Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is that the one with the DeLorean?

Overheard in the living room:

Me: "Hey, look what's on that St. Louis channel: Airwolf!"
My Bride: "That a big deal?"
Me: "Airwolf was one of the finest television shows the 1980s had to offer."
My Bride: "I thought it was a movie? With that guy in it?"
Me: "Well . . . . maybe there was a longer pilot, I guess, but it was a series. It had Jan-Michael Vincent flying a futuristic helicopter and Ernest Borgnine as his mechanic."
My Bride: "Ohhhh! I was thinking of Teen Wolf."

This was immediately followed by My Bride leaping out of her seat and across the room to fall into the desk chair at the computer desk. She apparently thought she could prevent the blogging of her pop-culture faux pas . . . . but you can't stop the signal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ess You What Huh What?

I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering what on earth the "States United to Prevent Gun Violence" is supposed to be. Their name is only slightly less stupid than the "Freedom States Alliance," which is just about a syntactically null statement (what are the "Freedom States," and why do they advocate cracking down on freedom?)
Seriously, "States United?" You idiots are claiming to be a coalition of state governments or something. You are, at best, a sort of shell corporation consisting of various vestigial state-level gun-banning groups that represent tiny minorities of the voters in your respective states. You are entirely full of crap, and I've never heard of you. My guess is that the SUPGV was created out of whole cloth quite recently as a way to pool that sweet, sweet grant money from the Joyce Foundation people so everyone can keep feeding, even if each goober had to accept less largesse than he's grown accustomed to.

Being a gun-ban astroturf activist is not a fun or respected life, but it beats working for a living, I guess.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I have issues. Issues I got from the internet.

I started a new job a few days ago, and the day after I brought in a box of breakfast granola bars, ate one, and left the rest in the kitchen, people apparently ate the rest and threw the box away.
That's not the issue . . . the issue is that I caught myself thinking of writing a really passive-aggressive note about it, but decided not to bother because my phone won't take a good enough picture to be legible on

Also, the school district that just hired me uses Macs exclusively. My classroom machine is a big white EMac. Everything about it is backwards and wrong.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just for Tamara: "Dick Durbin on snow"

Yo, dawg, I heard you like it when yankees get all unhinged about snow, so I got you a unhinged yankee Senator babblin' about snow.

Of course, Senator Durbin's not even from Chicago. I believe he's from East St. Louis, and nowadays he lives in Springfield. We get snow here, of course, but it's not like Chicago.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Overheard in a bar . . .

. . . . down the street from the Illinois Capitol in Springfield:

Veteran Politico: "Okay, tell me how you win Mcdonald. How do you lay out the argument that wins Mcdonald for you?"
Chicago City Attorney: "Honestly? I don't see any way."

Hearing a Chicago attorney admit they're likely to lose McDonald v. Chicago in a big way is like hearing your wife say she loves you. Sure, it's nothing new, and maybe she thinks it should go without saying, but it's still nice to hear it out loud.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zombie gun control never stops coming back to life

Illinois handgun dealer licensing bill is back from the dead . . . again.
Now, no one get too alarmed, but it does seem that zombie gun control bills are beginning to rise from the dead in Springfield. The first lumbering corpse to claw its way out of the cold, mossy ground of the legislative cemetery known as the Rules Committee is House Bill 180, the "Handgun Dealer Licensing Act. This is the same bill gun owners have been stopping for years, over and over and over--but it always comes back. Normally, that process takes time, as a bill that went down to defeat in a floor vote the year before must be re-introduced and go through the committee process again before reaching the floor--which is why the Senate version of this same bill, SB3092, is some time away from a floor vote; it had to be introduced anew just this week. However, there was no floor vote on HB180 during the 2009 session, so it went back to the Rules Committee . . . which sent it back out to the floor late last week. That means that a floor vote could be taken at any time. But what would HB180 do that would lead gun owners to call their legislators in opposition?

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hey, Scott Cohen--don't sit with your back to any doors.

Days of our Trailers: Dick Durbin "Nullify Voters' Decision"
Fascinating video of Dick Durbin sharpening the long knives at Days of Our Trailers today.

