Sunday, October 17, 2010

QOTD: Space Mercenary Edition

"You looked like you really wanted to blow it up, though."
"Someday--someday--shooting up a high-speed train will be the right thing to do. I can be patient."
Captain Tagon explains why he didn't blow up a train full of innocent people.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ISRA Annual Meeting at Rend Lake

Hooray! The wi-fi is alive again!

I'm sitting here next to Thirdpower from Days of Our Trailers in the legislative update session at the Illinois State Rifle Association's annual meetings. We're at the "resort" at Rend Lake a little bit south of Mt. Vernon, deep in the real southern Illinois. This is the part of Illinois that looks and sounds like Kentucky, except when you sit in a room full of people from northern and central Illinois.

Last night I rolled in with the whole family in the dark of the night and managed to get everyone to collapse more or less on or near a bed, so that was a win. This morning I got the boys up early and we headed out to the trails. We skipped out on the Personal Protection seminar (I've been to it before) and spent the time walking around the lake instead. We picked flowers for mom, watched deer and rabbits, found tracks and scat of deer, coyotes, turkeys and squirrels, and generally wasted a couple of hours in excellent style.

Now here we are in nearly-beautiful Conference Room A. It's not the most cheerful place, but the mood is light. Why?
  • Chicago is on its heels. Their new ordinance is clearly a ploy to undo McDonald, and according to Don Moran of the ISRA, the clauses that criminalize firing ranges and training in the city have created a bottleneck. There may be a hundred thousand Chicagoans who want to own firearms, and there are tens of thousands who do legally own firearms that were registered prior to 1982--but they need training to get the new Chicago Firearms Permit, too, and where can they get it? There aren't enough trainers (because the ordinance defines the qualifications in a way designed to exclude many trainers) and if you could find them, there aren't enough lanes on ranges in the state to get the training done in a reasonable amount of time. That's the bad news. The good news is that judges can figure this stuff out, too, and my impression (Mr. Moran didn't say this, so don't blame him) is that this is just another reason this ordinance is so vulnerable.
  • Mayor Daley is on his way out . . . . and who will replace him? Nobody here will hazard much of a guess, and it's not likely to be a gun blogger. But replacing Daley, the man to whom all favors are owed, has to mean Chicago clout flying all directions. No matter what many candidates say publicly, it's hard to believe that they're privately planning to hitch their wagons to the Brady Campaign Against Success and continue Daley's crusade without his power or connections. Even if someone does want to try it, who can really replace Daley? The only name I've heard with the reputation and personality to remind people of either Mayor Daley is Rahm Emanuel, but he's essentially the Jody Weis of City Hall. Weis is the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, yes, but his police force hates him with a passion. He's a fed from the FBI, they say (J-Fed, to be specific) and he's never "been the police." He doesn't understand their department or policing in general, and Chicago cops figure he's there to take the department apart and clamp down on any cop who gets out of line. They don't trust him a bit, and on Emanuel's first day as Mayor, he'd have the same situation at City Hall, except that the people distrusting him and talking about this outsider from Washington are people with real power in Chicago. His job would be survival from day one. Others have a better chance of winning than Emanuel, but none of them look like The New Daley.
  • Statewide, Governor Quinn is in trouble. He hasn't lost yet, but he's a little behind and, more importantly, not showing any signs that he's going to get things moving any time soon. Democrats, even Chicago Democrats, are starting to get in touch with ISRA and NRA leaders and ask how they can get right with Illinois gun owners. Votes for concealed carry are piling up in the legislature; we're likely looking at enough votes to pass a bill right now, but not enough to overcome a veto (Governor Quinn has promised to veto any carry bill, while Republican Bill Brady has promised to sign it--I'm just saying.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Eleven Two Thousand Ten

Well, it's September 11th again, and nine years after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the unknown third target, the big news is the fight over a mosque to be built in Manhattan (sometimes called the "Ground Zero Death to America Mosque and Terrorism School" by people who don't have enough real problems to get worked up about in their own lives.) The latest zany turn in the fight over whether people have the right to buy a building and use it for lawful religious purposes is the national furor over whether a deranged mustache in Florida, acting through its human puppet-avatar, has the right to burn a pile of Qurans (or possibly Korans.)

