Apr 30, 2010

THAT'S what I'm talking about

"Goldman Share Plunge as Feds Launch Criminal Probe."

Senators may return to their bourbon and branch at The Monocle. The professionals (we hope) are taking over.

He who sells what isn't his'n
Must buy it back or got to prison.

Climate change Down Under

Several dozen Australian climate clowns are getting back into the VW bug. Canberra- mandated cap and trade is dead until at least 2013, and the WSJ offers this tasty lede:

Australian Prime Minister and climate moralist-in-chief Kevin Rudd announced the shelving of cap-and-trade legislation until 2013. He blamed the delay on his political opponents and "slow progress" on a multilateral accord.

Meaning, in plainer terms, "Too many voters are starting to see through this crap."

But Ruddy knows all is not lost in his drive to turn every Australian into a state-dependent thumb sucker. He's continuing his campaign to frighten his subjects into submission with further attacks on smokers and the health industry.

If, 30 years ago, you had told me the moonheadedness of Sidney Webb would catch on so well in Australia, I'd have called you loco.

Apr 29, 2010

...I coont evin spel injunir

and now I are one.

The re-clutched pickup is home and purring, ready for work and adventure just as soon as I and my junk pile rectify a Detroit error.

In the Vietnam era some blockheaded American truck designer decided a pickup spare should ride under the bed in order to make it inaccessible in conditions of mud, snow, and, most laughably, when one of the rear tires was flat. Enhanced hilarity resulted from the construction materials, uncoated mild steel warranted to rust tight within eight months or 8,000 miles. The satanic assembly on mine gave up a couple of years ago, and since then the spare has rattled around in the box or the passenger seat making, like His Obamaness, a general nuisance of itself.

Finally fed up, this peasant revolts, and today begins the process. A huge bolt, two short chains, and a small box of hefty eye bolts and other connecting gizmos will put the tire where it belongs: riding high and snugly on the front bumper.

It will serve a secondary purpose, absorbing excess energy when the driver accidentally dead centers teevee anchor persons, city council members, zoning enforcement officers and suchlike.


And as the sun sinks slowly in the westerrn sky, only the tidying up remains. The mount is stronger with the rim mounted inside out, so substantial
derustification is in order.

This gorilla drilled the half-inch holes in the bumper, and it's shown here to illustrate for the young that Black and Decker once had a higher glory than capturing shelf space at WalMart. There was a time you bought a B&D and bragged about it. Men used them hard for decades, then passed them down to their sons.

Apr 28, 2010

Going Arizona One Better on Illegals

Chip him, Dan-O. Trespassing One.

That's the immigration control solution of a guy actually running for congress in these parts.

Pat says what works for keeping track of his dog ought to be excellent for keeping tabs on illegals.

The Hell of it is, he probably isn't the Republican who will finish last in the primary. Worse, there's probably no way we can revoke his license to reproduce.

Reloading note

No matter how cheap they are, resist the impulse to acquire any GI .30-06 brass made in Denver in 1942 (Den 42) . I have fought government primer crimps and tight pockets for years, usually with enough success to create good loads with only moderate effort using a simple reamer with a radius grind.

No so this stuff. An hour of trying put me in a foul mood for most of the afternoon, and I finally dumped about 300 of them in a low spot I'm trying to fill over by the maple trees. It's almost as if they were re-specked with remarkably undersized pockets.

Also and more happily: It is very pleasant to run across four decks of large rifle primers you forgot you had.

Put the lawyers to work

I don't wants months of senators and other political creepy crawlies scoring points for the teevee audience off whatever it was that Goldman Sachs did.

I want prosecutors drafting criminal charges. I want a grand jury to indict for fraud if it sees fit. I want a trial. And then I want to see the guilty GS executives manufacturing gravel, one sledge swing at a time.

A bit of oversight responsibility is probably inherent in the legislative process, but a lot of justice has been buried under bullshit which is the sole ingredient in most congressional "hearings."

Apr 27, 2010

Dear President Obama,

I wonder, Sir, if you are attending to today's economic thermometer?

Our domestic stocks are tubing because, our experts report, the entire Ouzo production of Greece and all the of Portugal's best Madeira will not suffice to pay their kings' debts, and the folks who lent them money are getting more than a little (a) anxious to be repaid and (b) fricked if they'll ever loan money to one of them again.

If fact, lenders are starting to wonder about sovereign debt in general. That's, you know, like fronting cash money to nations.

Anyway, that just reminded me I just wanted to ask you to keep up a very good front in front of Chinese persons you happen to run across. I'd get pretty nervous out here if they decide to Greece us.

