Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Musical Musings For Your Sunday Morning: Stark Contrast and Numbers

So I've been thinking for a couple of days, well, since late Friday night as I went on an ice cream run to Walmart and Rascal Flatts was on the radio (WARNING: Bubble-gum-pop-masquerading-as-country-alert). Last night, one of the selections in the player was Cross Canadian Ragweed's Live And Loud at Cain's Ballroom, and on that set is an absolutely chilling acoustic cover of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done." And I couldn't help but think of the stark contrast between those two songs, and the two bands that recorded them. I'll be the first to say that CCR isn't exactly country in the same way that George Strait and Alan Jackson are, but if one of the definitions of country music is something that is real, raw and edgy -- and yes, you can wager your donkey it is -- then Cody Canada and the boys are just about as country as country can be. Contrast that to something like Rascal Flatts, something that's just had the edge and the soul focus-grouped right out of it for the sake of appealing to the most people, and it's just sickening. I know that -- taking CCR and certain songs in their repertoire as an example -- songs about getting strung out and killing cheating lovers aren't going to appeal to everyone, but is that necessarily a bad thing? And taking yesterday's commentary as an example, just because somebody rakes in the cash when they go out on tour, why do so many people take that as an indicator of how good their product is? And make no mistake about it, that's exactly what Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts make -- a product, seemingly tailored to do nothing more than make money. I know the folks down here on the Texas music scene don't rake in that kind of cash, but even so they all still make some damned fine music. And if it came down to picking between that limited appeal and the rest of the country taking notice of what's going on here, I for one would just as soon take that limited appeal. Otherwise there's the chance of the music getting more bland and watered-down for the bigger market, as happened with Pat Green -- can anybody tell me why people dump on folks like George Strait and Alan Jackson but give Pat a pass? Nashville does indeed suck, but there are some diamonds in that particular lump of coal, even if they aren't so easy to find these days.
And then there's the whole live-show element of it -- when I went to see Ragweed a couple of weeks ago, that $15 ticket got me less than ten feet from the stage. I could almost have reached up and shaken Cody Canada's hand. On the other hand, the closest I've been to George Strait is the fourth row from the stage at Austin's Frank Erwin Center, and only then because of tickets from a broker at a price about 3 or 4 times the face value. They were more than worth it, but I couldn't shell out that kind of cash every time I went to see George or I'd be going to see him a lot less. You can't even buy the kind of up-close-and-personal for the big names that you can get with the artists on the Texas scene for the price of a cd. There's a lot to be said for that, I think. It's good to be a Texan, yes it is...

Now playing....

here: Lee Ann Womack, "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger."
Great, great stuff, what Lee Ann does best...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Come Again?

In comments to this post earlier this morning:

What a stupid comment by you. How has Shania Twain long disappeared from the scene lmao!!!! She is on hiatius with her family and is a music icon.
Shania is the biggest selling country female of alltime and has the money and power to do what you want.
Either you are stupid or hate Shania. Shania's last tour in 2004 grossed over 120 million worldwide and all her albums are the top in music all over the world.
So to say the biggest selling country female has disappeared from the scene because she takes a few years off to look after her family is laughable.
Get a grip and face reality. Shania does what she wants and when she wants to.
Way to make friends and influence people there, Sparky. Really, I could give a damn how much money Shania grossed on her last tour. In fact, you can call that little tidbit another corroboration of the old saying that "there's a sucker born every minute." People bitch and moan about Apple Computer's success being all about marketing -- well, I'll tell you straight up that the people in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles who have marketed Shania Twain's "music" to the "country" audience for the last 12 years, make the marketing folks in Cupertino look like rank amateurs. And I love how these fans of Ms. Twain love to cite those figures, as if it's validation of their taste. I am by no means a pop music hater -- Evanescence was in the cd player yesterday on my ride to work -- but pointing to sales and airplay figures to justify one's tastes seems to me to be extremely shallow. As for Shania Twain being a "country" artist, we'll just go back to what Peter Cooper said:
But if country means "whatever," it really means nothing at all.

And of course this is just my opinion, but the inclusion of Shania Twain in the "country" genre would seem to indicate that there are some out there who indeed think that country does mean "whatever." As for Ms. Twain being on hiatus...whatever you want to call it, I hope she stays on it. And it's been quite the long hiatus, considering the last chart hit she had was about three years ago to the best of my recollection. No matter what you want to call it, she has indeed more or less disappeared from the scene, and all I as a fan of real music can say is, good riddance.

GOP Congresscritters To Start Fighting Back...

against an increasingly openly hostile media?
Via Ace of Spades, via Jeff Goldstein, we have this:

Looks like MSNBC correspondent David Shuster may have deprived loyal MSNBC viewers of their favorite GOP talking heads — at least for now.

This week, the MSNBC reporter “sandbagged” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) during an interview by asking her to name the last solider from her district to die in Iraq. After she couldn’t, Shuster named the solider himself and then scolded the Tennessee Republican for her hypocrisy.

But it turns out that the soldier Shuster named — Pvt. Jeremy S. Bohannon — was not from Blackburn’s district after all. The incident landed Shuster in some GOP hot water, and the newsman was forced to make an on-air apology for the incident last night.

But that might not be the end of it, as irked Republican Hillers are now planning a boycott of Shuster’s employer.

“We don’t mind skipping MSNBC. No one watches that channel anyway,” says a high-placed Republican consultant.

If this happens, it's about time. I for one have gotten rather tired of the coastal and big-city media continually trying to put over the illusion of objectivity when there's evidence in spades that they're biased so far to the left that they might as well all be the public-relations arm of the Democratic Party. As if that wasn't bad enough, they actually bash the blogs for being biased as if it were actually a bad thing! Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but the thing about the blogs is at least they have the integrity to admit that bias up front. I know well that the media is supposed to be a watchdog over the government, but when they willingly become lapdogs of one side or start selectively reporting the facts in order to push an agenda, then that role gets to be undermined. Yet still they proclaim to be fair and objective. Do they really think Americans are that dense? The answer would seem to be "yes." I've seen evidence here and there that circulation, ratings and revenues are all going down to varying extents, which could very well be taken as an indicator that Americans are on to what the coastal media thinks of them. It'll be interesting to see what the effect of the GOP blackball of MSNBC will be.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Let's Play, Spot the Incongruity

Saw this yesterday at work and found it a bit surprising....

Somebody puts copies of the Quran in the toilet of a New York university and is charged with a HATE CRIME against Muslims. I wish I was inventing this.

If the copies were his (apparently they were not), he may perhaps be charged with vandalizing the toilets. If the books were stolen, then he's a thief too. But a HATE CRIME?

Praeger makes a very good point on this video--Piss Christ is a work of art, and this is a hate crime. The guy should have called up the press and announced the unveiling of his new work prior to doing this, maybe he'd have avoided the hate crime charge.

This should scare the hell out of everybody. This CAIR idiot laughs at the very idea that one is afraid of and dislikes religion, and would like to have that made illegal. He does not understand the American Constitution, he hates the First Amendment, and he and his kind have the ear of American public officials.
Now. Where's the incongruity? Well, it would seem the individual who wrote the above commentary, also writes the feverish rantings featured here. So it would seem he's afraid of the Muslims subverting our Constitution -- and probably our beloved Republic created by said Constitution -- but he would deny the people of said republic the means to fight back against the subverting of that Constitution. Now, I am not saying that a bunch of good ole boys with just 1911s and M1As could beat back an invasion by anyone, but I would think that small arms would play a fairly large role in at least certain terrorist operations. Yet the Culturologist with the mail-order degree would deny those arms to all but the military and police, never mind the inherent flaws of inadequate response time by both. The guns would be just another tool in the box, and by themselves might not be enough, but as for me I'd rather be able to take a few of those thugs out before I went down. As they say, better to die on your feet than live on your knees. And one could could modify that by saying, better to die on your feet than die on your knees. It's too bad some folks can't see that because of their fear and hatred of certain inanimate objects. Come to think of it, maybe they deserve to live in dhimmitude.

Too Effin' Cool...Are YOU A Member Of the Tribe?

...or, alternatively titled, Maybe Laura Washington Is Good For Something After All...
Linoge, who is quite the enterprising soul, read the above-mentioned Ms. Washington's bigoted rantings and took some inspiration from them. Behold, the tribal attire of the People of the Gun:

Wear the logo, friends, and wear it proud. I know I will.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Laura Washington Is A Bigoted Fool

Several other bloggers have commented on this already, and I wasn't going to say anything, but now I think I just have to...

The gun army, made up almost exclusively of white men from suburban and rural areas, is loaded for bear.