I'm not writing about this because I think there's anyone who might read it today who will say "Really? I hadn't heard about that!" It's all anyone is talking about today. I'm just recording that fact here so that, in the next few years, I can check a hypothesis. I think once the Mad Mustache gives up on book-burning (at least book-burning that makes terrorists angry) and the Westboro Baptist Nutty-Butter Church of Crazy burns an even bigger pile of books while chanting and holding up signs (such as "God Hates Everybody" and "What Does It Take to Get Martyred in This Country, Anyway?) the whole thing will die down. I think the mosque will get built, and the world will turn, and it'll probably turn out to be just another "community center." And I think that once that happens, the whole furor will be more or less forgotten by most Americans. Maybe by me, too, with the damage 24-hour news and internets have done to my precious, irreplaceable attention span. I just want to have a record here so that on future 9/11 anniversaries I can look back and remember that in 2010, we gave up on the idea of commemorating the attack that killed thousands of innocent Americans in one day, made us question everything we had assumed we knew about our own lives, and launched two wars. In 2010, we decided 9/11 was a good day for trivial bullshit, and I can't even pretend to be above it all because my own blatherings are recorded in my own archive in the post prior to this one.

At the very least, no matter how far I got sucked into the triviality and foolishness, even if I bought the hype just a little, let the record reflect in my defense that I managed to remember the real reason today matters in time to be a little ashamed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I've been ignoring the Koran-burning honyocks in Florida for the most part, but this morning the preacher wannabe was on one news show or another and I heard him say "We've got to get America back to our roots!"

Uh . . .

Buh . . . .

But . . . you're a book-burning weirdo. You're a walking fascist joke. Anything you say about America's roots is bound to be laughable and wrong. You, as a human being, are laughable and wrong. You don't get back to your roots by repeating the shameful things people did in your nation's past and trying to erase the good and the right.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

11 Regrettable Tattoos: Reddit Users Share Their Worst (PHOTOS)

I love the plaintive wail that the victim here "couldn't see into the future" when he got the tattoo. When did he get it, that soviet communism was only later to be revealed as a bad idea "in the future?" 1918? How old is this guy?

Seriously, if you're walking around with a hammer and sickle tattooed permanently on your body and you think the only reason people give you grief about it is this crazy new Tea Party movement thing, you've missed the point. Again.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chicago's Second Amendment Freedom Rally is this Friday!

With SAFR coming right up, it's time to decide to be there. If you've got to take off work, I promise it will be worth it. Come celebrate! You deserve it.

Chicago's Second Amendment Freedom Rally is this Friday!

Be still, my heart . . . . .

The Springfield State Journal-Register is apparently finished with hinting that they might slightly favor right-to-carry in Illinois, instead coming right out and saying so in a lead editorial in the Sunday edition:

"Our Opinion: Reconsider Ban on Concealed Carry"

They did a good job of recapping the history of concealed carry measures in Illinois, and I only have one or two small quibbles. Great job overall--in fact, when I showed it to my wife, she asked in all seriousness whether it was my guest piece. (It's not, of course.)

The only real trouble they gave me was in their suggestion that anti-gun politicians shouldn't be afraid to revisit right-to-carry because the McDonald decision endorsed "reasonable" restrictions and some compromise might be possible--for instance, that some cities could simply "opt out" of the right-to-carry law.

No. Just no. First of all, as the NRA's Todd Vandermyde has pointed out, the only Justices who wrote about "reasonable" restrictions when they weren't quoting anti-gun amici were the dissenters. That's a polite way of saying that the side that won did NOT endorse "reasonable" restrictions, though they did allow that some restrictions will likely pass muster. What they did was find that the individual right named in the Heller decision is incorporated into the 14th Amendment, which means that it has to be enforced against the states and local governments. That means, in this case, "Illinois" and "Chicago."

