Sunday, December 27, 2009
I disagree with President Obama on gun control, taxes, gun control, socialized medicine, gun control, nationalizing industry and banking, gun control, the proper role of Communists in the Executive Branch, the importance of decency and legality in community organizing, free speech, and gun control, but the mewling of the frightened kitties has got to stop. The President is the Commander in Chief of the military and the executive manager of the federal government. That's it. He's not your God-King.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Big, big news here.
(I wish I could track down the credit for this photo, but I can't. If you know it, please let me know.)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Posted using ShareThis
New Chicago Gun Rights Examiner column . . . . there are only two cities with municipal handgun bans left in the United States as far as I know: Chicago and Oak Park. There's a reason Oak Park decided to stick with Chicago for what is almost universally acknowledged as an inevitable and inglorious defeat, but that's in the column. The thing for you to know as you decide whether to read it is that Oak Park is having trouble with armed robberies, so they've decided to implement a bold solution:
They're passing out whistles. No, seriously, I swear. Whistles.
Friday, November 27, 2009
It taught a couple of generations of city folks that turkeys are flightless birds.
See, the thing is, turkeys can fly. That's why the domestic ones get their wing feathers clipped, I suppose--I don't know. All I know is that I can take you out to the woods and sit you down under a tree where turkeys are roosted, and when dawn comes, you'll see them fly down.
They're not always graceful, and they make an awful racket, but I promise you that turkeys can fly.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The dashing hero was Mike Donovan, played by a tall, gruff-voiced 80's action hero. He threw giant haymakers, shot pistols by laying them across his left forearm and point shooting, and shot rifles without using the sights . . . and his acting style was a cross between Captain Kirk and MacGuyver. But that's not the nerdiest part.
I thought to myself, "Hey . . . he looks a lot like the captain in the brown leather coat from Out of Gas . . . I always wondered if I'd seen that guy somewhere before . . . . but no, they're about the same age. No way that guy stayed that young that long. So I went through the credits and found that the actor's name was Marc Singer. And even that is not the nerdiest part.
The nerdiest part was when I thought about it for a couple of minutes and then it hit me--Oh yeah! Marc Singer! He played the immortal who went crazy out in the mountains and kidnapped Tessa in that Highlander episode! Remember that guy? The one with the crazy raspy voice and the battle-ax?
If you said yes, you're a huge nerd, too. If you had to Google at any step, there's hope for you. Walk away now. It's too late for the rest of us.
UPDATE: Maybe there's hope for me yet . . . I had no idea Marc Singer was The Beastmaster until I Googled for images (by the way, I don't steal images--all the photos that come from the web are links back to the pages from which they came.)
"No, I'm not a mall . . . ninja," was his reply. I found myself trying to figure out what the ellipses were meant to convey. This is why the best writers read their work aloud early in the process . . . . hearing it spoken will alert you to mistakes, even small mistakes of emphasis, that your brain would gloss over if you were reading silently. His pause was . . . interesting. I found myself wondering where the emphasis was supposed to be, because it makes a difference. Observe:
"No, I'm not a mall ninja," he said with the cool sternness of a rottweiler contemplating a squirrel. Where did these little punks pick up this ridiculous lingo?
"No, I'm not a mall ninja," he said with the cool sternness of a rottweiler contemplating a squirrel. It was beginning to seem likely that he'd have to kill another one. Hatsumi would be displeased.
See what I'm saying? Punctuation, kids. Emphasis. Learn it, love it, live it.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Do soldiers matter, or do they not?
So Roland Burris says the Constitution contains a clause empowering Congress to "provide for" the health of American citizens. Turns out he was thinking of the preamble to the Constitution, which A) Doesn't say that, and B) is a preamble.
Seriously, children and politicians everywhere, I realize that the preamble to the U.S. Constitution says the words ". . . promote the general welfare . . ." But the thing is, those ellipses aren't just random, they kind of matter. Specifically, the ones right before the phrase that justifies a huge amount of our federal government stand in for the words "in order to," among others. They were never meant to bestow any power upon any part of the federal government. That is done very explicitly later on in the clauses designed for the purpose. All the preamble says about the general welfare is that it's one reason for the powers and limitations that will be created in the main body of the document.
To say that the powers and limitations put on Congress in Article One (By the Beard of Odin's Manservant, it's right there on the same page, people) are irrelevant because of the clause that was only supposed to explain why those powers and limitations are there in the first place is perverse.