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: When you talk out of your fourth point of contact, a lot of crap is bound to come out. Call it yet more verbal diarrhea, but I find this little bit particularly offensive, not to mention stunningly ignorant of history. Unless my memory fails me (on what I've read about what's gone on in the last 40 years or so), the folks beating the drum for yet more gun control back in the late 1960s were -- wait for it! -- almost exclusively white men! And gun control as a tool to marginalize disfavored classes of people goes back a lot further than that, back even to the days before the Civil War! Yet here this so-called "journalist" is, trying to cast less stringent gun laws as a seemingly racist proposition, when in fact the opposite is true, as shown by history. Beyond that, though, I'd say this whole "gun people are racist white men" angle is just another indicator of just how intellectually and morally bankrupt the gun controllers are. It's comforting to know, though, that all they have to fall back on are emotion-driven arguments and ad hominem attacks. But wait! There's more!
Through organizing, the Internet, and plunking down plenty of cold hard cash, the gun lobby has proven it is ready for primetime. Meanwhile, its opponents are languishing in the wee-hours of late-night local cable.
Languishing on late-night local cable? For a journalist -- and someone who teaches the craft, to boot! -- Washington does a piss-poor job of paying attention to various media. The TV networks and the various print media have been serving as a platform for various gun-grabbing organizations to spout their lies and brazen deceptions for YEARS now. Not only that, but the antis' bias comes through in other ways also. Just for one example, you hear the figure bandied about every day that some 15,000 homicides are committed with guns each year -- but how many times do you hear that countered with the Lott and Kleck studies that have shown that the number of defensive gun uses each year surpasses that by hundreds of thousands, at the very least, and it might well be into the millions (anywhere from 700,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year)? Those of us on the pro-liberty side do have money, but there's no question the media has been in the gun-grabbers' back pocket for a good while now -- and as for the gun-grabbers having no money, just what the hell are they doing with all that cash they get from George Soros and the Joyce Foundation? Hmm, come to think of it, they're probably just pissing it all away on half-hearted publicity stunts like the gunguys, licensetomurder and 50caliberterror web sites. Still, though, to cast this as some sort of David vs. Goliath battle is just so off-base that it almost defies verbal reaction.
The NRA has built a juggernaut of a website that networks gun advocates from hither to yon.
How odd. I don't think I've ever once been on the NRA's official website, even though I do get their e-mail updates. I just never really saw any reason for it, even though I am a member. And I know I am not the only one.
Women and the African-American church—get them behind the keyboard, and you’ll unleash a thunderous counterpunch to the gun lovers’ old one-two.

What a beautiful example of the glittering generality. Sounds gooood, but there just doesn't seem to be much behind it. My question to Ms. Washington would be, what exactly would this "thunderous counterpunch" entail? To what end would it be? Yet more gun control laws that don't work? Or are we talking about something more sinister like door-to-door confiscation? She doesn't say, but of course she says nothing of the 80 million gun owners who didn't commit a crime yesterday, so I am guessing she thinks women and blacks should agitate for just that, consequences be damned -- and it would seem that with the title of this piece, "Let's Pry Open Those Cold, Dead Hands," she does indeed think forced disarmament is the way to go.

African Americans have plenty of motivation. According to a recent report by the U.S. Justice Department, nearly half the people murdered in the United States in 2005 were black. Most lived in cities and were felled by guns. While blacks make up about 13 percent of the nation’s population, they comprised 49 percent of all murder victims.
Oh, and here's another of the tried-and-true gun-haters' tactics -- anthropomorphizing the inaminate object, the firearm. "Felled by guns"?! I had to cast another look at my nightstand just now to make sure that .45 wasn't sneaking up on me...
Really now...once again, the words of Macbeth come to mind:
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Would that the idiots like Laura Washington only strutted for an hour....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Leftist BS, and Another Glimpse of the Real Giuliani

First up this morning, in the Chicago Sun-Times, we have Richard Daley -- the mayor of Chicago who thinks citizens shouldn't have the right to defend themselves yet is himself protected by a round-the-clock battery of armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards -- making fun of Fred Thompson:

"The sad comment is when you see some of the candidates going into a gun show and they think that's machoism. Someone walks into a gun show and says, 'Oh boy. I'm here watching people buy all types of guns and see all types of guns and ammunition,' " Daley said.

"The first thing you think is, 'How about a police officer just driving through a community. Why don't you go visit them and talk to them about gun violence. Why don't you talk to some families of gun violence [victims].' It's like machoism: 'I'm gonna go to a gun show, walk around and show you how macho I am.' That's not machoism. That's strictly a political stunt."

Daley never mentioned Thompson by name. But when pressed to identify whom he was talking about, the mayor said, "The newly arrived candidate on the Republican side."

The mayor set his sights on Thompson after joining the International Association of Chiefs of Police in unveiling a new report on ways to prevent gun violence. Financed by the Joyce Foundation, the report includes 39 recommendations on ways to protect and better train police officers, control access to guns and improve public safety.

"It's like machoism: 'I'm gonna go to a gun show, walk around and show you how macho I am.'

Good grief, what a turd Daley is. I don't think Fred Thompson's manhood was ever really in question, gun show appearance or not. If I wanted to play psychoanalyst this morning, I'd say that Daley's verbal diarrhea is a textbook demonstration of his insecurities vis-a-vis his own manhood. As for me, I don't agree that it's a political stunt on Fred's part; it'd only be a stunt if someone like Daley dared to darken the door of a gun show. But the fact that Daley singled out Thompson as opposed to Mitt Romney or Rudolph Giuliani says something all by itself -- if Thompson didn't have a good chance at going all the way to at least the GOP nomination, I'm betting Daley would have kept his trap shut.
Speaking of Giuliani, via Armed and Safe, I see that the esteemed *sic* ex-NYC mayor will be speaking at a gathering of the International Association of Chiefs of Police -- the same group that recently released a study calling for various gun bans, which was funded and apparently written by the Joyce Foundation, the same cretins that fund, and other places bursting at the seams with anti-gun asshattery -- not to mention various and sundry disarmament schemes and organizations in various Midwestern states. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Giuliani would go before these people, considering his record -- but still I find it to be more than a little insulting for him to claim that he supports the RKBA. I'd love to see him more publicly called out on his two-facedness on this issue, but somehow I just don't see it happening. Which is more than a little disheartening...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rita Reflections, Part II: Making The Most Of It

continued from here...
I got into Sulphur Springs Wednesday night, and through the day Thursday in between watching CNN, the Weather Channel and whatever else we could find on the TV, I talked with a few friends back in the old hometown, making plans to go see 'em. I figured that while I was up in those parts I'd make the most of it. I talked with Kim at some point either Thursday or Friday, and if I remember right she had to work Thursday but was off Friday.
"How about we go out for a bite to eat Friday night?"
"Yeah, I think that'll work out the best for us."
I headed back to the old hometown about 3:30 or so Friday afternoon, as Rita was bearing down ever closer on the Texas-Louisiana coast. As it worked out, she had taken a last-minute turn and was weakening, and she was then projected to come ashore somewhere in the vicinity of Sabine Pass. This place was still going to be a hell of a mess when I came back, but nowhere near as bad as it would have been had we been on the dirty side of the Category 5 monster she was about the time I was riding into Smith County that Wednesday night. But for a little bit Friday night, I was going to spend some time with my best friends in the world and forget about what was happening back home -- or at least not worry about it as much. I got into town a little before 5, met up with my brother from another mother -- aka my best friend from high school -- and ran around with him a little bit. I told him I was gonna split there in a little bit and meet up with the aforementioned female friend for a little bit before I came out to where we were all staying for the night.
"Oh, no you're not. Bring her out here."
Somehow I didn't think she'd go for that, and truth be told I was looking for a different environment to talk with her anyway, so I more or less begged off on that point. Not so much because of any kind of romantic interest but because it would have been more than a bit uncomfortable considering certain things that had happened some time before. And I never wanted to take the chance on losing her friendship anyway. I knew that once that line was crossed there'd be no going back. And I was still smarting because of the three years of my life I had thrown away on my last so-called "relationship." Back to the story, Kim called as we were riding down the road and I let it go to the voice mail and called her back a bit later. I was almost afraid I wouldn't be able to get out, as brother from another mother was a bit insistent.
"I'll be back in a little bit!"
"Well, all right..."
We met at her parents' house, stayed and chatted for a little bit as I was introduced to them, and then it was off to Red Lobster. We got in her little Ford Escape and I left my car there, as she put in a mix cd she had made a while back...
"Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time...I'm so movin' on, yeah, yeah..."
More memories from that time a year before. At that point I hadn't gotten to the point that I didn't care anymore, hadn't gotten to the point that I'd be feeling what Kelly Clarkson was singing in that song, and had you told me I'd get to feeling that way I'd have told you that you were crazy. We were both singing along, and for a few sweet moments it was like none of the previous year's events had ever happened.
We got to Red Lobster about 6:30 or 7 that night, and as I was sitting there, I told Kim with a grin, "You know what? I'm gonna see if I can get the hurricane refugee discount. Let's see what the waitress says."
So the waitress came back to the table, and I did just that -- asked her, with a grin on my face, "Can I get the hurricane refugee discount?" Kim, bless her heart, just busted out laughing. I wasn't serious, but the waitress thought I was there for a minute. I told her I was from the area where Rita was coming in, but my driver's license still had a Sulphur Springs address on it and I don't think I had anything that was proof I was living in the Golden Triangle, so I don't think I could have gotten said discount if I had kept pushing it. I was just having fun, though. ;-)
I bid Kim goodbye about 9:30 or 10 that night and got back out to my other friend's house, where they were all playing poker and, of course, drinking beer. And of course I brought some too...I was in the mood for Shiner Bock and bought a 6-pack on the way back to the house. Lucky for me the buy-in for the Texas Hold 'Em game was low, because I am absolutely no good at poker...
I awoke the next morning, not quite feeling like death, but I did have quite the splitting headache...I stumbled out to the car and went to the Walmart in town to get some aspirin and didn't even notice, until after it was pointed out to me, the big ole dent in the back side of the car right behind the driver-side rear tire. Friend's mother was backing out to go to work earlier that morning and had backed right into it. We exchanged insurance information and I told her I'd take care of it when things got calmed down. I went back to Sulphur Springs later that grandmother told me to come back early, because at that point it looked like the remnants of Rita were going to come right up through that part of Texas, with heavy rain and tropical-storm-force winds (between 39 and 74 mph). Lucky for me, though, it came in further east and we missed the brunt of it, and all that was left to do when I got back to Sulphur Springs, was play the waiting game...

