Aug 28, 2014

The Revolver Door

Just in case you still think voting matters:

Former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who now controls the entire public policy practice at Squire Patton Boggs, expressed confidence that he and his lobbying partner, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), are well-positioned if the Senate flips.

“We feel pretty good about our relationships on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol, but we are looking to strengthen our hands with House Republicans,” Lott said, adding that Republicans specializing in healthcare are particularly prized.

It is from a piece reporting that Republican legislative aides are flocking to K-Street Bandits in hopes of turning their influence into a ten-fold salary increase. They expect Republican free-ice-cream promises to outdo Democrat free-candy promises in the battle for a senate majority.

Nautical Distractions (3)

A lad for whom I hold infinite affection has just turned 19. When he is precisely 19 years and one month old he will have heard this phrase:

"Your other left you boot sonuvabitch!"

He is pretty well coordinated, so perhaps the tormentor will have screamed it at some other confused youngster taking his first marching steps toward becoming a wave-riding defender of the United States Constitution.

Call it a culture shock beyond the understanding of the twee Yankee tourist distraught at discovering  she can't get a truffle in Pago Pago.


Hi. I'm from Grampsington and I'm here to help!"


Among the several humiliations the Navy has in store for you is language.  Call it a wall instead of a bulkhead and you will be loudly informed that you are whale-turd low, an arse-pimple afflicting everyone from the Chief of Naval Operations down to Davy Jones, not to mention all of the training petty officers to whom your personal arse now belongs.

Hence a vocabulary primer:

Port is left, that part of the ship left of the center line. (Port and left each have four letters.)

Port is also associated with red -- and with even numbers -- and with a red channel marker called a nun buoy. Hence the mnemonic "Even the red nun drinks port." (Sadly, you have already lost enough innocence to know that port wine is red.)

Starboard is the right-side half of the ship. I never heard a really good memory aid. Maybe "R"(ight)  and "S (tarboard)" are consecutive letters. It is also associated with the color green and odd numbers.

Bow: the front, usually  pointy end of a ship.

Stern: The back end. Usually square, or squarish compared to the bow.

Fore: Toward the bow.

Aft: Toward the stern.

Abaft: Like aft except in reference to some point, such as "abaft the beam."

Beam: The middle of the ship, half-way between bow and stern. Often, not always, the widest part of the vessel.

Deck: What your mom calls a floor.

Overhead: What your dad calls a ceiling.

Passageway:  Generally, what your brother calls a hallway.

A door usually goes though a bulkhead.

A hatch generally goes through a deck.

Salt or Old Salt: A seasoned veteran.

Salty: What you will consider yourself beginning about your sixth week of Boot Camp.

Boot:  A rank beginner. What everyone with one more day in service will consider you -- right up until the day you retire.

Have fun, Pardner. Remember to invite me to the ceremony installing you as Chief of Naval Operations.


Aug 24, 2014

And BTW, Bruce Braley is an NRA "F"

The big kids in Washington have discovered  Iowa a little early this time around. We're usually invisible flyover matter until the caucuses get going.  But our Senator Harkin is retiring.  With no big-name  Kennedys  left to suck up to, he sees no point in hanging around the Capitol.

Democrat kingmakers tabbed Congresscritter Bruce Braley.  He was a shoo-in until he started screwing up everything his tongue touched  (what I like to call the Romney Coupla-Caddies Ploy.)

Lt. Col. Joni Ernst castrated her way to a GOP primary win, capitalized on Braley's  hoof-in-mouth affliction,  and the general election is in doubt. From down-12 or so in the polls, she's now up a scant point.

This all becomes important in the outside world because some other senate races aren't going quite as the RNC and DNC planned, and senate control might well depend on Ernst-Braley.

There is one certainty.  Iowa media will divvy up more money for spots of sound-bite mindlessness between now and November, and some senior operatives are trying to dope out where to spend it.

Don't know why  I felt the urge to toss them some free advice on Facebook this morning. Maybe a throwback to my own operational (though not very senior) days. To wit:


Iowa is cut diagonally, NW-SE, by the Des Moines River. West of the river, Ernst will win, and probably solidly; it is the Bible Belt, family-values, church-potluck half, scarcely differing from rural Nebraska.

The east is more densely populated with our strongest union presence and what, around here, passes for urban sophistication. There, Braley will be competitive, particularly  in the manufacturing cities -- Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo among others -- and in Iowa City (U of I ,  that is, Obama Country) where he should win big.

Obviously a lot of plus-and-minus goes into this geographic sketch. Just as obviously the main GOP question is where to spend the heaviest resources -- west to try for an unbeatable margin or east to depress the Braley vote margin.