And here's what the Roland Burrises of the world may genuinely not understand: when the preamble says that the Constitution is ordained in order to accomplish some objective, such as promoting the general welfare, it means that the limits on federal powers contained in the Constitution were conceived for that purpose just as much as any of the powers. The Constitution is a document of strict limits on the federal government for a reason. If nothing else, it should worry us that we're using laws that were intended to limit federal power as our excuse to remove all limits on federal power. When you use Super Glue as a solvent, bad things happen.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
You have no doubt read repeatedly by now of the misunderstood youth with limited economic options who tried to self-realize and redistribute Ahab's wealth in a more equitable manner, only to be met with a face full of hot coffee and the wrong end of a Beretta.
Recently I learned that a good friend from central Illinois was the target of a home-invasion robbery. Details are scant because there's an investigation ongoing, but at least two thugs tried to break into his house in the middle of the night. When trickery failed (as trickery often fails the stupid) they tried to resort to force. He trumped their attempts with superior armament and good planning, and by the time the police arrived they were in disarray. One escaped, one captured, no one shot. It's assumed that he was targeted at random, because believe me, if they'd known who they were trying to rob, they'd have stayed home that night.
Sorry to be so sketchy with details, but when he's at liberty to talk about the case we'll know everything. He's not exactly the shy retiring type. What I notice most about these cases is the lack of gunshot wounds. What's up with that? The Brady Campaign would have you believe that anyone who practices shooting as much as Ahab does, or advocates for gun owners as strenuously as my friend does (Illinois Governor George Ryan used to have him arrested fairly regularly) has been waiting all his life for an excuse to shoot someone--an excuse as good as "he had a knife!" or "I told him to leave, and he tried to break the door in!" Legally, either man could have shot his assailant and gotten away with it. So why didn't they?
Because it's not about the fun and excitement of killing people. It's about the willingness to go through the ordeal of shooting someone if that's what it takes to keep yourself and other innocents safe.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
And that makes me want to hear a song. A song for Browncoats.
BONUS: You can see the cake that Melissa's birthday cake was based on at the beginning. People around us were puzzled into silence when I lit the giant dinner candles, but we had fun. Mine tasted better than Simon's would have, too.
Actually, this one is my favorite. Like Wash.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Dad's wanted a Thompson for as long as I can remember--he's got an Airsoft and a .22, but I guess he couldn't stand not to have the .45.
Now I really have to get the loading bench back together.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Caleb was threatened with death by stabbing on Saturday . . . . . but he turned the tables. Go read it if you want to know the details, but suffice it to say that once again, if you're aware of your surroundings, you're armed, and you've put in the time to develop the skills to get your weapon into the fight in a useful way, there are some other benefits besides being able to shoot someone who is threatening you:
1. If you can get a sufficiently superior weapon into the fight, you may be able to convince your opponent to flee before you actually have to hurt him. This only works if you're not counting on it to work and thus have the resolve and skills to shoot him if necessary--otherwise there's no good reason for him to flee.
2. If you're aware and prepared, you give yourself the option of improvising. Caleb was able to improvise his response, not because he's brilliant and doesn't need skills, but because his level of skill and awareness got him past the "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING" stage and put him in a position to think and improvise fast.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Try not to think about McDonald v. Chicago and whether California will be subject to the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution by next summer.
Try not to think about whether, once that happens, Calguns and the SAF will be waiting on the courthouse steps to file immediate lawsuits against California on 2nd Amendment grounds.
And I wouldn't lose any sleep over whether the requirement to be fingerprinted in order to buy one box of .22 plinking ammunition can be construed as "reasonable" by a judge with a pulse. Or whether you can pass strict scrutiny with a state law that requires an expensive federal license to buy or sell lawful ammunition in a lawful way.
I'm sure it'll all work out for you.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Thursday, October 22, 2009
“Sure, the right to bear arms is an individual choice,” White said. “But that’s not a choice I’m willing to agree with.”
Well, now, that's a horse of a different color!
In that case, piss off, you nosy little shrew. Your agreement, like you, is irrelevant.
(That's just a very tiny part of a much larger brouhaha over women and guns, so read the whole thing at Aunt B's and SayUncle for the real outrages.)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Well . . . . kind of. This is what my living room looks like . . . pardon the phone photo, but I have to get back to work. I'm on a quick bathroom/caffeine break at midnight. Then that header on the right is getting finished (that's where I stopped, since I need to go grab a clamp) and then the center post is getting cut out. See, both those center openings are about 1/8" too small, give or take, for my windows, so I'm cutting those out from the header to the footer and replacing the two 2x4s with two modern "2x4s" which are actually only about 1.5" thick. That will have the effect of making each opening about 1/4" larger, which should make the windows fit perfectly. It's slower going since I'm trying to use quieter hand tools, but I'm just sick of not getting this done. You can see one of the 6' windows roughed into the left-hand opening . . . and the original wood 94" window in the right-hand opening. The old windows were huge, and it's nice, but I want a window seat in this spot and 6" windows are the longest reasonably inexpensive windows that are common sizes.