Now Playing... Chris LeDoux, "This Cowboy's Hat."
As Scott Chaffin would say, good stuff, Maynard.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

...and Giuliani's pandering escalates...

I guess it was expected that Rudolph Giuliani would speak before a gathering of the National Rifle Association sooner or later, but even so, I can't help but think he and his people have audacity to spare in coming before us and saying he believes in protecting our rights when his record so clearly indicates otherwise. Perhaps it's another indication of the strength of the hand we're playing with in the poker game of politics, but still it's quite insulting to see him come forth and tell us he's on our side now. A glimpse behind the curtain:

"Your right to bear arms is based on a reasonable degree of safety," he said.

No. My right to bear arms is based on the premise that I have the right to exist and to defend that existence by any means I can manage from any threat that comes down the pike, from a mugger on up to a government bent on my enslavement.

"I believe that law enforcement should focus on enforcing the laws that exist on the books as opposed to passing new extensions of laws," he said.

You mean, like the Sullivan Act which you once-upon-a-time advocated as a model for the rest of the country?

Giulaini explained the lawsuit he initiated in 2000 against gun manufacturers by saying that he was "excessive in everyway that I could think of in order to reduce crime" but said that "intervening events" like September 11th had caused his views to evolve. "I think that lawsuit has gone in the direction that I don't agree with."

Somehow I can't help but think the only thing that caused your view to evolve, Mr. Giuliani, is your decision to run for president. And I don't really know what different "direction" that lawsuit has taken, other than just the gun dealers taking the fall as opposed to the manufacturers too. You were wrong to file the damned lawsuit in the first place.

Really now. When I read about this speech to the NRA, I thought of a few things...



Rudolph Giuliani has betrayed the American people time and time again, and absolutely nothing he says can undo that betrayal. I am sure I am not the only one who can't wait to see this campaign get to the point that he's forced to go on back to New York because of Fred Thompson, or Duncan Hunter. It's not even 7:30, and I think I need a drink already...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Of Those "Amen" Moments

Just heard this song from Jared Pete Gile at Radio Free Texas, and yes, I was saying, "amen to that..."

I don’t really know who’s to blame but it’s plain to see that things have changed
Country music just ain’t what country music was before
Pure sh*t coming out of my radio I feel worse than an inmate on death row
And I guess I just don’t know what good country music is anymore

That new duo Big and Rich make me madder than a son of a bitch
When I hear that their songs are new the top of the charts
Cause they bring a little midget out on stage and make him dance around like he’s their slave
What they're doing to that little feller it just breaks my heart

What would Hank Williams say
About the crap that they’re calling country music today
Didn’t this used to be about the songs
Could somebody tell me just what in the hell is going on

Let’s talk about ole Tim McGraw the biggest hypocrite I ever saw
Too much pop in your country well Tim I ain’t buying that
Cause yesterday on my TV I saw you and Nelly on CMT
And I hear Snoop Doggy Dogg is shooting a video with Rascal Flatts

What would Hank Williams say
About the crap that they’re calling country music today
Didn’t this used to be about the songs
Could somebody tell me just what in the hell is going on

And I hate when ole Kenny Chesney goes to playing air guitar
And I can’t believe the old lead singer for Poison was a judge on Nashville Star
And ole Toby Keith probably wouldn’t agree but I think that it’s wrong
When a tune called “Who’s your Daddy?” is considered a hit country song

What would Hank Williams say
About the crap that they’re calling country music today
Didn’t this used to be about the songs
Could somebody tell me just what in the hell is going on

Well these are tough times to be living through it’s a shame country music lost Chris Ledoux
Not to mention Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and even ol Conway
But at least they wrote songs I could understand Today I guess I’m just not a smart enough man
Save a horse ride a cowboy what does that mean anyway

What would Hank Williams say
About the crap that they’re calling country music today
Didn’t this used to be about the songs
Could somebody tell me just what in the hell is going on

And if you're not listening to RFT, well, you oughta be...

Shall We Play A Game?

Let's call it, "How Many Guns In My Collection Or Guns I Have Owned Would Be Banned If Sarah Brady Had Gotten What She Wanted From The Klintons."
Via JR comes a reminder of what could have happened in the early 1990s on the gun front had the gun-grabbers not overplayed their hand and gotten their nether regions smacked by the voters: the onerous legislation that came to be known as "Brady Bill II." This is what caught my attention:

"Saturday Night Specials" would be outlawed. They would be defined as:
1. A handgun with any parts made of zinc alloy.
2. Any handgun that uses .22 short ammunition. Many guns that use .22 long rifle can also use .22 short, and would thus be banned.
3. Any revolver with a barrel less than 3 inches.
4. Any semi-automatic pistol with combined height and length of less than 10 inches.
5. Any seme-automatic pistol without a "positive manually operated safety device."

That's four of my guns that would be gone right there --
Revolver with a barrel less than 3 inches long: Ruger SP101, 2.25" barrel
Semi-auto pistol with combined height & length of less than 10": Very likely my Kimber Tactical Ultra II -- that's right, friends, that thousand-dollar pistol would have been classified as a "Saturday Night Special."
Any semi-automatic pistol without a "positive manually operated safety device" -- Both of my Ruger P-series pistols.
That's four of my guns gone, and we're not through yet!
All magazines which hold more than 6 rounds would be outlawed. Possession of existing magazines with a larger capacity would be allowed under the same terms as currently applicable to possession of machine guns: a 10-point FBI fingerprint; an expensive federal tax; and possession only allowed if a letter of authorization from the local police chief is obtained.

There would go my other 1911s -- 7-rounders for the .45s, and 8-rounders for the 10mm -- because I'm betting there's no way in hell I could have afforded that federal tax. The smart money says the Bradys would have gotten that tax indexed to inflation, and there's no telling what it could have come to. No doubt the gun manufacturers would have done their best to adapt, but considering the black market that would have come about for guns that could accommodate magazines holding more than 6 rounds, I have no doubt said guns would have been next on the ban 'n' confiscate list. Looks like my current magic number is 7; that's 7 of my guns I'd have had to turn in or face jail time, fines, or whatever those cretins decided the punishment would have been for failure to comply.
And then there are all the taxes and fees that would have come about; Dave Kopel mentions a $300 fee for an arsenal license, where an arsenal is defined as more than 20 firearms or 1,000 rounds of ammunition -- and magazines and parts of the action would have been defined as firearms for the purposes of the bill. This fee would have to have been paid every three years.
Then there were all the various taxes on guns and ammunition, and on another site I saw a mention of fees on range visits as well -- to the tune of almost $100 per visit -- and then there was a mention of no ranges permitted in counties with populations of over 200,000 people. As of 2005, the population of Jefferson County, TX was 243,914 (source). So no more gun club, and Mr. Leger out on Highway 90 would have had to close his range.
Scary stuff to contemplate, indeed, all of it...thank God the voters threw the gun-grabbers out in 1994, as you see what the damn Clintons got through Congress in just a couple of years (the Brady Bill and the AWB). It's frightening to think what they could have done with even another two years.
And, as Kopel says, "It would be interesting to know which, if any, items from the Brady II bill are rejected today by the Brady Campaign or the political candidates which it has endorsed." I'd bet they still support every last one of those items -- they just grew a brain after the 1994 elections and shut up about most of them. Well, most of them grew a brain, that is -- you're still going to find idiots like Josh Sugarmann and the Culturologist with the mail-order degree who think every last one of those items should be the law of the land.
In any event, it's a sobering reminder of what could have been...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Rita Reflections: Running From the Devil, or The Storm America Forgot

