Monday, June 30, 2008

That Was Fun! Part Tree.

So, the morning was all kinds of fun, if a little soggy. The other CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) activity at Abe Lincoln Gun Club is the CMP Juniors program. It almost sounds too good to be true; the range is opened up to the public one Sunday evening per month during the summer (once a week in the winter) and all kids between 8 and 20 years of age are welcome, whether children of members or not. The club provides eye and ear protection, rifles, ammunition, targets and instructors for two hours of instruction in safety and marksmanship--and it's all free of charge. We had two instructors for eight kids, plus the parents. This photo shows my kids paying attention to the instructor, which is why I was in such a hurry to snap it.
Here's Donovan showing off about as close as he gets to a smile. Notice the rifles in the racks--the black ones are .22lr Savages with very nice aperture sights front and rear. I never noticed what the other two were, but they were regulated for 100 yards and were dead on. Later, Donovan was able to sit at a bench and ding a hanging steel plate at 100 yards repeatedly with those. He'd have stayed there all night if they'd let him! Can you see the drilled wooden blocks to his left? The near ones just have twenty holes, but the far ones have five round clusters of ten rounds each--arranged in the same pattern as the five targets on each sheet the kids were using. They didn't need to do any counting, and they shouldn't have been able to forget which target they were working on, since they had to take each round from the cluster that represented that target. Pretty neat.

The Savage rifles were single shot, so the kids had to work the bolts quite a bit. Later, as they got tired, they began to hurry, but by then we were almost done. The instructors spent a lot of time with Kane; his vision is pretty bad anyway, and he's cross-eye dominant, so he kept switching between shooting right-and-left-handed. Both boys had a hard time remembering that their faces should be touching the rifle stock, but they did a good job overall. I was especially proud of their safe gun-handling skills.

Here's Kane working a bolt for that follow-up shot. By this time he was attempting to stop a fierce, charging steel spinner at 50 yards. I was a little surprised that the kids all started out at 50 yards, but then, the guns were sighted for it.

Hey, did you think I was kidding about the rainbows? Not a chance. By this time in the afternoon, all traces of rain were gone. It was a beautiful blue-sky day with scattered fluffy clouds. And just as we were helping the instructors put everything away, I looked up at a perfect, complete arc of rainbow across the sky. Here's Donovan with one end of it:

Leaving No Privy Unpapered . . . .

I'm not kidding, folks, I want you at the Second Amendment Freedom Rally in Chicago on July 11.

I was happy to see that this flier was still in place for the Highpower match at the gun club on Sunday . . . . I imagine it gets a lot of views. Captive audience and all that, eh what?

That Was Fun! Part Too.

So Saturday night, we rolled in at around midnight, weary and bleary but happy and . . . slappy? Flappy? Something that means we had a good time.

Sunday morning I hauled myself out of bed at six so I could make it to Abe Lincoln Gun Club by 8:00. They have a Highpower match once a month during spring and summer as part of their Civilian Marksmanship Program affiliation, and I've always said I was going to go try it out
soon, but I just never seem to find time. This time I was determined. I didn't even try to borrow a rifle or bring one of mine. I even left the house without a hat, which is never a great idea when you're going shooting, but I did manage to get there and get signed up early. For $16.00 they sold me three boxes of CMP 30.06 ammunition to go with my borrowed M1 Garand "club rifle," and the match director set up his spotting scope at my station to help me get sighted. I'd never really practiced at 200 yards, but to my surprise I don't think I completely embarassed myself. In a 50-round course of fire (Prone slow fire, prone rapid fire, sitting rapid fire, offhand rapid fire, offhand slow fire) I "only" had two shots outside the scoring area and none off paper. That was a lot more than I expected, particularly while I was shooting in the pouring rain.

Oh, did I forget to mention the pouring rain? It soaked us all to the skin shortly after we were done with sighting shots. I was actually rather impressed that they let me shoot their "club gun" in the rain, and since someone else planned to use it in the second match, I didn't even have to clean it.