'course, I wouldn't dream of cramping your style by asking you to help make sure we start buying only what it can pay for. I mean health care and war and nations to build and like that.

Your Nervous Pal,


P.S. -- It is okay by me if you want to blame three or four of the guys who had the job before you for some of it.

Old gun serendipity

A while ago I put up a bad shot of an old H&R "The American Double Action."

I finally started putting it back where it belongs this morning, and for some reason stirred the box of old partial guns ( plus gun parts I can't identify).

Lo and behold, I find I have a second YADA, identical except for barrel length, and it seems to bear all the parts the other one is missing. I feel a half-day in the shop coming on to meet my urgent need for another ancient revolver shooting an obsolete, barely available, largely useless, and ruinously expensive caliber for which I have neither brass nor dies.

EDIT: Fuggitaboutid. No trigger spring. But it looks good on the wall.

Apr 26, 2010

The Bill

For firearms law researchers, here is the new Iowa shall-issue and reciprocity bill:


Some despicable interloper

...has been posting on my blog, reporting on all sorts of irresponsible speculation that the Honorable Chester Culver, Governor of the Great State of Iowa, might pocket veto the shall-issue and reciprocity bill. If I ever find that dastardly rumor monger, he is in great trouble.

I , for one, never doubted for a moment that Governor Culver would do the right and honorable thing. But you know that.

He says today that he will sign the bill Thursday, either the last or next-to-last possible day.

I will relay the implementing rules and timing as soon as I can get them from the agencies.


Edit: How thoughtless of me to neglect warning you of the blood bath to come.

Iowa Shall Issue

We're within four days of a decision on Iowa's shall-issue and reciprocity bill. When it was passed, overwhelmingly, the prevailing opinion was that signature by Gov. Culver was a no-brainer. He's as vulnerable as an unindicted politician can be, and antagonizing gun owners in a rural state seemed to make no political sense whatsoever.

The chatter now is about pocket veto. The bill must be signed by April 29 -- 30 days from passage -- or it dies. The NRA is concerned enough to have just sent a mailing urging calls to Culver's office.

One school of thought calls the thing a charade from the outset. That narrative has Democrats needing to give their rural incumbents a chance to cast a pro-gun vote without having to answer to their liberal base for an actual pro-gun law.

They delayed the vote until the final three days of the legislative session, kicking in the pocket veto provision which was part of the scheme, giving most every Democrat all the political cover needed.

Another theory is that Culver knows he is a dead duck no matter what he does, so he has nothing to lose by following his Hyannisport /Chicago inclinations.

The theory I like best is the one saying he'll sign it at the deadline and, meanwhile, is just having a good time keeping guys like us in a stew.

Idle reflection

How much richer would the United States be if it were able to send a few million of its least productive citizens, especially including those with criminal tendencies, one nation north?

(Easy, there, Neighbor. I don't advocate it. Just thinking.)

Apr 25, 2010

Arizona and the Illegals

I've just told an Arizona friend I probably would have signed the immigration bill myself if it had been up to me. At the same time my skin crawls at the notion of "Your papers! Kuh vickly!")

There is no answer, seek it lovingly.

Eugenics -- some preliminary problems

Is there doubt in any one's mind that the number of human beings on Earth already exceeds, or very soon will exceed, (a) its comfortable physical carrying capacity and (b) our human ability to humanely manage our civilizations?

It is almost impossible to talk about it. Powerful churches continue to insist that every act of intercourse embrace the opportunity for another human being. Their political henchmen/exploiters carry the concept over into the civil arena. The word itself, eugenics, automatically recalls the horror of Hitler's mad philosophies made manifest.

The demonization of the term Eugenics parallels the term "liberal" which classically describes today's libertarian but in current usage denotes his statist opposite.

As a start might we begin to soften the word and entertain the notion that human happiness and the chance for human survival will be enhanced if we can discover an acceptable way of reducing population?

Apr 24, 2010

Loopholing in the rain

The stars line up nicely today. Welcome rain gives me an excuse to ignore outside work, and the folks over in Worthington have organized a c. 70-table loophole assembly. Two fellow conspirators are joining me, and I have cleaned the detritus from the van to allow plenty of room in case we find ourselves in a mood to loophole on large scale.

This is the one that tends to draw a high proportion of hobbyists with boxes of interesting stuff. I think it's the place where I scored a big handful of GI 1911 parts a year ago.

Apr 23, 2010

The essential lunacy of what we have done to our economic system is illustrated well enough by the simple lede in a Reuter's market story:

"U.S. stock index futures rose slightly on Friday as Greece asked the European Union and International Monetary Fund to trigger an aid package in what could be the largest state bailout ever attempted."

