Dec 31, 2011

Iowa Poll Results

Our libertarian is No. 2, two points behind Mitt's hair. It's the famous statistical tie.

Santorum is 3rd at 15. Newt is No. 4 with 13.7. Another stat tie.

In Order:

Romney 24

Paul 22

Santorum 15

Gingrich 13.7

Perry 11

Bachmann 7

Hunstman NR

Bated Breath (2), Iowa Caucuses 2012

In an hour we'll get the important pollster's final guess on how well the libertarian idea is selling in Iowa. Ann Selzer runs the Iowa Poll, and her operation was the  best predictor four years ago. It's paid for by the predictably statist Des Moines Register, but the little green editors there seem to leave Ann alone. They follow the Mark Twain dicta of journalism: "Get your facts first, then you can twist them as much as you want."

Ron Paul has been holding his own despite being outed as an insane anti-semitic racist who wants to spread the American legs wide for penetration by all those nasty foreigners  -- Arabs,  Commies,  Zoroastrians and so forth. His plan to use the 82nd Airborne as school-crossing guards has hurt him  especially badly. But he perseveres as No.1 or 2 --  more or less tied with Mitt Romney in the other polls.

Rick Santorum has emerged as the sort-of concensus candidate for those who think we'll get to heaven by peeping in one another's windows and reporting abominations to the proper authorities.

I'll pass on the poll results here, even though they'll be all over the media within minutes.

N.B. -- Even though Ann is considered damn good at her job, polling a universe as tiny and flighty as 90,000 - 120,000 expected caucusoids  is a major challenge.

Forced to bet right now, my limited-confidence guess of the poll results is:

1. Romney

2. Paul (or in a statistical dead heat with Mitt)


4. Gingrich

...followed by those who no longer matter.

The Montezuma Two-Step

Our hunk of Interstate 80 has three great qualities.

First, it's a rapid way of getting out of Iowa, albeit by the least interesting route available. (Eastbound, it also ejects you into the maws of Illinois SSR commissars.)

Second, it is America's most incontinent-friendly route.  In the 1950s and '60s, someone was having a sale on pissoirs and palaces to house them, and we planted them wholesale.  At the posted speed limit you are never more than 27 minutes from  relief. Back when our sappy official motto was "A Place to Grow ," a legislator grumpy about the cost of maintaining the "rest areas" said we should change it to "A Place to Go."

Third, it takes you within a few miles of Montezuma and (Mystery Revealed!)...

Where you may sit in a somewhat sterile front area, wander through the catalogs, and fill out your order.

And where you may peek through a window at, but not fondle,  Brownell's goodies.

And after your order is quickly processed by an extremely pleasant and efficient Iowa lady, you get to put your new essentials into your Homey Roller, bow to the Temple of Shooty Mammon, and be on your way to less interesting places.

It isn't as much fun as rummaging through Herter's during it's year-long quitting -business sale, but it's warmer than mail order, and you are permitted to discuss things with actual humans who are blessed with good sense. For example, I wanted a pint of magic cold blue, but they were out of the pint-sizes and had only the little four-ounce bottles at a roughly 50 per cent higher unit cost. I wondered if Brownell's might agree to sell me four 4-oz bottles at the pint price.  A quick phone call from the aforementioned nice lady to her boss yielded an instantaneous "yes," and she seemed as pleased as I was.

Good folks there in Montezuma. Stop by and say hi when you're in the area.

Oh. And, in case we Iowa taxpayers didn't afford you enough places to pee, be advised that Brownell's also offers gratis urinal access. Free Markets to the rescue again.

Hustling Newt Gingrich

On second thought, I'm glad the Des Moines Register doesn't fritter away money on copy editing. Curmudgeons wielding pencils deprive the world of laughter.


Newt was hustling Iowans. A homeless woman decided to tell him her sad story and began:

“This is difficult so bare with me.” 

At least she was speaking to the candidate most likely to respond, "Sure. Your place or mine?"

Dec 29, 2011

Jiggity Jig

...356.8 miles, almost non-stop; just three pit stops, including a gasup.

... plus one other refreshing pause unrelated to bladders, human or canine. I leave it as a deep secret until the morrow.  I now totter off to my pallet, hoping I hit it on the way down.

I will hint only that few places in the world approach this mystery site as a Mecca for those whose blood is fearfully diluted with Hoppe's No. 9.

Dec 26, 2011

Advice to young men

Written as I button up the place for a short holiday trip. The house sitter and her puppy  ("Sic," of large German heritage, including a 1939-ish German personality) are on the way.

Assembling the pocket things I carry on the road, it occurred to me that I might pass on a serious word or two of counsel to young folks venturing out into the civilized world of 21st Century America.

1. Never flash money. A wad tempts the morons who still believe American Federal Reserve Cartoons are worth stealing. They tend to be armed, if only with shanks they learned about watching "Lockup." It's better to look not worth bothering about as you pay for your Coke in the convenience store.  If you must carry large cash in a money clip, shield the 20s and 50s with a fews ones on the outside. (A side note on linguistics. This is the reverse of the "Kansas City Wad.")

2.  A good place for your real wallet is locked away in your vehicle.  When I'm in on the street in Injun Country like Washington, D.C. or Illinois, I like to carry a fancy one of imitation leather holding a couple of long-expired credit cards, six ones,  two fives,  and home-made IDs saying my name is Newton Perry Bachmann and listing an address at least 100 miles from Camp J.

3. Dress is a challenge. You want to look respectable enough to get decent treatment from the clerks and bureaucrats with whom you must deal but, again, too poor to  look profitable to the lurking goblin in the parking lot. I tend to go with clean jeans past their prime,  dirty tennies, and a completely noncommttal shirt. Mustard is a nice color for the latter.  (Avoid new Air Jordans at any cost.)

