hustle some more at the local loophole.

Feinstein stamps her foot

Ted Cruz of Texas asked the author of the bill to ban esthetically displeasing rifles if she would also favor selective bans on the right to free speech,  Amendment I.

"I'm not a sixth-grader," said a visibly upset (Sen. Diane) Feinstein. She described her decades in Congress involved in gun control debates and said, "I'm reasonably well-educated, and thank you for the lecture."

(1) -- Maybe Sen. Ted was just fooled by your imitation of a horrified elementary school kid when you yowled about "shoulder thingies."

(2) -- Your decades-on-the job defense has called up in millions of minds the hoary joke about highly experienced mules.

(3) -- I'll buy your "reasonably well educated" only if you advance the volume on and highly inflect the term "reasonably."  Which brings us full circle -- back to your well-educated opposition to the mortal peril inherent in thingies.


The Judiciary Committee passed the ban. No surprise. It and Sen. Schumer's draconian national gun registration bill (posing as a universal background check) are in the full Senate's in box. Feinstein's bill is close to DOA. Schumer's is iffier. Each would also need to clear the House where gun control opposition is broader and deeper.

Does the pope chop onions?

I rather like what I read about Pope Francis.  He was not afraid to butt heads with Argentine politicians. He lived rather humbly for a Prince, sometimes cooking his own meals, riding a bus to work, strolling the slums for a personal look at  the real world.

I suppose his new responsibilities will temper that sort of thing.  It's hard to imagine the staff will let him rummage in the fridge for a half-pound of nice pampas beef,  light off the charcoal, and grill it himself.

But I really don't know, of course. My ignorance of how a pope lives is comprehensive. Because any ignorance a personal failing, I set out to rectify it by exhaustive research*, namely a look at Wiki.

There I discover that when he uttered "Accepto"  he was instantly blessed wiith a huge "family."  Or beset. Butlers and cooks and cleaners and chaplains and secretaries and body guards -- all those and more constituting what his church calls the papal "family. "

For a life-long celibate, that has to be a little unsettling. Most fathers, using the term in its biological sense,  get to work into the role gradually, learning as they go how to deal with a family, how to either supervise or ignore a forced grouping of fractious, bickering, grasping, malcontented egos.

Even the best of them will from time to time  lose it -- or persuasively pretend to. He rises to full height. Steely eyes sweep over the kids and cousins and in-laws:

 "Sit down and shut up!"

May Pope Francis never reach that point, but if he does we'll know for certain that he and we share a defining human trait.


*Exhaustive research is somewhat more amicable when the weather offers no  invitation to leave the cheery hearth.  So there's been a lot of exhaustive research around here lately, and frankly we're sick of it. So, Your Holiness, if at an early point in your new papacy you could file a petition for a bit of sunshine and more March-like temperatures in the general vicinity of 43N by 95W, we'd all take it kindly.

Mar 13, 2013

Reloading side bar; on self-induced gun lust

I don't know if William Strunk deemed  throwaway lines bad writing, but I do know they can be expensive if you treat them stupidly. Some  silly thing pops into your head. Okay. Write it down, hope someone smiles, then forget it.

Do not ponder what your fingers typed, especially some idiocy about a hole in your arsenal. Excuse me. Veritable arsenal.

It's true. I own no non-assaulty rifle in .223 Remington. Therefore, when using real guns,  I'm limited to launching fast projectiles only in diameters of .244, .257, .264, and .308.

Suddenly, my soul is troubled.

Tales from the reloading shack

I finally said to Hell with it. The Catholics could probably pick a new Pope without my counsel, so I switched off the idiotic cable channels and hit the reloading room.

Turns out I was right about the Pope, of course. A Pope from the Pampas. First Jesuit ever, and I suspect that will be interesting. I had a great grad school buddy, a Jesuit priest who -- true to type -- liked to fool around with Aristotelian logic, a discipline overdue for renewed respect here in the image-mad 21st Century, and I -- as a backslid Methodist --  can find no reason whatsoever why my Catholic friends should not lead us out of the of darkness of reasoning via sound bites and photo ops.