Translation: Greece borrowed until its creditors had no more chance of repayment that you do of ever seeing that $500 you loaned you brother-in-law back in 1984. So the world will loan Greece some more money in hopes that a miracle will occur before anyone notices the (a) resultant inflation of currencies and (b) irony of adding to debt to retire debt.

You say it makes you uncomfortable to have the value of your hundred shares of SWHC dependant on things like what Greek pols decide to spend to support the crucial grape leaf industry? Me too, except I own, Thank God, no SWHC. I have others that the Greeks and Tim G. are fubaring, however.


Some reader comments just demand reprinting above the fold. TJP writes:

Congress isn't so much exercising a power to tax to the ends of its constitutional duties as it is extorting an allowance to use at its sole discretion.

Tracking the enemy

It can be challenging to keep track of some old presidential buddies after the sting that exposed Acorn's love for helping hookers and pimps launder money. The nutty bunch is quick-stepping all over the place, rebranding itself under a variety of names.

But Matthew Vadum is trying, and he has a list of some of Acorn's new AKAs.

Apr 22, 2010

Two and oh

It may be a little gauche to post about strictly personal affairs, but I have just scored twice against the retail automobile establishment, and that's newsworthy.

The new F150 clutch didn't hold up under even the light use I've made of it for the 4,000 miles since the the $1,350 repair job, and I was being set up to pay for the entire replacement cost. The installing dealer blamed me and the clutch manufacturer. The clutch maker blamed me and/or the installers. Serious negotiation ensued with a certain firmness on the part of yours truly. ("Pardner, a new clutch on a four-by-four truck ought to be all but immune to even an intentional effort to burn the SOB out just to see what a melted clutch smells like.") A letter with an undertone of "also got a lawyer in my back pocket" may have helped. I'll get the job done for the clutch-kit cost. The dealer will eat the labor. Not perfect , but better than I expected without a good deal more hassle.

Smaller but still satisfying: At the quickie lube center today the bill for routine van service looked a little high. I found a six-buck bite for a new oil plug. The lad in charge and I performed an autopsy on the old plug and then engaged in a deep philosophical discussion. In due course he agreed it wasn't stripped at all and the slight rounding of the hex head might have resulted from his man's use of a wrench one millimeter too large. He seemed relieved that I left smiling after saying I bore him no hard feelings for trying to follow the owner's marketing orders.

It's scummy industry, and it feels kind of good to evade two stabs at sodomy in the same day.

Margin of error

I wouldn't want anyone to misunderstand. I stand with Ed Newman on the subject of polls. We do too damned much polling. We ask idiotic questions of ignorant persons.* We hire the best flacks we can afford to spin any survey result into a self-satisfying version of truth.**

But a giggler over at WND, proves they can be fun, especially if you happen to be a cynical Obama skeptic.

The Zogby poll reports Obama would lose an election held today. Among the sub-results:

People who pay federal income tax would vote for someone else 53-40.

People who do not pay tax prefer Obama 49-42.

Gun owners would vote for someone else, 68-26


*Miss Hilton do you consider it likely or unlikely that CERN will identify a Higgs boson?

**Therefore President Barack Obama is the choice of unarmed hippy diaper dampeners on welfare.


Ed Newman summed up his views with: "Ask not to know on whom the poll palls; it palls on me."

Apr 21, 2010

On gear worship

Quotably, IMO, Tam's shootin' buddy comments: "...for many people gun skul is for playing dress up."

Grandma with a gun again. Laugh or Cry.

The official reaction has begun, and Grandma Beatrice Turner -- who pulled a pistol, fired it, and scared off a thug who broke into her living room -- it s getting her hand subtly slapped by Des Moines bureaucrats in charge of diminishing public safety.

Let's start on a positive note, smiling approvingly at street cops who answered the call:

In most shootings, police confiscate the gun while they sort things out. Not on Tuesday. According to Turner, police helped her reload the handgun and left it in her possession. "There were about six officers here," (Beatrice. 89) said. "All of them were hugging me and telling me how brave I was."

That was about the limit of governmental good sense. County Attorney John Sarcone decided not to prosecute, but he couldn't resist a sniff of disapproval. He said homeowners shooting at home invaders was very, very unusual. He stopped short of giving evidence that he bestirred what neurons he possesses into making the connection between a low rate of blasting home invaders and the high incidence of home invasions, including many enhanced by beatings, murders, and/or your occasional case of rape, either planned or opportunistic.

