Jun 30, 2011

Too Much Giddyup, There, Your Honor?

All Iowa mourns the happenstance which might deprive us of the ability to see more of Judge Moore, the disrobed jurist who graces your comprehensive guide to GOP presidential  wannabees.


"While breaking our stud horse this weekend, Judge Moore was thrown and hit on his back. After visiting the doctor, he has broken and/or cracked ribs. "

That doctor must have a particularly objectionable bedside manner.

And it was an error for the spokesperson to specify that the horse was a stud. Vulgar language offends the puritans who determine whom we will permit you to vote for in the Holy Crusade to retire His Obamaness. The only acceptable usage to the Vander Plattsians  is "boy" horse.

No Cops; A Pilot Project in Texas

Having a little trouble with your city budget?  Fire all your cops as city bosses did in Alto, a community of about 1,200 in east Texas, roughly halfway between Dallas and Houston.

The Forbes writer who latched onto the story writes:

In the meantime, for protection against ne’er-do-wells, petty thieves and outright criminals, citizens of Alto will have to rely on the Cherokee County sheriff’s office, headquartered 12 miles away.

There is so much wrong with that, beginning with idiocy of policing the ne-ers.  If the five fired officers spent much time correcting Slim and Jake for idling away their days whittlin' on the court house lawn,  they weren't actually police, more like armed harassment agents for the  Calvinist class.

Then there's that strange distinction. Mr. Forbes-Writer, a petty thief IS an outright criminal.

I'm not all that worried about the safety of the good folks in Alto.  I'm no  Texan, but I've lived there. I'm still blessed with Texas friends. The first time I ever saw the window sign saying "We Don't Call 911"  was in Texas. 

A not-unusual mindset in that part of the world holds that a good cop can be handy to have around when  things go bad, but it isn't always that big a deal.  Dee Brown once wrestled  to the ground the myth about outlaws taking over the western town when the marshall  went on vacation. The most likely result of such a try was a set of coffins propped vertically for the convenience of the town photographer. Then the good citizens cleaned their  guns, put them away, and went back to their store-keepin', doctorin',  and whittlin'.

Alto hopes to hire its cops back in six months. but maybe they'll rethink. This could develop into a useful little experiment in anarcho-capitalism, nice Alto people going politely about their private affairs, not thinking much about the belt gun unless a clueless thug gives them reason to. 

Jun 29, 2011

Perhaps you can hear my heart pounding

Checking the market close I discovered a  Ruger press release. Gunland is graced with a new one -- the SR40c. It is an SR40 chopped down enough to earn the c, for concealable. See?

I can't begin to say how wonderful it is to have another plastic gun available.

I'll bet it shoots well enough for its intended purpose if I do my part.

Go Kiwis

If your social calendar shows August 13 open, you have two choices. Come to Iowa and get sunburned and bored at the Ames Straw Poll ...

... or hop a plane to Welllington, and join New Zealand libertarians for their conference at Mac's  Brewery.

Kiwi libertarian Sally  O'Brien's announcement tops anything we can offer

"Let it be known that Libertarianz can organise a piss-up in a brewery... or in fact anywhere."

Why can't we have leaders like that?

Drop the Coke bottle, Jorge

Imagine that, an "uncontacted" tribe. Two hundred people and not a single screen-printed tee shirt.

H/T to the author of The World's Greatest Travel Blog.

Jun 28, 2011

The Good Old Summer Time

No one was handy to take my picture, and I suppose that is a good thing. The internet is spared an image of me dripping an algae/water ooze while festooned with water weeds.

The lake rose so far that the dock was underwater and unusable. Since my native modestly rejects being called pierless,  I put on swim pants and flipper slippers and armed myself with two big wrenches to handle the hardware attaching deck to posts.

Six of the posts were in water not more than navel deep. The other two were in water to my neck. There's a certain leverage challenge in loosening rusty bolts at that level of bouyancy, but at least I'm in practice if NASA ever requires my assistance in a maintenance space walk on the  ISS.

Y'all can come fishin' up here now, y'hear?


Next challenge: See  if the new plug will make the Stihl run. EDIT: Beautifully.

Maybe she really does produce bat guano

Michelle was in Waterloo yesterday to announce she really and officially wants to be president of these 57 great states.

In presenting her qualifications, she allowed she was proud to be Waterloo-born,  just like John Wayne.

Ooops. She was perhaps thinking of John Wayne Gacy, who lived there for a while. The other one, the one who wore Stetsons and shot movie Indians, was born in Winterset, about 130 miles away.