Interesting that Durbin says they have "legal ways" of forcing the outcome they want. I wonder what those would be, given that it's an elected position and Cohen won the election. I suppose the primary elections are run by party rules as much as election law, and maybe they can convene the Super Duper Delegates who were supposed to take the Presidential nomination away from Obama and give it to Hillary Clinton back when he was the upstart who didn't know whose turn it was. More likely, they think they can get someone elected as a write-in or even insert another name on the ballot as Lt. Governor as long as they technically leave Cohen's name on the ballot. They're not treading very lightly, and that may not be smart. Voters get a little rebellious when they see a smear.
A friend theorized that the pawn businesses that made Cohen rich requires various licensing, and someone will let Cohen know that licenses are not always automatically renewed; it's especially difficult to keep up with the licensing process if you spread yourself too thin with hobbies like political campaigning, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo.

I don't think it was a complete mistake on Democratic voters' parts, to be honest. I realize they didn't know the full extent of Cohen's past problems, but I think their message is the same either way: "We will vote for anyone who can show any evidence at all that he's trying to do something about the economy in Illinois, especially if he's employing people. We don't care about the rest."

The whole point was that once he flooded the market with advertising about his job fairs and touting himself as the only candidate in the race doing anything about jobs in Illinois, it did not matter to most voters what else he stood for or why he was in the race. Which is the real reason they didn't check into his background before they voted for him.

Either way, it's always fun to watch Durbin get all threatening and say gangsta-wannabe stuff like "he should spare himself and his family what he's about to go through." Meaning, of course, "he should knuckle under and spare himself what I'm about to put him through."

Friday, February 5, 2010

IL Politics: Boosting Hoosier self-esteem since 1818

Shootin' Buddy wants to hear more about the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor. This is because Shootin' Buddy is from Indiana, and people who live in Indiana love Illinois political scandals almost as much as people who live in Illinois. I think it makes them feel smugly self-righteous.

The quickest reference would be to go to the Capitol Fax Blog and look for the name "Scott Cohen" or "Scott Lee Cohen." I'll write more about this tomorrow, but right now I have some other stuff to do, so here are the important parts for those of you who live outside the walls.

  • Illinois' 1970 Constitution mandates that each party hold separate primary elections for Governor and Lt. Governor, but the primary winners run together on the same ticket. So we sometimes see two candidates who hate each other or have never met. Sometimes a Governor candidate and a Lt. Governor candidate team up in the primaries, but they have no way of guaranteeing that if one wins, the other will win too.
  • It wasn't that long ago that a young dreamer named Rod Blagojevich had to run with a grizzled perpetual candidate named Pat Quinn. Quinn was a crusader and Blagojevich was a corrupt and hated Governor, but neither got a choice of running mate. And Quinn went so far as to hint that it was now OK to vote for Blagojevich, since Quinn would be there to pick up the reins of the state if Blagojevich happened to get indicted or impeached. That's why Quinn is Governor of Illinois today.
  • But OH! The IRONY! Now Quinn has fought his way to the nomination so he can win election on his own and convince people not to inscribe "The Accidental Governor" on his tombstone. It was a vicious campaign, with his opponent, a popular Comptroller with a reputation for trying to control spending and pay the bills, actually digging up video of Chicago's first black Mayor (who can't comment, since he's dead) explaining why he fired Quinn for gross incompetence. The race came down to a 50-50 split, with Quinn ahead by about 7,000 votes, and Hynes waited a couple of days to make sure it was over before he conceded. But a few hours before that concession . . . .
  • The press suddenly woke up and began to ask Scott Lee Cohen questions. Cohen was a surprise winner in the Lt. Governor primary, but most people knew almost nothing about him. All most of us knew was that you couldn't turn on a radio without hearing a very persuasive, positive ad for Cohen about how he was "the only candidate doing something about jobs in Illinois" by holding job fairs in the state.
  • Unfortunately for Quinn, it turns out that Cohen has a little more to his record than that, including . . . .
  • Allegations of steroid abuse and roid raging (from his ex-wife's divorce filings.)
  • Allegations of abuse in his divorce (again, from divorce filings.)
  • Allegations that he held a knife to a woman's throat (happened a few months into his divorce, he calls her his girlfriend and a licensed massage therapist he met in "a massage therapy place," police report on the incident describes her as a prostitute. The cops reported that she had abrasions consistent with a knife on her throat, but she didn't show up for court and charges were dismissed.)
Now at least one political authority in IL (Archpundit) is calling for Quinn and the Democrats to put Dan Hynes, the guy who just spent six months feuding with Quinn and shredding him in an attempt to take his job, in Cohen's place as candidate for Lt. Governor. But here's the catch--even if Quinn is that statesmanlike, they can't remove Cohen. He won the election. He either steps down voluntarily, or he's in the race. And he doesn't owe anyone in the Democrat Party any favors . . . . I'm considering a grassroots campaign of support for the guy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sun-Times: Chicago Labor boss Gannon quits, will try to survive on pension

Chicago labor boss Dennis Gannon quits :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Gannon is a former steamroller operator for the city of Chicago.