So, what is this individual right that now shall not be infringed by Chicago? Well, the Heller decision called it the "right to own and carry weapons in case of confrontation," though of course they didn't actually decide to order Washington, D.C. to allow right-to-carry since that question wasn't before them. But how can anyone figure that Chicago has a legal leg to stand on if they ask to "opt out" of this right entirely? No, right-to-carry is coming in Illinois, and the legislature's choice may very well be between acting in the next session and negotiating with us, or waiting to act and "negotiating" with federal court orders. Good luck with that.

The bottom line is that if the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to carry weapons for personal defense, as the Supreme Court has said it does at least in dicta, then there's no legal way for Illinois to remain the one state in the union that won't allow any citizen to carry a loaded firearm for any reason (police officers and politicians excepted, of course.) And, once Illinois brings itself into compliance and provides equal protection before the law for its citizens, it's hard to see how Chicago could "opt out" and take that equal protection away from over half the citizens in the state. Last year, when many Illinois right-to-carry activists (including me) tried to make a push to get a right-to-carry law that would have allowed Chicago and other home-rule municipalities to "opt out," it would probably have been found legal for them to do it. But they weren't willing to talk about that deal, and the NRA torpedoed it behind the scenes in the Illinois General Assembly. A lot of people were angry about that, but let's face it now: the NRA turned out to be right on this one. We didn't want to wait for the McDonald decision, but that was impatience talking. As it turned out, we find ourselves today in a position where Illinois doesn't need to make that deal that Chicago and its puppets spurned back then. In fact, I'll just come out and say it clearly here: in the long run, I'm glad the other side was too foolish to take that deal, and I'm glad Vandermyde and the NRA killed it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Four things Chicago should do when its handgun ban expires--but won't

Four things Chicago should do when its handgun ban expires--but won't

Over at the Chicago Gun Rights Examiner (Motto: Back and mostly almost as good as ever!) I cast pearls before swine and offered the Chicago City Council four pieces of free advice about what they should do to cope with the loss of the nearly late and completely unlamented handgun ban:

1. Take a deep, calming breath and slow down.
2. Invite Mayor Daley to contemplate the power of silent contemplation.
3. Try to remember how we got into this mess in the first place and don't do that.
4. Try to owe Alan Gura and David Sigale as little taxpayer money as possible when it's all over.

As I hit publish, however, WLS reported that the council had just approved Mayor Daley's new package of gun restrictions designed to do the opposite of all four.

Oh, well.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Overheard at School (School's Out Edition)

Hypothetical Teacher and Hypothetical Non-Existent Student are lounging outrageously on a picnic table, watching the other students play basketball in the hot sun on asphalt.

HNES: "You drinkin' coffee? That shit's too hot for this shit out here."
HT: "Remember the part where we don't cuss here, but yeah, it's my coffee. My mother-in-law stayed with us last night, and she made coffee this morning. And it's good."
HNES: "She stay with you at your place? What for?"
HT: "My kids graduated from the eighth grade last night. She came down to see it, and we went to my parents' house for awhile, and then she spent the night with us so she could go home this morning."
HNES: "Ohhhhh."
A pause. The only sound is the breeze rustling through HT's mustache.

HNES: "Y'all got fuckin' wasted, huh?"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"On Guns, Calderon Spoke for All of Us?" All of whom?

Mr. Henigan, you remind me of nothing so much as a kamikaze recruiter or one of the handlers who talks young boys and girls from the Gaza Strip into strapping on explosive vests. I'm sure President Obama is enjoying having you yap at his heels demanding that he commit political suicide by openly setting himself up as the anti-Constitution candidate, but I doubt even you seriously think he's going to take that advice.

Mr. Obama lives by the famous and sage advice of Russell Ziskey:

"When I was a kid, my father told me, 'Never hit anyone in anger, unless you’re absolutely sure you can get away with it.' "
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Guns, the Guard, and Guts

No, Paul, "we" should not want to emulate Baghdad in Chicago. Instead we should emulate Indianapolis . . . and St. Louis . . . and Kansas City . . . . and Miami . . . . and the the bunches of other major American cities where the right to keep and bear arms is protected from the kinds of assaults Mayor Daley subjects it to in Chicago . . . . cities where violent crime and murder are also much rarer than they are in Chicago.