"Hello Pentagon. This is President Bachmann, and I want you to bomb Ireland. No, wait, I mean Iceland ... errr, Iraq. Wait a minute.  We already bombed Iraq, I think. It's Iran. Yes. Iran. Bomb them."
This young man, 16, is one of the good ones, clean, neat, very smart, personable. So am I wrong in my despair because he didn't  know what a Vise-Grip was, or a Crescent wrench?

He's college-bound, of course, and may have been taught to disdain the kids who took "shop," as I was. But years later I found myself living in an enclave of graduate students. When we came back to our trailers from the library, or the seminars, or the part-time jobs, we were as likely as not to get out the tool box and fix the faucets or keep our ancient VW beetles  running. We considered that an annoying necessity, but not demeaning, and we were pleased to know how.

Jun 26, 2011


Among her other talents, Libby has just proven adept at scaring Hell out of the deer who chomp my little trees. That doe cleared a three-foot fence with at least three feet to spare, and I bet she's still running.

Fresh rawhide chewy for you, Little Miss.

Sunday Morning Observation

Eight business suits is too many. Finding long-forgotten funeral cards in two of them is depressing. So is the wedding program for people I didn't even like. Triage is underway.

Further,  I'll probably never get around to glung the sole back on the two-tone Sperry Topsiders. Out.

The Pendleton shirt needs dry cleaning.

Essentially, all this constitutes a recommendation against tidying up closets unless you're already grumpy. Why waste a good mood?

Jun 24, 2011

Turkeys in the straw (also Ron Paul)

If you like politics or political theatre it's time now to refresh your memory by heading over to the Wiki entry on the Ames Straw Poll.

It's a fund raiser for the Iowa GOP, but for a a couple of days on either side of Aug. 13, the world's media will treat it like the Oracle of Delphi.

Some bulletins from the initial skirmishing:

Ron Paul shelled out $31,000 for the most expensive tent site outside Hilton Coliseum. It is the same ground Mitt Romney used to win the straw poll and then cleverly lose the caucus race four years ago.

A candidate who wanted to remain secret wadded all the stepins at the tent auction in state GOP headquarters. The other candidate representatives stalked out in protest, and Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan then agreed to lift his veil. (Editorial comment: I doubt keeping his candidacy secret will greatly challenge Mr. McCotter. Nevertheless, he is being added to your crucial TMR candidate list.)

It costs $30 to vote in the poll, plus money to get your people from Manly and Fertile* to Ames. The Paul campaign has offered fork over $20 of the poll tax and is running some buses from the outlying provinces to Ames. It's a big bet by Paul  forces that he can show well enough that CNN quits calling him crazy.


*Real places, and we like remembering the headline in a weekly which said "Manly Man Marries Fertile Woman."

No, it's probably not a conspiracy of silence

I think the AP report on its own hot poll just reflects a headline mindset that that only the most fashionable candidates rate a mention. In this case that excluded Ron Paul from newsthink.

A fresh AP/GfK poll attempted to measure the favorability/unfavorability ratings of the "top" ten  GOP candidates, and Paul was included. The writer assigned to turn the poll into publishable words didn't think Paul's showing was newsworthy. The good doctor didn't rate even a nod.

The more detailed report -- unpublishable in general news files -- tells a different story. In total favorability ratings, Paul beats everyone in the field except Romney.  He beats Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich and the rest of the headliners.

Not surprisingly, he fares more poorly in the unfavorable category -- beating "only" Gingrich, Palin, and, err, Romney.  Twenty-one years of being snickered at folks who talk on the electric teevee channels will do that to a guy.

Caution: Polling geekery alert:

The news report in the first cite above uses numbers different from the raw poll results. The narrative story deals with favorability ratings among Republicans only, while the data  in the second covers opinions of all people polled.  The number-crunching methodology to get from one to the other isn't reported.  There's nothing necessarily sinister in that, and it doesn't alter the point that the news story contains a large black hole.

Jun 22, 2011

It's nice to be nice, but sometimes it's nicer to have a gun

The lady at the Kum and Go counter in Humboldt tried to be pleasant to the robber that night. He wanted smokes and cash. She handed them over. So he shot her dead.

He was in practice. An hour earlier he killed a another nice lady at an Algona convenience store. 

Of course this makes me think of a fellow luckier than the two unarmed convenience store clerks. That good citizen forgot to obey his employer's (Walgreen's) Compromise Policy. His punishment was less permanent.  

'course, the Humboldt/Algona killer kid (17) had a pretty good excuse. Earlier in his recent adventures he had swiped a pack of ramen noodles and feared getting caught. So he stole a family gun and his mom's SUV and took off for Mexico, or maybe Amsterdam, via my neighborhood.