He also collects the largest pension of any retired city employee, though his city pension of $153,649 a year isn't based on the salary he earned as a steamroller. Instead, Gannon used a little-known state law that allows him to have the amount that he gets for his city pension be based on the salary he made as a top union boss.

Even as Gannon collected a city pension based on his Chicago Federation of Labor salary, he was able to continue working for the CFL, which, according to the most recent records available, paid him $215,484 in 2007.

He'll just have to try to scrape by, poor dear. Notice that he's not exactly being accused of anything here, because there's no dispute that the law allows him to collect that money. The city of Chicago pays him a pension that's probably double what he made working for them, because they pay him a pension based on what he made working for someone else.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

IL Gubernatorial primary election goes crazy, punches horse, drinks aftershave

Seriously, it's crazy here. Crazy awesome.

The short version: There were two mildly anti-gun Democrats running for Governor of IL, and they tore each other up, ending up about 7,000 votes apart. Their race is probably over, but it was fun while it lasted, featuring Democrat gems like accusations of racism from both sides over the Dan Hynes ad that featured former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington explaining why he fired Governor Quinn from Chicago city government in the 1980s. Why is that racist? Well, it's old video! Harold Washington is dead!
Still not racist? Well, Harold Washington was black, and it's either racist to feature a dead black man in your commercial (even if he was a unique authority on your opponent and no one disputes that his comments are being used in context) or it's racist to criticize a commercial with a dead black man in it . . . . depending on which side you want to win.
Anyway, the spectacle last night was fantastic, with Quinn declaring victory at about the same time Quinn was vowing to fight on "until tomorrow," perhaps unaware that it had already been "tomorrow" for about half an hour by that time.

In the GOP race, everyone knew that it would come down to a showdown between Kirk Dillard, Andy McKenna and Jim Ryan (Dillard is the only pro-gun candidate in that troika.) Fiery Tea Party newcomer Adam Andrzejewski (An-jee-EFF-ski) was considered a possible spoiler, having lots and lots of Facebook fans and having gotten a late mention from Rush Limbaugh himself (tranquilizers be upon him.) But someone forgot to tell Bill Brady, the only candidate other than Dillard with a pro-gun voting record (arguably a stronger record than Dillard's, but not by much.) At the moment, as the candidates are sitting down to the GOP's "Unity Breakfast," Brady and Dillard are locked in a virtual tie for first place. With 97 precincts still unreported, Brady holds a lead of 503 votes. It's anybody's ball game, and a recount is almost guaranteed, but for Illinois gun owners this is a battle between a great candidate and a splendid candidate.

Monday, February 1, 2010

WANT--Makarov Edition

Every month, the Sangamon County Rifle Association gets together in the back room of the local buffet place. Somebody stands up and talks about the politicians, somebody else updates everyone on upcoming gun shows and demands volunteers, then someone stands up and talks about the damn politicians, followed by me standing up and droning on about McDonald this and Heller that and honestly, I'm not sure I could tell you everything I talk about.

But generally, someone brings in something to show around for "Tech Time." Tonight, Brent the Token Soldier brought in his Makarov. I'd never held on in my hand before, and now I want one. But I won't likely find a deal like the one Brent got; about ten years ago, he found this one at a household auction for $50. Fifty dollars. No kidding.

Brent's Makarov is an East German version of 1964 vintage, and it's a lovely little thing. The finish is a deep, nearly-black bluing on well-polished steel. The pistol is tight and solid, larger in the hand than I expected, and heavy for its size (well, by my standards, but remember that I was six years old when the first Glocks reached the U.S. People my age don't remember when guns could only be made of steel.) Throughout the gun (and on each of the magazines) most of the parts had been marked "48" with an electric pencil. In Corvette terms, this is a numbers-matching Communist oppression pistol.

Did I forget that part? Yes, under the grips of this elegantly simple little pistol are the markings of the East German Stasi--secret police.

I know there are people who can't stand to hold a Nazi-marked K98 or Luger, and would view this pistol the same way. But I can't hold a milsurp and keep from wondering what the original users would have thought of someone like me holding it. Tonight I had to wonder; could the Stasi agent who carried good old No. 48 have imagined that someday, maybe 30 years or so in the future, "his" issue pistol would be carried and plinked with by some American soldier on his own time?