The rain ran down my un-hatted head and my cheap yellow
shooting glasses. At first, I tried to wipe the glasses on my sleeve, but it was soon thoroughly soaked. By the second course of fire, the things were constantly steamed no matter how I tried to hold my breath or "breathe away." I finally realized that the water was going down into the Garand's action and the gun was steaming in my face! In the end, I just chucked the things and shot without them, with the added advantage that now everything looked amazingly clear despite the rain and haze. In the picture at right, you're actually looking downrange at the 200-yard targets.
This photo was taken after the worst of the rain let up, but you can get an idea how wet everything was. Ammo boxes and targets were sodden messes of runny pulp. But the guns ran like champs and only a few people quit.

I had a blast; I'll be back next month with dad's Garand to try again. And finally, I'll leave you with the photo I took downrange five minutes after we'd pasted our targets and were packing up to let the next match begin. Isn't it ironic . . . don't ya think?

Man-Purse Revisited

The other day I thought I'd snap a quick picture of what I'm carrying these days. Here it is. Don't say I never gave you nothin'.
Actually, I've been surprised how many positive conversations this has started, along with my "I Support Concealed Carry" button. Sure, people think I'm a fringe lunatic, but that's all in a day's work.
(PS--Did I mention the Second Amendment Freedom Rally in Chicago on July 11th? I did? Never mind.)

That Was Fun!

This weekend just sort of evolved into a lot of fun all on its own. I'm still not entirely sure what happened. Saturday we cleaned up the backyard a bit and mowed so we wouldn't embarrass our next-door neighbors at their barbecue. That barbecue turned out to be a lot of fun; we really don't see most people in our neighborhood, even people I've known most of my life. There were some good pictures to be had with our new camera, too--the neighbors have a little girl about 17 months old, whereas Sean is about 15 months now.

We left just a little bit early so we could make it down to the Litchfield Skyview to catch Prince Caspian. I hadn't been to a drive-in theater since I was a young boy. I was not really impressed with the flick, but it was cheap and we had a good time. The boys loved it, of course, since there were swords and armor and mice cutting peoples' throats. Lightning kept showing bigger and bigger black clouds rolling in until it began to rain, but with the four of us in the back of the van and the hatch up over the opening, we were surprisingly cozy. The baby was fussy for awhile, but he settled into his car seat with a bottle and went to sleep. We left around 11:00, declining to stay for the second half of the double feature, College Road Trip. When we got home, I snapped one more baby picture:
That's my baby boy right there. Tomorrow: shooting, followed by more shooting, followed by rainbows.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Think SAFR in Chicago Won't Be Huge?

I'm not guaranteeing anything, but today I read a post from a member of The High Road forums who's going to fly to Chicago to be at the Second Amendment Freedom Rally.
How many people--people without trust fund millions, mind you--do you suppose take off work and fly in from the coast for a Snuffy Pfleger/Jesse Jackson march? These are the people, remember, who have to put school kids on buses and take them out of school to fill the seats.
Let's hear it for Travelocity. Flight and two nights hotel, $600.

I've heard plenty of times on this board the lack of support for Californian gun owners and our plight, let it never be said we hold a grudge.

See you there.
I'm telling you, people, you're going to be kicking yourselves later if you're not there, at least if you're from Illinois, Wisconsin or parts of Indiana. This is going to be something to tell stories about later.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

You Guys Know Everything!

AmericanMercenary says in Comments that the patch I found in my copy of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man sounds a lot like the 4th Infantry Division's unit patch. I looked it up, and here it is--I guess I have the subdued version, shown here, because the others are bright green. Makes me wonder what the patch was doing there!

Needless to say, not having served, I won't be wearing this. But it's always interesting what you happen across at a yard sale (well, to me, at least) and thanks to my readers I now know what I actually found. Pretty cool.

Woo-Woos and Psychics in Special Ed. Yay.

Courtesy of the This Is True newsletter, we find a story of special education. VERY special. But before you get too smug about the state of education today (harumph, harumph, somebody ought to do something) take a moment to Google your local sheriff or police department with the word "psychic." It just might break your heart. It did mine, and yes, that's my local sheriff.