The old windows are about 100 years old, and the sashes were literally built with wooden pegs rather than nails or screws. They're masterpieces of hand craftwork, and I feel a little guilty about tearing them out. Unfortunately, nobody has made any effort to maintain them. They weren't really designed to be airtight when they were built, but they were solid windows with heavy, solid storm windows, but they were simply painted shut and left to rot. Now they have to go. I'm looking for a good place to use the unbroken panes in a decorative way, but we'll see what that might be. For now, I just want my family to be warm this winter without spending hundreds of dollars on gas.
But this one is new even to me. Maybe you've seen it before?
I really don't think I have.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Still, I was brought up short yesterday, and I gotta tell somebody. First, I'll get the confession out of the way: I listen to NPR. A lot. I like their news programs--yes, I know there's a bias there, but there's also an in-depth approach that is just plain more interesting to me than the soundbites you get on other "news" radio or television. And I'm addicted to "This American Life," "Car Talk," "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," and even "A Prairie Home Companion." Don't judge me.
Anyway, it's time for the pledge drives, and they're begging for money constantly. One of the things I hate the most about these drives is that even when I contribute (Damnit, I said no judging!) I still have to switch the channel for a few days, because I can't stop the begging by my contribution alone. But I didn't write this to complain about pledge drives. I wrote this to tell you about the different donation levels that come with different privileges. There are "Memberships," "Day Sponsors," etc. For instance, if you're a "Day Sponsor," they'll run mini-commercials six times on your special day telling everyone that it's your husband's birthday or the anniversary of your first sit-in or whatever. I can see the value in that.
What I don't understand is the "My Source" level of donation. A standard membership costs $50, but for $500, you can be a "My Source" donor. That entitles you to cut a recording of yourself telling everyone why you love WUIS so much, and why it's "Your Source" for NPR. Essentially, they want you to pay an extra 900% for your membership as payment for being allowed to act as unpaid voice talent in a commercial for their station.
I don't think I get it.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Ummmm . . . OK. Extraordinary, huh?"for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples"
Photo: Pete Souza, Obama-Biden Transition Project, licensed by Attribution Share Alike 3.0 USA 44th President of the United States of America b. 1961
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Peter has survived bullets, apartheid, the Louisiana prison system (well, as a chaplain, not an inmate, but he did have an epic battle with their bureaucracy in between inmates) war, and a whole lot of other bad things. He was a Catholic priest when people began to realize that the Catholic church in the U.S. had been systematically covering up child molestation for decades--it was not a good time, but his faith came through.
He was a missionary in South Africa at a time when people were literally putting tires full of gasoline around each others' necks and setting each other afire--and he was making enemies.
He was a gun-toting priest who ministered to the most lost souls he could find--men imprisoned for murder, rape and robbery in the Louisiana state penitentiary system.
He looks like a harmless, smiley little cherub, but he's not the cherub coronary disease should be fucking with. He's generous, kind, faithful and courteous, but he's anything but harmless.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I didn't lose a .22, I lost 22. Pounds. In a little over a month.
And while I was smugly congratulating myself, JR from A Keyboard and a .45 was realizing that he's reached his weight-loss goal o
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
So, Daley's had kind of a weird week. Despite Tamara's lack of confidence in Shortshanks' clout, he threw enough weight to get President Obama to fly to Denmark in an unprecedented Presidential lobbying campaign for the Chicago Olympics. Yay Shortshanks.
But now the Supreme Court is stepping in to decide whether the 2nd Amendment should be incorporated to apply against the states and local governments, such as Chicago and Illinois, and most legal experts predict that this is like having Michael Jordan offer
The Chicago Gun Rights Examiner has weighed in, of course, and
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
. . . . . Finally, Director, I've enclosed an official "ISP-Approved Self-Defense Weapon" from IllinoisCarry with this letter. Don't be alarmed, it's perfectly safe. It's essentially a tactical, oversized tongue-depressor in a high-visibility color for intimidation value, with the web address of the ISP's "If you are confronted" page printed on the side for easy reference. It's perfect for inducing vomiting in self-defense, and since it's also a "rigid" object, it makes a great backup for a woman's primary defensive rat-tail comb or nail file. Many Illinois shooters have noticed that Illinois State Troopers, even the female ones, still carry firearms with which to defend themselves as they enforce the law, and most even keep their guns at home. Although I disagree that women should not use firearms for self-defense, especially in light of FBI statistics that show that women who use firearms to fight back against violent attackers are 2.5 times as likely to escape without injury as women who don't fight back, we at IllinoisCarry stand ready to supply as many of these alternative self-defense Tactical Tongue Depressors as the ISP needs to equip every trooper on the road. We'll do it for free and even pay a small fee as long as we can emboss our logo on the weapons. The only compensation we ask is to be allowed to videotape the meeting when you inform the ISP union representatives that the troopers will be going out armed with popsicle sticks and nail files per Illinois State Police policy.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, after a long absence for health reasons, is back with a vengeance. He's put out four new great articles in the last week, with the latest being "Gun rights are for everyone." If you haven't checked for new content from Kurt lately, it's time to go look and catch up.