And a technical note if you please: The first version of the Register story had the young man armed with a 40 mm handgun.  Bofor long, multiple layers of fact checking and editorial oversight  (which is to say a wry  reader comment) prompted a correction to .40 caliber. 

Pixie Dust

The baited* breath of Chairman Bernanke is due to be expelled  at 2:15 p.m. in his second-ever press conference as Fed boss. The presser follows a  12:15 p.m. interest-rate release from  the FOMC, (an acronym for the Federal Payday Loan Committee).

Ordinary folks like you and me await all this with bated breath. We have played along with the Fed's monetary gag for so long that, like it or not, we have a personal stake, survival, in the Charminization-rate of the American dollar.

I'm going to suggest a certain questioning attitude in listening to Ben. As he speaks, try to get a handle on just how he proposes to continue printing our way to something a majority of American voters will accept as "prosperity."

There's something to be said for the view that it's already too late, but Ben has to try. He has formidable enemies in the welfare classes as represented by vote whores in our legislatures and executive mansions. Further, he may have an enemy in his personal economic dogma. As smart as he is, the man's soul is larded with Keynes as propagandized by Samuelson.

And he is very smart. So are his fellow Federal Reserve Board governors. They're too bright to bless policy which they expect could lead to an American Weimar --  inflation coming at lightning speed and increasing exponentially.

(The German currency stabilized after the Armistice at something like 60 marks per American (gold- and silver-backed) dollar. That in itself represented massive inflation, but at least it held until June of 1921.  That summer brought further bad policy which devalued the mark to about 320  per dollar in September. By December, 1922,  it took 8,000 marks to buy one Greenback.

(Translate the number to the United States, 2011, and use our favorite benchmark, the price of bacon, now about $5 per pound.  That Weimarization level would boost it to $666 per pound. Your grandma starves. Your kids resemble the photos from Biafra, 1967-70.)

And that will not happen in the United States. The Washington, D.C. powers in which Ben is embedded understand that that level of misery would lead to a United States version of the putsches. Someone will remind them of the Reichstag elections of April 10, 1932.

The president, whomever he might be at the time, and all our subordinate electees could not endure in the face of that kind of upheaval short of trying to impose martial law upon a people less docile than the demoralized and defeated Germans.

So summon up what optimism you can and, for the time being, rule out the sort of hyper-paced borrowing and printing that would, in a relative eye blink, instigate the putsches.

Instead, watch for Ben's hints at something as bad, but en route on slower train, possibly buying enough time to tinker the economy back into something viable for another generation or two.

How much room does he weasel for a QE3 and a QE4? How much of our problem does he blame on, say,  Greece rather than Washington and the 50 state capitols? How does he explain the 50-1 leverage of his balance sheet? How forcefully will he hammer home to the political masters that they have long since bought the last vote we can afford?


*Correct. Baited with, among  many other adulterants,  a concoction of unicorn methane, pixie dust, smoke, mirrors, and ethanol subsidies

Jun 21, 2011

The Magnificent Seven

Some very alluring ankles here.

I can't find enough resolution to say much about the rifles.  They look Mauser-y. The knockout on the  second from left bears one with a finger-grooved stock.  Third from left, a lady sports a chic fabric forearm  accessory.

EDIT: Pardner JohnW found a much better repro. 

Jun 20, 2011

Oh For Gawd's Sake, Another One

George Pataki has been background noise for a while now, even as he digs his toe into the dirt and aww schuckses that he ain't about to try to be president. Jist yet, anyhoo.

 But today he spat on his hand and patted down the cowlick.

He's here. He's making a speech. He also narrating a new Iowa cable teevee ad saying we're spending too much money. And he's having breakfast with Governor Branstad tomorrow. Reporter Jennifer Jacobs made me smile with:

 He delicately expressed some discontent with the current lineup of candidates.

Just like us. We often express delicate discontent with nose warts, don't we?

(Dr. Paul and Gov. Johnson are excepted, of course.)

We'll watch the George show a while before we put him on the official candidate list.


One of the dynamics here is deep concern by the Iowa political class is that that our caucuses are beginning to produce more yawns than a Joe Biden speech. I think I see a quietly desperate move by the GOP pros to do anything they can to return to those thrilling days when Iowa was the center of the universe. Padding the candidate field is one way to do that, and I'm thinking of having New Dog Libby call a presser to announce that she will make a decision in July.  

Pretty Horses

... but they don't come with the property.

The post is motivated mostly by Stranded who has recently found his land, an idyllic spot with timber, a stocked pond. and room to shoot.

I'm still looking for a detached annex to Camp J.  I already have fish and timber, but the neighbors would probably bitch if I set up a shooting range or if I decided to take my morning coffee on the deck in my delicate things.