Colleen Leduc, 38, of Barrie, Ont., Canada, had already picked up her 11-year-old autistic daughter, Victoria, from Terry Fox Elementary School, when the girl's teacher called. "The teacher said you have to come back to school right away -- it's urgent," Leduc said.
She raced back to the school, where the teacher and principal were waiting. The teacher told Leduc that a special education aide had consulted a psychic, who said that a girl whose name started with "V" is being sexually abused. On that "evidence", the principal said, the school had already filed a sexual abuse report with the Children's Aid Society. Once the local CAS office realized the case was based on a
psychic reading, they closed it. The Child Welfare League of Canada acknowledges that there is a "zero tolerance" policy in place regarding child abuse, but says "there is still room for common sense under zero tolerance." Leduc said the school has not apologized for the outrageously false report. (National Post)
Wow. Seriously, lady, you thought they might apologize? They thought it was a good idea to call in the authorities based on the oldest cold-reading trick in the book. People who do that sort of thing don't apologize. Hell, they probably still think you're abusing the kid--it's just that people have "closed their minds to the truth" and you got away with it.

Can't wait to hear what charges will be pressed against both the charlatan and the school administrators for their false report of child abuse.

Yessir, any day now. Can't wait.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Over at Madogre's place, someone emailed the Ogre to ask him whether the ACLU will now be defending the 2nd Amendment the way they defend the 1st (which is to say, rabidly.) The ACLU's excuse has always been that since the 2nd didn't protect an individual right, they were not bound to defend it. Yeah, strangely unconvincing, I know.

Anyway, I decided to bop on over to the page and see what they had to say about Heller. I think the transition from "neutral" to rabid defender of the individual right to keep and bear arms may take awhile, since the only thing the ACLU saw fit to blog about today was the travails of transgendered security consultants.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Well, That Didn't Take Very Long

I don't understand, Mr. Mayor Daley, Sir. Did you WANT to see Montana secede from the union? Where would Larry David and Richard Gere meet for hot-tubbing?

Daley throws a hissy-fit about the Supreme Court's ruling that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" means that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Whew! Montana Probably Not Seceding. Yet.

Heller came down today. It looks like it's much better than I had hoped. Individual right, unconnected to militia service, all the good stuff. Apparently there's even a bit in there about "carrying" so maybe it can even end up helping with CCW in Illinois, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and a few other places.

I'm at Kinko's in Springfield right now, on my way to Rockford for the Winnebago County Meeting. It looks like passage is just about a sure thing at this point, but I figure, why not pack the seats? Besides, I can't buy fireworks in my county and I know there are a few along the way where I can . . . and I'm also going to stop off at Darnall's Gun Works in Bloomington and leave some fliers for the Second Amendment Freedom Rally (In Chicago, July 11th, don't miss it!) while I'm at it. So . . . got my day planned, you know?

I'm at Kinko's because I got my New Hotness PC fired up last night, but it's still running Ubuntu Linux from the disc (how cool is that, by the way?) and I foolishly tried to print the pdf of the Heller decision this morning. I froze the poor little trooper but good, so I had to stop here to print out directions to where I'm going. They want 51 cents per page for black-and-white printouts here, so I'm still not going to print out Heller. I guess I'll read it when I get home.

You stay awesome, Montana. Mayor Daley, try not to choke on a Polish. I want to see the look on your face when Chicago's law goes the way of D.C.'s. I'm guessing you won't take it as gracefully as Mayor Fenty did, because . . . . well, frankly you're an angry, red-faced, spastic little midget. Uh . . . . . Your Honor.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Little Victories

I had a fantastic day yesterday, even after the drunken combative arrestee with back pain went for a ride with someone else. In fact, it just got better from there.