I hope no one thinks all this makes me a Republican or a Democrat.  I don't know what it is, come to think of it. Maybe an advertisement, and I suppose I would privately dilate on the theme for money if the prospective client could persuade me he smiles favorably on the Austrian School. Unless, of course, he thinks the AS is a neat operetta about Germans getting drunk in college

Aug 20, 2014

George L. Herter: "Do not be mislead by hokum!"

I told you guys she writes The World's Greatest Travel Blog.

Name another MSM writer willing to help celebrate the memory of a crazy dude who sold guns by the tens of thousands. It probably helps that she has been warmed by his Model Perfect sleeping bags and kept dry by his famous North Woods Guide Association Approved pyramid tent.

(If George L. failed to claim sleeping in his pyramid tent kept your teeth cleaner and automatically sharpened your knives, it was an oversight.)

The other thing she misses is the Herter's red jelly bean. Calling them Herter's Whiskey River Cherry Candy made them taste better around the camp fire.

Coming right up, Folks: Truth, Justice, and the American Way on a White Horse from Washington

Dear Policeman:

"Speaking in general, you are not allowed to kill people,  even if they are black, even if they annoy you, even if you find them unsavory."



The Ferguson, Missouri riots result, proximately, from a cop shooting a black man. If and when we get some clarity about what happened, we'll be in position to offer some judgements about whether Black Man Brown earned his own death or whether  he died at the hands of an evil or troubled man in uniform. Fight with wife. Hangover. Just plain bad mood.  A hitherto well-hidden dime-novel desire to kill his man and carve a tinhorn notch on his Glock.

There are numerous killer-cop possibilities. From the information we have, no reason exists to accept any of them. There won't be until we see the results of a professional investigation.

By the greatest good fortune imaginable, that professional clarity is on the way to Ferguson in the person of one Eric Holder, objective, candid,  incorruptible, and fair-minded to a fault. He even  catches something bothering a number of us ordinary schmucks.

Without directly referencing the video revelation, Holder said he was troubled by "the selective release of sensitive information" surrounding Brown's case...

As well he should be, given his own personal history of candid transparency.

The Republican-led House of Representatives on Thursday voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. 

The documents Holder hid in that case deal with his own part in the bone-headed Fast and Furious gun-running game that eventually killed an American cop. He kept them secret because he wanted to. He was able to do so because his superior officer, Barack Obama, also likes star-chamber government and just happens to have the presumed authority to invoke "executive privilege" when outsiders inquire, "what happened?"

So we all need to shut up and let Holder take his course, secure in our faith that he will discover truth and publish it for all to read, without fear or favor or even the slightest glance at how well his report covers various political asses.


I am again slightly embarrassed at linking "star chamber" to Wiki. It will seem condescending. On the other hand, a guy still never knows when a member of the public teachers' union will stumble on to his writing, and would be unkind to discombobulate them.

Aug 15, 2014

Fresh gun porn

So far, so good.

She's at that awkward stage. Too loose to require heavy percussion cycling, too tight to function without severe muscle. Technically, this is what we pistol smiths refer to as the period during which we  root around for our white polishing compound and gird ourselves for several hundred manual cycles.

Note absence of Dremel. Note presence of brass hammer. It makes a guy feel just like P.O. Ackley. (The tactical scissors are for cutting strips of the abrasive cloth.)

Aug 13, 2014

Walter does not dream of Windex and Pledge

A cheery note from the Caspian folks is disrupting my plans.  Some family is visiting this weekend, and I vowed to tidy the place in their honor. But the commanderish slide is en route, scheduled to arrive here at Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant,  in about 40 hours.

I feel a distraction coming on, and if any of  my people are looking for housekeeping lapses, I'm afraid they may find them. It seems more urgent to sort through the parts one more time, calibrate the mike, ensure enough 400-grit emery and jewelers rouge are on hand. And so forth.

Commanders are just so studly. All a sophisticated Boomer needed in his glory days was the short 1911 for everyday wear along with a PPk  for strictly formal occasions.  (The Walther rode nicely in our cummerbunds.)  Bring on the Symbionize Liberation Army. Bring on Goldfinger.

The pleasure will be in the build. No matter how well armed, I am unlikely to be summoned to Double-0h-Seven evil-doers. It is enough to know that if I were, I would be equipped to shoot them through in a stylish, yet classic,  fashion.

Pocketa pocketa pocketa.

Aug 12, 2014

Awwww, dammit

I wrote and told her I could whistle, but she never wrote back.

Aug 8, 2014

Circle the wagons

The Indians are coming!

Senator Pocahontas has scouts in Iowa, you know, the place where we decide who you can vote for. They're beating her tom-tom at the state fair despite -- we'll use her white-eye name here -- Liz Warren's solemn statement that she is not running for president.