But I digress. Worse, I intrude on arcane and complex theological matters, a field best left to such experts such as Tammy Faye, Jerry Wright,  and Jimmy Swaggert.


It  began as a .30-06 afternoon for no better reason that these noble dies were in the press. Production was just one box, 20 rounds, carrying a 125-grain SP,  Sierras (I think) at a book speed of just under 3,000. It's a little heavy for gophers, somewhat under powered for woolly mammoths, but usable for either. (Obligatorily: "If I do my part.")

Besides, it's fun to reload, hefty enough for a big-handed guy to handle without tweezers and pretty forgiving from any reasonable safety stand point.

But not that forgiving, and I took a spiritual break during the process to thank Whomever that I am such a frightened old woman when in the vicinity of high combustibles. The partial green box of bullets was plainly marked 125 grain SP. Something doesn't feel quite right. So weigh one. 150 grains. Weigh them all. 150 grains each. Recall that I buy a lot of components at auctions and loophole shows, and some sellers are just not trustworthy. Dig out the actual 125 grainers and proceed as planned, then on to the real chore that's been nagging at my conscience.

A few hundred unprocessed 5.56x45 mm cases (also known as the .223 McNamara Stalemate)  have been kicking around the shack since about 2006. It isn't that there's a shortage of ready rounds at hand. It's more like a spiritual obligation. Any empty cartridge case calls to Heaven. "I feel so empty. Help me, please. So lonely. Prime me. Fulfill me."

Compassionate to even the most inadequate, I yielded to the little devils. I yielded for quite a while, enough to get about half of them ready for primers. Then even my patience ran out. Perhaps tomorrow.

But seriously, folks, I have nothing other than my assaultish looking rifle in which to shoot these things, and I do understand that they can be supremely accurate in an actual gun. If I organize those facts into a rationale for buying yet another bolt-action rifle, I do so hope you will be understanding.

Mar 12, 2013

Did anyone else ever wake up feeling so highly intellectual  and literarily competent that a long post explaining the world  -- with unprecedented insight and elegance -- was a sure thing?  Then you wrote it down. Then you drained the coffee dregs as you "edited."  Then something inside you whispered, or, rather, shrieked, "what utter, banal, bullshit."  

So you decided to clean the damned house instead. 

Hit delete. Confirm delete.  Sometimes a guy's most important contribution to the world of letters.

Me. This morning.  That's why  my kitchen almost sparkles. It's also why you don't get my analysis of Fox News thighs as a marker of societal decline.

Mar 11, 2013

School non-shootings

I like to think of the big school in Wells, Minnesota, as the best disciplined one in the country. For at least one day a year it is as thousands of gun freaks crowd the halls. Probably the rest of the year, too. Politeness is contagious.

We made our annual pilgrimage Saturday and came home happy even if not significantly more lethal -- except for our youngest loopholer, 10. He loopholed a tactical sharp thing. It has so many "features" I refuse to honor it with the term "knife," but it made him smile and that's the general idea.

I settled for about 300 pages of hilarity, an excellent hardback copy of the 1960 "Professional Guides Manual" by Minnesota's own George L. Herter.

(Sample: "If a bull moose will not give you a good sidewise look and you have to judge his rack from the front, look carefully at his ears. If his ears are real long, you can be sure he has a trophy rack.")

Plus an almost unused 1950-ish powder measure and stand, also from Mr. Herter. I've set it up and it  works as expected.  How could a measure weighing something like 20 pounds be less than perfect?


Next week is our little local loophole. Y'all come.  I'll be the guy with the interesting useless crap on his table, waving Federal Reserve Cartoons, begging you to sell me something made of steel and walnut.

Mar 8, 2013

The Rand Paul Filibuster: Condensed

Eight hours is a long time to listen to even an articulate libertarianish thinker drone on. So, for what it's worth, here's how it might have been said:

"Obama, Holder, and even some famous Republican munchkins say they own plenary shoot-to-kill authority over American citizens on American soil.  No warrants, courts, due process or any other technical mumbo-jumbo which just slows things down. 