My Bride and I took the baby and went to garage sales. Our little podunk had its citywide garage sale (for the uninitiated, this just means that lots of people have their sale on the same day across the town.) I have not had good luck at garage sales in recent years, but I hit the jackpot for some reason yesterday.
No kidding, aside from the baby toys and some other useless junk My Bride bought, this is what I brought home from the garage sales:

  1. 2 boxes of .45 brass, Winchester white box
  2. 1 box of .500 S&W brass, Cor-Bon
  3. 1 book of four short stories by Tolstoy
  4. The Garden of Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  5. Explorations, a book of Poul Anderson short stories
  6. Behind the Walls of Terra by Philip Jose Farmer
  7. A book of three H.G. Wells novels (The Island of Dr. Moreau, A Story of Days to Come, and The First Men in the Moon) with foreword by Isaac Asimov
  8. 1939 printing of Anne Karenina with foreword by Thomas Mann
  9. A 1969 printing of A Fitzgerald Reader
  10. One book containing both The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man
  11. A 1945 Viking edition of The Red Pony by Steinbeck
  12. Travels with Charley by Steinbeck
  13. And a cheapie edition of Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (Original Title: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums . . . .) Huzzah for subtitles!
Total cost: $2.25 American.

My Bride was puzzled by the brass purchase.
"Do we have a 500 Something & Whatever?" she asked. Seriously, how irrelevant can you get?
"Well, you never can tell, honey, we might . . . . someday. Hell, it's worth more than the price (75 cents American) if I sell it as brass scrap."
"Are you going to save it up and sell it as scrap, or are you going to pile it on a work bench with the rest?" she asked, plunging off into new irrelevancies. That's not the point. The point is that before, I didn't have the brass, but I did have 75 cents burning a hole in . . . . well, I guess it would have been burning a hole in her pocket at the time, since I was broke. But still, now I have neat brass from a large gun, and that makes me happy. I am what is sometimes called a "cheap date."

I was puzzled that I got so many neat old hardcover books for free, but it was past noon and the little old ladies at the church sale were just glad someone was going to take them--books are heavy. They're full of the little touches you don't get at Barnes and Noble. For instance, someone, at some point, made a bookmark for Travels with Charley. What would make a good bookmark for the memoir that won the Nobel Prize in 1962? A newspaper clipping from 1963, about the death of Charley, the poodle featured in Steinbeck's book. Someone laid it on notecard, cut it all to match, and wrapped scotch tape around it over and over, and you know what? It's a passable job of laminating. It's lasted 45 years without coming apart, anyway. The book with two Wells stories had a dark green, square patch with four black five-pointed stars arranged around a black circle. I don't know if it's some sort of decoration, or a military patch, but it's kind of neat. Might put it on my bag with my MHI patch.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Have I Done to Deserve This Happiness?

So SAFR is rolling along, the twins are at my parents' house, it's Friday night and my wife is in the mood. Unfortunately, I'm on call from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. Fortunately, we grill our steaks, and there are no calls. We go to bed early (hey, we're old married people) and still there are no calls. I drift off to sleep in the arms of my beautiful wife, still waiting for that pager to go off, but there are no calls. I sleep soundly the whole night through . . . you know the rest.


"Small-Town Ambulance, you are needed for a 911 call at Small-Town PD for a female complaining of back pain . . . be advised, she is combative and 10-56."

It's been such a perfect night, I figure I might as well look at the alarm clock . . . . SUCCESS!
6:16 a.m.
I have won life's lottery.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Second Amendment Freedom Rally in CHICAGO? Damn right.

(I'm looking for a charter bus going to Chicago that day from Springfield. If I don't find one, I'll look into chartering one myself. The cost per person shouldn't be bad, but if you have any interest in riding along let me know ASAP.)

If you're from Illinois, and you're even curious about gun rights or concealed carry--even if you're pretty sure you're against the idea--you owe it to yourself to get to Chicago on July 1th. We had somewhere between 2000-2700 in Springfield for IGOLD this year, and it was damn impressive. We need more than that in Chicago. If you live north of I-80 in Illinois and you're tired of having your rights trampled, this is a no-brainer. If you're from "down here" in the rest of the state, understand that Chicago is the political and economic center of this state. There are twice as many voters in the Chicago area as there are in the rest of the state combined! That means we need Chicago. We CANNOT afford to concede Chicago to the anti-liberty bunch anymore. Come join us and make history.