Chicago has a small group shooting people and a huge group not shooting people. Taking guns away from the group that doesn't shoot people didn't stop the small group from shooting people. Taking guns away EVEN HARDER BY GOD TILL IT STARTS TO WORK is not going to be any more effective. You're trying to tighten the tourniquet on an uninjured leg while we bleed out from the other. It's not going to stop the bleeding, and the leg you're applying it to is getting pretty short of oxygen by now.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Overheard in the kitchen

ME: I should have scraped that paint off years ago. That's like having ten percent more window.
HER: Thanks! Bring me that razor blade?
ME: No problem. Yeah, so that looks . . . really good . . . . especially when you reach up for the top part and your shirt pulls up a little . . . .
ME: Why?
ME: That's not why . . . .
HER: I mean it! I'm in front of the window! It's a window! IT'S TEN PERCENT MORE WINDOW!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

IGOLD 2010 is here

If you can't come to IGOLD 2010 in Springfield today, there are still two ways you can help. The first is to call your local Chicago news outlet of choice and ask them when their story on IGOLD will run.
The second is to go to and donate whatever you can afford to support IGOLD and IllinoisCarry. IllinoisCarry is a not-for-profit corporation (but not, legally speaking, a charity, and donations are not tax-deductible.) running at a consistent loss, funded by donations from its "employees," none of whom are paid. Unlike anti-gun groups like the Violence Policy Center, which do little more than convert Joyce Foundation funds into 6-figure salaries for people who literally do Google and Nexus searches for a living, IllinoisCarry does nothing but advocate for right-to-carry in Illinois. I can testify that being a Director at IllinoisCarry has cost me a considerable amount of money so far, to say nothing of time, and the officers pay more for the privilege than I do. If you can help, you can be sure that your money will be spent wisely and gratefully.

IGOLD 2010 is today. Springfield will welcome thousands of gun owners. . . . .

We will fill the Prairie Capital Convention Center . . . .

We will march down Capitol Avenue in a throng of thousands . . . .

We will gather on the steps of the Capitol, under the well-polished nose of Lincoln's statue and the steady gaze of King's. We will celebrate our freedom and demand our rights.
Join us.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I can't blog what just happened . . . .

Because My Bride says that if I do, I'll never have sex again. So, for the record, I am not blogging what just happened. In the living room.

Just now.

See, honey? Your secrets are safe with me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Daley rips Supreme Court on handgun ban stance :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: City Hall

Daley rips Supreme Court on handgun ban stance :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: City Hall

Da Mare is like a neighborhood bully kid who's just realized he's about to take a beating from one of his victims. He's just going to keep getting louder and shriller and insist that he's the big dog and he's in charge and blah blah blah until everyone stops paying attention to him. We should all hope the decision in Mcdonald is announced early in the spring (not likely), because the longer he has to wait for his thrashing the louder and sillier he's going to get.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Right-to-Carry Town Hall Meeting . . . in Chicago!

Tomorrow night, the UTATU Collective (a student service group at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago) will host a Right-to-Carry informational town-hall meeting at the Carruthers Center for Inner-City Studies near the corner of Oakwood and Langley, just a few blocks off the lake on the south side of Chicago.

That's right, Chicago. And the night after that, there'll be an identical meeting in Elmhurst, IL--one of the most putatively anti-gun of the Chicago suburbs.

All the recent focus on McDonald v. Chicago has tended to take some focus off the very real political changes in Illinois regarding right-to-carry. Five or ten years ago I would have laughed at the idea of putting on a meeting like this one. Tomorrow I expect it to be packed.

I'm planning to make the drive; I've laid in a supply of audiobooks so I can take off after work tomorrow, zoom up to Chicago listening to Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter and then slog back home listening to The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by the late, great Carl Sagan. Thursday morning is going to suck. There was a time when I could drive eight hours in a night, roll into home at one or two in the morning, and be raring to go in the morning . . . . but that was before I got old.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gun Industry "Ambassador" Antonin Scalia to Hear Gun Law Case

You are so right. Alan Gottlieb is a filthy crook who didn't do his taxes right. He shouldn't be allowed to participate in a case before the Supreme Court. That's a Level One Citizen privilege only.