This one is nice, but the odds of actual purchase are about 69-1 against.  It's 100 miles too far away, near the land of my extreme youth.  If it were closer, I would be in city clothes right now,  negotiating with the real-estate doowops.


The horses remind me of some survivalism matters. I've previously unloaded my opinion that the best bugout bag is one you can live in and roam on. But if some  extended social upheaval required me to take to the hills,  I'd want a sturdy gelding  and a pack mule far more than I'd want a Land Rover. For one thing, they're more fun to talk to. For another, they don't strand you with an empty tank . For still another,  they rarely fail from a blown digital whazis.

Jun 19, 2011

Sarah Palin note

The media orgasm over Michelle Bachmann's debate performance at St. Anselm's  has made Sarah a little less likely to run. After all, how many ammo girls can one campaign support?

(Michelle didn't stimulate my base instincts. Far as I could tell all she did was avoid having George Washington free the slaves.)

When Perry finally stops being coy, his official presence will add another challenge to any thoughts Palin might have of running.

But she remains on the list of caucus possibles. This woman is a genius at keeping her name recognition at a Paris Hilton level, and I think she harbors a secret dream.

The GOP caucuses and primaries run their course and result in political chaos, leading to an actively contested 2012 Republican National Convention. She emerges    as the compromise nominee. Then she goes to Alaska to shoot a moose and look at Russia.

Ooooh! We got Rick! -- Iowa Caucuses 2012

Poor Texas. For years it has had Perry all to itself. Now it has to share.

The Texas governor played the beg-me game to perfection, and it probably didn't hurt  that even the GOP establishment -- a group ordinarily immune to embarrassment -- was retching at the candidate crop.

Now, Rick hasn't made it final. His designated spokesfella says he has to send his legislature home, then think about it some more, then go have the healers fix his back a little. Then maybe he'll come and talk to us about hogs and corn and moral purity. Probably he wants us to beg just a little more. 

He began political life as a Democrat. Then, Glory, Glory He Saw The Light and/or Hired a Better Pollster

Since joining the GOP he's been a mixed bag but, in general, just one of your mill-run neocons. Rick will sometimes recognize your pockets are not bottomless,  but he's even more anxious to announce what should be legal and what must be proscribed on and under your bedroom percale.

He finds it worth noting in his Wiki entry that he was an Aggie Yell Leader. Other universities might have called him a cheer leader, but, y'know, Texans are different.

(Personally, and this is just an aside, I've wondered  at this business of male morale boosters on the sidelines.  There are other possibilities, but maybe A and M doesn't have enough coeds with ammo-girl legs. Or maybe they're limiting their T and A  display in order to broaden football demographics down there and  attract more ladies to the sport. )

But back to Rick's intellectual and political qualifications, also from his Wiki piece is this about his college years:

"He interned with the Southern Company during the summer time as a door to door book salesman where he honed his communication skills."

This makes my day so much brighter.


Your  vital guide to the candidates courting  Iowa indigenous personnel has been updated. It also requires a slight modification to reflect that some of them say they won't woo us. Don't take that too literally. It really means that they'll show up at our door with fake flowers and a box of WalMart chocolates. Cheapskates.

Herding the Elephants -- Iowa Caucuses 2012

(Bumped up, just for convenience.)

Even dedicated political geeks have a hard time keeping track of all the White House hopefuls trying out their pickup lines in Iowa. For one thing, it is hard to find a complete list of the serious, semi-serious,  and loony  trying on overalls and looking for a comfortable hay-bale perch.  So, here's an alphabetical list of these statesmen as culled from published sources, but I haven't gotten around to ferreting out all of the more obscure dimwaddiedoowops yet. 


--Michele Bachmann, 55,  congresswoman, Minnesota

--(OUT) Haley Barbour, 64, Mississippi governor (Dropped out April 25)

--John Bolton,  63, former ambassador, Bush II's point man in Iraq

--Herman Cain, 66, Godfather's Pizza

-- (OUT) Mitch Daniels, 62, Indiana governor (dropped May 21)

--John Davis of Grand Junction, Colorado, lumber yard owner, builder (added May 3)

--Newt Gingrich,  68, former U.S. House speaker, Georgia

--(OUT) Mike Huckabee, 56, former Arkansas governor, Fox teevee star (dropped May 15)

--Jon Huntsman, 51, former Utah governor,  ambassador to China

--Gary Johnson, 43, former New Mexico governor (added April 22)

--Fred Karger, California, GOP politcal consultant, openly gay. (Added August 14)

--Thaddeus George "Thad" McCotter, 45,  Michigan congressman (added June 24)