I know I didn't say much about it a year ago, and I think that had to do with the fact that I had a raging case of new gun euphoria, and that I was worrying about my last semester of college. It seems now, though, that life has finally calmed for me after the last couple of years, and I find myself thinking of this day two years ago, September 21, 2005 -- the day I ran from the approaching Hurricane Rita.
If I remember right, I had gone to work about 10 or 11 that morning. I was still working retail, and it was fairly busy with people stocking up on hurricane supplies, non-perishable food, stuff like that. A dear friend of mine had called me a couple of days earlier -- I think it was Sunday night, Sept. 18 -- asking me if I was going to evacuate. I told her no.
"Are you crazy?!"
"Kimberly, honey, it's going to be hitting about 100 miles on the other side of Galveston, I think we'll be fine." At the time the storm had been on track to hit Matagorda Bay, between Galveston and Corpus on the Texas coast.
As it turned out, though, the storm track shifted up the coast in the next couple of days and on Wednesday, Sept. 21, if I remember right, it looked like Rita was going to come ashore somewhere between Galveston and Freeport -- just about too close for comfort. I started seriously debating whether I was going to evacuate, but I finally made my decision as I saw many of my coworkers getting their checks and signing the evacuation list. So I called my mother, as I was standing in line to get my check.
"Hey, would it be all right if I went ahead and went to Sulphur Springs?"
"Yeah, that'd be ok." The original plan was for me to hitch a ride with my mother and two sisters as they were headed east, to central Louisiana to ride out the storm. But I was worried about sitting in that horrendous evacuation traffic crowded like sardines in her Tahoe, and plus I was worried about things I would lose if I left it behind. I know it might sound selfish, but I wanted to have some things to start over with just in case it did come to that. The next call I made was to my uncle on my mother's side in Sulphur Springs, some 75 miles east of Dallas and 275 miles inland from the Golden Triangle. We had talked a couple of days earlier and they told me I was welcome to come up there.
"Hey, I'm gonna go home, pack some stuff and head that way."
"All right, be careful. We'll have supper for you when you get here."
After I got my check, I swung over to the local Academy to pick up some extra ammo just in case. Stupid of me not to already have the extra on hand, but I was still a bit of a noob to the self-defense world and the realities of hurricane evacuation. They didn't have my ammo of choice -- 230-grain Federal Hydra-Shok in .45acp -- so I picked up some Winchester JHPs instead.
I got home about 2 that afternoon. As I remember it was sunny with a few clouds, and rather warm as Southeast Texas Septembers are. I backed my car into the slot there in the parking lot in front of my apartment, cleared out the trunk and the back seat and started packing. Over the next 2 1/2 hours I put everything in that car that would fit -- books, cds, clothes, all my electronics save for my TV and dvd player, that thing was packed to the gills when I was done. For good measure, the Ruger P90 I'd picked up about a month earlier went loaded in a holster directly under the seat, and about 4:30 I pulled out, uncertain of what I'd be coming back to. I stopped at the Exxon down the road to get some gas for the car -- wonder of wonders, they still had some! -- and put about $10 worth in it, thinking that'd be enough to get me to at least the other side of Lufkin before I had to fill up again.
I headed out of town on Highway 69 , and the traffic was pretty light for the first 10 miles or so. I was thinking, "Hey, this isn't so bad, looks like I made the right choice to get out." Unfortunately, a few minutes later I found I thought too soon that the traffic wasn't going to be bad. Just before the Highway 69/IH-10 split on the south side of town, traffic came almost to a standstill as they were diverting people from Houston this way. Stop'n'go traffic, oh boy, this means the car's gonna be runnin' hot, which means AC off and windows down...and so it was, over the next 2 1/2 hours through Beaumont and Hardin County.
I fared much better than most, though. The rest of my family -- with the exception of my stepdad, who if I remember correctly waited till Friday to get out -- went from the Bolivar Peninsula to the Lafayette, Louisiana area, and it took them almost 9 hours to to make that ~175-mile trek, with two toddlers along for the ride. Fun stuff, or maybe not so much. Metropolitan Houston had it even worse -- at one point it was 19 hours from Galveston to Dallas, and 24 from Galveston to San Antonio.
Even before I made it to Woodville, halfway between Beaumont and Lufkin, traffic was flowing normally again. It was much better than I thought it would be; I really thought traffic would be locked up at least to Lufkin if not further than that.
Through it all I was strangely not so stressed. There was a little bit, of course, but I was thinking back to the same time the year before, as what I thought would have been forever was going into its death spiral and "I want to be just friends" was far too close into the future. And THAT was a fat lot worse than any hurricane, for a bruised heart, a broken trust and a shattered sense of self-worth are a hell of a lot more difficult to replace than, say, a couch, bed or computer. I found myself thinking about her as I was shooting up Highway 69 south of Tyler and Cross Canadian Ragweed's self-titled "purple" cd was in the player...

"...Look at you, high on your pedestal, and gettin' off on lookin' down on me...our situation's gone from bad to critical, and I think it's time one of us started movin' our feet...I don't need you criticizin' me, I don't need you walkin' all over me, I don't need you always tellin' me what to do...and I don't need you..."

I pulled into my grandmother's driveway about 11:30 or so, and my uncle was still up; he helped me unload all my things out of the car and we put it all in the spare bedroom, where it was to stay for the next three weeks. We stayed up and talked for a little bit as I ate, and I think I got to bed about midnight or so. Little did I know that as I was running from Rita, about 10 the night before if I remember right, she had strengthened to a Category 5 monster with winds of about 175 mph and was headed for High Island, which would have put us on the dirty side of the storm, with all the wind and water....

More Political Musings for Your Friday Morning -- Rudy 'n' Fred

Once again, Tamara hammers the nail right on the head:

...people aren't lining up to board the Rudy train because he's another RINO, anti-gun, big city, northeastern politician; Kerry with an elephant; Dukakis with more red in his bunting. I'm about as "socially conservative" as... well, metaphor fails me. I'm not at all socially conservative, but I wouldn't vote for Rudy Giuliani at gunpoint, and neither would anyone else I know South of the Mason-Dixon or West of the Mississippi. If the GOP wants a sure loss in '08, they're welcome to continue with this big media Giuliani circle jerk, but don't expect me to join in.
Said nail-hammering was in response to Ace's contention here that conservatives aren't lining up to support Giuliani because they're waiting on another Reagan. And like Tam, I am 100 percent sure that isn't the case. Every single complaint I've heard about Giuliani has to do with the fact that he's an authoritarian statist who will unhesitatingly throw various civil and natural rights under the bus for the sake of maintaining law and order -- not the fact that he isn't the reincarnation of the Gipper (and if he was, even then he'd still be flawed, for as I recall, Reagan supported both the Brady Bill and the AWB). Such doctrinaire analysis is the exact reason I don't read the big political blogs nearly as much as I used to -- they don't have nearly as good a reading of what's going on as they like to think, and not to mention the fact there are at least a few out there who would be willing to throw said rights away for the sake of The Party getting the upper hand.
Next up, we have fundie James Dobson on Fred Thompson:
...Fred Thompson, who was once seen as the savior of conservatives, isn't getting any better news of late. Evangelical Christian leader James Dobson, in an email message to friends, said he could not support the former Tennessee Senator, according to the AP.
"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, ... favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?" Dobson asked. "He is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"
Yes, well, Jimmy, as far as this conservative Christian is concerned, you and all your followers can go take a flying leap off a cliff outfitted with wings made of lead. I am as much of a conservative and a Christian as anyone, but as far as I can tell, kowtowing to Dobson and his ilk to the extent they would like would ultimately be any candidate's undoing. And then where would we be? We'd be stuck with President Obama or yet another President Clinton, and very likely with a Democratic Congress to boot. It was bad enough in the early '90s...and there's no guarantee we'd see another 1994-style GOP takeover of Congress. I am by no means comparing Dobson and his people to the radical Islamists now running Iran, but I seem to recall reading here and there that Jimmy Carter actually supported the 1979 overthrow of the shah of Iran and the country's ultimate rule by Ayatollah Khomeini because, like Carter, Khomeini was supposedly a "man of God." It may be a reduction ad absurdum, and it might not even be true, but it still works as a great example of how supporting someone because of a common religious fervor may ultimately backfire -- and in a big way in the case of Carter's support of the shah's overthrow. But if Dobson and his people are even half as irrelevant as I think they might be, I think Fred! will do just fine. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Would It Be Wrong Of Me...

to call this pseudo-intellectual feminist claptrap?