I know for certain my whole clan will be there, from mom and dad to the twins to little baby Sean (or, as we call him, Bam-Bam.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Use . . . Your Children Well . . . .

(That song used to say "teach," but that wouldn't be The Chicago Way.)

So I heard from Armed and Safe the other day that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was planning to install astroturf at Soldier Field this week. When will they learn?
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.

None of this is surprising. The Mayor of the City, the Superintendent of Schools, and the President of School Board are all on board, so who's left to stop it? Only voters, and in Chicago, voters don't care about much of anything as long as the garbage gets picked up and the potholes fixed--and that can only happen if you vote the way Boss Daley's cogs tell you to vote anyway.

What surprised me a tiny bit was the Chicago Tribune's coverage of the event, and I wrote to the reporter to tell him so. There was no indication--not even a hint--that anyone in Chicago might have thought this "rally"--a public school district using district funds to arrange to use its students as props to bully politicians--was a bad idea. Was there NO ONE who disagreed with this great idea? How is that possible?

I hope you'll read the piece by Carlos Sadovi and see what you think. Am I off base here?

"Crane Tech High School sophomore Marcell James nearly jumped from his seat Tuesday in Soldier Field as Chicago recording artist Ben One hit the stage in a school district-sponsored anti-violence rally designed to squeeze more funding from state officials."
Using the loaded word "squeeze" is as close as Sadovi comes to indicating that there could possibly be anyone who opposes such a blatant use of students--or that there's any reason to oppose it.

"Daley called the rally "the largest civics class in history" and encouraged students to discuss the rally with their parents and others to try to drum up support in Springfield for more school funding."

This sounds insane, I know, but actually he's right. It's a lesson in Chicago civics, what the less enlightened call "The Chicago Way." (I stole that term from John Kass of the Tribune, one of the least-enlightened.) The students are taught that they have no power of their own; they have power as part of the collective--and ONLY the power that the collective ruler (that would be Daley) grants for temporary, carefully-defined purposes. 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.
'"Year after year, we go to Springfield to ask for more money, we go to Springfield for tougher gun laws. . . . Year after year we are told, 'We'll do what we can,' " Board of Education President Rufus Williams said.'
And it's a crying shame, too, because if a Board of Education President can't get gun control passed in his state, what does he have to fall back on? Providing education to students in his district? One shudders to contemplate it.
I think I've had a change of heart. I think I'm all in favor now. Think of it this way--they're trying something entirely new here! It could start a Cultural Revolution! Maybe even a Great Leap Forward!
Maybe we should make a Five Year Plan.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rockford Paper Gets It Right

The Rockford Register Star is sometimes referred to half-jokingly as the "Rockford Red Star," but their man Mike Wiser wrote a simple, honest report on the CCW sub-committee meeting held on June 10th. Go take a look; this is a much more honest take than WIFR TV's version.

Thanks to Lee N. Field for pointing this out!

Winnebago County CCW Public Forum

Well, we're back.
Yesterday, my son and I loaded up the car and headed north to attend a county board committee meeting at Memorial Hall in Rockford, IL. The Winnebago County Board is considering whether to pass an ordinance allowing their Sheriff to issue concealed carry permits in the county, and last night their sub-committee on concealed carry held a public comment forum. I think we won the long-distance award, and after stopping to sleep in the car halfway, we didn't get home until 4:00 a.m., but it was well worth it to be there.

For one thing, we took lots of video of the citizens who chose to take their allotted 3 minutes apiece and speak out on the issue, and that's going to be important, because although the local TV, radio and print news representatives were there, some of them either missed the point or decided to hide what happened. Watch this video of the story that ran on WIFR News in Rockford, and two main themes stand out:

1. Pro- and anti-gun speakers argued back and forth in a fairly even debate over this contentious and controversial issue, with the two sides evenly divided, and

2. Sheriff Meyers of Winnebago County is opposed to CCW for Winnebago County because he agrees with state law and a county CCW ordinance would clearly be illegal.