I mean, if he wanted to be Secretary of the Treasury, that'd be a whole different thing, but . . . .

Seriously, Josh, that's weak even for you. Nobody in America thinks the tax code makes any sense, even the people who are tired of hearing the rest of us complain about it. The only reason there was a hook there when Tim Geithner and the rest decided to take unofficial decade-long tax holidays was that they were applying to be in charge of the tax code they flouted. Since Mr. Gottlieb doesn't seem concerned that he'll be picked up on his outstanding warrants any time soon, I'd say chances are good that his tax problems are settled at this point.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Overheard in the kitchen

Kids are flipping through a couple of gun reference books with one of their friends from school:

"Ah, the most basic name for the sniper rifle--the sniper rifle!"

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?

Posted using ShareThis

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?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More low-carb stuff you don't care about

Broiled salmon with lemon-pepper rub and wasabi mustard for lunch, with a side of those green pepper . . . . things from last night. Why did I ever stop doing this?

Oh, right. Sandwiches and Oreos.

Low Carb Time

Going back to the only "diet" that ever really worked well for me after the kids came along (if you don't think dad puts on baby weight, look around next time you're at a short-people basketball game or dance recital.)

Right now I'm actually really enjoying it. I'm in that phase where the cravings for sugar and bread and rice start to subside, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is to get up and make a big sloppy omelet with cheese and onions and peppers and ham and pepper sauce and black coffee . . . . "diet food." Last night I made some sort of concoction of orange, lemon, pineapple and honey to glaze chicken and rice for the family, and I had two chicken breasts rubbed with lemon-pepper and a green pepper, quartered and sprinkled with chopped onions, parmesan, mozzarella and some green-olive-based stuff that The Boss over at TFL sent in a Christmas basket--it's like bruschetta without all the tomato. Delicious.

I doubt I'll lose much at this time. It's later, when the diet leads you to eat less and less, that you really shed pounds. In my experience, there's no "magic" to this diet the way the "eat more, lose weight!" crowd paints it. Instead, I found that after a week or two of splurging on cheese and bacon and steak, I ended up consistently eating under 2000 calories per day, most of them from protein, some from fat, and almost none from starch or sugar. Not magic, but it works.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From Comments: Stay off my side, hippie.

So Andy Martin stopped by to leave a comment on the post about Scott Brown's upset in Massachusett's Senate race:
My campaign is the big winner from the “Massachusetts Message,” because we are the only campaign nimble enough to react quickly. We will have a new statewide ad up this Friday. Patrick Hughes is dead in the water.

Andy Martin

Right. What Mr. Martin didn't mention is that his "nimble" campaign will probably, if history is a guide, "react quickly" with an ad explaining that only a vote for Andy Martin can prevent the Jew World Order from building its alliance with Barack Obama's secret Muslim terrorist brotherhood. There's no point in re-hashing all the insanity here, since Media Matters has been nice enough to compile most of the craziness in one place. See? I told you I could be independent. Don't stop reading before you get to the bottom, or you'll regret it. The highlights go something like this:

  • Andy Martin used to be Anthony Martin-Trigona.
  • Andy Martin graduated from the University of Illinois law school, but was denied admission to the bar because he did some weird, unprofessional things in courts and because the Selective Service had declared that he suffered from mild mental illness.
  • Andy Martin has filed hundreds of lawsuits, maybe thousands, spanning decades. He sues the other party, but is known for then vindictively suing the judge, opposing lawyers, their families . . . . this is not an exaggeration on my part, but is well documented in court decisions.
  • Remember when the Birthers were saying that Islamic law states that you're Muslim if your father was a Muslim, so Barack Obama has to be a Muslim even if he renounced the faith or even never practiced it because he just is, OK? Yup, that came from Andy Martin (that is to say, he takes credit for it.)
  • Andy Martin believes (or believed?) that there is a widespread Jewish conspiracy to bankrupt him and steal his property, and that the evil Joos work as a "wolf pack" within a "national network" of Jews. Opposing this "herd instinct" of "slimy Jew" thieves is so exhausting and frustrating, he wrote, that it brought him around to understanding why the Nazis committed the Holocaust and prevented him from feeling regret that it happened.
In short, I hope you get the help you need someday, Andy Martin. You do not appear to be operating with your faculties in good working order. I think you'd be shocked how much your life would change if you took a year or two off from running for the Senate and sending out wacko emails and just concentrated on finding a professional to talk to about your life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I have good news and bad news