I'm disappointed that Foster--who won an Oscar for her intelligent and poignant performance as a rape survivor in "The Accused"--has chosen to portray a woman who buys a gun and turns into an almost cartoon-like shooting machine.
How about a flick that shows formidable women using their brains, power and sex appeal to take the guns away from the guys without using physical force? Maybe Foster can play someone like, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer Diane Feinstein, or Hillary Clinton; intelligent, powerful women who have consistently voted for gun control, getting them an F rating by gun lobbyists.
It would seem the author of this blithering idiocy believes the woman lying raped and strangled in the alleyway is indeed morally superior to the woman with the 1911 in her hand and a dead rapist at her feet. There really aren't any words for the evil that's at the foundation of such a belief, if you ask me. Once again, that might sound extreme, but self-defense is our right and duty -- and the gun controllers would rob us of the most effective means of it, and for what? One more time, gun control has not worked anywhere it's been tried, and I just. Do. Not. Believe. That there's any reason we can let people who espouse and promote such ideas get away with it any longer. We need to start calling this exactly what it is -- pure, unmitigated evil -- or, perhaps more accurately, keep calling it that.
As for "formidable women using their brains, power and sex appeal to take the guns away from the guys without using physical force," well, friends, that is just an out-and-out LIE, and that's all there is to it. Why? Because the four women in question really wouldn't be using their "brains, power and sex appeal" to take those guns away. They'd be sending other men with guns behind badges of federal authority to take those guns away, and one more time, it'd come down to violence settling the issue, one way or another. But then I guess that wouldn't fit the feminist narrative Ms. Kobrin was trying to spin. How ironic that these people preach female empowerment yet would strip them of one of the most effective tools for said empowerment. Seems to me that the feminist movement as envisioned by Sandra Kobrin and her ilk is little more than a paper tiger, all talk and no action, or all hat and no cattle as the old Texas idiom goes. Whatever you want to call it, whatever credibility these people still have is ample testimony to the truth of the old saying, "there's a sucker born every minute."
(h/t Armed and Safe -- welcome back, bud!)

'Twas a good Wednesday...

...because I went shooting, ordered a new gun and got one back in from the shop!
The day started early, out at the gun club with my stainless Ruger P89 and half a box of 9mm. After a year of shooting .45 -- I don't even remember the last time I shot the 9mm -- it felt almost like a BB gun. A rather snappy BB gun, but still, it seemed like it was a LOT different than what I remembered. I suppose that might have something to do with my 10mm adventures as well, but in any event I did have a lot of fun. But as they say, even a bad day at the range beats a good day at work! Somebody left a good number of .38 Special cases laying on the concrete, and I thought, hey, that's free money there! So I picked them up, as well as my 9mm and a few .40S&W cases and am going to save them to recycle later when I get more. From what I understand, the price of brass has been going up as well, though I don't know what that price is. I've been pondering the idea of getting a household-size trash can and filling it up with brass people leave, whether or not I reload it. I'd be a little skittish about reloading range pickups because of the uncertainties -- how many times it was loaded (if any), how hot the loads were and all that. As far as 9mm, .38 and .40S&W go, I don't shoot enough 9mm to really justify the time involved, I'd rather shoot .357 Magnum to avoid crud buildup in the chambers, and as for .40, well, regular readers already know I shoot a REAL middle-bore pistol cartridge. ;-) Ah keed, Ah keed, of course...but once again, I still think it's what should be on the shelves instead of the .40.
Speaking of the big bad Centimeter cartridge, I swung by my friendly local fun dealer FFL today and asked him to find me a Dan Wesson Razorback to keep the Kimber Stainless Target II company in the safe and double the 10mm fun. I think it'll be running me about $800-850 depending on the markup, but we'll see. I would have gotten it earlier this summer, but I found myself in a bit of a bind and have been working my way out of it. Such is life, though, and it could have been a lot worse. I am unsure how long it will take for him to find the pistol, but it may be no more than a couple of weeks.
Finally, as I was at said FFL's shop, he opened his safe and pulled out a box and said, "I think this is for you." It was my Springfield Loaded 1911 that had to go back to the shop to remedy a jamming problem. That was actually what I had primarily gone down there to find out about, to see if it was in. Springfield has a pretty good turn around time and I was thinking this time it'd be no different. And it wasn't! According to the work order, Springfield's 1911 wizards replaced the extractor and modified the breech wall. I have about 80 rounds on hand of .45acp, and this weekend I'll be going to pick up a box and see how she runs now.
So yeah, it was a good day, and more fun is yet to come!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

I must say, seeing this in the Houston Chronicle this morning just really rubbed me the wroooong way...

Tickets are sold out, fans are in tears and parents are in an uproar. Sound like a Duran Duran tale from the '80s — or N' Sync in the '90s? No way. There's a new tour furor, and it's over 'tween sensation Miley Cyrus, star of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana.
Her Nov. 11 show at Toyota Center sold out Saturday in five minutes. Now the only way to get tickets is at inflated prices from ticket brokers or individuals.
Among parents dismayed by the fast Houston sellout and subsequent price gouging is Sandra Isget of Groveton. Having promised her 8-year-old son she'd get tickets, she wound up paying $629 for two seats to a Bossier City, La., show via Ticket Exchange, a service of Ticket Master, which allows fans to sell or buy among each other.
"I didn't trust eBay, because you don't know who those people are," Isget said.
Now she's having buyer's remorse.
"It was supposed to be something light-hearted and fun, and it's turned into something more expensive than our monthly mortgage," Isget said. "My son has no knowledge of us going into credit-card debt to get the tickets. I thought it would be worth it — that it would compensate for my own mental anguish — but it leaves me with such a bad feeling. I'd promised him. How far am I willing to go to keep that promise. If I refused, that only hurts him."

She prooomised him. Oh, the humanity!
Good grief. Is it wrong of me to say that I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for people like this? I believe the phenomenon seen described in those last three paragraphs is known as letting your mouth write a check your ass can't cash -- although, to be fair, the lady didn't say she couldn't afford them, just that she'd be going into debt. But still, if they can't afford the tickets at whatever price they end up having to pay, well, that's life. And maybe if she'd been as aware as she should have been, she wouldn't have made that promise -- although she really shouldn't have made it so blindly in the first place. I don't really care for the scalping phenomenon myself, but if ~$315 a seat is what the market will bear, well, that's life. It's full of disappointments, but I think we all learned that right about the time we learned to talk and dealt with it accordingly. Were I to come face-to-face with folks like the above-quoted mother, I'd be sorely tempted to say, "you should have known better, quit your whining, cowgirl up and deal with the choices you made." Call it callous or cold-hearted, but it's what I think.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Antis Tip Their Hand Again

Via David Codrea at The War On Guns, comes this, on the issue of arming campus police:

Soneson, an associate professor of philosophy and religion, worries more about the potential for mistakes. Last month he shared several stories, including that of Eric Shaw, a 31-year-old man killed by an Iowa City police officer while working in his downtown studio. Officers were in the building looking for a burglar and entered Shaw's apartment. The officer accused of firing the weapon originally said he thought the cell phone in Shaw's hand was a gun. He later admitted firing the gun when he flinched.
"These were highly trained police officers," Soneson said during an open forum on campus last month. "The UNI campus security guards have asked to carry guns for years now. ... Guns are unsafe."
Whaaat? You mean The Only Ones make mistakes TOO? Who'da thunk it?
And of course, leave it to that f**ktard Paul Helmke to take that ball and actually run with it! Or maybe it's the scissors he's running with...
I urge everyone, regardless of your point of view on the subject, to watch this short video.

The video clip shows a Federal law enforcement agent, doubtless fully trained in firearm safety, shooting himself in the foot in front of a stunned classroom full of people.

This reinforces the point that guns in school are inherently dangerous. Even trained law enforcement officers can have potentially serious accidents. Teachers should focus on teaching, and janitors on cleaning. If we are concerned about safety in the schools, any guns should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officers.

The Federal agent in question is none other than Lee Paige, the only one professional enough to handle that Glock Fotay. Chutzpah indeed, Mr. Codrea...
But here's the thing. Time after time, the antis clumsily attempt to hammer home the point that trained LEOs are a step above the ordinary citizens when it comes to handling guns. Yet here we are with one of them bringing up a supposedly trained agent's mistake. Mr. Codrea makes the observation that the police would eventually be required to turn in their duty weapons when not on duty. Somehow I can't help but think that they'd go a step further -- after they disarmed everyone without a badge, they'd start in on disarming everyone WITH a badge -- using, of course, the premise that "guns...are inherently dangerous." Which over time could very likely lead to only the larger, more physically fit among us being accepted into the law enforcement community. Somehow I can't help but think that'd be nothing but a very bad thing, that we would indeed be going back to the rule by the young, the strong and the many, as Marko Kloos so artfully put it. I for one really wouldn't want to risk that, less so since I'd be one of the unfortunates on the wrong end of the stick...and it irks me tremendously that asshats like Paul Helmke would want to take that chance. You wonder why I think antis are either stupid or evil? Well, that's why...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another Judgment Of Our Culture

...and, as JR says, this is just completely beyond fiskage. Although there are a couple of "points" (and I use that term in its loosest possible sense) that deserve to be addressed:

If it is really that hard for one to lay down their arms and live a life of peace and prosperity, then perhaps it is due to a lack of better things to do. I have thus constructed a list of possible activities to take the place of killing in your weekly planner.
Options range from, but are not limited to: ice skating, basket weaving (a UConn specialty), planting a tree, learning to play an instrument, helping the poor, helping yourself, taking long walks on the beach, and finally, my personal favorite, survivalism taught first hand in the 21st -century epic that you and I know as "Man vs. Wild."
First up, let's talk about "helping yourself." I would argue that becoming versed in the art of the boomstick is "helping yourself" in more ways than one. Off the top of my head? It will aid you in the task of gathering food, make it a lot easier to defend yourself from two- or four-legged predators, and it's quite the stress reliever; an additional side benefit is the good feeling you get from learning these skills -- "Hey, I can do this, it's really cool that I can rely on myself."
Taking long walks on the beach? Anyone want to take bets that this guy likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain too? I'd see that bet, go you one better and say it's his favorite song. Hey, if he gets to make half-witted snarks, then by-george, so do I!
Survivalism -- oh, now this one's just too easy! Anyone wanna pitch in and buy this guy a ticket to, say, the Alaskan backcountry, along with everything he needs, sans projectile weaponry? Unless, of course, he was speaking merely of "survivalism" in, say, a town with no Starbucks. I'd say that's a safe bet too, but I'd still buy him that plane ticket to Alaska. He'd find out what that whole "survival of the fittest" thing is all about. Bet he'd be rethinking that whole "get rid of the guns" bit as a bear was preparing him for dinner. Call it cruel and unusual, but some people need to experience firsthand the consequences of their misguided idealism.