Several Gun Rights Examiners will be at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in St. Louis this weekend, as will representatives of the ISRA, Guns Save Life, IllinoisCarry, and the Sangamon County Rifle Association. Will you be there? Let me know; I'm trying to meet as many people/writers/readers as I can.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Would it be better if it were blacker? Or am I just getting too old?
Wait, did I just post a racist font question? I apologize sincerely.
Well, I apologize. Let's leave it at that.
And now, a random story from my youth. The other night, I was telling my parents about taking My Bride and The Boys across the Kampsville Ferry on our trip down to the river to see the replicas of the Nina and the Pinta (short version: it rained. We toured Renaissance caravels in the pouring rain, had a picnic in the pouring rain, went fishing in the pouring rain, drove a hundred miles in the pouring rain . . . then rode the ferry in the sunshine.) My mother assures me that this really happened when I
"We were going to cross over the Brussels Ferry to go to the game area, not far from where you and the kids were at Grafton today. Grandpa was with us. You wanted no part of that ferry; the more we talked about it, the more you insisted that you wouldn't ride it, no way, no how.
'I'm not getting on any ferry!' you said. 'You can't mak
e me ride a ferry! I just won't get on!'
'It's not scary, buddy,' your dad said. 'It's just like being on the road. It's actually a lot of fun.'
'I'm not riding a ferry! I don't ride ferries!' you said. You were almost yelling. I was afraid you might cry. Then your grandpa said something like, 'You like to go fishing in my boat, right? This one is actually a lot safer than that. You can't get hurt unless you jump over the side.'
You opened your eyes wide and looked at him like he'd just turned on a light in a dark room.
'Ohhhhh!' you said. 'You're talking about a boat!
' And then you were happy as could be."
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
This event is run as a tournament of one-on-one matches. The format is simple. From surrender position, draw at the timer signal and be the first to drop five steel poppers. If you're the first, your stop plate will be underneath your opponent's. You pay to shoot, and then you have the option to buy your way back into the tournament if you're eliminated. Or, if you've got a willing opponent, you can wait for the Grudge Matches after the tournament is over. Last year, lunch was grilled in the parking lot for a small fee.
There's even a novice division, where new shooters can shoot against each other, and when they say "novice," they mean just that. If you haven't shot at least one USPSA match, you're a novice, but if you came with no equipment just to watch you can borrow a gun and gear and shoot in the novice division. Last year, there was no revolver division, but auto shooters were downloading to 5 or 6 rounds to match a revolver opponent. The whole thing is an informal fun shoot among friends, and it's a great time. If I hadn't registered to be in Chicago tomorrow, I'd be there myself.
Have a great time, folks, be safe and enjoy the day.
If you're near enough and you get the urge to stop in, click on that link for all the details, but here's the important one to remember: everything from breakfast to admission to materials is free, so just register and show up and you're good to go.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
In June 2008, for instance, the Chicago public school district used over 1200 buses and drivers to bus a reported 30,000 students from all over the city to Soldier Field, where they were allowed to watch a free performance by area musicians like rapper "Ben One." The catch? The performance was part of a political rally. The students had to sit through speeches by Arne Duncan, Richard Daley and Jesse Jackson, and these weren't innocuous pep talks about staying in school.The man who was in charge of that mess is now the head of education for the federal government, and there's nothing particularly paranoid or racist about pointing it out. Click the big blue button to read the whole thing, and if you like it, please take a moment to pass it on or vote on Digg, Windycitizen.com or Reddit.
Meanwhile, David Codrea, Gun Rights Examiner, asks "Can ATF be reformed?"
He's not talking about recycling transmission fluid, but questioning the wisdom of an effort to "reform" the BATFE by legislation. I would add the question: "If the ATF can't be reformed, but it can't be abolished at present, is it worth it to pursue partial reforms, even knowing they won't really solve the problem? David's last piece covered the return of Carolyn McCarthy's "No Fly, No Buy" bill, which would bar anyone placed on the naughty list by the government from purchasing firearms. That's a big step to take based on a list you can be placed on without due process or even a reason given!