All this -- plus trying to keep my head out of my butt  --  helps my confidence that the .45 can stay comfortably hidden. Having one is a comfort. Using it exposes a guy to all sorts of inconvenience.

Happy trails.


Dec 25, 2011

The Pleasures of the Season to You

I celebrate the day by wrapping gifts and finding the stocking stuffers.

The TMR blood family is scattered, and schedules make it somewhat unusual for us to get together on the actual, official Day. It's a blessing in a way. It gives me an extra day or two to compensate for my habits of procrastination.

For all of you -- gathered with family today or not  -- I send wishes for serenity. May the  little ones enjoy the magic, the big ones at least a simple day of peaceful respite.

Merry Christmas, Friends.

Dec 24, 2011

Sons of Guns and the BATF

In re: Red Jacket Armory and Soap Opera; BATFEieio; Discovery Channel;  Sons of Guns.

Retaining my general view that anything Holder's Batfee does will be an affront to civil liberties and logical throught processes, I can't  whip up much excitement about this one.

For one thing it's a chore to figure out who did what to whom and who still owns what ever is left of the company. Don't tell me. Don't care.

For another, my tolerance for contrived drama has faded to zero since the days when I got puckerbutted about whether Trigger would untie Roy in time to escape the murderin' rustlers. And whether Tonto could really pull the Lone Ranger and Silver out of the quicksand under a hail of  Comanche arrows.

'course, there was that great episode on mounting a couple of M242s and a grenade launcher on the sherf's river boat. That'll  learn them catfish poachers and pot puffers a  thing ot two.

(Two) -- John D. MacDonald, Jesus,and the Iowa Caucuses 2012

Part One of this little essay was inspired by a serous squabble in the political-huckster subset of organized Iowa Christendom. It is a fuss about "pay-for-my-pulpit" questions.

Dissension rules the pews. Then high priests and ward heelers in the Temple of the Van Der Platas Peeps are torn among the GOP candidates. Who, among Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum, is sufficiently sanctified to qualify for a temp job administering the government of the United States?

The schism threatens the temporal ambitions of high deacons. If their sheep cannot be driven to unity, the movement's caucus endorsements become a swill too weak to propel the self-appointed deacons to the worldly status of a Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell, or Jimmy Swaggart before he was caught one-handed.

The ambitious Bob Van Der Plaats leads the umbrella political/evangelical organization, The Family Leader.  He has three times run for governor and lost --  once on a platform including outlawing gay marriage by administrative decree. His single success came in an off-year of defeat three Iowa Supreme Court justices  who were part of a unanimous decision that a state gay-marriage ban violated the state Constitution.

(His signature concern is a nation of well-policed orifices.)

Ousting the judges was enough to keep him on Page One and nourish his lust to be a presidential kingmaker. And to some day have a national teevee co-preacher  built along the lines of Salome, or perhaps Tammy Faye? To have his very own Heritage USA, speaking of Mrs. Bakker?


2011 has not been good to Mr. Van Der Plaats. There are simply too many  theocratic panderers on the caucus stage, each with unswayable ardents, making a Van Der Plaats blessing a case of "So what?" And that he can not abide, so he  took action, and here's where things get murky.

He personally endorsed Santorum. He may or may not have put a price tag on his anointment.  One million dollars is the usually reported number for the alleged heist attempt. Van Der Plaats says he didn't do it, but even if he did it was simply money necessary to "promote" his  decision.

About the same time, he rang up the Bachmann campaign. Again, what he asked or offered is foggy. He did, or did not demand she withdraw in favor of Santorum. He denies it. Others claim otherwise.

He said. She said. All in the name of a holy outcome on the night of January  3.


Political sausage is ugly enough in its secular form, and it is not improved by random ingredients from every denominational hustler who claims to be first on God's speed-dial list.

If we continue to confuse a government with a religion we can confidently predict a future federal law specifying the number of virgins we must sacrifice to make it rain.

Dec 23, 2011

To arms! Man the barricades! Save the '03 Springfields!

For decades the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad has been honoring deceased veterans with the hallowed three-volley rifle salute. As a matter of tradition and preference it has used the United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903.

Now some tax-sucking  Sad Sack furshlugginer chair-warming feather merchant gold brick of an REMF wants to take the '03 Springfields back and give the boys them  new-fangled M1 Garands.

Give up that soothing "snickity-snack-smack" of a well-lubed and competently handled '03 action?  Suffer the  excruciating pain of the M1 thumb? All because some moldy asshole found an old rule in a stupid book in  perfidious Washington?

"No!"  says the hand-picked,all-volunteer squad, and "No!" say we.

Resist!  Support the Boys of Pointe du Snell, even if it takes an act of of Congress, which it might.

h/t : PM from author of The World's Greatest Travel Blog

Short take on my corner of blogville

Re: Comment 3 in the second TMR post down.

A pun acknowledgement from Tam is as satisfying to a small, hobby blogger as a Nobel Peace Prize must have been to small, hobby president.


John D. MacDonald, Jesus, and the Iowa Caucuses 2012

In the 1980s our creator of Travis McGee was getting old, confronting the fact he was nearing his own deep blue good-bye. He turned his attention to the Eternal and wrote  "One More Sunday." It is a tale of two preachers

One leads a giant organization of teevee priest craft. He is the exploiter of advanced technology to generate millions from the book-free living rooms of the sick, the lonely, the hopeless. My God how the money rolls in. And those naive virginal girls all in white, Oh My.

The other is a a bona fide backwoods fundamentalist, and MacDonald makes him a hero. Primitive though his theology may be by allegedly sophisticated standards,  he rejects the offer of fame, big money, and all the alluring young ladies of the choir. He prefers to continue his personal quest, exploring with his small flock a way of finding meaning in a brief human life, a single strobe flash between the eternal Before and the everlasting After.