In case you didn't get the memo, contrary to what is shown on TV, violence is not an acceptable form of conflict resolution, and the simple, little process called 'speech' is much easier and better at solving problems.
For some strange and unknown reason, a quote from sci-fi author Robert Heinlein comes to mind:
Anyone who clings to the historically untrue—and thoroughly immoral—doctrine that "violence never settles anything" I would advise to conjure the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedom.
I don't know much about Heinlein, but I would think he has a much better grasp of history and human nature than does Chris Donnelly, and the same could be said for the peerless Bill Whittle:
To the many who scorn the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution as the dangerous plaything of illiterate, mindless oafs who enjoy loud noises, let me simply refer you to that great unbiased and incorruptible teacher: History.
Ask yourselves why intellectual elites so love totalitarian states where people are unarmed and dependent sheep. Look at the examples of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Saddam, and the horrors they have inflicted at will on their own people. And when contemplating your ever-so-sophisticated foreign policy, ask yourselves what compassionate and non-violent options you are left with when facing a determined, heartless bastard like Hitler, Napoleon, Ghengis Khan or Attila.
Some say that the time for real evil like that has finally gone. I hope you are right, I really do. I don't want to go fight those bastards; I'd rather barbeque and watch the Gators. I'm sure the Jews in 1930 Germany thought such things could never happen again, not in the heart of European culture and civilization. I'm sure every bound and beaten musician, surgeon, philosopher and painter being lined up at the side of a ditch thought exactly that.
No doubt they did think exactly that, Mr. doubt at all.
As for Mr. Donnelly and his pathetic writing and reasoning "skills" (once again, loosest possible sense here)...when I see things like that in print, I am reminded of nothing so much as monkeys flinging shit at the zoo and screeching at whatever it is they screech at. The fact that this is what passes for Reasoned Discourse (tm) at a media outlet at a major American university is more than enough to make one think that the apocalypse is indeed nigh. I'd like to think that Mr. Donnelly's future potential employers would think twice about giving him a job after seeing this tripe, but I am afraid they won't...and that's a truly frightening prospect. Trust in the mainstream media may be low now, but seeing things like this, I can't help but think it's really going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel in years to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Something to Make You Feel Better About Yourself

If ever your sense of self-esteem is deflated, if you're feeling down on yourself, just think, it could be worse. Much worse. You could be this guy:

And leave it up to the coastal leftist asshats at MSNBC to give this guy an air of credibility by actually giving him an interview:

And while it’s easy to dismiss Chris’s videos as attention-seeking schtick, he’s more like a young Candy Darling, sensitive and dramatic, with the Internet as his Andy Warhol.

Uh, ok, folks, whatever. I don't know if I'd dismiss it as attention-seeking schtick, so much as point and laugh and show all my friends and ask them, "can you believe this shit? How pathetic!" It's really comforting to know while this Chris Crocker kid cries himself to sleep tomorrow night over someone he doesn't even know, I'll be rocking out with Cross Canadian Ragweed in Lake Charles.
As for Britney's "person" status? Well, sure she's a human; I don't think anyone ever really denied that. But, well, mother or not, when you pull stunts like she has, topped off by her "performance" on the Video Music Awards, well, quite simply, you DESERVE to be pointed and laughed at. And, well, so does this guy, for the video and spouting such inanities as "Britney's a national treasure." (Yes, if you click the link, you'll see it -- and a drop-dead hilarious spoof!)
I don't hate Chris Crocker, and neither do I care about his sexuality. But, once again, seeing things like this, all I can say is, to quote the great Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon..."
(h/t Ambulance Driver)

Still In One Piece...

...and as it is, the only casualty around here is the power. So I can't stay long, but I am doing fine. With luck I'll be back up and running by tonight or tomorrow....
UPDATE, 7:55 p.m.: Power's back on, everything's just as it was last night when I went to bed, and I am pretty sure the same can be said for many other Southeast Texas residents. Humberto was but a glancing blow compared to Rita, a mild inconvenience -- I had to go to work with the five o' clock shadow because I couldn't run my electric razor -- and for that I am thankful. I did wake up about 3:30 this morning by the sounds of howling winds and my surge protector beeping, indicating the power was out, and I jumped on the Web, where I found out Humberto was a Cat 1 hurricane. Scary stuff indeed, but I am sure it could have been worse. Let's hope this is the worst we get this season, and for a while.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Respect mah authori-tah, 'cause I am an ONLY ONE!

"respect mah authori-tah, or I will SHOW you what a cop does!"
And to think, some actually think cretins like that are the only people should carry guns. Call me crazy, but I think that's a perfect recipe for societal breakdown.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What, Exactly, Are They Worried About?

I'm gonna try to be diplomatic here and say, I really expected better from Texas peace officers than this:

Sgt. Dean Shows oversees the Beaumont shooting range. He's concerned about a new law that allows un-licensed citizens to carry concealed weapons inside their cars.
"Pistol out of his glove compartment one night on Eastex. He was going for his insurance. First thing he came out with was a pistol," said Shows.
Shows remembers a traffic stop one night where he could have lost his life.
"My partner on the other side yelled gun. He didn't have a shot. I just reached in. Got some hair. He dropped it," he said.
The new law permits anyone who's allowed to own a gun to carry it inside their car, and it has to be hidden from sight.
"I don't like it for that reason. It's going to be many guns in the wrong hands. Not saying the gun owner is the wrong person. The guy that steals it is the wrong person," said Shows.
While some argue they have the right to protect themselves against bad guys, Sgt. Shows says you can't protect people from themselves.
"Granted it might save your life. It might take your life if somebody else has got it when you come back to your car," he said.
There are restrictions built into the law.
Convicted felons, gang members, those under court order or those with a history of family violence are not allowed to own firearms or carry them inside a vehicle.
I suppose he might have a point, but for the fact that most gun owners, I would wager, secure their weapons better than that. Somebody might break into the car, but I for one just don't see that as a valid reason to say someone can't carry a gun when they're traveling. If we're going to say a person can't do something based on what someone else might do, we may as well ban gun ownership entirely because somebody might break into your house and steal all your guns. I understand the LEOs' apprehension, but honestly they probably should have had their guard up before every traffic stop anyway because your gangbangers and such are going to be carrying their illegally obtained weapons anyway, no matter what the law says.
As for the sucker who had his pistol in the same general area as his insurance card, well, why should I or anyone else be prohibited from having weapons in our vehicles because of his stupidity? We're not all so absent-minded; as a matter of fact I'd wager most of us are a fat lot more careful than that. I know I sure as hell would be. Gov. Perry, for all his flaws, made the right call here. I'd like to have seen some of the boys in blue actually back him up on it. I know they're out there.
(h/t Fits)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Just for the Sake of Posterity

The Culturologist who loves his daughter -- but apparently not enough to teach her that guns are things to be respected and enjoyed instead of hated and feared -- had this to say regarding the fate of Jeffery Albrecht, who was shot and killed as he was breaking down the door of a Dallas home:

What the hell is wrong with Texans? And how do we make sure it doesn't spread elsewhere in the country?

My comment:

For some strange reason, I was reminded of a classic exchange in the talk.politics.guns newsgroup that occurred some years ago, via Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority.
"Why don't all of you gun-nuts go off and start your own country?"
"We did. Who let you in?"

And then, I really couldn't have said it better than Texas troubadour Brian Burns did some years ago:
We don't need your politics, we don't need your prayers,
and we don't need your moral compass leadin' us anywhere.
We don't need your business, we don't need your art,
And we don't really give a damn how you did things up north.

So you can save your self-righteous indignation. Or keep on spewing it. As a proud gun-owning Texan I don't give a damn either way.

I doubt it'll show up. We'll see. Should be quite fun to see how he responds.

A Small Measure of Justice?

It seems the two Oklahoma police officers who earlier this summer killed a 5-year-old boy fishing with his grandfather are going to face criminal charges for their criminal negligence...