* Seeing the President of the United States referred to as "Mr. Obama" or "Mr. Bush" in the press irritates me. Maybe it says in some style manual that the President is referred to as "Mister," but screw that.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I've been pretty quiet about Obama's address to students. On the one hand, I do think a lot of people are investing way too much fury and emotion in this, because Obama now realizes that people don't trust him to talk to school kids, and I'm guessing he'll deliver a completely apolitical speech that will leave everyone who panicked looking silly.But I've been surprised at what I haven't heard anyone talk about: Arne Duncan, Barack Obama's Secretary of Education, and Chicago. If you wanted a reason to be worried about Barack Obama addressing schoolchildren in school, Arne Duncan would be the best one. Duncan spent years as the Superintendent of Chicago public schools, and I talked about his record of using Chicago public school students, buses, money and school days to hold political rallies and stump for legislation, both in Chicago and Springfield:
Use . . . your children well
"As a school teacher, I wanted to write an angry rant about this, but what can I say that would embarrass people who haven't resigned after finding out that 49% of their students drop out before graduation? Arne Duncan is a fool, but he doesn't seem to mind being a fool. He appears to have embraced his inner fool, if you will. Chicago's schools have been giving kids the day off from school on the condition that they accept a free bus ride to an anti-gun protest (and protest on the desired side, of course) for years. Now they're going to bus them down to Springfield, on a school day, for the same purpose. . . . "
I can't believe this hasn't been widely discussed--if people were calling me a paranoid, crazy racist for thinking Barack Obama might try to score political points using school children, I'd want to know their opinion of Obama's Secretary of Education using his district budget to pay for busing students 175 miles to the state capital to demand money for his schools . . . to say nothing of gun control laws. I couldn't believe people weren't outraged at the time . . . but that's where we are, I suppose.
"The Chicago Way: Students are political pawns"It just doesn't make sense to me that nobody seems to be making this connection.
Well, they did it. They bused in CPS students--the original article said 1,200 district buses would be used--to fill Soldier Field. They hired a rapper from Chicago (Ben One--never heard of him) and painted empty chairs to sit at midfield and stand for the 26 "CPS students" who've been killed this year, because as everyone knows, those people were killed by a lack of state funds and state-level gun control. Then they lined up Mayor Daley, Jesse Jackson, and the all the usual suspects (including Arne Duncan, the CPS Superintendent) and let them harangue the captive audience.
In this case, the students have the power to come together and speak out--but only as long as they stay on Daley's carefully-scripted message. More state money for a district that spends money hiring rappers for rallies for more state money. More gun-control laws to cure violence in the city with the strictest gun control laws in the nation (well, after Heller v. D.C. is decided) and the highest rates of violence to go with it.
Go along with this program, use your political power in approved ways, and you get a free bus ride to Soldier Field to listen to minor music stars--as long as you look respectful during the political harangues.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
If you like the idea of breaking stereotypes, there are two easy ways to help. First, if you live in the Chicago area, consider volunteering your own time to talk to people this weekend; local Chicago grassroots activists have stepped up to take over more and more of the local Chicago events, but more are always welcome. If you can't make it, or you simply live too far away, Illinois Carry is still accepting donations to pay for printing and booth rental. Unlike anti-gun groups who can count on the Joyce Foundation for easy money, pro-gun groups in Illinois operate on shoestring budgets, so donations are always welcome.
I'm not kidding about the donations, folks. There's no one making a salary at Illinois Carry; all the group's projects are funded by passing a hat in its forums. If you can spare a few dollars, you can have a big impact. These local Chicago projects are beginning to be taken over from the usual Illinois Carry suspects by local Chicago activists working in their own neighborhoods. In short, we may be seeing the beginning of a movement.
- David Codrea fails to be happy that the most important woman in the world, Kate Gosselin, shot a gun on a TV show: Gunning for Jon & Kate Plus 8
- Daniel White reports on a case in which a felon had his gun rights restored--twice:
Court restores gun rights to felon, some worry about precedent set
- Dave Workman takes on the thorny issue of restoring rights in general: Should felons' gun rights be restored . . . ever?
- Gene German continues to document gun rights on the march in Wisconsin: Illegal local ordinances defeated
Friday, August 28, 2009
The Breda Fallacy: yuk yuk
You see, Joe, if the victim can laugh about it years later, that's a sign of a strong soul and the healing power of humor. But if the perpetrator can laugh about it, that means something entirely different.
This is Lefthanders Gun Club in Loami, IL (just outside Springfield.) I hadn't realized they got hit by the tornadoes last week until I got an email canceling the 3-Gun match this Sunday.
They're having a cleanup day instead . . . I wasn't planning to make it to the 3-gun match, but I think I might make it to the cleanup.