"All they need is a sincere belief that the death-marked American is a bad guy who might do wrong. 

"Then they sing us the lullaby 'Of course we wouldn't really do it. Well, hardly ever anyway, just when we're pretty sure we need to.' But we demand the authority.

" The idea of entrusting my life or yours solely to the competence, judgement, and good will of guys like that  -- or anyone, for that matter -- scares Hell out of me. How about you?"

"So the answer is 'No'."

"We like to trumpet the moral and practical superiority of government by law rather than men, so let's get with the program. Thank you and good night."


Aside No. 1: Joel has a related take on "dangerous people"  over at his place.

Aside No. 2: Television news. as usual,  is missing the point by parsecs. The morning gruel -- especially on MSNBC --  is turdfully dense with panicked concern about (1) Whether all this means Sen. Paul will run for President and (2) whether it "exposes a rift in the Republican party."  For krissakes Joe, Mika, the point here is whether or not the  DoD should program into the president's football the coordinates of every coffee shop known to harbor loud-mouthed nonconformists.

A Jayhawker Stands His Ground

As a general thing, I oppose Kansas farmers shooting down Iowans, but I'm not unreasonable on the subject. Even a good herd benefits from an occasional and careful culling.

That leads me to applaud the actions of the sherf and prosecutors down in the Free Soil country of Sumner County where an unnamed farmer ended the career of a probation jumper from Creston, Iowa. They're giving him a self-defense pass, and knowing my fellow rustics as I do, I suspect his neighbors will throw a barbecue in his honor.

Kansas has a stand-your-ground law, and it appears to me that it was written specifically to cover cases like this where fugitive Joe Lamasters died in barn after making a bad tactical decision -- to leap from behind a pile of feed sacks into the enfilade area of Farmer's shotgun. As the sheriff reported, the perp "deceased right there."

Cops across the area had been looking for Lamasters and added the courtesy of going door-to-door to tell citizens of a bad guy skulking around. (in a county with a rural population density of maybe four per square mile, "door-to-door" takes on a special meaning.)

It's worth noting that Farmer had Lamasters under the gun twice. The first time the fugitive turned and ran. Farmer decided to have no truck with  back-shooting. But the perp made the mistake of fleeing toward another farm where the good citizen believed a woman might be home alone. Farmer went there, found the house empty, and decided to check the outbuildings.

Courage, good judgement, and the shotgun did the rest, but please don't take this as an endorsement of Double-Barrel Biden. My take on the subject would be just the same even if the Kansas farmer had used a Bushmaster with a shoulder thingie and 40 bullets in the clip. But he probably didn't even own one.

Ain't no call for that plastic crap when a feller's got a real nice 12-gauge hanging over the back door. :) 

Mar 7, 2013

And now the news closer to home...

You'll understand my March Anxiety to the fullest if you are a parent.

Both primary heirs and assigns are shortly to cross deep salt water. One will explore chocolates, beer, and very large horses. The other will don a nice suit and necktie in defense of the good ol' American way of life. So I've just messaged one of them:

"What are your travel dates? I can't decide whether I prefer having both of my kids beyond the (residual ) protections of the U.S. Constitution at the same time or having the anxiety prolonged by tandemosity." 

You can kick the kids out of the house but you can't squeeze the dad out of the parent. Or something aphoric, anyway. 

The Ugly Twins today

The left-wing must be having a dreary day. For months it has controlled the debate. Say what you want about the statists, but they are very, very good at manipulating symbols and orchestrating media hysteria.

They aren't quitting this morning as their vox pop pretensions collide with reality in the form of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. But they are not advancing, either.

Three bills are directly important to libertarian thinkers.*

One is relatively innocuous. It strengthens straw-purchase laws already on the books, and even pro-2A  Sen. Chuck Grassley promises to support it if his clean-up amendments are accepted. It will be reported out of committee and has good final-passage prospects.

The other two are vile.

The Feinstein bill to ban some assaultish-appearing rifles will also be favorably reported out by the Democrat-controlled committee, but there isn't a smart dime in Vegas which gives it much chance of senate passage.

