Sep 3, 2012

Facepalm, Hillary

Happy Hillary-Rodham is on the beach, half a world away from Washington, celebrating the latest triumph of United States diplomacy. To be precise, she pressured the government of the Cook Islands to come up with some big SUVs, ones grand enough for Her Secretary of Stateship.

The government owns three small SUVs. That always seemed to be plenty for its job of governing some 11,000 folks.

Hillary sniffed. Her attendance depended on big, impressive SUVs.  Which she got.

If she were the kind of person who said "Thanks"  her gratitude would be to a put-upon Cook Islands official named Robert Graham. For a heady time the fate of the Eastern Hemisphere rested on his shoulders. He reports:

"We are a really small island and they're wanting these really big SUVs," Graham said. "We have tried our best to accommodate and help."

It might or might not impress Mrs. Clinton that her regal transport is a gift of the private sector. The resourceful Mr. Graham scrambled to persuade a number of  islanders to loan their oversize personal vehicles for the grand occasion.

A big white one fell to Her, guaranteeing Her comfort even if mischance forced her to completely circumnavigate the island of Roratonga -- a daunting trek of nearly 20 paved miles. I hope the people of the Cooks don't hate us, but if they do, I'll understand.


So what the heck is the Clinton woman doing in paradise anyway?

I'm glad you asked. She's representing you and me at a gathering of the Pacific Islands Forum. That's an organization of Pacific governments  who get together once in a while to hash out watery issues.

Her presence is being spun as a crucial element in United States security in the western Pacific -- heading off the Yellow Peril. The Los Angeles Times sets the stage:

"The tiny South Pacific islands and atolls known as the Cook Islands have rarely been more than an afterthought to the world's great powers. Yet in their intensifying contest for influence in the Asian Pacific region, the United States and China are seeing new value in far-flung outposts that until now were coveted more for pearls and sunsets than geostrategic importance."

(Aside No.1: We all know of the "Bad Hemingway" contest. Is there one for "Bad Michener?")

(Aside No. 2: Rarotonga is some 5,000 miles from the Chinese mainland, and if you ask me that's an implausibly long way to fling a far.)

Fully granting that we need to keep an eye on China's jealous eye for oil treasures beyond her 200-mile exclusive economic zone, Hillary-in-Paradise hints at another purpose.

American wars in the Middle East have about outrun our gullibility for nation-building propaganda, so maybe our leaders are shifting targets in the War to Divert Our Attention from the Economy.

Maybe Hillary and His Ineptness are discovering that it is crucial to American security to develop a ring of U.S. client states from Pitcairn to the Yalu. Deploy a few divisions and a handful of carrier flotillas. Build some schools. Send over some Harvard PhD to advise on governing. If absolutely necessary, bomb a few wogs.

Nothing stops us except the cost, but, what the Hell, we can always borrow it. In this case, though, probably not from China.

Sep 1, 2012

Adventures at the ammo bench

The Remington 760 (couple-three posts down) inspired me to hit the loading room yesterday and wade into the fat supply of .30-06 cases. It took me more than two hours to finish a measly 61 rounds, and that was starting with cleaned and sized commercial brass.

Part of it was the Lee Auto-Prime. I love that system, but mine is showing its decades of wear and sometimes wants to malf in one way or another.

Primers set,  I learned that my old Pacific powder measure hates DuPont 3031. I simply could not make it throw charges consistent within two or three grains. No amount of cleaning or tweaking helped enough to make me comfortable. (I've remarked before that I'm a frightened old lady about guesswork at the reloading bench.)  

So I took the Lee dippers from the cabinet and found one that held 49.5 grains of 3031 -- close enough to the 50 I wanted under  the 125-gr HPs. (Speer book muzzle velocity of about 2950 fps).

It's nice to build a round of good .30-06 for less than a quarter, but one-half round per minute on prepared cases is not something to be proud of.  Time to pick up a new Auto-Prime and tear down the measure to see if something inside is the problem.


And there's a hole in my .308 bullet supply. Plenty of 110 and 125, and quite a lot of 220. I'm thus prepared for elf terrorists and elephant-scale terrorists. But I have nothing really correct for your normal, everyday, 38-regular terrorist. 

Girl porn. Money porn.

(1) One hundred years ago "September Morn" was finished and won an award from the critical Frogs of the Paris art industry. It was, however, considered no big deal, just another workmanlike oil by a guy who liked representational naked girl images against a sorta-impressionistic background. It might have sold for a few hundred francs, then spent time a bourgeoisie parlor until, eventually, an American tourist found it in a Left-Bank stall. He hung it in the rec room to surprise his wife, Prudence, who surprised him with "It goes or I go."  That's why you, you aging roue, might have scored it for fifty bucks at a garage sale down the street.

It didn't happen that way because of Duh Mare. "September Morn" was sent to a Chicago art dealer who put it in his window. Mayor Carter Harrison Jr. hit the ceiling* and filed indecency charges against the dealer. The dealer won the case and "September Morn" won instant fame.

A little later it found its way to a New York art shop and shocked another public titter. You've heard of him, Anthony Comstock, over-seer of public morals as a special agent of the Post Office. He threatened legal action, but by this time he was in his 70s and forgot to follow through. His bluster added to the fame, and the Paul Chagas painting now lives in the Metropolitan Museum of  Art.

I guess that means it isn't obscene.

(2) As this year's first September morn dawns, public titter and one one-per center  Ben Bernanke is just back from beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I read that it was a very nice gnome convention, and all the world's central bankers joined in a happy group giggle as Ben told them he still had his tools but intended to keep them zipped in for a little while longer. But just a little. He winked and nudged that   he was just letting the wine breathe for a bit, maybe until the next  FOMC meeting. Then he would flop them out and boy won't we have a ball. All the other bankers there dialed up their brokers and doubled their stakes in green-ink manufacturers.

That's obscene.


There's a logical reason to consider the big banker meeting in the same small essay as "September Morn." Jackson Hole is in the Tetons.

*Speaking of roofs, supposing a modern Mayor Carter Jr. happens to be in the Sistine Chapel. Supposing he happens to glance upwards. What the Hell does he do. Arrest the Pope? Sue Michaleangelo's estate?

Welcome, September

Hands are clothes.