However, Police Sgt. Lori Lavorato -- the department's shrieksperson -- deserves most of our scorn unless she's just mouthing idiocies under orders from Higher.

She "issued a caution about the use of deadly force."

The warning was, as you would expect, aimed at law-abiding folks, experience having shown that warning thugs not to use force tends to be a less-than-ideal anti-crime endeavor. Sgt. Lori continues:

Turner "took the course of action she felt she had to," Lavorato said. "By no means do we condone shooting at a burglar.

What do you condone, Lori? Maybe a call to 911 while the guy is ripping your stepins with one hand while holding a knife to your throat with the other as you hope the arrival of police will be somewhat more prompt than usual?

More: But she could have become a victim in a situation like that."

Lori, gol dang it, when it's Oh Dark Thirty and when a stranger has smashed in the door of your living room and won't leave even after you tell him nicely to get out or get his balls shot off you are ALREADY A VICTIM. Pardon me for shouting. I just feel somewhat strongly on the point .

Apr 20, 2010

Miss Senior Shooter of 2010

Or, The Second Amendment in Action:

Beatrice is 89. More to the point, she stands a chance to become 90 and more because she had a .22 handgun at hand in the wee hours today when a thug smashed in her front door. She requested he desist. He came on in and she fired. From here on the report isn't quite complete, but somehow he was still standing on her front lawn, apparently stunned, when cops arrived. His affliction was pharmacological rather than ballistic. He's in jail, charged with burglary.

Well done, madam. Everybody misses once in a while, and sometimes it's the thought that counts -- as in the thought penetrating this thug's drug-fuddled skull that, holy crap, this woman ain't kidding and maybe I better exit her living room.

Who ya' gonna bribe?

It is of course amazing to read that the federal government didn't get something right the first time. Washington has re-indicted the Smith and Wesson sales VP and 21 other arms dealers for being willing to bribe an African government official. (He didn't exist; it was a sting.) The move is of interest primarily to lawyers, but for you hard-core anti-government radicals, it's another small entry in your Washington WTFs journal.

We condemn bribery of foreign officials. However before we get all Huffington Posty about hanging these guys by their merchant-of-death thumbs, we ought to recruit some sentencing consultants who (a) have sterling reputations for integrity while at the same time (b) possess extensive experience in doing business with governments still at the juju level of linear logic.

The other thing that comes to mind is a question on priorities. Would the feds have better spent the money and man hours rooting out domestic bribers of domestic officials?

There is a delicious characterization there of newly minted integrity crusader Chris Dodd as "somebody playing a new and uncharacteristic role as he pushes his bill rewriting the rules of regulating Wall Street: 'In the twilight of his career, history and a touch of Catholic guilt have now pushed Dodd, the consummate insider, into the role of reformer: the old Senate telling the new that it must act to have any hope of redemption. Twice in the past week, Dodd has gone to the Senate floor to deliver hard-nosed lectures challenging those who would stand in the way of new financial regulations after the disastrous market meltdown in 2008'."

You see, Senator Dodd understands that since he is retiring from the Senate it is high time we ended the influence of big money on senators.

Apr 19, 2010

Joseph Heller

People who don't reread Catch 22 every few years are not to be trusted. It was time, and I began last night.

Yossarian is in the hospital with his almost jaundice. The Texan was admitted to the ward.

"The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him."

Dunkirk II

The Admiralty steams to the rescue, 70 years after Dunkirk I. Hail Britannia.


The dust is supposed to damage jet engines, and I have seen everyone from the likes of Chuck Schumer to Elton John quoted on the matter. Maybe the world's great wire services and newspapers could set up an interview with an actual aeronautical engineer. Just for a little journalistic balance, y'know.

Apr 18, 2010

Retro bangers

The horoscope says it's a lucky day, so I think I'll try again on the magazine fix for the Marlin Model 38.

I'm trying to adapt a tube spring and follower cannibalized from a 1907 Hopkins and Allen Military Rifle which is too far gone to ever be a shooter again. (Neat old rifle though, almost a as neat as H and A's ad for it in Popular Mechanix. In those days gun makers used Presidents' words to move product.)

It shouldn't be all that difficult once I determine how to retain the follower in the tube after the magazine is empty. You can shoot the gun all day long even without the internal tube parts if you simply raise the muzzle to about vertical after each shot.

Apr 17, 2010

Barack Obama and Goldman Sachs

Drum me out of the Club if you want, but I applaud the SEC for suing Hell out of Goldman Sachs.

The political forces who brought deregulation to the financial markets beginning, roughly, in the Reagan and Clinton years missed one vital step. They neglected to treat fraud -- the intellectual equivalent of gratuitous violence (Thank you, Ms. Rand.) -- as a serious crime.