The good news is that Bushmaster is saying the ACR (neƩ "Masada") rifle vaporware is finally going to precipitate. The bad news is that they've disclosed the price.

Hat tipped to Tamara . . . . this is honestly the best use of the Hitler scene I've seen yet. They use "Steiner" and "Stalin" at the right times, and I LOL.

New Woodsman .22 pistols? Great, but . . . .

Will USFA be selling new magazines separately? That's what I've been waiting for.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"It's not Obama's seat, it's the people's seat?"

They should be. Scott Brown has defeated Martha Coakley, but I bet you knew that.

This makes me think of Illinois politics . . . . because everything brings me back to Illinois politics sooner or later. Here's the thing . . . Illinois has not had quite the streak of Democrat Senators that Massachusettes has . . . . but we're a blue state, no doubt about it. And we happen to be holding an election to replace a liberal icon of our own; if you haven't heard, the seat occupied by Barack Obama before we foisted him off on the rest of you is up for grabs in a contested election. It seems to me that the Illinois campaign should be able to use a lot of what Scott Brown's campaign did well . . . particularly, running against the Obama agenda and tying the Democrat candidate to Obama. To be sure, the Democrats should be a lot more serious in the Illinois race than Coakley was in Massachusettes, but their candidate will probably be Alexi Giannoulias, whose main claim to fame is that he played pro basketball in Europe and now plays pickup one-on-one with Barack Obama. I'm sure his people are weighing options, but I see no way for him to distance himself from Obama. On the other hand, Obama is still hugely popular among Chicago Democrats as far as I know.

Of more interest to me at the moment is the Republican primary set for February 2nd. Does the Scott Brown campaign affect that race? I think it does. How?
Oooh . . . . good question. Here are a few possibilities:

1. Patrick Hughes gets a boost.
Hughes is not the GOP leadership's choice . . . that would be Mark Kirk, a "moderate" candidate from the northern Chicago suburbs. Kirk has great name recognition, especially in Chicago, and polls well against Giannoulias. But Kirk is widely despised by Republican base factions (see below) and so several "conservative" candidates have sprung up to nip at his heels. Patrick Hughes claims to be the best organized and funded, which he may very well be, but he's also derided by the other candidates as a wannabe who never voted in Republican primaries before 2008. However, he's strongly conservative, pro-gun, and in person does a good job of bringing across a Constitution-based political philosophy . . . . and in a time when the former head of the Illinois GOP is running as "the outsider," Hughes undeniably is a real outsider. He's also endorsed by several Tea Party groups. How much does that help? Well, it depends because maybe . . . .

2. Mark Kirk gets a boost.
Here's the thing: the Republican base is none too fond of Mark Kirk. Kirk is a Congressman from a fairly lefty district just outside Chicago. Not to pass judgment, but my college roommate, who couldn't change a tire and was astounded and frightened at his move downstate because "it gets really dark at night down here," was from Kirk's district. The rugged prairie it ain't.
But the GOP leadership in this state loves 'em some Kirk. Sure, he sponsored the 1993 Clinton Assault Weapons Ban (in 2008!) But who hasn't? And, OK, fine, he voted for "Cap and Trade" despite the fact that it slits the throats of all the coal miners in Illinois, but those guys are all in Democrat unions anyway, right? And, hey, he crossed his fingers when he done it, and when he announced for Senate he explained that he was only pandering, so no hard feelings. Everyone at the cocktail parties in Chicago agrees that the downstate hicks should stop shouting "Cap'n Traitor!" at Kirk during parades now that he's promised to pander the other way. And after all, he says he's against the Obama health care bill, and shipping Guantanamo Bay prisoners into Illinois, so the Tea Bag Nuts should probably move on pretty soon, right? And let's face it; if you believe the official "cash on hand" numbers, Kirk has almost seven times as much money to spend as Hughes does.
But how could the Massachusettes Incident benefit Kirk? Well, there are those who say that Scott Brown won because he's a RINO. They say that if he weren't pro-choice and . . . . well, that's pretty much all they've got, but they say he's a moderate and that's how he pulled it out. If the Illinois race follows the trend, that argues for Kirk as the moderate choice who can pull off the upset.