It's a rather long book and, I believe, not one of MacDonald's best. But if John's narrative powers were beginning to fade, his unmatched reporting skill was intact. "One More Sunday"  justifies your reading time with a wholly believable set of observations on the difference between God as the temple money changer, leading in all the polls, always heading the Top 40 Chart...

...and God as the ultimate mystery; God as sublime mathematics, or as the purest poetry, or as a Creator anxious for us to understand His nature and desires. Or Hers. John also leaves the reader perfectly free to reflect on a God identical to the image presented by Jews, later joined by Christians, over the past few thousand years of human history as recorded in the the Middle-East and the "West."

I doubt he would have endorsed The Almighty as fund-raising tool for defeated Iowa politicians. Further, my personal conceit this morning is that John may have given me a pleasant nod for calling  "One More Sunday" a useful tool for understanding the snake ball of American -- and especially Iowa -- presidential politics.



Dec 22, 2011

The joys of the season to you, Padraig

Are you naked? Have you painted yourself blue? Have you taken a wee nip to fortify yourself for a sunrise jig around the oak tree?

Me neither, and I suppose the Druidic recording angel has jotted down my apostasy. 


(P.J. O'Rourke went to Ireland, thought about hitting the beaches, then decided, Naaaah, " No one wants to see an Irish girl in a bikini."  P.J. is rarely  full of it, but on this point he proves he never spent a couple of warm spring evenings in Galway City as the university colleens paraded.)


A light dusting of snow comes with the solstice here. It will be gone shortly.  I again thank Al Gore for the localized global warming. By our usual northern-plains standards the winter has been tropical. It's pleasant, and I encourage one and all to continue venting fluorocarbons into the atmosphere.


By the way, this solstice also begins 365-day countdown to the end of the world  according to the astronomical predictions of High Priest Kwaxaholemowthful. It mayant happen, but you still should double-check your bugout bag.

Dec 21, 2011

Gary Johnson, a good man done gone

Johnson has made it official.  He's going to join the Libertarian Party candidate zoo   -- Bob Barr, guys like that.  I wish you well, Gary, but it's a political mistake.

You 're a good man and young. You have time to submerge your ego just a bit, align yourself  with the liberty wing of the GOP, and shoot for 2016.  Quite a lot of us were hoping you would do just that.

I don't know what your political Plan B is, but I hope it's a good one. I'd really hate to see you making your living on satellite radio, feeding straight lines to Howard Stern.

More free money: Our morning giggle

The Federal Housing Administration to the rescue.

The victim is a fellow who signed up for a mortgage he couldn't afford, especially after his $400,000 house became a $200,000 house, the transmission fell out of his nothing-down Escalade, and his local taxing authorities decided hiking his property taxes was a sterling idea.

So he declares bankruptcy after the bank starts foreclosing on his house.  Enter the forces of virtue, led at this point in history by one Barack Obama and Benjamin Bernanke, screaming the battle cry of the early 21st Century: "Buck up Boy; we gawn hep y'all."

The FHA is directing this foray. Get a foreclosure notice on your underwater house, declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and Uncle Washington will see that you get to keep living in your McMansion essentially free.

"The plan under review by the Federal Housing Finance Agency would call for the mortgage financing companies to allow bankrupt homeowners who owe more on their housing debt than their homes are worth to pay zero per cent interest for five years..."  

Zero per cent is a handsome deal for  these folks in the early years of  30- or 40-year mortgage when the interest eats up about 99 per cent of the monthly payment. You get to keep enjoying your travertine and water view for -- what? -- fifty bucks a month or so, whatever the payment allocation to principle happens to be. Plus property tax, of course.

This is utopia and we should all be for it. Only soreheads would remark that banks,  being what they are,  would demand someone replace five years of lost interest and that politicians would shout, "Yes. Too Big to Fail."  So the discount window at the Fed would open wider, shoveling money (so to speak) to  them and to Freddy and Fannie.

But, errrr, the Fed doesn't have any money, Mr. Sorehead observes. What a fool he is. Who in his right mind would Wiki-Wander through entries  such as "fractional reserve banking" and "high-speed printing presses" and "Wiemar,"  and so forth. Only subversive bastards, that's who.


A qualification: This may be very slightly too harsh on Mr. Foreclosed Consumer. After all, he just did what his government and the great financiers told him he should, going back at least as far as the time of Monica Lewinsky and the Community Development Reinvestment Act. And continuing right down to the present day of  His Ineptness the President, John Corzine,  and  sidekick Ben. 

Mr. Consumer had,  just as you and I do, a complete, sincere, and child-like trust in the wisdom of his betters. 

Dec 20, 2011

The joy of bachelorhood

Wardrobe malfunctions plague me lately, so I got out my dainty sewing basket and went to work. All is well. I sewed the buttons on conventionally, but stitching the long tear in my favorite work shirt seamed* too tedious. The alternative solution is working fine so far. If it stands up to a few wash cycles I will enthusiastically endorse Gorilla tape for purposes of fashion.


*Hush up. It' a gift.

Let's be careful out there; an informant has reported the Hubris Gang is on the streets

Another morning note to my buddy, dealing with a more practical aspect of the final two weeks in the corn fields and hog lots:


Hi Dick,

At this moment Paul may be the clear favorite here. This exposes him to dat ol'debbil game of expectations.

1. In the two weeks remaining he will suffer unremitting negative attacks. They will center on general goofiness and advanced age with a strong undertone of alleged racism and anti-semitism.

2. These will have some effect, perhaps enough to deny him victory or even a strong second-place finish.

3. If that happens he will enter New Hampshire weaker, and his small but increasing support in South Carolina and Florida will deteriorate. Super Tuesday will be a Newt Romney walkaway.