--Judge Roy Moore, 64, disrobed, two-time loser for Alabama governor  (added May 19)

--Sarah Palin,  47, former Alaska governor, VP candidate 2008

--(OUT) George Pataki, 66, former New York governor. (Added august 25 and dropped August 26)

--(OUT) Rand Paul, 48, Kentucky U.S. senator (if  his dad opts out).  (Dropped April 26 in anticipation of Ron's formal "in" announcement)

--Ron Paul, 75, Texas congressman, former LP presidential candidate

--Tim Pawlenty,  51, former  Minnesota governor (Dropped August 14; withdrew after Ames straw poll)

--(OUT)  Mike Pence, 52, Indiana congressman (dropped May 15)

--Rick Perry, 61, Texas governor, (added June 19)

--Buddy Roemer, 68, former Louisiana governor

--Mitt Romney, 64, former Massachusetts governor

--Rick Santorum,  53, former U.S. senator, Pennsylvania

--( OUT?) John thune, South Dakota senator. (Dropped from list,with reservations, May 21)

--(OUT) Donald Trump, 65, businessman, casino operator, teevee star (dropped May 16) 


The list will change, and I'll try to keep it more or less up to date.

EDIT: May 5:Red ink identifies those who bailed after having been considered players or possibles.  I thought of just deleting them, but that seems so cold.

EDIT: John Thune was Xed out May 21. He said in February he wouldn't run, but the weasel words(not planning at this time, etc.)suggested he desired begging. No one has  begged yet,  and he hasn't been spotted scouting our hog lots, so TMR crosses him off with the caution that things are silly enough that he might change his mind.)

Jun 17, 2011

The Elephant Grave Yard; Iowa Caucuses 2012

Your indispensable guide to whom we sanctified Iowans will permit you to vote for hasn't been updated for a while. It's still fairly valid -- at least as valid as the  hyperactive press prose we get every four years.

(Find what irony you will in the reams of published copy saying that our caucuses are no longer relevant.  If we don't matter so much -- and we don't -- wouldn't it be more reasonable to just shut up for a few news cycles?)

Perry of Texas is making draft-me noises. So is Christie of Joisey. (Perry can be expected to make disapproving cluck-cluck noises about the national obesity scandal. Chris can't.)

I'll be fiddling with the list  pretty soon, maybe adding some qualitative annotations,  but for now it's okay.

Pastoral matters

If the rain holds off for another couple of hours I can get the place mowed. If not, there will be pressure to rename it Shaggy Acres. At least the Great Saturation of 2011 makes it unnecessary to water the tomatos, horseradish, and chives.

And speaking of farming, I wouldn't get too excited about that solid Senate repudiation of ethanol subsidies yesterday. It's part of one of those pretend bills which is going no where except into campaign talking points.  Likewise its death blow to ethanol import  taxes. The welfare queens of corn  will not be denied  their ethanol cocktails stirred -- not shaken -- with a golden straw.

Besides, if you read the reports even half carefully, a goodly slice of whatever money might be saved through reducing the direct subsidies would be re-shoveled into making you finance new E85-ready fuel pumps at the BP station near you. (Boot on their neck my ass, Mr. President.)  One senator called it a necessary addition to our "infrastructure."

Jun 15, 2011

Don't Tell Me I'm Not Green

Green flora control

Green pest control


As Cowboy Blob, proprietor of  The Saloon of 1,000 Delights, says, "Nothing runs like a Deere."  It is to him I owe the pistol photo.

(The twin JD318 tractors belong to the Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant. They are assigned to the  Base Maintenance Detachment, of which I am the garrison.)

Comment of the Day

Tam has a riff on the feds banning rat poison, and commenter  RJC said:

I was shopping for some rat poison. One brand said it killed rats up to 8 weeks. I told the sales clerk I was looking for something more permanent.

Jun 14, 2011

Ron Paul

I never intended this blog to hump for a candidate, but I think I'll make an exception.

Last night at St. Anselm's, Paul set himself apart. He said the American misery of 2011 is the logical result of 70 years of debasing the currency. He said the  current crisis was predictable and certainly meant that it was predictable at any moment of the seven-decade runup to Weimar.

He also said the solution to the housing crises is to quit calling it a crisis.  He said government should butt out and let home values fall to their actual worth, at which point they would find buyers and thus erase the market hangover of a million-plus "lender-owned" houses.

He said other things meant to engage the intellect of voters so equipped.

Too few, of course.

Don Quixote

Jun 13, 2011

Is this the person to whom I AM speaking?

There's one of those memes going around --"How old are you?" One of the questions asks if you have ever used a phone without a dial. Sure, in fact,:

"Numbuh plee-uz?"