The same senators will also send the "universal" background check bill, in one form or another, to the full senate. Then Sen. Schumer has two pertinent problems: (1) To persuade a majority that criminals will submit to the law {square the circle} and (2) Explain how it can be made practicable without a complete national firearms registry {convert pi to a rational number}.

So, the Obama-stoked fearfest aside, we appear to hold strong cards, even in the Senate. The house, of course, is stronger, and I doubt that even Bloomberg has enough money to buy off that body this early in the election cycle; 2014 is another matter.


*A fourth would appropriate money we don't have for more school security. The number being tossed around in the markup stage is about $400 million over a few years -- about enough to create a new federal office in charge of  saying that we need more school security.)

Mar 6, 2013

Zimmerman "Stuns" Court Observers?

His lawyers waived a separate hearing on a Stand Your Ground defense, and ABC News headlined the stunning of "court observers."

Maybe some "observers" are more easily stunned than others. I doubt many students of self-defense law were even trickle-charged.

George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.  Beyond that, the debate is open. If it was legally justifiable -- as it may have been --  it was on grounds other than Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Zimmerman left that legal cloak behind when he stopped his car, got out, and initiated the confrontation. A suspicious looking kid quietly walking through your night-time neighborhood is grounds for calling the cops, watching from a discreet distance, and taking steps to protect yourself in case he confronts you.

Zimmerman's self-defense argument will succeed or fail based on a judicial determination of what happened after he faced Martin and then, as he alleges, walked away. The details are in dispute and foggy. That's why we have courts.


Stand your ground law laws should be universal -- a simple affirmation of your right to use all necessary force to stay alive when a criminal threatens you. If we insist that they give full police power to every guy with a suspicion, we'll lose them, state-by-state.

Yesterday's loaf

I found a nice recipe for 100 per cent whole-wheat bread.  It was even better when I decided to substitute butter for the vegetable shortening and hard molasses for the sugar.

But I hate incomplete recipes. This one lacked a reminder: "Prior to leaving the kitchen, position the cooling loaf well back on your counter, beyond paw reach of an ungrateful sneaking thieving inconsiderate greedy thoughtless furshlugginer sonuvabitch of a Labrador  retriever."  

Mar 5, 2013

The gun news from Lunchtime O'Booze

Just in case you haven't had your fill of media ignorance on firearms technology, I offer this one. It's part of a live blog from The Guardian (of England) of Senator Feinstein's hearing on her bill to ban assaultish-looking weapons.

A Dr. Begg is testifying about his dismay as he tried to treat Newtown victims. Then:

Begg presents a horrible video in which a ballistics expert demonstrates what a bullet from an AR-15 can do. The expert in the video shoots a block of gelatin-like material – flesh-like material – with a .22 rifle. Then he shoots one with an AR-15. The .22 bullet passes cleanly through. The AR-15 bullet goes in and then explodes.

It's certainly possible to compact more ignorance into a short paragraph, but most writers would be hard-pressed.

It would probably do no good to set this reporter down and explain, slowly, in short words, that a video illustrating a point of physics with ballistics gel is neutral rather than "horrible." Now, if it used a Fleet Street reporter to demonstrate the same point, that would be "horrible." Wouldn't it? Well, uhhhh...

Never mind his conflation of bullet diameter with terminal ballistics. We could just send him a telegram stating "An AR-15  is  almost always  a .22 rifle." Maybe that would send him to a library where he would occupy himself in close study of Guns for Dummies -- and looking in vain for evidence that criminals typically use bullet which "explode."

But to end on a positive note, he appears to have done a thorough and professional job of informing his reading public about who cried and at what level of intensity.


Title credit to Edwin Newman in Strictly Speaking

Mar 4, 2013

Out-of-Ammo Only Ones

I'm trying to work up some schadenfreude about this, because, like all proper Americans, I'm slightly suspicious of cops. It may be a genetic imprint from our immigrant ancestors who turned their back on the Old World police states.