The other danger here is really energized preachers pounding their KJVs. There's still time for them to coalesce around one of their own.  Bachmann, in particular, is running a near-perfect end-game race.


The Great Debate -- Iowa Caucuses 20112

My pal Dick is my old high school debate partner, and I immodestly report we tucked a bronze or two in the trophy case. This post is a little obscure for anyone not familiar with formal debate, but, what the Hell. Some readers are. Others are free to move on until I get back to my favorite hobby, posting retro cheesecake and gun porn. :)


Dick emailed me a positive Christian Science Monitor  piece on Ron Paul. The reply:


Scene: The National Forensic League national final in traditional debate. PBS teevee cameras are rolling:

Paul is the first-negative speaker who spends his first three minutes admitting "need" but criticizing the  affirmative's analysis of the nature of the need. In his seven remaining minutes he presents an alternative solution, a counter-plan. Even if somewhat faulty, it boasts internal consistency, unheard of in either academic or political disputation.

Discombobulated, the second affirmative stumbles through disjointed short takes about the unfairness of trick cases. Second negative reestablishes the logic and real-world pertinence of its program. First affirmative has had time to recover a semblance of coherence as that term is understood by, say, Kingman Brewster and Teddy Kennedy. 

This is enough for the judges who, by training and experience,  have never in their  lives faced a problem to which the solution was not government-inspired. The  remaining rebuttals are largely  ignored. Decision for the affirmative. 

But the nature of debate is forever changed.  


Fair warning. Intense political content to follow.

The two upcoming posts are purely political, my end of a small dialog with a university professor. (As Mayor Daly the would have characterized it, "We've been boyhood friends all our lives.")  So if you're not much interested in poltics, I recommend skipping them.

Me? I try to remember that politics is how we decide, for instance, if I may keep alittle of what I earn. Or own a LeMat without a permission slip from Eric Holder.  I think that makes it kind of important.

Dec 19, 2011

Moronic but sexy

Too much politics around here lately, so I rooted around for a  warmup in the internet collection of thinking man's cheesecake. And, lo and behold, found one with both skin and a glimpse of our cultural heritage.

Note the tag line.  It's safe to assume Chill Wills and Gabby Hayes were in the Luxless 10 per cent. 

Callista of Tiffany's

Now, before getting huffy and yelling at me for being sexist and shallow, please try to remember that I didn't stick Callista Gingrich into a tucker bag of campaign tools. Newt did. So did she.

Says Politico:   "A Gingrich campaign source describes Callista as the campaign’s '...chief morale officer'.”

I'm not part of the Gingrich campaign. If I were I would need  a morale booster. Callista would be as good a candidate as any, even better after scraping off about a cup of the makeup and using however much naptha it takes to thin out the Max-Hold. 

Dec 18, 2011

The Freedom Ferry

George Will of the Washington Post is maddening. Today Ayn Rand, tomorrow George Soros.

He talks the talk about American liberty, then lauds guys of the Romney caste to lead us to freedom. He has sometimes gone softer than squishy on self-defense rights. In 1991 he suggested we might repeal the Second Amendment.

This happens to be one of his better days. It occurred to him that that the libertarian idea of leaving folks alone can be pretty broad. It can even be interpreted to include  the right to earn a living without years of tugging your forelock, on bended knee before the bureaucrats, begging permission to do a little honest business.

George discovered Jim and Cliff Courtney, two brothers conspiring to create a new ferry service across Lake Chelan in the Cascades. The State of Washington has marshaled its might to say, "No. There's already a state-sanctioned ferry service, so get lost."

"...84 years ago,"  Will writes, " Washington state asserted a principle much favored by all of America’s governments:It may parcel out certain economic liberties sparingly and only to those who can prove to government that their exercise of their liberty will satisfy some government-concocted criteria."

(I doubt there are many better  better short definitions of tyranny in the English language.)

Jim and Cliff run a resort on one end of the 55-mile-long lake, far beyond the end of  any road. so you get to those environs by private boat or plane or  a seasonal two-vessel ferry service -- a government sanctioned monopoly. The two boats operate once a day, both sailing at the same time and, get this, in the same direction.

The brothers think they can do better. All they need is approval of  a couple of dozen bureaucrats to sign off on their application for a "certificate of public interest, convenience, and necessity." The bureaucrats tell Jim and Cliff to go pound rocks, and  the lawsuit begins.

Back to Will. He's referring to a couple of old Supreme Court decisions which hold that personal liberty does not necessarily mean personal economic liberty.

"It is now routine for government to have transactions with rent-seekers — private interests who want public power used to confer advantages on them, or disadvantages on competitors. This case from a remote region of Washington state explains much about a Washington 2,200 miles away. Start with a misbegotten constitutional principle that denigrates economic liberty as less than fundamental, and thus licenses government to ration such liberty. You end with the pandemic rent-seeking that defines the nation’s capital."


Yes, Sir.

And just a couple of personal notes. I fully agree with you that the might of government ought to be brought brought down on the designated hitter rule. On the other hand, may I suggest you seek treatment for your recurring attacks of  hoplophobia?

Dec 17, 2011

Yep, Romney

That didn't take long. Romney is The One.  Smart, experienced, moderate, and all that.

The Register (correctly, I think)  dismisses Gingrich as a flake. It rejects Ron Paul because:

"Ron Paul’s libertarian ideology would lead to economic chaos and isolationism, neither of which this nation can afford."

That would be as opposed to the current economic chaos accompanied by shooting all the Arabaic speakers who piss us off?  Bearing in mind, of course, that this  sometimes motivates the Arabs shoot back. 

Bated breath - Iowa Caucuses 2012

The Des Moines Register is about to announce its endorsement of a GOP caucus candidate.  It will be good for one news cycle of excess verbiage among the political classes, then fade iinto the murk.