"Seven-three-five, please""

"Oh, you want Miss Clooney. She's not home. I just saw her go into Jackson's grocery store. Shall I ring her there?"

"Yes, it's kind of important."


(buzzz  buzzz buzz)


Re-constructed from memory of a tale told by an aunt.

Sale! Belgian Browning pistols -- only 27 gallons of gasohol

The great Waterloo gas for guns extravaganza is history after a scant 40-minute run.

Stranded in Iowa, to whom a hat tip, suggests some of us crazy gun freaks get into the business of relieving citizens of those lethal weapons which kill people and cute kitten all by themselves. We should do it for the children.

Jun 12, 2011

The Walgreen Compromise

Jeremy Hoven is the on-duty pharmacist at Walgreen's in Benton Township, Michigan.  It's the middle of the graveyard shift, 4:30 a.m. Two armed guys walk in.  One of them jumps over the counter and throws down on Jeremy.

Jeremy first tries to call 911, then decides this is one of those cases where the cops might not get there before the excited miscreant decides to shoot. He is legally carrying his own pistol. He pulls and shoots. The robbers run away. A handful  of customers and other employees are likely saved from unpleasantness. So is Jeremy, except for the unpleasantness of being fired for his quick thinking and, yeah, dammit, I'll use the word, courage.

The cops praised him. Benton citizens praised him. Walgreens canned him.

Walgreen's won't say whether it forbids  employees to be armed. Their flack tells reporters it's a secret but that they "discourage" it.

"Store employees receive comprehensive training on our robbery procedures and how to react and respond," (the flack) wrote. Walgreens' approach is "endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects. Compromise is safer."

There you go, Mr. and Mrs.Thug. Official company policy says it's safe to rob your neighborhood Walgreen's.They do ask you to rob nicely, however, in a spirit of compromise.

Jun 11, 2011

The Grand Alliance

Congressman Weiner has found an ally in Congressman Charlie Rangel. You'll remember Charlie as the New York leader famous for announcing, "Aww, c'mon you guys. I didn't really take all that much." The AP reports:

Rangel suggested that other members of Congress had done things more immoral than Weiner. (Which is probably true. TMR).  Rangel said Weiner "wasn't going with prostitutes. He wasn't going out with little boys."

That amuses me as a new standard for congressional purity. If you avoid pederasty, and if you can get laid without a cash outlay, you're a credit to the ruling class.  Call it the Rangel Rule.

Bacon, curried on the hoof

I must be sick. Despite foul weather I am unable to summon up the bile, scorn, and hatred necessary for socially useful blogging. It is a serious case, friends; if I had a  copy of The Sound of Music I would watch it.

Hence this morning's link, to a genuine feel-good story about some diligent kids unafraid of actual work, not panicked at the thought of getting their hands dirty as they prepare for a life's working putting bacon next to our over-easies.

One of the nice things is that any nose rings present would be on the hogs. Another is the illustration that bacon can be beautiful even when  still in its oinking and grunting stage.

Jun 8, 2011

Pinocchio Obama

He earns three Pinocchios, actually, as even the Washington Post calls His Obamaness a liar. The fact-check  covers the president's recent oral fantasy about what a good job he personally did in saving the American auto industry.

Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.

The news you can use from this is that Chrysler and GM have not and probably never will return all of the money they extorted from you.


It is absolutely stunning in the literal sense of the term.

Tam ferrets out a SWAT raid on the erstwhile home of a woman who hasn't repaid her student loan.

The jack-booted perp of the 6 a.m. raid? The United States Department of Education.  Its agents  manhandled and imprisoned the man of the house in a patrol car for six hours even though he wasn't who they were looking for. It was his estranged wife. His three kids were also tossed into the hot car.


I have always tried to squelch hot-headed cries to water the tree of liberty, post haste. The Stockton travesty makes such advice decidedly questionable.


UPDATE, thanks to our friend DirtCrashr: A DOE flack says the raid was not related to a defaulted student loan, but to some unspecified criminal investigation. This doesn't change much. It remains a botched,  violent home invasion where a father and his three kids were terrorized because some entirely different person was suspected of some unspecified crime, almost certainly a nonviolent one.

A Litte VVSOP at the Tea Party

Seems that some of our new small-government Tea Partiers have discovered the joy of the good life on your dime.

There are numerous candidates for a Golden Fleece award, but I like:

Texas Rep. Francisco Canseco spent $75,000 on a one-year contract with CampaignGrid LLC, a company that describes itself as “the online advertising platform for candidates and causes" ....to advertise town halls and telephone town halls and has served to publicize the congressional art competition for the West Texas lawmaker.