(Those political forces profited beyond the dreams of greed from the bubble and the collapse, but that is another essay.)

Goldman Sachs and a hundred other big-time bankers and brokers and insurance giants were selling products neither they nor their customers understood. That was no particular sin in itself. All the CDO , CMO, Debt Swap, et al. peddlers had to do to square themselves with the law and with morality was to announce in large type: "We think these things might make you some money, just like the Bulgarian Lottery or American Powerball, but since we don't quite know what we're selling, you might want to fly to Vegas instead."

The same principle should have governed mortgage brokers -- from the guy in the Trailer Court who printed up some business card to the high rollers like Country Wide and maybe Ditech. All they needed to clear the fraud hurdle was a prominent announcement every time their spokesasses hit the teevee tube: "But really, folks, if you need guys like us, you can't afford the damn house anyway. And you really, really can't afford whatever the Hell you want to buy with the ruinous second mortgage we'll be pleased to write for you."


The charges say G-S was blatantly venal in putting together some oddball financial products which could be hawked as investments likely to go up but which were, in fact, designed to go down so a G-S client could profit from a side bet with an insurance company.

Because the bursting of the bubble affected me -- and everyone else who counts on a a respectable interest on carefully saved money -- rather substantially, I've paid attention to the players, their shoddy products, and their criminal sales methods. It leaves the hope that the SEC suit will strip the guilty naked -- and that the the Department of Justice is preparing enough criminal charges to keep the money thugs in poverty and misery and uncertainty for the rest of their miserable, thieving lives.

I suppose a libertarian ought to note in passing that the actions against G-S did not require any or all of His Obamaness's proposed new anti-Wall Street laws, and they never will . All it takes is the will to enforce fraud laws already on the book in one form or another since, oh, about 1787 , assuming you don't care to wander backwards through he various legal codes until you get to the one HRH Hammurabi liked.

Watching the Cops

Libertarians know cops need watching to curb the excesses that tempt a human who carries a badge, a gun, and an extra dollop of authority. So even a ludditical wookie-suiter can applaud the advent of applied technology that lets bad officers know they are not free to orchestrate a nightstick serenade when ever they feel the need to vent a little frustration or when they just get an urge to administer "street justice."

Now, if we could arrange for platoons of video-capable busybodies following 535 Congress critters everywhere, things might improve noticeably.

Apr 16, 2010

High old times...

Roberta got high and has the pictures to prove it, including some that actually make her city appear attractive. In the comments, various souls react to the concept of height, recalling an interesting March day in 2003.

On Inishmore, in the Aran Islands of Galway Bay, stands what is left of a huge Iron Age fort called Dun Aonghasa. As Wiki says:

Translated, this means you walk across a large flat section of castle grounds with nothing between you and a a 330-foot sheer drop to rocks and wild water. It's windy. About six or eight feet back you flop prone and inch your way forward, just far enough to stick your head over the edgestone and see the maelstrom below. Your daughter and her husband then give you Hell for scaring them, so you have to avow it wasn't really dangerous and you weren't at all frightened, Not a bit.

Can you imagine a place like that in the hands of our safety nazis?

For the record, Caesar was rendered unto before the dreaded midnight hour. Rendering him down to something useful would have been more rewarding.

Gratuitous gun(smithing) porn

In truth, "gunsmithing" is a word too grand for what goes on around here. "Often successful tinkering" is more honest.

Unfortunately, even light tinkering ambitions sometimes require a vice -- a cursably in-the-way beast is when not in use. I put up with them permanently installed in the big shop, but the gun room bench is too small. Hence this morning's pre-sunrise project:

The nearly self-evident trick here is use of through bolts and wing nuts to attach a small machinists vice tightly but temporarily to the bench I use for reloading and small "clean" gun work. You can mount or dismount it in less than a minute.

The ploy won't amaze many of you, but it makes an excuse to post a picture of a neat old Saturday Night Special and one of St. Ackley's books.

The revolver is "The American Double Action," in .32. Others were made in .38 and .44. H &R built some 850,000 of them c. 1883 through 1941. This one needs a couple of parts, and we're scrabbling through the junk box.

Apr 15, 2010

Iceland Destroys World

As if that woebegone country didn't have enough problems, it is now responsible for continued global cooling of the kind that reduces job opportunities for Al Gore's otherwise unemployable acolytes.

You'd think a nation that could pass laws making everyone happy, womb to tomb, could manage to arrange some legislation forbidding its domestic volcanoes to erupt.

Apr 14, 2010

Take this form and shove it.