The Register has a history of endorsing the left-most candidate who has never been convicted of a serious felony. This year that would seem to be Romney, but everything else is so screwy any guess is dangerous.

The paper is trying to create suspense -- and traffic -- with a poll asking whom you think it will endorse. Ron Paul is the runaway winner. Good enough, although it is apparently a result of Paulistas' intensity rather than an answer to the actual question. The paper didn't ask, and doesn't care,  whom it should endorse.

Stop me if you've already heard this.

In 2012, Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address happen the same day. This is an ironic juxtaposition of events.

One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to an insignificant creature of little intelligence for prognostication.

The other involves a groundhog.


(Thank you, Hans)
An Iowa blogger joins the TMR blog roll. He's ColdHardCashner, a Constitutionalist and  big-L  Libertarian who's spending this season working hard for Ron Paul in the Iowa caucus. Welcome aboard, Sir.

The hot, the tepid, and the frozen; Iowa Caucuses 2012

The complete TMR caucus list just published named 25 hopefuls.

Of those, 12  remain alive for the caucuses, although some only in the purely techincal sense. As a practical matter, six are  cyrogenic. None actively campaigned.  Among them, only Huntsman is accorded a chance of scoring as much as 5 per cent. Johnson might eke out 1 per cent.  The aggregate vote for these men should not materially affect the chances of any of the viable candidates.

John Davis

Jon Huntsman

Gary Johnson

Fred Karger

Roy Moore

Buddy Roemer


The tepid. Any one of them might  break out into the hot class over the remaining 17 days. Short of Venus melting right into Mars, however, none of them will head for New Hampshire with a braggable Iowa record.

Michele Bachman

Rick Perry

Rick Santorum


Leaving the hotties

Newt Gingrich

Ron Paul

Mitt Romney


These lists are alphabetical. I'm not ready to handicap horses (whole or partial)  yet, just as I would be scared witless to  bet on the number of hours the next Kardashian marriage will endure.

Herding Elephants V2.9, Iowa Caucuses 2012

(Bumped up again, just for convenience. Also upated with date of Cain's bailout.)

EDIT, December  17, 201:  Because it seems unlikely anyone still on the list (in black) will formally drop out before the Jan. 3, 2012 caucuses, this list can be considered final  in the sense of listing everyone who is, was, or might have been mentioned publicly as a caucus contender.  I relegate it to history and hereby grant permission for reproduction, with credit,  for the use of academics who wish to give the impression of having done rigorous and detailed research.  The earlier versions    remain in the TMR achives under various titles. The easiest way to find them is by scrolling through the posts labeled "Iowa Caucuses 2012.)


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. (Dropped out September 26.) 

-- (OUT) Herman Cain, 66, Godfather's Pizza.(Dropped out -- "suspended campaign"  -- December 3)

-- (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)

--(OUT) Thaddeus George "Thad" McCotter, 45,  Michigan congressman (added June 24, dropped out September 22.) 

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

--Sarah Palin,  47, former Alaska governor, VP candidate 2008 (Out. Withdrew   Oct. 5.)

--(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.)

Dec 16, 2011

It's a start, but ...

The SEC has decided to charge some Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac honchos with civil fraud, saying they misled the government and taxpayers about risky subprime mortgages ...

Note "civil" charges, meaning they're just being asked nicely to return what was stolen and maybe pay a penalty -- probably large enough to cut a couple of weeks off their vacations in the Hamptons next summer.

No jail for them, unlike some poor schmuck who got caught lifting a set of hub caps from parked car in Newark.

Look, if these guys profited by lying through their teeth about the value of the junk mortgages they bought and sold, they're criminals. And they have a lot of company in the genteel world of Crony (which it is) Capitalism (which it is not).

My guess is that the guilty total something in the thousands. Together they created misery and sometimes absolute poverty for hundredsof thousands of decent enough (though often, admittedly,  dense) Americans.

Holder, this is the time to uncage your most rabid prosecutor, some brilliant guy with a night-school law degree, halitosis, and a badass attitude. Slip his leash and say sic-em.

Meanwhile Hillary can open negotiations to buy the old Frog prison on Devil's Island. A guy does hate to think of the Armanied thieves serving their 40 years in such a nice tropical climate, but we can compensate by making bug repellent contraband.

Gingrich Gun Grabber

I actually don't know whether he is or not, for sure. The Hell of it is, neither does he.

Newt claims to be pro-2A, but,  as nicely illustrated by Dirt Crashr  Speaker Tweaker, his actions make his nose grow. His center of gravity is a wetted finger in the political winds.

I have a hazy memory that it was Tallulah Bankhead who went looking for the city part of Los Angeles and couldn't find it. She said, "There is no there there."

That's Newt.


EDIT: Fact Check. Mostly wrong. It was Gertrude Stein referring to Oakland.  But I don't think it alters the point, maybe even strengthens it. I have no trouble thinking of Newt as an Oakland kind of guy. Noisy, confused,  and on the ugly side of the bay.

Ron Paul bats .500; Iowa Caucuses 2012

The debate question was about  electability. Who can beat His Ineptness?

Ron Paul responds:

"Any one of us on this stage  can beat President Obama...".  It's a fine applause line, and he gets it,  a cheerleader effect. (Match a junior high eleven against the Chicago Bears and the school gym pep rally will  echo with promises of an upset. Republicans are  becoming persuaded Obama will beat himself, just like unpopular Harry Truman did in 1948.)   No score.

When things quiet down, he becomes his sensible self again: "... the question is, what do we have to offer?"  Then he trots out the logic which defines him, sound money, and end to warlike nation building in the Sandbox and beyond,  government as a necessary evil rather than dispenser of free ice cream. Bingo. Out of the park, Sir. Everyone who hates free ice cream will vote for you.


Embarrassment of the night: Rick Perry: "I'm the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses."