Well, the figure I was given was that an even 40 people signed up and spoke before the subcommittee. Of those 40, a whopping TWO people spoke against the CCW proposal. 37 spoke in favor, and one unfortunate woman dressed in camouflage with pink peace signs painted on her cheeks rambled disjointedly about atrocities committed against her by the mental-health authorities. She was officially listed as "pro-CCW," but I got the impression that she speaks at board meetings often and CCW was perhaps not her main concern. In any case, for WIFR to try to pretend that there was some kind of debate is dishonest. That hall was packed with well over 100 citizens in favor of CCW, and the reporters who were there knew it.

But what about the Sheriff? Well, I happen to have videotaped the Sheriff, so I have video of him taking several minutes to assure everyone that he's NOT against concealed carry. "If you'd asked me 20 years ago, I would have been against it," he told the crowd, "but times have changed . . . . . obviously the citizens want this done. . . . I am not an obstacle to concealed carry . . . . when the law passes, I'll do what our lawyers say I can do. . . . I'm not a lawyer, but if our lawyers say we can issue permits, then we will."
Cue resounding applause.
Compare that to the WIFR story . . . did they tell the truth?

Well, whatever. The bottom line is that the board asked to hear from citizens, and citizens showed up to have a great meeting. Everyone was polite and civil, everyone got their fair say, and it's clear that this ordinance is about to pass. At this moment, it looks like we have 19 board members solidly on board for CCW, with a few more wavering. That's 19 out of 26, so this thing is going through. Then we'll see what the Sheriff and the state decide to do and take it from there, but this much is clear:
People in Illinois are absolutely fed up with Illinois gun laws and the lid is coming off. The state government will either make a change or be left behind.


Had a visitor in comments on "She's HOME!"

Crystal. Yes, that Crystal. The one with the boobs and the Dr. Pepper. And she cussed right here on my very own blog. That was awesome.

I know there's nobody who's read this little vanity piece of mine who hasn't seen Crystal's work, but if you haven't read "The Crazy Chronicles," click the link above and read them through from the beginning. You'll cry but it will be worth it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

She's HOME!

Missy's home, Kane is no longer puking in other people's cars or classrooms, and the dog got through obedience school without biting anyone. It's been a McKnob kind of day, but I made it.

Tomorrow's to-do list:

1. Mow front lawn.
2. Pour concrete pad for air conditioner
3. Clean out car, gather CCW fact binders and camcorder, and take off for nearly-beautiful downtown Rockford for rabble-rousing.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Keeping Big Secrets

By the way, I'm sitting on some big news over here and it's killing me. I love surprises, and I'm better at them than the rest of my little family here, but this is a big one. If you're from Illinois, stay tuned. I won't actually break any news here; I'm waiting for others to do that first, before I comment. But there's good news and a challenge coming down this summer for Illinois!

TWO Ways to Stand Up for CCW in Illinois--Got Ten Seconds?

Stand up for CCW on Tuesday (June 10) at 5:00 p.m. at Memorial Hall in Rockford (211 N. Main St.)

If you can get to Rockford on Tuesday night, check it out here for all the details.
If you can't, even if you're from outside Illinois, please leave a pro-CCW comment here. The owner of the guestbook will be presenting the comments to the board.

I wrote it and I stand by it. If you're not in Rockford on Tuesday night for the county board subcommittee meeting (doesn't that sound exciting, kids?) then it might not be your fault, but you will, undeniably, be a total square.

See, I haven't talked a lot about this, but several members of Winnebago County Board in Illinois would like Winnebago County to establish its own system to issue CCW permits. Of course, Illinois doesn't allow CCW with loaded firearms except for police officers, licensed private detectives, and municipal government officials who aren't too embarassed to claim to be "peace officers" with a straight face, so you can imagine that there's some doubt as to the legality of this maneuver.

But here's the deal, folks. If it turns out to be valid, we win--it turns out that you don't have to fight Chicago to get CCW as long as you can convince your county board.