(I  doubt Rep. Weiner's contribution to the photographic arts was part of the official congressional art competition, but you never know.) 

Otherwise, the laundry list of happily spent tax money on personal promotion and perks is pretty much business as usual,  such as early campaign mailings magically tabbed  "policy" or "constituent services"pieces so they than be franked. There are some pricey car leases, also for constituent service, you bet. 

Paraphrasing Leona Helmsley, frugality is for little people.

Of COURSE I feel a certain amount of vindication.

Jun 6, 2011

A small part of the American legacy; may we deserve it

I like to think it was taken by a U.S. PFC from the remains of a particularly brutal SS officer on this date 67 years ago.


Serial on the PPk indicates  April, 1940, manufacture, putting it very near the end of the so-called "high-polish" era. The holster is 1936, from Kern Klager & CIe., Berlin.


The state of Iowa allegedly has about $20 million in the tax kitty yielded by our casino and socialized lotteries.* The slush fund is searing the pockets of our light-rail enthusiasts, particularly  Democrat State Senator Matt McCoy.

The (Iowa?) DOT tells us that for every dollar we invest in passenger rail, we’re going to get a $2.37 return from the federal government’s investment,” McCoy said.

The McCoy argument illustrates another reason we are broke. He reasons that Unicorn Rail is justified because we would be using Iowa tax money to extort cash from citizens elsewhere (albeit via a federal government  perfectly willing to facilitate the wealth redistribution).

He doesn't seem to think it might be worthwhile to investigate whether anyone to speak of would ride the damned thing. Or who would  pay to maintain it.

Matt, old buddy, what you're actually hustling here is a Cabrini Green on steel wheels.


*Iowa, Home of the Sanctified, bought into legal socialized gambling a few decades ago because we were promised it would pay for our schools, bye-bye high property taxes to support teachers' unions.  We sure are surprised it didn't work out quite like that.

Jun 5, 2011

Attention Photography Geeks: A bleg

I have a large collection of glass plates c. 1880-1910, almost certainly the work of a professional.  About a hundred are 5 x 7, shot in my area. Another hundred or so are 4 x 5 and appear from some one's traditional grand tour of Europe. (In those days 4X5 *was* a candid format.)

I printed many of them before the death of film and chemicals moved me to dismantle my lab. I've decided they all need to be scanned and preserved.

So the bleg is for counsel on hardware, scanners, printers, and software to do the job with computers I have -- Mac desktop and laptop, old but at least running OS10.

Many of them are excellent quality and deserve some expense. On the other hand, I'm not willing to mortgage Camp J. (I might, however, be willing to offer a distressingly peripatetic lab/wiemaraner cross as security; she just found another dead carp down by the lake.)

Or would it be better to find professional to do the scanning? I can happily devote hours to polishing a lethal weapon for the bluing tanks, but my patience for digitalis doesn't extend nearly so far. Whaddya think?

Jun 4, 2011

Hank Rhon, former mayor of Tijuana, all-around billionaire, and scion of the party bosses who destroyed Mexico over decades of corrupt socialist rule, was tossed in the juzgado on gun charges. Federales say they found 88 guns and 9,288 rounds of ammunition.

Errrrm, that amounts to about 106 rounds per gun. What a piker.


Afterthought: "corrupt socialist?"  I repeated myelf.

Jun 3, 2011

Paradise intensified

Not to mention that I have this hour sold the old Dixon ZTR 4421 for the asking price.

Bless internet classified ads. Bless the few remaining back-yard mechanics who like to tinker with machinery which "needs a little repair." (That phrase is usually one of the Three Great Lies, but at least in this case I described every flaw I could think of in the old girl. She was, by the way, the last of three or four Dixons who contributed to the respectability of the Camp J Greensward.)

Now, off to beautify the weedy patch where she has idled away the seasons since before anyone ever heard of the Tea Party.

The unthinking writer

June 1-3, inclusive has been  too pleasant to spoil with vile thoughts brought on by examining the fools who would rule us. Thus I leave it  to you good folks to keep your boots on the necks of our political masters. Do it . After all, it is for the children.

43.31 N by 95.18 E, has been rain-free most of the week, and Camp J at last bears a springtime shine, thanks in part to the lucky find of another John Deere 318 which reduces mowing time to a couple of hours while leaving the other one outfitted with its dozer blade for pushing things around.  A hideous corner of  the place is being tidied.

And the main F150 is again seaworthy at smaller expense than I feared, meaning I can park the small emergency backup F150.  And New Dog Libby hasn't escaped to the swamp for a full 24 hours. So this morning I am with Sidney Harris: "When I hear somebody sigh, "Life is hard," I am always tempted to ask, "Compared to what?"