I'm not a member at Lefthanders, but I like the place and it's a good venue for Springfield Tactical Shooters events. I just never seem to get there!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In praise of Senator Ted Kennedy.
Kennedy, he explained, really owned that incident. He really felt bad about it. In fact, Kennedy himself used much stronger language than the commentator has ever heard anyone else use in condemning his actions that fateful night . . . . words like "inexplicable."
We obviously travel in very different circles, because I don't think I've ever met anyone who thought Kennedy's behavior was "inexplicable." He was drunk, caused an accident that killed a young lady who had no business in the car with him, and found it more convenient to go back to his hotel than to deal with police and reporters. Most people I know aren't shy about calling Ted Kennedy a murderer for what he did that night . . . . and if you've never met anyone who thought Ted Kennedy was worse than "inexplicable" for leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in cold, dark water, you might want to take a good look at your social circle and think about whether you've truly lost touch with the real world. Lauding Ted Kennedy for taking responsibility for Chappaquiddick makes it sound like you're watching a different channel than the rest of us.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
You saw the title. Larry Correia is aging by the day . . . and today is his birthday. He's getting old. Death is creeping ever closer through tall grass, its tail twitching, nose to the ground . . . full of the scent of Correia blood.
You might think having a beautiful wife and delightful children and writing books that rescue the entire vampire genre from sparkly vegetarian irrelevance and sell like hotcakes would offer some solace, but trust me, it's just another day gone. Jealousy is an ugly thing. I'm glad I don't suffer with it; must be tough for people who do.
(All bullshit aside, Larry, happy birthday. Give 'em hell at the ITRC!)
Well, actually you could go ahead and buy a new car on Tuesday if you want, but you wouldn't get the extra trade-in allowance that makes it such a good idea to go into additional debt during an economic event that seems to slide up and down the spectrum between The Greater Depression and an "economic downturn" on a daily basis.
Run, don't walk.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I don't really know how many minds I reach with a letter to the editor, but I figure the paper has a respectable circulation, and it makes me feel better.
Calls into question group’s gun statistics
In his recent letter to the editor, “Glad Durbin voted against concealed-carry proposal,” Thomas Mannard stated his opinion: Unlike marriage licenses, drivers’ licenses and most business licenses, licenses to carry concealed weapons from one state should not be recognized by all states. Fifty-eight out of 100 senators disagreed, but it’s Mannard’s facts that demand a closer look. Perhaps he should have checked them at www.illinoiscarry.com before he wrote . . . .
Besides, I've always thought there should be a blog called "Pull the Push Door." I don't really know why.
I'm not saying that Gary Larson's classic Far Side cartoon on the right (heh heh . . . we can call that fair use, right guys? Right?) Larson captured so many things that seemed unearthly weird, but a man could generally relate to each piece in some way. Well, I could, anyway. I was never like that kid, though. I mean, I went to a lot of "gifted" classes and such, and I pushed on a few pull doors, but never actually one at a school for the gifted.
(However, I did spend a weekend at a "School for the Gifted" that shall remain nameless, where the sales pitch included an explanation that automobiles were prohibited, the suicide rate was still enormous but really starting to come down, and then we all went to a pep rally for the soccer team at which the school's own mascot was burned in effigy.)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The circuit it blew is back online now as well. As so often happens in my household, it was a
Someone helpfully suggested a docking station that would power the computer through a different port while it was being used, and that sounded great--but I can't find one that says it's compatible with a Toshiba Satellite A75-S206. I don't know enough to really know whether there's a dock out there that I could use . . . I really just want to be able to power the thing, the other features don't make any difference to me.
Then I thought about something else--what about a way to charge the battery outside the computer? Surely that's doable, right? Nope. Apparently the Li-ion batteries in these things are excessively 'splody and they're all completely different, so there's no generic charger and a homebuilt unit would be beyond my tech skills.
This leaves me with opening it up and re-soldering the power jack--again--myself. The prospect is frightening, yet strangely exhilarating. And if I completely screw it up, the case is large enough for several Shoot-N-C targets to stick.
Monday, August 17, 2009
What do I have to do to cap that junction safely and still have the rest of the circuit live? I'm tempted to wire the two 120v "hot" wires together, but I don't really see the point and I'm afraid of damaging the wiring because (I might have mentioned this before) I don't know what I'm doing. I just wanted to do the monkey-smart part, pulling out the old appliance and connecting the new one exactly the same way.
Luckily, my wife is smarter than me, and she called me awhile ago to tell me I should just plug the refrigerator into one of the working outlets in the kitchen with an extension cord until the circuit can be fixed. Thank God I'm pretty.