If it turns out not to be valid, we still win, because we're on offense. 82 counties in Illinois have passed the 2nd Amendment Resolution that started in Pike County--82 out of 102! Think of what happens when 60 or 70 or 80 counties pass CCW resolutions. This year, 2500 gun owners mobbed the capitol on one day and many were waving the map below (Counties in green have passed the resolution; counties in red rejected it.) What happens when it's 5,000 or 10,000 and they've got the same kind of map showing widespread grassroots support for CCW? That would be an interesting day.

We're a long way from that, but we in Illinois have a chance to stand up for CCW on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. at Memorial Hall in Rockford (211 N. Main St.) Put on a nice shirt, maybe a tie, and come join us. You can tell your grandkids you stood up and were counted back when Illinois still denied the Constitution. They'll ignore you, sure, but later, when you die, they'll think back and have great, if posthumous, pride in you. Maybe.

Anyway, I'll be the big fat bald guy sweating in a polo shirt. Say hi.

I Miss My Wife

There. I said it. She'll be home tomorrow, and I shall be ever so glad to see her.
Plus, I heard she was out at a pool until 3 a.m. with my sister. I grew up with my sister, and I know the kind of people who hang out with her late at night. I'm guessing there was Tequila.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mr. Mom

I'm being my wife today, and it's a little odd. Melissa takes a trip out of state every year with my mom, my sister, and usually a couple of other female relatives from mom's family, and this year they're going to nearly-beautiful Wisconsin, land of cows and mosquitoes. Missy was up at 4:00 a.m. this morning to take her freshly-cleaned van and pick up my mom, then off to pick up my sister and the rest and head north. I'm sure wild times will follow wherever they go.
Anyway, that leaves me as a single dad until Monday. We've got a few things planned, but mostly I just want to make sure the house is still there and everyone's got all their fingers and toes when she gets back. Taking care of the kids and the house is no big deal; I do it every year, and although Missy does a lot of work around the house, it doesn't amount to much that I don't normally do--just more of it. I don't know how single parents do it, especially the people out there trying to raise large familes by themselves. If I didn't have Melissa with me . . . . well, people do it, but I'd be a much less cheerful person.
The biggest difference this time is that they're taking their trip during Melissa's summer school time, and she couldn't find a substitute, so I'm taking her place at work as well as at home. Being Melissa at work is actually a lot less work than being Melissa at home, because Melissa is compulsively organized and consistently over-prepared. Being Melissa's substitute consists of wandering in, asking her aide (and best friend) what's on the agenda, and then just making sure everything flows smoothly. The planning is done, the kids are used to a simple routine, and the day just flows by like old man river. Right now all the work is done and <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</i> is playing. I'd forgotten how quotable this movie is . . . . especially poor Charlie's teacher. Happily enough, the student who brought in the movie for "Movie Friday" is obsessed with <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</i> and also happens to share my pro-Gene Wilder bias, so we're watching the "real" version today. Soon it will be time to head out and figure out what to do with the rest of the day.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pfleger Got Yanked Much Faster Than A Pedophile Priest?

SailorCurt brought up a good point in comments--that the Catholic Archdiocese headed by Cardinal George in Chicago seemed to be treating "Snuffy" Pfleger more harshly than priests who have been found out as pedophiles. It was a good point, but I wondered if it held up, since I couldn't remember how that scandal was handled in Chicago. Each Archdiocese is pretty independent, so it might not be fair to judge Chicago by, say, Boston's behavior.

I needn't have worried. Mary Mitchell wrote about this very issue in the Chicago Sun-Times, and she remembers:

George moved a heck of a lot slower when it came to removing the Rev. Daniel McCormack, a pedophile priest, from St. Agatha Catholic Church in 2006.

As you may recall, George came under fierce criticism for failing to follow the advice of a review board at the Archdiocese of Chicago that called for the removal of McCormack over allegations that he was abusing boys in the parish and Our Lady of the West Side School.

The charges against McCormack exploded in the media in January of 2006 when Cook County prosecutors charged McCormack with sexually abusing two boys.

I don't agree with Mary Mitchell very often, but it's nice that she could help out today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Seriously, Cardinal George, What Does it Take?