Cleveland County's top prosecutor has decided to prosecute two Noble officers involved in the shooting death of a 5-year-old boy.
A Noble officer fired his gun at a snake more than a month ago, and the bullet ricocheted and hit 5-year-old Austin Haley in the head.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn explained on Friday that he took no pleasure in filing a pair of second-degree manslaughter charges against the officers, identified as Brad Rogers and Shawn Richardson.They could face up to four years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.However, he said that the officers failed to take reasonable care by firing shots in an open area at a non-poisonous snake. According to police reports, the officers responded on Aug. 3 to a report of a snake in a birdhouse.Jack Tracy said he was fishing with Austin that night when he saw the first shot hit the water near where they were standing. As he pulled his grandson to his side, he said, a second shot hit the boy in the head.

It won't bring little Austin back, and it won't erase the horrendous memory of his death from his grandfather's mind -- but if the officers involved can be made an example of what not to do, if firearm safety ends up being better taught because of it, then perhaps some small good can come of it. It does lead one to think of several things, though...
There are those, of course, who think that guns are a disease on American culture and that they should be banned for the good of society -- except, presumably, for the police and military. But when you (attempt to) take guns out of society, to a greater extent you're going to have people who are unfamiliar with them and afraid of them. And that would make it that much more difficult to train people in the proper use of their weapons -- which, in turn would lead to more situations like this. It makes me wonder how people like the Culturologist with the mail-order degree can say that only the police and the military should have guns. And then, of course, there's Lee Paige, the Only One Professional Enough To Handle that Glock Fotay, and more recently James Gustafson Jr., the San Francisco cop who mainlined a bullet into his neck vein as he was showing off his gun to a girl at a party. It makes one wonder...what are those people thinking?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Morning Political Musings

Once again, the inimitable Rachel Lucas nails it (emphasis mine -- ed.):

Rudy Giuliani sure is proud of what he did in NYC, which is fine, but dude, NYC isn't the USA. Plus, he made no sense. He "had" to welcome the illegals because it was the only way to prevent crime against the rest of us? Or something like that? I liked what he said about focusing on criminals instead of guns themselves to reduce shootings by 75%, but I don't think he gets the fact that again, NYC is not the whole country, and most of us gun owners couldn't give two shits that a gun ban in NYC might possibly have helped reduce crime there - first of all, I don't believe in the correlation and second of all, most places where people have a lot of guns aren't overrun by illegals and gang members. It always confounds me that these big city wankers on the coasts seem to have no clue about the entire middle part of the country.

Yeah, Rachel, me too, even while it does make perfect sense that the coastal leftists in both parties have no clue -- after all, they don't call it "flyover country" for nothing. What confounds me more, though, is that so many people seem to think that Giuliani is the great hope for the GOP in 2008. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if it were not for 9/11, everyone who's trumpeting Giuliani as the savior of the Republican Party would see him as the authoritarian fascist he is. As for this supposed focus on criminals and not on guns...if that were really the case, then he wouldn't have gotten in line with certain other mayors in the '90s to file frivolous suits against various gun manufacturers. If that really were the case, he would not have supported the so-called Assault Weapons Ban, licensing and registration for gun owners, or any other infringements of the right of the people to keep and bear arms -- including the odious Sullivan Laws in his own city. Giuliani talks a good game like any semi-decent politician -- and I mean semi-decent at the game of politics -- but his record utterly betrays him. We all would be wise to see through that.
In other news, of course, Fred Dalton Thompson has finally manned up and officially declared his run for president. Here's his 15-minute video announcement.

Like I say, it's 15 minutes long, but well worth your time. Thompson has his flaws, most notably his support of the McCain-Feingold "campaign finance reform" act, but overall I honestly believe he's the best man for taking on whoever the Democrats end up nominating. And here's something I think is pretty funny -- if you go here, and scroll through the comments, you'll see people questioning Fred's conservative bona-fides by citing his support for McCain-Feingold, but little to no calling out Giuliani or Romney for their support of gun control or pandering to hunters a la John Kerry. Bit of a double standard there, don't you think?
I wouldn't mind at all seeing a Thompson/Hunter or Thompson/Tancredo ticket before it's all said and done. Thompson/Giuliani or Thompson/Romney, not so much. Somehow I think Thompson and his people have a better reading on the conservative base than that, though. Go, Fred, go.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

D.C. Mayor Defends The Indefensible...

...and uses some absolutely atrocious arguments, to boot...

The last time the Supreme Court directly addressed the provision -- which reads, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" -- was in 1939, in a case called United States v. Miller. The court said that the Second Amendment's "obvious purpose" is to ensure the effectiveness and continuation of state military forces (the militia mentioned in the amendment), not to provide a private right to own weapons for one's own purposes.

Actually, as I recall it did no such thing; it merely said a sawed-off shotgun was not an appropriate weapon for the Founders' well-regulated militia -- and it further went back to the definition of the militia as "all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline" (more here), NOT the National Guard.

For decades, the lower courts followed that pronouncement. They repeatedly rejected claims that the Second Amendment provides a defense against laws regulating gun possession and use that have no connection with service in a state militia. Although gun proponents vigorously insisted that the Second Amendment protects their right to possess and use guns for private purposes, the courts recognized that their view lacks support in its language and history.
...except, of course, the Founders' views as established repeatedly in their pre-Constitution writings... makes perfect sense to ask that residents who want firearms at home choose something other than handguns.
Except, of course, the District doesn't merely ask that, it mandates it by force of blatantly unconstitutional law...

The more handguns a jurisdiction has, the more people die in homicides.
...once again, as is the gun-banners' wont, NO EVIDENCE to support this...

The handgun ban has saved countless lives
...once again, NO EVIDENCE (are you seeing a pattern here?!), in fact, there's a truckload of evidence to the contrary, one piece of which is D.C.'s on-again-off-again title as Murder Capital of the United States...

It is plainly relevant that the District allows residents to possess other perfectly effective firearms, especially given how much more death and misery handguns have caused than those other firearms.

It's also plainly relevant, Mr. Fenty, that the District requires the firearms you allow them to possess to be in such a state that they're about as effective as a butter knife against the criminals breaking down your subjects' doors. And the fact that you fail to mention this is but one thing that makes you painfully unfit for public office.
Lord, but I am glad I live in Texas. If that kind of talk was ever made by a public official here, they'd likely be ridden out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered, and maybe even hung by the neck until dead pour encourager les autres.
Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I can guarantee you more than a few would be thinking it to be the perfect solution...

(via Nicki, Bitter makes a great point too...)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Anti Media Mendacity

Welcome, visitors from A Keyboard And A .45 and SayUncle!

Via JR over at A Keyboard And A .45 comes yet more evidence that the folks in the mainstream media must think gun people are blithering idiots:

Two years ago, Florida enacted a law that allows anyone who feels threatened anywhere to use deadly force. Today the National Rifle Association (NRA) is shepherding similar laws through legislatures across the country.
Uh, no, Ms. Graves, that law did no such thing; it merely codified into the law that you don't have to take the seldom-prudent option of running away before using such force. If you're gonna tell people about the law, at least be accurate about it. I realize that's a lot to ask for many mainstream journalists when it comes to any gun-related issue, but your credibility demands no less. I see you're all too willing to flush that.

Paradoxically, the NRA's Goliath status forces the group to work harder to make people believe that it has potent enemies – a challenge to which it has risen. The cover of one issue of America's 1st Freedom, one of the NRA's several magazines, threatened that the United Nations will seize Americans' guns, an idea that is laughably implausible. The NRA also exaggerates the impact of other stock enemies, including the Brady Campaign itself, the French, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is trying single-handedly to curb the flow of illegal guns into his city.

After hurricane Katrina, officials tried to ban guns from the streets of New Orleans and from temporary housing for refugees. The NRA halted the efforts in federal court. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's chief executive officer, painted the attempts to check violence as proof that the US government would take away its citizens' guns. much inaccuracy and misinformation packed into two paragraphs that, once again, I don't know where to begin!
Gun owners don't need any help whatsoever from the NRA to believe we have some very potent enemies, from these shores and others as well. From Joe Biden's deriding AR-15 owners as mentally unstable morons to Rebecca Peters' contention that we shouldn't be able to own rifles that can hit anything more than 110 yards away, most of us gun owners -- indeed, all but very few of us -- know good and well that there are people out there who will stop at nothing to see us all disarmed (and once again, no evidence is offered of the "laughable implausibility" of UN disarmament of Americans), no matter what supposedly good intentions they try to wrap their proposals in.
As for the New Orleans situation -- checking violence seems to be an incredibly thin reed to hang your argument on, considering people were being disarmed who were doing nothing but trying to protect their property from looters and such. And then there's the fact that members of the police and the National Guard joined said lawlessness. I seem to recall New Orleans police being caught on tape looting one of the local Walmarts. It wasn't an attempt to check violence; it was a brazen violation of the Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. And it's a beyond-shameful commentary on the Christian Science Monitor that they would let one of their employees pass off such an outrageous untruth to their audience.