Surprise of the night: Michele appears quite sane in one or two exchanges and seems to have won the point that Newt is an ass for patting her girly little head.

Winner of the Georgia two-step competition: Newt for his creative explanation that  sucking a million-six from the taxpayers via Freddie and Fannie is neither lobbying nor influence peddling.

Most disciplined hair and best-tailored suit: Mitt, for the umpteenth time, retiring the trophy.

As usual, Santorum displays the most concerned visage, just this side of tears. As a matter of simple human compassion, we need to cheer this guy up.  Next time, somebody should ask him about muffins.

Also present: Huntsman.

Dec 15, 2011

Brownian Motion in the Home

Everyone must believe in something. I believe in housekeeping by Brownian motion.

You never set out to clean and neaten and organize. Boring. You let sublime nature take its course. When the molecule glob which is you bumps against a blob of not-you  molecules which seem dirty or out of place you may react, clean it or put it away -- whatever seems necessary.

Or you may not. (What the heck, it isn't +that+ bad. I'll get at it tomorrow.)

It is a low-stress approach to domestic respectability, perhaps something like having a mute, invisible, Martha Stewart drop in once in a while.

Interesting thing about that, though; there seems to be a second absolute zero other than the one Lord Kelvin sort of discovered. Around here, anyway, the titivation-motivator molecule is often  remains inert for weeks, regardless of indicated ambient temperature. So, for days on end, a photo of my quarters would perfectly illustrate the Wiki entry on "entropy."

Other times, like this morning, it gets entirely out of hand.

All I intended was to get some books off the table, the couch, and the kitchen counter and maybe wash the dishes. That was about 8 a.m. Now, three and one-half  hours later, the books are shelved. But also I have vacuumed. I have rehung pictures.  I have cleaned the"miscellaneous" drawer. And, so help me, I am washing blankets.



Stop me before I get out the Windex.

Why we're broke

I've been thinking about Newt Gingrich lately.  Maybe an undigested bit of beef?

Thinking about Newt, the Ghost of  Christmas Future, reminds me of George Washington Plunkett, a real man who helped run Tammany Hall, famous for defending "honest" political graft and for summarizing how he got rich ward-heeling in New York City:

"I seen my opportunities and I took 'em."

He boasted that he never shook down widows and orphans.

"Just let me explain by examples. My party’s in power in the city, and it’s goin' to undertake a lot of public improvements. Well, I’m tipped off, say, that they’re going to lay out a new park at a certain place.

"I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before.

"Ain’t it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight? Of course, it is. Well, that’s honest graft. Or supposin‘ it’s a new bridge they’re goin’ to build. I get tipped off and I buy as much property as I can that has to be taken for approaches. I sell at my own price later on and drop some more money in the bank."

That's at least candid, but it's remarkably crude by modern standards. Today Mr. Plunkett would leave his powerful political office and collect a few million or so giving strategic advice to the public titters of Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae.  And he could claim he wasn't lobbying.

If that don't beat the Dickens...

Dec 14, 2011

Thoughts after a great loss to American Letters

Putting the finishing touches on a Big Post, I highlighted and deleted a single word. And all the rest of it was wafted off into the ether, down the Memory Hole of No Return, all 800 or so words of truth and beauty.

"Damn Blogger! Damn everyone who won't damn Blogger!! Damn everyone that won't put lights in his windows and sit up all night damning Blogger!!!"

If that rings a bell, just think back to our 1795 treaty with the Bloody Brits not long after the Battle of Fallen Timbers. An anonymous proto-graffiti artist splashed it on a  Boston wall. Substitute "John Jay" for "Blogger".

Then say something about how civil our political discourse "used to be." :)   

From a Transylvania Fen

The single hint of color is the van, a subdued maroon breaking up the somber Gothic morning even through its coat of dust mud. Otherwise in this freshly thawed December world nature's only movement is a misty drizzle. The fog has lifted just enough to reveal the stone-still tops of the tallest oaks.

I should move the van from my window sight line, regress to a simpler time, and embark on a Gothic novel. Or see if I can find a nice Vincent Price film on the teevee.

Or write one of those dreary poems as the English used to like.

Hard by the steel mirror of sylvan lake it came,
Black as a the grave of its day's destiny.
And staccato on the ancients cobbles
A team of four, heads low, no bells to cheer their harness,
Bred for rue...

Aw, the Hell with it.  When it's this dreary only a bacon sandwich will get me moving.

Mucking around in the poll; Iowa Caucuses 2012

The results are:

Gingrich 22
Paul 21
Romney 16
Bachman 11, trailed by Perry, Santorum, and Huntsman

And since we're less interested in any given politician -- even Dr. Paul -- than we are in advancing the idea of liberty, let's nod to Gary Johnson who cracks the chart for  the first time that I've noticed -- at one per cent with an invisible campaign. He isn't really running for president, of course. He running to be Ron Paul in 2016.


Couple of other points:

If you lived in Iowa and watched television,  you would be be puking sick at the teevee spot saturation. As ridiculous as we find it, this sort of nonsense has its effects, so there are no sure bets. One Willy Horton spot could change everything.

Since Paul could now be considered "surging" and a probable front runner, he has a bigger bullseye painted on his back. So far, the GOP and media establishments have been content to treat him with amused condescension, but it's probably safe to bet that the opposition researchers are up early this morning, making mud of dirt and raw milk.

Declining fortunes of the holiest candidates can be attributed to dissension among the Van Der Platts Peeps evangelicals. They're all strung out about which of their one-time messiahs comes close enough to theocratic purity. Who the Hell do they think they are? Big-L libertarians?

Frankie Laine sings Ron Paul

"Get those dogies movin,  
  "Tho' they're disapprovin'


Dr. Ron brought down the house last night in New Hampshire with a clarion call to let folks drink raw milk if they want. Holy Moly, Mary Marvel -- Cannabis. Raw Milk. There goes the Republic.