From Chicago comes news that after his latest tirade at Trinity United Church, Father Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger is being ordered to leave St. Sabina's church "temporarily." Gee. Temporarily. Aren't the afraid they're being a little harsh with the poor tyke?

No, seriously, I'd like the chance to ask Cardinal George what it would take before a priest got removed permanently. Theoretically, is there an act Pfleger could commit that would shame the Catholic church and the archdiocese of Chicago enough that they'd decide to cut him loose?

  • We know injecting the church into elections, thus at least theoretically jeopardizing their tax-exempt status in any just world, isn't enough.
  • We know that praising bigots like Louis Farrakhan from the pulpit isn't enough.
  • We know that publicly lying repeatedly in his official capacity as a priest isn't enough.
  • We know that threatening to "snuff out" John Riggio wasn't enough.
So, just for my own idle curiosity, what would it take? Does he actually have to start assaulting people physicall--or would that be tolerated, too?

H/T to Armed and Safe whose article suggests the reassignment may be permanent. I'll believe that when I see it.

Hey, Anybody Else Remember?

Remember when California tried to pass a law to force people to sell "zero-emissions" cars in California? I do.
Remember the EV-1? Sure you do.

Now, what's the difference between those efforts and the current biodiesel/hybrid/electric/hydrogen fuel cell craze? Well, the biggest difference is that way back then, a lot of people said such top-down efforts wouldn't work, and the EV-1 wouldn't have much of a market in a country where people got cranky if gas went higher than a dollar a gallon--nor was it a zero-emission vehicle in any honest sense of those words. Because there was no market, no demand to match and drive and shape the supply, those efforts died quiet deaths. Now, you can rent a documentary called "Who Killed the Electric Car?" but after all, it was you and me.

So why is the Prius selling like hotcakes? Why are even Camry and Escape hybrids selling, even though nobody can tell just by looking at them that they're trendy eco-fashion accessories? Why are people buying motorcycles? Why are people biking or walking to places they normally wouldn't?

Simple. There's a MARKET for those things and those ideas at the moment. There are real-world reasons to make those ideas useful ideas for people. They're not perfect solutions, but people are thinking about them, trying different ways and products, and working on getting it right for themselves in their lives. $4/gallon gas has achieved what no legislature could--it gave people a reason to want to change the way we move and travel. Again, none of the current solutions is perfect, but markets are good at sorting that sort of confusion out, too. A lot of people forget that electric cars were as big or bigger than gasoline models in the lat 19th and very early 20th centuries. They were quiet, powerful, and easy to start and drive. When gasoline cars got cheaper to build (and electric starters came along, so they could be started by pushing a button or turning a key!) the electric cars faded away because there wasn't enough demand to keep them in production. That doesn't mean those cars were bad cars; in many ways, they still had advantages over the gasoline models. It just meant that people had to choose and most chose internal combustion for better or worse.

Good schoolteachers know this. Good schoolteachers don't respond to "You can't make me do this stuff!" with "Oh, yes I can!" because the truth is, the kid is right. The right answer to that is, "I'm not going to try to make you do it. It'll have to be up to you. But why do you think it's so important to me that you know easy ways to start a paragraph?"

Nothing new, nothing earth-shattering, just something I notice not many people in the public eye seem to be mentioning. Wonder why that is?

Better Get That In Writing This Time

Oh, Mrs. Sarandon, you teasing little minx. If only I could take you at your word.

"If McCain gets in, it's going to be very, very dangerous," she says.

"It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people. If they prove me wrong, I'll be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don't know. We're at an abyss."

No, seriously, lady, I'm going to say this in the nicest way possible: nobody cares where you live. Your fans don't care where you live. The rest of us don't care where you live. Nobody cares. If you want your fans to care, you should be threatening to stop doing movies or geopolitical analysis on CNN. If you want the rest of us to care . . . well, you provoked some blog posts, so that's something, right?

Reader Guessing Game! Who will be next celebrity to threaten to take his or her ball and go to France if John McCain is elected? You may name up to three. I like to play the long shots, so I'm going to say Tom Selleck, Bill Cosby and Don Knotts.