With the best of intentions I walked out the door and headed for the office and the pile of tax papers. but my eye fell on the saw. My other eye fell on the dead burr oak on the northwest corner of the base.

Maybe I'll do the taxes tomorrow. Or just wait for the black helicopters.

Airy ripoff

According to my most dependable travel advisor, I have a brand new reason for not flying. How about up to $90 bucks to carry a large attache case to where you're going and back?

Even when flying was fun (the piston era through the days of the first hijackings), it was credibly argued that anything under 500 miles could be covered more efficiently and pleasantly by car. Make that 1,000 now, at least.

Open carry?

A good discussion over at Caleb's place got me thinking about open carry.

Not counting hunting and backwoods hiking, I believe the last time I strapped visibly on was in the 80s during a long sojourn at Tortilla Flat in the Superstitions. Even there where open carry was common, it was mostly a matter of forgetting to take the damned thing off when I came in from a hike.

A gun on my belt just tends to make me feel a little on the foolish side. I say that meaning no disrespect to the good guys who feel differently, although I still question the political and public relations wisdom of making a big point of carrying at meetings, demonstrations, and the like.


Boats have been a large feature of my life, and a man working around line is a man who better have a good knife very handy, and that means a fixed blade carried outside of everything else -- trousers, jacket, so'wester. And so I did, usually the beauty pictured.* But, again, it resonated with me as the toy of a little boy playing Mike Nelson. I usually stuck it in a drawer immediately on arriving back at the slip. I admit it may be flawed thinking.


*It is the happy result of an embarrassing mistake. As a newly acquired pristine USN deck knife (Mark I, the RH Pal 35) it went camping with us near a fur trade rendezvous. Some of mountain men were contesting their knife-throwing skills. I couldn't resist and joined the game. What you see is what fell to the dirt immediately after the first hard hit on the log end. As far as I know the front inch and a half of the blade is still buried in the stump.

Judicious grinding left me with a sturdy and entirely satisfactory little hunter which holds an admirable edge. It's is the companion of decades, but I still feel half silly every time I slip the belt trough the sheath.

Apr 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Thomas Jefferson, born April 13, 1743.

I'm never amazed that people steal, but I am often amazed at what they steal. Local radio reports:

The public is asked to be on the lookout for two dogs reported missing following a break-in (at a nearby animal shelter. The missing dogs were) a male Australian Shepherd, black and tan in color, and a six month-old un-neutered brown and white pit bull...".

Apr 12, 2010

The Wonderful and Talented Me

The '94 SRC has nothing to do with this tale, and the tube full of 170-grain jacketed RNs was not meant for pesky inspectors coming around to see if I rehabbed my deck to current building code whims. I just put it there for the picture because I think it looks pretty leaning against the rustic seat framed with old-growth redwood four-by-fours.

It rests on the brand new planking which, in turn, is spiked to three railroad ties which have been underfoot for years. The project and the cleanup occupied a very long Saturday. It is a measure of my stalwart character that I decided to do the deck rather than attend a nearby auction of 200 guns and lots of ammo and accouterments.

Visiting here never actually put you in jeopardy of crashing through the old deck as you waited for my orderly to grant admittance to my quarters. But you could be forgiven for entertaining the fear. It was getting a little wobbly. A few observations:

--Wrestling railroad ties is, ideally, a job for husky young privates, but mine are all on leave.

--Tearing out the old planks exposed some teary nostalgia triggers. I'd forgotten that JJ, the tri-lingual black lab (RIP), would occasionally lose tennis balls and Frisbees under there, further back than I could retrieve with the rake. And then there was Dad's blaze orange practice golf ball.

--After a certain point, hammering large nails requires arm-muscle endurance beyond what I have. You lose that little snap at the end of the stroke. So you go to the shop and retrieve a two-pound ball peen hammer, and that gets you through the project.

You should all come and visit. I'll bask in the knowledge that you will return to your own commands and make me famous throughout the Service: "Wow. That TMR fellow really has a solid deck now! What a guy!"

Apr 11, 2010

The Daily Iowan (or Brahm's Gullaby)

The DI (in my opinion a one-time grace to university journalism) decided it needed to whack us gun creeps up 'longside the haid. It assigned the honor to a Lisa Brahm. Clearly en route to a stellar career in modern newspapering, Lisa decided the lede should be:

"Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulrabek said he’s worried about the implications of a gun-permit bill awaiting Gov. Chet Culver’s signature."

So, we have here a measure of considerable Constitutional importance, and a communicant of the University of Iowa journalism school thinks the nexus of concern is whether a local elected creature is worried about its requirement that "sheriffs in Iowa’s 99 counties follow certain criteria when issuing gun permits."