3. Alexi Giannoulias gets a boost.
This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but bear with me. What will be the Democrat reaction to "The Massachusettes Incident"? If they're smart (and some of them are awfully smart) they've already been looking around for other races that could get embarrassing. They should not get caught napping again. Anybody who pulls off an upset against another Democrat candidate this year is going to have to earn it against overwhelming odds. If he ever thought he could, Giannoulias is surely now aware that he won't be taking a vacation after the primary a la Coakley. The White House will send whoever they have to send, and Chicago is not Boston . . . . Obama is the local boy (of sorts) who made good, as far as Chicago's Democrat faithful is concerned, and although Mayor Menino of Boston has been in office longer, he's a piker at Machine politics compared to Mayor Daley and his brother-from-another-mother, House Speaker Mike Madigan. If Rahm Emanuel has to bust some heads, he will (not literally . . . . unless he can get away with it.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yet another reason We Can't Have Nice Things

Xavier is finally fed up with the dumbasses who want to pick fights with him every day. People sometimes forget that the entertainers they think are dependent on them really aren't, and people who are providing free entertainment because they enjoy it really have no stake in the game to keep them coming back for abuse. So Xavier's blog is ending for the rest of us, although he'll still have it around.

He should try obscurity. It's much more peaceful.

(That link won't be good forever.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chicago's Real Crime Story by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal Winter 2010

Chicago's Real Crime Story by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal Winter 2010

Heather Mac Donald has written a devastating (and I mean that--it's hard to read to the end, but you should) but insightful account of the role of what should be the obvious cause in Chicago's violent culture--the lack of fathers and families in many Chicago neighborhoods. She makes a compelling case not only for the problems that arise when 79% of black children across a city/county are born without fathers, but for a frightening "next step" that has already begun to show itself--the lack of any parents at all.

The implications go far beyond gun rights; in fact, I'll risk being presumptuous and guess that Mac Donald supports at least what she would call "reasonable gun control." The tragedy of the complete destruction of the family in Chicago's black neighborhoods is, she argues compellingly, compounded over and over by "community organizers" like Barack Obama who insist on Saul Alinksy's strategy of demanding help from outside the neighborhood for problems created by behavior inside it. Mac Donald cites, for instance, Obama's overweening pride at talking the city government into opening a job office and investing in asbestos removal in areas that were too deadly for bus service because of roaming packs of fatherless children and teenagers who would kill over bragging rights to half a block of blighted street.