It's hard to see what's going on in this photo on the right, but this is one of the rheostat switches on the cooktop. This is where the smoke came from. One side of the plug is completely severed and the whole thing is covered in black, greasy crud. The cooktop was old and impossible to clean anyway, so I won't miss it. I just don't want to buy one, plunk it in and then watch it go up in smoke, too.
(I guess the advantage would be that parts should be available for the new one . . . as long as it doesn't burn the house down.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Then we noticed that the stove was smoking. To be precise, the wooden drawers under the stove were smoking, and switching off all the burners failed to extinguish either the big red "ON" light or the smoke. My Bride grabbed the fire extinguisher as I ran to the basement to pull the fuses.
We left the smoke to clear with the fuses cut out while we have dinner. I will go back and look it over, if only so I can disconnect the stove from power and replace the fuses (the refrigerator and the oven are on the same circuit.) I'm still not sure what happened. It seems like a surge, but the computer and other other delicate electronics didn't get fried, and the fuses look brand new, even on the "bad" circuit. We noticed some flickering in the refrigerator light before we saw the smoke from the stove, so we figure there's something going on in that circuit, but I can't figure out how a surge went through 20-amp fuses without breaking them. It makes me wonder whether some metal object from the junk drawer worked its way up into a switch or some other wiring.
In all fairness, though, it can hold down a lot of paper.
What do all you computer geeks think? Is this thing worth $9.95 (to people who haven't already lunched their laptops?)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Then there are the big claims. They got 110 guns "off the street" including "two illegal guns." Wow. Here's a screen cap of WNEP's Jennifer Borrasso holding one of the "illegal guns" the program took in. Don't be afraid to look, it can't hurt you through the internet:
"Let's see . . . I got 'guns,' that's good . . . 'safe,' one more . . . .""Ooh! 'Operation!' That's a good one, Chief!"
"Thanks, Lou, I like your mustache. So what's our catchy new name?"
"Hmm . . . 'Guns Operation Safe' is nice."
"No, it's nonsense. How about 'Operation Gun Safe?'"
"We did that three years ago, and the gun nuts came out of the woodwork demanding free gun safes. Never again."
"OK, how about 'Operation Safe Guns' then?"
"Uh, Chief, are we doing anything about making the guns safer? I thought we were just collecting them and destroying the cheap ones Ralph doesn't want to take home?"
"You have a point . . . maybe we should throw the darts again and settle in. Might miss lunch,though."
"You know, Chief, 'Operation Safe Guns' is growing on me."
In the video, Borrasso explains that this is an illegal sawed-off shotgun. Notice how conveniently she places the barrel of the gun against her shoulders so we can estimate the length. If that barrel is less than 15or 16 inches long, I'd be very surprised. What we actually have here is a single-shot, break-open shotgun with a barrel that is technically too short according to federal law. Someone apparently cut it off shorter than 18 inches, but not by much. I'm surprised they gave it to a reporter to hold up on the evening news as their example of an illegal gun, because it would take an expert to tell it apart from a perfectly legal shotgun being used to hunt rabbits on railroad tracks somewhere in Pennsylvania right now (well, maybe during rabbit season.) Actually, Elmer Fudd carried something very similar.
This is an illegal gun the way a Mustang with the wrong engine parts is an illegal car in California, even if it passes the actual measurement of pollution output. It's a technical violation of an arbitrary regulation that no one but an expert would ever know is supposed to be "dangerous" or scary.
I can hear some of you saying I'm too negative. Why can't I think of the positive? OK, here's the positive: although "Operation Safe Guns" won't tell you this, I would bet $50 that the person who turned that gun in didn't know it was verboten by order of der mann. The average person would have no way of looking at that gun and knowing that it was worth ten years in a federal PMA prison. Therefore, we can all be glad that the unwitting federal felon turned this thing in at a "no questions asked" event and got $75 for his trouble. The gun was probably worth approximately that before the barrel was cut, but now it's radioactive; like a car sold at a police auction with two kilos of cocaine still hidden in the seats, it would have been a danger to everyone who purchased it.
The question I can't shake off is this: if that was the example they wanted to show the world of an "illegal gun" they "took off the streets," how innocent was the other one? It must have been less menacing than a well-aged single-shot break-open shotgun with a barrel a couple of inches too short.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I don't blame him. I'm trying to figure out what to say about Bill Clinton's Arkansas Chief of Staff smuggling shivs and tattooing needles into death row. It's such a complete Whiskey Tango F
Which is that she found a Doritos bag full of needles and a knife in a prison vending machine and passed it to an inmate without realizing what was in it.
It was a very brief consideration.
The Congressional office took my phone number to forward it to the campaign office, which is only right--they have to keep those things separate. But it's now Thursday and the campaign office hasn't called back, so I gave them a call directly today.