Oh my Gawd! Criteria trumping the sherf's best guess?

And maybe Lisa hasn't actually read the bill. She writes; "If signed, the bill would also allow Iowa gun owners to openly carry their weapons, carry long guns...

Which just isn't true. Open carry is a different subject in Iowa, covered under a different code section.

Also: "The National Rifle Association proposed the bill in an effort to have Iowa join the roughly 20* other states with “shall issue” laws.

No, Lisa. The NRA favored the bill, but many like it have been proposed for years. Your best reference here is probably Rep. Clel Baudler.

Back to the sheriff: “All sheriffs support people’s right to own and bear arms,” Pulkrabek said. “But what we don’t support is the right for everyone to carry them out in public.”

Parse that one for logic if you dare. Sheriff Pulkrabek, claiming to speak for all his colleagues, endorses the right to bear arms except that you can't actually bear them. Well, in your bedroom, maybe.

"Pulkrabek said he’s worried the new law would take away sheriffs’ discretion in issuing permits."

Yes sir. It would. That is precisely the point.

You might like to read the article and savor some other oddities of linear logic and the approach to reporting which is deemed acceptable at major universities these days.


EDIT: The actual number of shall-issue states, Lisa, is about 37, not 20. Let's hear it for multiple layers of fact checking and editorial oversight.

Apr 10, 2010

Spreading wealth across the realm

The last I heard it cost only twenty or thirty bucks to send a wire transfer from Washington to the Heartland. Sending a cabinet critter with check in hand kicks that up to something in the four figures.

Neverttheless, let the record show that the Peoples' Republic of Iowa City yesterday welcomed a a high emissary from His Obamaness of Washington.

Now, you guys probably thought the secretary of commerce was supposed to stick around the White House and Capitol Hill, handing out xeroxed copies of the Interstate Commerce Clause in case anyone had forgotten it and thereby missed a chance to regulate something else from Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street.

Wrong. Secretary Locke had a check for us, so he flew in to personally hand most of the $30 million to Iowa City politicians for a new sewer plant.

(Attention. Smith, Winston: I know what you're crimetinking, and this is your final warning. Stop it.)

The trip had nothing to do with politics in the city which gave his Obamaness his earliest caucus momentum, in a state where Obama pal Gov. Culver is poised to lose his job to a mediocre Republican, and where some newly elected congress critters who just love Obamaism are worried about their seats.

No, Gary came to town instead of sending a wire transfer just because he likes to be close to sewer projects.

I know. It happens all the time. So what? It's still a cynical theft of your money to buy someone's vote.

Apr 9, 2010

Fretting and fussing shall-issue

I can't shake a dismal feeling about Iowa shall-issue which still needs the signature of Gov. Chester "Ya Big Lug" Culver. This is a politician of parts.

One part is the governor as a man who needs the salary and the show of presumptive respect. No one has ever suggested he's anything other than a lucky spermer, son of a former senator who got that way by kissing considerable Kennedy butt.

Another part is the practical campaigner who knows signing the bill is, on the face of it, a net vote getter which will, on the other hand, irritate his aging backers among what is left of the heavy-money New York/Washington/Hollywood bed-wetting axis. If he wants to veto, and he does, he needs a scheme to offset the lost pro-gun votes with extra and offsetting nods from the dripping diapers in our larger cities and in the three university SSRs (Ames, Cedar Falls, Iowa City.)

The bill, passed overwhelmingly, is a two-parter -- a rather straight-forward shall issue policy and CCW reciprocity language.

If I were a statist bungstopper of a political operative and getting paid to create a sure-fire anti-gun demagoguery package for Chet, I'd concentrate on the reciprocity section. Aside from pandering to our general rural xenophobia, it wouldn't be hard to play the race card. There's all kinds of available code for stirring up fear that the bill will open our gates to a bunch gun-slinging minorities from the ghettos.

Don't flame me for giving the Chet crowd the idea. They've thought of it since the bill passed, and they're morally capable of doing it. Will they? I don't know. They're probably still commissioning polls.

Every well-connected pol and cop I know tells me I'm fruitcakey to worry about a veto. May Providence prove them correct.

Apr 8, 2010

Travis McGee and the Unstructured Life

As he advances through his middle years, McGee sometimes misses the comforts and shared illusions of the regimented life demanded of all solid American citizens. On the other hand, he understands the gain:

"...nothing can slow the reflexes like the weight of mortgages, withholding, connubial contentment, estate program, regular checkups and puttering around your own lawn."