Her Massachusetts dog soldiers aren't buying that. Maybe we, also, should be leery of her solemn statements because she once solemnly avowed Cherokee ancestry. She billed  herself as a native American on the Harvard faculty list. That allowed Harvard to  pimp itself out as a diversity bastion.

When it became obvious in her 2012 campaign that she is about as Injun as Martin Luther, she skedaddled back and forth and sideways until she finally came up with a dandy Kumbayah evasion:

Warren said she listed herself as a minority because she wanted to connect with “people for whom native American is part of their heritage and part of their hearts.” 

And she did it for at least 10 years.

About the only question regarding her forked tongue is: "Poky, did you lie about it at first -- when you applied to Harvard -- in order to score heap big affirmative-action hiring points?"

She said no.  Ted Kennedy said he "dived repeatedly" in a heroic effort to rescue Mary Jo.


A small political datum lies here. Someone is willing to bet a little time and money that Hillary won't run. Hillary will, according to all present signs, but if she doesn't >big war whoop<.

Aug 3, 2014

Zippo side bar (or) Nautical Considerations (2)

Let me tell how it was in the Old Navy, Son.

We all smoked. A few limpies carried Ronsons to illustrate their elevation above the common herd. Most of us, though, real sailors, carried Zippos. And we didn't pay the exorbitant ten or fifteen cents for lighter fluid at the Ship's Store.

Instead we had an irregular series of Zippo parties. We borrowed a Planters Peanuts can half full of gasoline from a friendly snipe. They kept it on hand for the Handy Billy.

We slipped the works from the case and dunked them for a few seconds. Perfect fill and we were good for a week or more of wind-proof (hah)  flame to set our Luckies and Camels alight.

It was all part of military wisdom, midnight requisitioning, the art of cumshaw.



Cumshaw: An unauthorized transfer of United States Navy assets from one use to another. The penalties for getting caught ranged from an ostensibly disapproving grin to thirty or forty years in Portsmouth Naval Prison.

Handy Billy: A portable water pump for clearing flooded spaces. An exceptionally talented snipe could often make it run and pump.

Midnight Requisition:  See cumshaw.

Military wisdom: Something of an oxymoron but, at a deeper level, a necessary survival tool.

Snipe: A man in the engineering department, such as an EM.

Hey Ms. Yellin...

I gotchur "2 per cent" inflation hangin' cuz I still still use a dangerous incendiary in a Zippo.

Observe the one on the right first, a gift late last year. The receipt was in the bag, about four bucks,  plus tax.

Now look left,  please, for a couple of pertinent points. The 57-cent price is an obvious hint that something has changed. I find it more compelling that the Ronsonol folks once had enough confidence in price stability to paint the price on the can itself.


Leftie has a bar code, dating it no older than the early '80s. It is probably newer.

You can pick your own year, do a little arithmetic, and calculate the depth of the Federal Reserve Board long-standing lie that "inflation is tame."

(The easy way is an adaptation of the  rule of 72;  price divided by  annual price increase equals the number of years necessary for the price to double.  At 2 per cent annual currency devaluation, a few ounces of fluid at 57 cents would, after 36 years, cost $1.14. )

Even easier to digest: The 7 per cent sales tax on the new plastic-pack Ronsonol was about 28 cents. So the tax alone, now,  would have bought a half can of the product then. (The anal who wish to quibble over the odd penny and the 4 or 5 per cent c. 1984  tax on 57 cents are free to do so and will be enthusiastically ignored. Likewise the the additional half-ounce in the new packaging.)


Fer cryin' out loud, Jim, how the heck did this tickle your muse on such a  fine Sunday morning?

Glad you asked.

I've spent a couple of days massaging fiberglass to make permanent a "temporary" (read "slapdash and ugly and not too effective") repair on the leaky Texson camper  roof. This sort of thing requires acetone. So I rooted around in the place where I store volatile chemicals. No  acetone.

But I found the Ronsonol can, nearly empty, and noticed the price.  All else followed because I am lately most interested  in the scope and depth of lies by politicians and public-tit economists.

Despite everything, however, I am incredibly pleased with myself because among the flammables and explosives I found a long-forgotten sealed gallon of Holiday gas stove fuel and noticed its label claim to be a "naphthalene product."

So is lighter fluid, so I dunked the Zippo in it. Worked fine.  I topped off both Ronsonol cans.

Somewhere in the majestic vastness of American law this simply must be a criminal act, at least an OSHA or hazmat offense. So I apologize for an illegal act of personal inflation amelioration.

Please don't put no choke hold on me, Officer Dan.