Certainly, most Americans would say that the shootings at Virginia Tech should never, ever be forgotten either. But somehow, though school shootings continue, though an average of 32 homicides are committed with guns in the United States each day, though dozens of suspected terrorists are known to have passed background checks to legally purchase guns, the gun-control side cannot gain traction.
And of course we all know it's the guns' fault, right (and, of course, that of the eeevil gun lobby)? Never mind the fact that the creature that shot those kids at Virginia Tech was a deranged lunatic who should have been locked up tighter than Dick's hatband, never mind that none of his victims were able to shoot back, no, it's all the gun lobby's fault and those evil, evil hunks of metal and wood. I guess I should be trembling with fear right about now, as I glance back to where the Ruger .45 sits beside my bed...and I guess it's just a good thing my Kimber 10mm is locked up, because the ammo I roll for it is pretty hot...there's no telling what that thing would do if it weren't locked up tight in that steel safe.
Once again, there are many factors behind the violence committed by thugs with or without guns, that go far beyond the supposed easy availability of weapons. (Which, by the way, is an anti argument I don't quite understand. Have these morons ever tried to get a quality sidearm in a gun store? They're not cheap, at least not if you want a quality weapon -- even one of the Ruger P-Series pistols will run you at least $400 -- and don't even get me started on what I've paid for my 1911s...) Many factors are behind said violence, and until we get a handle on those, absolutely nothing is going to change. Why the media just focuses on the tool I will never understand. Granted, the tool is important to an extent -- consider what Tim McVeigh did with a Ryder truck full of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel -- but if that's all we focus on, nothing is ever going to change. One would think someone supposedly so educated as a journalist would grasp that simple fact. But we're not done with Ms. Graves yet:
What the two sides don't acknowledge is that reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles so powerful they must be shot using a tripod while still supporting hunting and owning guns for self-defense. Americans can support background checks on guns sold everywhere – not just by licensed dealers – without putting gun companies out of business. The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.
Ah, yes, the old "reasonable people/middle ground" canard. I'm sorry to disappoint you, Ms. Graves, but I don't see the first thing wrong with .50-caliber rifles or fully automatic weapons, as it can and should be argued that both of those weapons are exactly what the Founding Founding Fathers intended the common citizen to have as a check on a tyrannical government. Once again, it's not pretty or romantic, but it's the truth -- which is exactly what you should be trying to present instead of so much emotion-driven rhetorical bullshit. And I would argue that you absolutely cannot support registration of guns without supporting their ultimate confiscation, because what registration does is make it that much easier for those who would take our tools of liberty from us -- without any sort of attendant crime prevention benefit. Not that said benefit would actually justify registration, as it would be another case of the cure being worse than the disease, I think -- but of course we see all too many journalists think of guns as some sort of disease anyway. As for the other side supporting guns for self-defense -- well, it should be obvious to anyone who's actually been paying attention that the other side by and large doesn't support the private citizen using guns even for self-defense. I recall very clearly in November 2005, after Arlington grandmother Susan Buxton made national headlines for being recorded on tape shooting an intruder in her home, Michael Beard of the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence went on Hannity and Colmes and said, "The privatization of public safety is a dangerous issue in our society. And I've always seen that as the beginning of the loss of liberty." Which is really weird, because I always thought self-reliance was an integral part of liberty, as opposed to, well, depending on the police to pull your chestnuts out of the fire.
And, of course, there's the concluding restatement of the previously dissected canard:
The name-calling and breath-holding have made us all forget that a middle ground is possible.
It's not that all of us have forgotten it; it's that some of us were keen enough from the start to realize that there is no middle ground. Mark my words -- the antis won't stop at registration, banning and confiscation of handguns, AR-15s or .50BMG rifles. Nothing, absolutely nothing they've gotten so far has been good enough to get them to leave us alone, from the outright ban of all guns in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, to the Scary-Looking Weapons Ban in New Jersey, to the .50BMG ban in California, to the background checks conducted nationwide as per the Brady Bill. Nothing has been good enough for them. They're not going to stop. And as long as they don't, neither will we. At least we certainly had better not, if we treasure our liberties.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Judgment Of Our Culture a supposed "man of God," no less! (Welcome, visitors from SayUncle! Main page is here, pull up a seat and stay a while!) On to the fiskage...

THERE is no other way to say it, our current gun culture is leading the country down a path to mayhem.
How odd. I've been immersed in this "gun culture" for a good while now and have had nothing but good experiences in my interaction with the members of said culture, all of whom are fine, upstanding citizens who make an honest living at whatever career they choose. I don't understand how the simple ownership of a Glock 19 or AR-15 makes them part of a culture that's "leading our country down a path to mayhem." I mean, if you ran into them on the street they'd appear to be just like anyone else. Carrying a gun or owning one doesn't make them any different from any other John or Jane Doe, other than the fact that they've made the choice to be able to protect themselves or their fellow man if evil came calling.

According to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Graduate Institute of International Studies, U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms — that translates to roughly 90 guns for every 100 Americans. Moreover, the survey estimates that 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States.
Does it make me a tree-hugging, overbearing, politically correct, socialist, anti-American liberal because I find these statistics problematic?

"Not necessarily, but the fact that you seem to make me and my fellow gun owners responsible for all the crime committed with guns in this country in the opening words of your screed makes you a judgmental asshole."

Since our country no longer possesses a well-regulated militia, I am not certain of the right of the people to keep assault weapons. Why does suspended NFL defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who weighs more than 300 pounds, stock his home with AR-15 and .223 caliber assault rifles, .44 Magnum, .50 caliber, and .45 caliber handguns, and a .308 Winchester hunting rifle? Protection?

Well, first off, one would think this supposed "man of God" would be at least somewhat educated on the concept of God-given rights, foremost of which is the right to life and a natural extension of which is the right to defend said life by any means he can manage or afford, no matter how much he weighs. As for that well-regulated militia in the Second Amendment, stand by.

For all of the discussion about law-abiding citizens' rights, should one surmise that nothing can be done to keep guns away from those who are committing crimes? Is this merely a flaw in our Constitution?
Lock them up and melt the key. It's not a flaw in the Constitution, but a flaw in the American justice system and its priorities, i.e. the War On Some Drugs and its millions of casualties.

I would love to hear from an assault weapons owner. Explain why you need this weapon. What is the purpose? Short of preparing venison pate, why would a sportsman need such a gun?
I am not an "assault weapons owner," but I'll answer the question anyway, and leave the good pastor's woeful ignorance of ballistics alone. Now, about the Second Amendment, which basically goes to why we need such a gun -- I am reminded of a quote I saw on The High Road not long ago, that went something like, "Shooting a deer is great fun and games. The Second Amendment is about protecting our grandchildren's ability to shoot the next Hitler when he comes to take them to a death camp." Once again, it's not pretty, it's not romantic, but it really is the cold hard truth. One would think a man of God would welcome the truth, or at least accept it, as opposed to talk out of his fourth point of contact about things he obviously has no knowledge of.
Speaking of talking out of the fourth point of contact, get a load of this:
The problem lies in our permissive gun culture that, in part through effective lobbying by the National Rifle Association, has not only repealed certain laws, but also extended others, such as carrying concealed weapons in certain states, making it easier for guns to fall into the wrong hands.
I don't understand how making it easier for a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun makes it easier for a criminal to get his hands on one, unless of course we go back to the old long-discredited canard about the criminal taking the gun and using it against the defender in a defensive encounter. And then it would make sense that this character would say something like that, as he seems to have drunk the entire pitcher of HCI Kool-Aid.

Perhaps there are those who do indeed want to take away everyone's guns, but I suspect they represent a small minority.
I don't. I think most of them just don't have the balls to come right out and say it. Maybe deep down they know what it would mean -- an all-out shooting war that would make Iraq look like a day at the candy store -- or maybe they're just afraid of losing the shred of credibility they have left, but I for one don't see any reason not to think that every last one of the anti-gunners has the same goal: the total abolition of all private firearms ownership in America.

It would be helpful if responsible gun owners led the charge so that the 90 guns for every 100 people were in the hands of law-abiding citizens. I know that's somewhat utopian, but it is the least they could do if they are truly committed to the Second Amendment.
I loved what one of SayUncle's readers said to that: "Well, we’re failing your desires then because we’re working on the 99.7 percent level - not your puny 90 percent level....We both know that 99.7 percent of the gun owners in America will never use their gun in a way to bring dishonor to either them, their family, or the gun. Instead of using the dishonorable one percent to guide your decisions and influence your ideas why not use the collective wisdom of the other 99%?"

And as I said on The High Road:
As for "permissive gun culture"...why not just "permissive culture," period? There are myriad reasons for crime, not the least of which is kids being raised with no sense -- or at best a rather distorted sense -- of right and wrong, which leads to philosophies such as those best embodied by the "Stop Snitchin'" paraphernalia. And then, there's another huge problem in the fact that our justice system is set up to let violent criminals walk free eventually in the first place -- that somehow, if they can't get their hands on a gun, they'll be less dangerous to society. (And of course, we all know that keeping criminals from getting guns is more than a little bit of a fool's errand.) But it seems to be so much easier to blame the guns. Which, coming from a supposed "man of God," disappoints and greatly saddens me.