Travis would be the first to tell you that you pays your money and you takes your choice. He would also be the first to advise that every choice generates regrets and that you should strive to ignore them.

Kafka's Cops live

A friend points me to a New York Times piece detailing some of the horrors of the anti-terrorist bureaucracy. In his note my pal mentions Kafka, leading me to wonder if that genius's name cracks the consciousness of enough modern skulls to make a difference.

(Kafka wrote of accused persons who might be guilty, or might not. The prisoner himself had no idea because the charges against him were secret. It was permissible because the bureaucracy said it was permissible.)

The Times report pegs itself on the case of a woman who, five years ago, was found to be on the no-fly list, questioned, detained, and turned loose without explanation. She sued, and a portion of her case against the secret government which compiles such lists has survived in the courts, despite the best efforts of the government.

The point is not that bureaucrats sometimes err. It is that any human is owed the minimum civility of a statement of why he is under suspicion and, if the accusation is found baseless, an apology for the bureaucrats' bumbling.

Apr 6, 2010

My buddy John lives in the GMA where he is employed as an expert. In his spare time he keeps me up to date on quarter-MOA groups shot by James Lileks. The latest:

"It’s never the future for a dog, but they’re aware of it, inasmuch as they have a keen sense of expecting what is to come, but that’s just displacing the Present into the realm of Desire, and barking until it comes true. See also, politics."

Apr 5, 2010

Improvised weaponry

"Barefoot" is pretty good wine for the money, and it doesn't suffer the ignominy of coming with a screw top. It closes with a "cork" of plastic or some such, and the thing looks durable enough to stand rough handling.

It mikes .8125. I'm looking for something in the shed with a .8125 ID. Then compressed air? Surgical tubing? Hair spray?

Look to your laurels, Dr. Strangegun.


This is just to keep the TMR author focused. It's repeated occasionally, and it has been too long.

There's a good deal of plain wise-assery in The McGee Reader, and no change is foreseen. But crude and vulgar bile promulgated to the public should rest on some kind of philosophical and intellectual basis, to wit:

Three kinds of people exist.

(1) authoritarians -- the stunted cretins who wish to use government to dictate the manner in which you live your life

(2) libertarians -- the opposite, believers in personal sovereignty who suspect that things like the United States Constitution mean pretty much what they say

(3) inerts -- those who, in return for potted chickens, put authoritarians in power

Apr 4, 2010

Easter 2010

To the men and women who carry a sense of Faith into adulthood, Happy Easter. May you be blessed.

For the rest, there is nothing in the Skeptic's Creed that prevents us from lifting our eyes and thinking a bit about renewal.

Apr 3, 2010

Oliver Stone, Leonard DiCaprio, and Travis McGee

I may be a little late to this party, but the entertainment reporters are saying Stone may direct "The Deep Blue Good Bye" which, at last report, was to use child actor DiCaprio as Travis McGee.

I suppose Stone is okay, but I still can't see DiCaprio as Trav, although it's probably a better match than the unholy stupidity of trying to make Dean Martin a credible Matt Helm.

"Deep Blue . ..,"(1964)i s the first McGee, and there is no Meyer. I can't imagine who Hollywood would have cast as that saint.
If it had been my Mom they criminalized worse than a violent street thug over a case of unauthorized goldfish mongering, I am afraid I might have reconsidered my essentially pacifist tendencies.

Why oh why are the British peasants not massing before No. 10 Downing, the Palace of Her current residence, and where ever the Hell Scotland Yard hangs out these days? Torches. Pitch forks. Recordings of Winston's 1939-41 speeches blaring over portable PA systems.

H/T to Tam

Terror in the Heartland

I have no explanation for it other than that we are being infiltrated by semi-sentient vertebrates deemed too kooky for San Francisco.

You'll recall that a few months ago a minor panic made big Iowa news when someone reported a suspicious bomb-like device in the road. It turned out to be a roadkill muffler.

Now come the media to report that the cops went full anti-terror tactical when a man in uniform and carrying a rifle was seen running through a field a couple of days ago.

The massed forces of law and order converged and discovered he was a National Guardsman on a training run. The AP says the cops "determined the rifle he was carrying was a training model and loaded."

You go ahead and figure that out. A loaded rubber duck?

Policeman Kelly Fitzpatrick said the soldier, "didn't use the amount of moxie and common sense that should be expected in the present day." If so, I personally assign the blame less to the soldier and more to the "present day."

If the terrorists' objective was to turn us into an a diapered nation with 911 tattooed on the backs of our hands and all the courage of Uncle Wiggly, they're succeeding admirably.