According to the campaign workers, the meetings haven't been scheduled yet. Hmm. Well, they now have my address, phone number and email, so I should be contacted this time. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that someone clumsily put out a story about a "downstate swing" with public meetings in 14 specific cities before anyone had scheduled the meetings. But I can't help but observe that people all over the country are in full, screaming outrage over being shut out of "town hall meetings" and jerked around over the Obama healthcare plan.
The fact that Kirk is campaigning against the Obama health care . . . . thing . . . . means it would be unpleasantly ironic if his campaign managed to get him caught up in that same outrage.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
They're just like everybody else in state government--5 people do the work of 10 because all the money went t0 redecorate some professional son-in-law's corner office.
I'm also waiting with bated breath for a call from Representative Mark Kirk's campaign office with the dates and times for his "Downstate Tour" town-hall meetings. There will be two local to me, and I intend to get to both. Kirk needs to understand that the gun-banning (and boasting about it!) that played so well in his yuppie north-suburban district won't fly statewide.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Recently, no fewer than four pro-gun groups cooperated to get two informational booths at the Black Women's Expo in Chicago for the second year. We're moving out beyond the gun shows now, folks:
"Anti-gun activists consider Chicago a stronghold. It's supposed to be their base of operations, the place where they can raise money, agitate the public to demand their anti-gun agenda, and rely on ignorance to keep everyone in line while they do it. "Dr. G" noted the effect a few key pieces of information could have: "Many people (maybe 50%) were shocked to find out that the police are not responsible for their individual safety, and that Illinois and Wisconsin were the only two states in the country without concealed carry laws in place." To pro-gun activists reading this article, that might sound like two trite soundbites everyone has heard a million times, but in Chicago, that's not the case. By bringing this information to people who would never have thought of attending a gun show or an IGOLD rally, these volunteers are putting down grass roots through Chicago pavement."Read the whole thing, and if you like it, tell somebody!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
"Hey, you wanna move to Virginia? There are lots of special ed jobs in Richmond."
"Oh, honey, we can't move. We couldn't sell this house."
"Why did you taunt me with the south if you didn't mean it, temptress?"
"When the boys are grown, we'll move."
"I promise, when the boys are grown, we'll move."
"To the south?"
"Yes, we'll move to the south."
"And drink RC cola and eat moon pies on the porch?"
"And sell all our shoes and buy banjos?"
"Actually, I was just going to say you might need a fiddle in some states."
If you're from the south, please don't puncture my dreams. I've listened to a lot of country music and Jeff Foxworthy routines in my life, so I have a pretty good idea what the south is like.
What really irritates me is not the fact that Helmke lied--that's what he does for a living. What's he going to do? Say that the guy only bought a magazine from The Gun Source, and that if he'd wanted to buy a gun he'd have had to have it shipped to a local FFL, who would have then followed all local, state and federal laws the same as any other sale? What's the percentage in that for anybody Helmke cares about? No, what irks me is hearing the reporter, Julie Huck of NBC26, observe in a clear abuse of the present progressive tense, " . . .that argument not flying with those campaigning against gun violence" and then playing Helmke's quote as if it were equally true. Helmke's arguing that there's "something wrong with our system of gun distribution" because "the same shop was involved in all three of these shootings." What he's not mentioning is what "involved" means. From the report, it's clear that Sodini bought one Glock magazine from The Gun Source, and something the TV report calls a "loader on his Glock." Maybe one of those execrable Glock thumb-savers? No guns, in any case, which means that The Gun Source has as much to do with any argument over "gun distribution" as they would if Helmke were arguing against lobsters or microprocessors--two other things TGS did not sell to Sodini.
One more time, TGS, just to be clear: if Sodini had purchased a firearm from TGS, then TGS would have taken his payment and waited for his local federally-licensed firearm dealer to send a copy of his FFL (Federal Firearms License) to TGS. Then TGS would have shipped the firearm, not to Sodini, but to the FFL. From that time on, the gun would be in the local FFL's inventory the same as any other. Then, for a fee, the local FFL would sell the gun Sodini--IF he filled out the federal Form 4473 correctly and passed the NICS background check.
And since you mentioned the Northern Illinois University shooting, I'll just go ahead and mention that all state and local laws are also in effect. If the buyer lived in Illinois, then his local FFL would follow all Illinois laws as well, which include recording the buyer's Firearm Owner Identification information and making the buyer wait three days before he takes possession of handgun (one day for long guns.) I'm sure the fact that Illinois has much more restrictive gun laws than Wisconsin while at the same time having much higher levels of violent crime involving firearms has not escaped your notice, since you're a professional Authorized Journalist and all, but if you'd spent a minute or two on Google you wouldn't have to air a report containing two mutually exclusive claims about how the system works.
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