It's making the teevee heads even more nervous in light of Paul's new statistical tie with Newt in Iowa.

Gee, I like starting the day with a grin.

Dec 12, 2011

Survival according to Mommie Dot.Guv

A sign of the season has arrived, my government's annual hints from the Highway Patrol about avoiding death and other inconvenience on our wintry roads.

A winter survival kit should include items such as a coffee can or container, a candle, matches, sand or kitty litter, some candy bars, extra blankets, a shovel and a working cell phone.

I'll forgive the omission of a well-tuned 1911 and several charged magazines.  I can overlook the absence of a flashlight. After all, these little public relations fluff jobs are meant for people qualified to operate neither.

But why a can AND  kitty litter? Seems to me that if you're traveling without a cat one or the other would suffice. And even if  you have Tabby with you, couldn't you share? I mean, it's an emergency and all.

Dec 11, 2011

Neck Knife

With respect for the gentle and competent Marko, I question the practice of carrying a  knife around the neck. Securely sheathed, it may not pose much of a cutting threat to the carrier, but, then again, it might.

The  paracord necklace bothers me more. My philosophy of life holds that anything around a guy's neck should have the breaking strength of a Girl Scout handicraft project, say, a string of beads on three-pound mono.  Why wear a garrote, handy to the bad guy and to any random snag when you go off balance?

Nevertheless, he has worked out the risks and rewards to his own satisfaction. If he's content, I'm content. Not so one of his commenters.

I suggest you drop by  Marko's place to see what I mean. The guy wonders what the knife is +for+ and then answers his own question by speculating the most likely use is crazed and bloody revenge on some innocent nun who fails to step aside for you on the sidewalk.  I am amazed at the tolerance Marko shows for the  person.

H/T Tam.

Sidebar on my youthful loves

The courtship of Margie did not prosper.

Not long after classes began in September, she entered into a relationship with with a much older man, guy by the name of Rex, about 16,  who had curly hair and one of the coolest cars around. Funny,  I can't remember if it was a c. '50 Ford two-door or a '50 Merc. Either way, it was lowered in back and had frenched headlights.

The blow to my self-esteem was devastating, and riding past her house on my Whizzer* brought no solace.

I yearned for a better world, a nation governed by men devoted to fairness and equality, a power structure which would have required Rex to share and share alike. Imagine, a law giving me ownership of that rod --and hence, presumptively, claim to the company of the lovely Margie  -- on alternate Saturday nights.

While it comes too late to spare me a life of regret, it is heartening that the egalitarian forces of President Obama are working so hard to spare other stricken lads such pain.


Note from a former exploited child

When 14-year-old Margie Rabbit walked out of the girls' changing room at the Expo Park pool, wearing the daring two-piece suit, I was pleased to have been a victim of human trafficking.

I belonged to a crew of young teens under the thumb of a slaver who hauled us from  field to field where we toiled in the hot sun, cleaning corn and cockle burrs from the soybeans for the profiteering ogre who owned the land. No sooner had we satisfied one such parasite than the crew master trafficked us off to another, hoes chopping and machetes swinging.

I was free to quit only if I was willing to forgo a Saturday afternoon ritual, the ceremonial distribution of envelopes containing money.

I hated the work. On the other hand, it was my best opportunity that July for wherewithal to invite  Margie for Sunday swims and hamburger-and-malted dinners afterwards. All on me. Damn the expense.

It's funny how easily the capitalist power structure was able to exploit my weaknesses, and I, for one, welcome the social advances  of the 21st Century where  
agents of my government conspire to spare young men such inconvenience and   (Dare I say it?) indignity.

It's from Stranded in Iowa, and for my money the post of the week, at least.

Dec 10, 2011

Listen up, Kemosabe

According to Jinglebob, tribal wisdom of the Dacotah holds that upon discovering you're riding a dead horse you are well-advised to dismount.

Government has not absorbed this truth and instead believes it should respond by, among other things ...

1. Buying a stronger (and more expensive) whip.

The whole thing makes a good read, although a bit frightening for its truth.

Alert the Department of Education

Here we go again. 

In Iowa, we admit to sending something like 10,000 illiterate third-grade graduates to fourth grade every year. This is generally considered less than optimal. especially in light of knowledge that these kids, in about ten years, will be fully qualified to vote. 

We spent eleventy-some million dollars to discover this  problem and about that much more  developing an innovative solution: A do-over. Have them repeat third grade. Oh, the horror:

Critics in Iowa say ending social promotion for third-graders could erode students’ self-esteem, and they question the wisdom of retaining children based solely on their performance in one subject area.

(Hey, Teach. Few cud say out lowd what is the name of my rithmutik book is my steem for me wud go up evin hier.)

Please excuse me for advancing the radical notion that by the time a child has spent four years in a school system he should have been given a fighting chance to understand that Dick is the Boy, Jane is the girl, and Spot goes bow-wow.

Dec 8, 2011

Let Hitler cure your megrims

Please step over to Random Acts of Patriotism for the Hitler take on John Moses Browning's 1911 versus the Teutonic brick. If it doesn't make you laugh you're not a true gun nut.

H/T Borepatch

Dec 7, 2011

Climb Mount Niitaka

...and the sneak raid was on.

Travis McGee: "With every passing year it will seem more quaint, the little tin airplanes attacking the sleeping giants."

There's not much we can do about the Japanese attack seeming quaint to the uninformed young,  but we can try to make sure they remember it happened.

Oh, Brave New World

I  still cling bitterly to the belief that the last important inventions were the Model 94 Winchester and the Zenith Transceanic radio. But it can be hard.