The ultimate expression of this "let's bend these people over and help them harder until they become model citizens" mindset, Mac Donald explains, is the new plan from the Chicago Public Schools. Using the magic of statistical analysis and data mining and, let's face it, profiling, Huberman's minions identified a few hundred Chicago students who are statistically almost certain to be killed on Chicago streets in the next few years. Each of the 300 students has now been assigned an advocate/social worker whose full-time job is to meet with the little angel and his parents, if any, and provide any help they need. No kidding; "any" help here means any. Mac Donald observes:
Now, perhaps if Huberman’s proposed youth “advocates” provided their charges with opportunities to learn self-discipline and perseverance, fired their imaginations with manly virtues, and spoke to them about honesty, courtesy, and right and wrong—if they functioned, in other words, like Scoutmasters—they might make some progress in reversing the South Side’s social breakdown. But the outfit that Huberman has picked to provide “advocacy” to the teens, at a reported cost of $5 million a year, couldn’t be more mired in the assiduously nonjudgmental ethic of contemporary social work. “Some modalities used in this endeavor,” explains the newly hired Youth Advocates Program (YAP), “include: Assess the youth and his/her family to develop an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) to address the individual needs of each youth.” The Youth Advocates Program’s CEO tried further to clarify the advocates’ function: “If a family needs a new refrigerator or a father needs car insurance, it’s the advocate’s job to take care of it,” Jeff Fleischer told the Chicago Tribune. The reference to a “father” is presumably Fleischer’s little joke, since almost none of the Chicago victims-in-waiting will have their fathers at home. It’s not a lack of material goods that ails Chicago’s gun-toting kids, however, or their mothers’ lack of time to procure those goods. Providing their families with a government-funded gofer to carry out basic adult tasks like getting car insurance will not compensate for a lifetime of paternal absence.

Read the whole thing if you dare.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So, let me get this straight . . .

The media and the gossip columnists want to gut the candidate for Ted Kennedy's seat because he posed for a Cosmopolitan centerfold rated somewhere between PG-13 and R in 1982?

So, if you cheat on your wife and murder one of the mistresses, you have an inspirational story of overcoming obstacles in your life--and when you're done, people will actually speculate that maybe your victim would have said it was worth it for her to drown in cold, dark water as long as you were able to overcome her death's political implications to fight for abortion rights and "free" health care. But if you won a beauty contest and posed for one nude photo, Gawker will announce that you're a "vintage porn star" and make fun of your party for considering you--even if you're already a state legislator with a real record, and running within ten points of the Democrat candidate in Ted Kennedy's district.

Oh, did I forget to mention that we're talking about Scott Brown, the Republican candidate? No big deal; you might not have known Scott Brown's name, but I'm sure you knew I wasn't talking about a Democrat. I think I also forgot to mention that the Republican party appears to be rolling over and offering Brown up as a sacrificial lamb . . . . but I bet you aren't surprised at that, either.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fun Show!

I went to the gun show yesterday. That probably seems like no big deal to most of the people who may see this, but I don't get out to the shows very often. I don't have a lot of cash to spend and I do have a lot of work to do around here, not to mention two teenagers and a toddler who are competing to see who can throw the most red-faced stomping fits per day.

But this time, a friend called me up and asked me to man the Sangamon County Rifle Association table, so I had a good excuse. It would have been a good time to take the two oldest boys off my wife's hands for awhile, but they decided to melt down and try to kill each other shortly before I left, so they were stuck stewing on their beds as I snuck out the door before My Bride could stop me. I suggested that she use our movie theater gift cards to take the boys to the movies and sit in a separate theater, but I gather their behavior never recovered.

That was all too bad for her, but I had a great time. The show was surprisingly well-attended for a Sunday afternoon with a wind chill below zero, and the people I talked to were all enthusiastic about gun rights. McDonald v. Chicago is creating a lot of excitement, and Illinois has primary battles for Governor and Senator going on right now. And I worked the table with Tom Shafer, a former city firefighter with a cable access show and a story for every occasion. Tom never disappoints; he'll make the time pass. Actually, I can admit now that Tom was the guy who used a Glock to stop a home invader back in November; his assailant pled guilty and has been dealt with by the law at this point, so everything is settled. Those of you who are familiar with Tom will realize how dumb it was to try to break in his door in the middle of the night.

Tom was the one who told me about the local news (WICS Newschannel 20) report on the gun show. Now, Channel 20 is the station that thought the most important thing to find out about the IGOLD event last March was whether the Capitol security had caught any of the 3-5,000 gun owners who marched "trying to sneak a gun into the Capitol." That was a step up from the year before, when 2500 marched and WICS declined to cover the event. We're used to this, of course, but we've always understood that we had no friends at Channel 20 and why.

But things are changing all over, and it looks like maybe the news room at TV 20 can feel a change in the wind. They put out this fluffy puff piece on this weekend's show, and I still don't know why. But I approve.