It's hard, however, to get too giggly about a cop without a cartridge. Somebody has to watch out for bad guys, so a well-watched, well-trained, and well-controlled police force is a useful thing. And if we're going to give them guns and live ammo, we damned well better make sure they know what they're doing when they whip out their Glocks.

The ammunition shortage is forcing cop training officers to count rounds.  So it is time to assign blame -- military needs, of course,  but perhaps mostly you and me.

As possible federal gun control legislation aims to keep assault rifles out of the hands of enthusiasts, the rifles and their ammunition have skyrocketed in value. Gun owners trying to scoop up all the ammunition they can before a ban takes effect have driven up costs while diminishing supply.

Sorry about that, Chief. But not very. I know your PR guy keeps saying that you're my first line of defense against evil, but I tend to think that's bull; I am. So while the supply remains tight I suggest an equitable solution: One for you, ten for me, one for you, 20 for me...

Mar 3, 2013

Brother Can You Spare $28,999?

Plus S and H. Plus NFA fees.

What red-blooded American boy can endure life without a Colt 1928/21 Thompson submachine gun as used by the United States Navy?

Why, I remember when MM1/C Homan and I carried them on missions off the San Pablo and threw terror into the hearts of Yangtze River bandits and warlords alike.

I'd have to spend more time in the loading shack, but I can live with that.

Link fixed

Besides, Elaine Chou is cute

As my campaign for the presidency heats up, I wish to make one thing perfectly clear. I do  not hate Elaine Chou because she is racially a Chinese person.

For that matter, I don't hate her at all. If I did, however, it would be because she served a term as boss of the Labor Department without abolishing it as the  Teamer Administration pledges to do.

(This little brouhaha may be part of a vast right-wing media conspiracy because, as is well-known, the American left despises racist comments and hasn't uttered one since late March of 1964.)

Mar 1, 2013

...anna I wanna tell you itsa cute doggie.

Makes all of us 50s movie fans wish we had a Vespa, eh?

Fat and fingernails

I begin -- weakly but necessarily  -- with two disclaimers.

The first part of this report is based wholly on a Fox News item, so a certain little journalistic two-step is required, to wit: I believe I have never before performed such a questionable act, and I pledge not to repeat the offense.

The second part is less immoral but still academically suspect. It is snippet of my personal life which happened prior to the invention of the internet. It can not be documented, hence is outside the realm of scholarly,  peer-reviewed history. In other words, you'll just have to trust me on this one, Sidney.


Fox jumped on the story of a little  Massachusetts school kid whose parents received a letter from his school. The lad failed to study for his Body Mass Index test and was found officially obese which, manifestly, he is not.

The report explained that the local school blamed the silly fat letter on  mandate from Mass Bureau of Nutrition, Body Mass, Child Traumatizaton, and Parental Guilt. Both mother and son reacted calmly to the teevee questions, much more so than appropriate. While one rather objects to an elementary kid saying "bull shit,"  these are the times that try kids' souls, and I, at least, would have forgiven him  the vulgarity and applauded his concise expression of absolute truth.

The mother -- who mostly opined that the BMI was not a great metric for determining appropriate weight  --  should have said it, of course, like my very own sainted mother almost did long ago.


The state sent around a public health nurse to examine all the tykes in the realm, including my fellow kindergarten matriculants at Carpenter school. I passed handily -- clean ears, no head lice, no unnatural suppurations of disgusting bodily fluids.

Except for my fingernails. Mom always trimmed them. (Even in those days the family consensus was that I was not to be trusted with dangerous instruments.) She clipped them in a curve following the natural line of the finger tips. The nurse was horrified. and entered a sharp remark on the take-home health form (cc: school files; state Bureau of Meddling files; and, for all I know, Harry S. Truman.) It said that responsible mothers trimmed nails straight across.

You must understand that my mom's reaction to utter nonsense was nearly always a resigned sigh. "Hell" was not in her vocabulary; "heck" and darn" were suspect. But this one got to her and I recall pretty well: "If she doesn't like the way I cut your fingernails she can just kiss my (pause) A-double-Ess." 

Well said, Mom.