About once a month New Dog Libby's dietary needs send me reluctantly to WalMart  for 44 pounds of Purina Dog Chow in an Ol' Roy bag. This was such a day. The crowd was thin, thank God, but I had forgotten to activate my anti-impulse  circuits.

The new, cheap flat-panel HDTV is better in every respect that the bulky monster it has replaced. Merely saving space in the small living room made it worthwhile, never mind the better picture and curse-free setup.

Nevertheless, I feel like a primitive Baptist who has just discovered  Charles Darwin.

Barack Theodore Hussein Roosevelt Obama

His Ineptness went to Kansas yesterday to channel a little William Jennings Bryan and a lot of the old Bull Moose.

Pardon me for saying so, Sir,  but you don't  make a very credible prairie populist, and it's even harder to picture you leading a battalion of actual men, charging up a Cuban hill in the face of other actual men shooting back.

Mr. President, this country knew Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was a friend of ours. You're no Teddy Roosevelt.

If you want to Americans to quit dissing you as a  street wimp who lucked out, flying Unicorn One to Hawaii at our expense for a 17-day golf junket won't do the job.

You want to be Teddy Roosevelt? Fine. Book a train to Libby, Montana. Find yourself a Flathead guide.  Hire a good old quarter horse with some mountain pony in his pedigree (demand a birth certificate) and an agile, hefty pack horse or two.   Learn to throw a diamond hitch. Head on up into the Kootenai country. Be ready to pull your weight when it comes time to pitch the big wall tent and fire up the Sibley stove.

I'm pro-choice when it when  it comes to personal weapons, but your  image consultants probably will recommend something like a Model 95 in .30-40 Krag, scabbarded under your leg.

Get in, shoot at a quarter-ton of something with teeth and claws, and get out. Then maybe some of us will listen to you prattle on about big sticks and heroic presidents.

Until then: President Obama as Bull Moose? Bull Shit.

Dec 6, 2011

Sky Kings

If your sky is clear, brave the cold for a couple of  minutes to see the moon, nearing full, with a brilliant Jupiter at its 5 o'clock . (c. 43N 95W). Beautiful.

Conversation with my selves

Machoself: "Hell, it may be one below zero, but the wood fire is enough.

Wimpself: "My feet are a litle chilly."

Machoself: "Then put on a cap and the wool socks.

Wimpself: "Already did, Dummy."

Machoself: "Oh. Okay." (Walks over to propane furnace. Turns knob to medium-low.)

Dec 5, 2011

Monday Gun Pron: Mystery Marlin

BIG WHOLE-POST EDIT: It's a Mystery Mossberg,  RM7 variant or something close to it.

If you ever need a persistent friend trying to set you straight, I recommend  a GMA guy named John. :)  See comments.


Even before you note the Micro

 Groove rifling,  you ID it as Marlin. The utilitarian -- okay, clunky -- stock is characteristic of the fine old firm's bolt-action line. At least it's walnut.

Then there's the Marlin penchant for adding gizmos here and there. The button on the left side is a smoothly working bolt release. The one in the middle of the receiver cut retracts a cartridge feeder guide. The safety has three positions. One of the "safe" positions lets you cycle the action. The other "safe" locks the bolt closed.

Marlin has long loved Herculean locking systems. But four, count-'em, four lugs?

The mystery is the precise Marlin identity. Several net searches yield a sort of Ron Paul-in-the-MSM result. There ain't no such animal. Even searching under the private Western Auto label  -- "Revelation, Model R 270 A  ___  Cal. 30-06 Sprg." yields nothing beyond another guy who has one, lost his bolt, and is looking for a replacement.  (Rotsa ruck, Pardner.)  None of the crossover lists mentions it.

EDIT: Also note the fluted bolt.

The vendor's story is that it was a "prototype," and Marlin decided to call it a "Revelation" to protect the marque if it flopped.  I love gun show stories.

Now would be the time to own one of those high-price, limited-edition company history books so detailed as to specify the number of moles on John Marlin's back.

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to own it as a workaday rifle. The condition is superb. It's in the most noble of calibers, the one we used back when we could win wars with a certain dispatch. On a snowy Saturday, mainly checking for bangability, we kept several rounds within a minute of hillside at an estimated 400 yards.

It will make a nice place to store the old Weaver K4 and one of those nice 1903-style leather slings I've been hoarding.

I don't suppose it's necessary to mention it was loopholed quite economically -- about what desperate dealers were asking for their NIB Hi-Points.

Dec 3, 2011

Hunch confirmed: Gingrich, Paul, Romney: Iowa Caucuses 2012

A brief recess from reality is in order as we hoist a pint to Ron Paul. He makes the headlines again in the  farm-fresh Iowa Poll --  behind Newt and ahead of MItt, also up on even Dunno.

In order:

Newt Gingrich 25
Ron Paul 18
Mitt Romney 16
Undecided 11
Michele Bachmann 8
Herman Cain 8 (poll taken before he hit the mat))
Rick Perry 6
Rick Santorum 6

I'm not about to crunch  lot of numbers or subject readers to prophecy posing as analysis, but something stands out. Even if every Cain voter switched to Bachmann or Perry or Santorum, that person would still trail Dr. Paul.

Politico's Maggie Haberman purrs welcome words into libertarian-leaning ears:

As for the rest, the poll also means the Paul rise is also real - and in a fractured, multi-candidate field, if he can pull a few more points his way and expand his base, he could win the caucuses given his level of organization. This would be the best scenario for Romney short of an outright win there himself at this point.

It wouldn't be bad for Paul, either. Even scaring Newt here would send him strong to New Hampshire where a finish around  20 per cent would keep him kicking through more primaries than we expected.

We all know the odds that, in the end, one of the showmen will beat the statesman. Never mind. We were never about Ron Paul. We are about the idea of free men and women, an idea whose most effective embodiment at this stage of our history is Ron Paul.