Jun 1, 2011

Back to beautiful basics

Sometimes I get tired trying to make sense of the  government loonies. So back to basics, to the TMR I intended -- libertarian thought as revealed to the perceptive mind through exploring guns, dogs, and women who manage allure even with privacies decently covered.

Lessee, there are bad girls...


Cute Luddite  girls...


And girls with dogs and guns.

Woman with rifle and dog
Be still my beating heart.

Do you believe? Really believe?

It isn't this morning's ADP report holding that the recovery is a politcally inspired myth.  Every hour brings reams of such excited reports about whether we were up or down last month or last quarter. Or, Hell,  in the time elapsed since you wiped and stepped into your shower this morning.

In and of themselves they serve mostly as marketing bullshit designed earn broker commissions by persuading the gullible to get into or out of one stock, bond, option or another -- what ever the brokers behind the reports are pushing.  "Quick, Widget is up and the Zloty is down. Time to make a move, Bunkie."

But taken over a long time, they get amalgamated into a database which can be sensibly interpreted. As  Michale Penta does in explaining his view  there is almost certainly a QE3 in our futures.  QE3?  It's the third round of "Quantitative Expansion," weasel words for massive money printing.

Penta dissects the Federal Reserve promise to defend the dollar by beginning to soak up a tiny bit of the extra funny money it created and distributed during QE1, QE2, and the earlier bailouts and giveaways to the too-biggies-to-failies.

To do that, the Fed must sell something. Trouble is, it has nothing much  to sell. It is leveraged about 50 to 1, meaning it already owes $50 for every $1 it possesses.

Through quantitative easing efforts alone, Ben Bernanke has added $1.8 trillion of longer term GSE debt and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). (In fact, the Fed now holds more of these mortgage instruments than their entire balance sheet before the crash.) 

Conceptually, it is no different from cleaning out your kitchen miscellaneous junk drawer and hoping the contents will pawn for enough to pay off your Lexus. 

And yes, the Fed does in fact count as an asset the mortgage your idiot brother-in-law left behind when he finally found a stripper desperate enough to run off to Mexico with him.


So what?

So it explains why the dollar bill which a few years ago would buy a pound of nice bacon will now buy three thin slices of nitrated pig fat with a thin red line inked on. (Buy bacon today; tomorrow it will be two slices.)

For those of you with little confidence in the coming QE3

Ever since I decided to begin accumulating ammunition as a minor protection against currency devaluation, I've had a weird ambition.

I would create an alternate form of money based on the .22 long rifle 36-grain hollow point, still  available at WalMart for  .0389 cent per round. I would repackage them in five- and  ten -round lots and offer them as a Liberty Quarter and a Liberty Half. (Or I might  immodestly deem them TMR coins. That would, as a matter of euphony, make them "Teemers" in the vernacular or better yet -- as a tribute  to the sane side of the Tea Party -- "Teamers." The Teamer Two (bits) and the Teamer four (bits). Perhaps eventually a Teamer Buck and Teamer Fin would evolve. Yes,Teamers.)

The only thing which has stopped a tiny experiment in the business model is my inability to find clear and cheap-enough plastic packages to contain the cartridges in a rattle-free manner. In truth, I haven't looked all that hard, but the incessant reports of plummeting  paper money might move me to intensify the search.

The Teamers would be everything Ben money is not. They have inherent utility; you can always shoot them.  They are backed by -- in fact made of -- commodities which will always be in demand. They and their value are instantly recognizable.  There is no chance of profitable counterfeiting. Even Bernanke would have a hard time  taking over and accelerating the machinery needed to produce ammunition. (Besides, Senator Schumer wouldn't approve.)

I would try the Teamers first in their natural habitats, gun shows and gun shops. I see a four-ounce can of gun oil I want and  offer two Teamer Fours, maybe plus a loose round or two for lagniappe or to cover the sales tax.

Yes, bulk is a problem, but, then, wheelbarrows were a popular item in Weimarville. It can be worked out at least until the Teamer catches on to the point of huge transactions being denominated in the stable new money.  This is actually an opportunity. A fresh market could then be developed in warehouse receipts for Teamers. From that could come Teamer futures markets, then options and other derivatives on Teamer futures. Then a Federal Reserve Note promising to pay to the bearer on demand one or more Teamers.

This is getting exciting. Why, by the time of the second Chelsea Clinton Administration the concept could expand to include other calibers. Imagine, credit default swaps and arbing momentary price inefficiencies between, say, the .22 long rifle and .380 ACP full metal jacket.