Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hey, you idjits, the culture's already like that!

Mr. Codrea in today's Gun Rights Examiner column (if you don't read him every day, you really oughta) discusses a Bay Area newspaper's advocacy of an AWB renewal:

No, the ban would not have prevented this massacre and will not absolutely prevent others like it in the future. But it will over time reduce the ready availability of some extremely dangerous weapons. More important, it will begin to change the culture from one of glorifying the possession of a military-style arsenal to one of responsible gun ownership.

Hey, you assholes, the culture's ALREADY one of responsible gun ownership! Some 50 million to 80 million people in this country versus about 12,000 murders committed with guns each year is just one thing that testifies to that...and another would be the fact that you never see that sort of thing (shootings like the one that happened in Oakland) at shooting ranges or gun stores. Speaking of gun stores, I am reminded of an old urban legend that circulated via email a few years back, which was actually based on a true story...

The following mind-boggling attempt at a crime spree in Washington appeared to be the robber's first (and last), due to his lack of a previous record of violence, and his terminally stupid choices:
1. His target was H&J Leather & Firearms, a gun shop specializing in handguns.
2. The shop was full of customers - firearms customers.
3. To enter the shop, the robber had to step around a marked police car parked at the front door.
4. A uniformed officer was standing at the counter, having coffee before work.
Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up, and fired a few wild shots from a .22 target pistol. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, the police officer with a 9mm Glock 17, the clerk with a .50 Desert Eagle, assisted by several customers who also drew their guns, several of whom also fired.
The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics. Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7 different weapons.
No one else was hurt in the exchange of fire.
(The clerk, who fired the fatal shot in the real-life account, actually had some sort of 10mm. Sweet. ;-))
Back on the topic though, it really burns my tail when I see these people trying to conflate feral vermin like Lovelle Mixon with all the semiautomatic rifle owners who don't go on rampages. And as for "glorifying the possession of a military-style arsenal," again, as a member of that gun culture these creatures defame, I haven't seen it...but if we're going to take an honest look at what they're saying, we may only conclude that ultimately they want everything banned but single-shot .22s, as just about anything big enough to be used for self-defense will have some sort of military utility, as has been pointed out before. Not that many in the mainstream media are really interested in an honest look at anything gun-related, I know, but it's still aggravating as all hell to see things like this.

Something tells me we're not getting the whole story...


Dear Abby:
My father used a leather slipper on me instead of a belt. He also used his hand and his impressive vocabulary to keep me in line. Was I afraid of him? Absolutely! Did I love him? I am still not sure. I grew up to be a woman who is afraid of men, afraid of making a mistake, afraid to share myself and my ideas, and generally timid about life.
John’s daughters are learning that the way men in their lives show love is to beat them. He is setting his girls up to marry abusers because they think abuse is normal behavior. I hope John realizes soon that fear and love cannot share the same space in a child’s heart.
This, friends, is complete, utter, unmitigated bunk. I think it would be interesting to find out exactly how this woman's childhood went...because it would seem to me that, in addition to her father apparently ruling the house with an iron fist, this woman has other deep-seated issues that probably stem from verbal abuse and lack of any kind of rapport with her father as well as dear old Dad overdoing it with the corporal punishment and not giving her any kind of positive reinforcement when she did as she was told. Both of my sisters and I, when we were growing up, got the belt when we were bad, but I didn't grow up and think hitting a woman equated to showing her love, and as far as I know neither of my sisters thought that either. But then we got that positive reinforcement when we did what Mom and Dad told us to do, and they took an interest in us and our lives and interests...they were parents, as they should have been, and it's because of that, that I for one just took the episodes with the belt as punishment for making bad choices. Honestly, I don't know if timeouts or groundings would have worked all by themselves. That immediate and painful negative reinforcement sometimes is exactly what a kid needs. No, I'm not a child psychologist...but I WAS a kid once. I know what worked with me, and while I don't think "one size fits all," I think completely doing away with corporal punishment as a tool of discipline is a terrible mistake. Sometimes I wonder if any of those aforementioned child psychologists who eschew corporal punishment were ever really kids themselves, or if they were just indoctrinated by their professors. I know that last thing sounds so damn trite sometimes, but honestly I don't know how else to explain a LOT of the politically correct crap that comes out of the nation's universities; yesterday's post about the ex-Va. Tech student was a perfect example of that. You hear a lot of talk about the "Greatest Generation," the generation that weathered the Great Depression and then, weary as they might have been, went, fought and won a years-long world-wide war...I will bet you everything I have of value that when they were growing up, they got the belt or whatever when they were bad too, but they obviously didn't take the lessons with the belt to mean that physical abuse equated to love, else they'd have gotten the reputation as a herd of violent and abusive psychopaths as opposed to having set the standard of how Americans should weather hard times and fight wars against existential threats...and, well, somehow I think they would not have taken to fighting a "more sensitive" war against the Germans and Japanese, that they would have ultimately seen such as national suicide. But back on topic...
Are John’s children obeying because they are making good choices or because they are afraid of the belt?
False choice. Who says it can't be both? I was afraid of the belt too, but I came to figure out that the good choices were the ones that didn't get me the belt. Somehow I doubt I am the only one. Anybody else wanna weigh in?

Monday, March 30, 2009


Check out this link. Look under "BLOG WATCH: What they're saying around town" and you should see a familiar blog. ;-)

Learned being armed wouldn't solve anything?

Sorry, but I don't buy it...

AUSTIN — John Woods sometimes sits in a classroom at the University of Texas and wonders what would happen if somebody walked in and started shooting.
In April 2007, he was a student at Virginia Tech when his girlfriend and several other people he knew there were gunned down in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Thirty-two people died, plus the gunman.
There were times when Woods thought that maybe he should get a gun.
“Then I learned pretty fast that wouldn’t solve anything,” said Woods, who is now a graduate student at UT. “The idea that somebody could stop a school shooting with a gun is impossible. It’s reactive, not preventative.”
Today, Woods is among the leaders in a fight against bills in the Texas Legislature that would allow licensed concealed gun carriers to take their weapons to school.

Nothing in there about how he "learned pretty fast" that being armed wasn't a solution. I can't help but think it was one of his leftist professors that just told him that and he took said prof's word unquestioningly. (Seeing the Obama-Biden button on his bag, for me, only makes that explanation the more likely one.) Or maybe he's one of those folks that's under the impression that RKBA advocates think a gun is some sort of magic talisman. At any rate, for him being a graduate student at one of the premier universities in the nation, John Woods is pretty damn ignorant. I'm sure people such as Joel Myrick, Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross would definitely beg to differ that having a gun available "wouldn't solve anything" or that "the idea that somebody could stop a school shooting with a gun is impossible," considering that, y'know, they actually STOPPED SCHOOL SHOOTINGS WITH GUNS -- that they didn't even have on their respective persons, no less! (And civilian shooters with firearms in their cars also played a pretty big role in limiting the carnage on the UT campus in August 1966.) Honestly, when one gets right down to it, one could say keeping a fire extinguisher handy is just as reactive a measure as carrying a gun, but no one shits their pants about having those on campus. I wonder why that is? I sympathize with what Mr. Woods dealt with that day in Blacksburg -- that was something that no one should ever have had to deal with -- but I don't understand why any right-thinking person would see or cite him as an authority just because of that. As a matter of fact, I know some might see this out of line, but I can't help but agree with one of the commenters to that story:
"So John Woods, who was in a 'gun free zone' at VT, and watched so many die, now wants UT to be a 'gun free zone' too. Does he like to see people die?"
It might sound harsh, but sometimes that's just the way you have to be. As one of the commenters said here, "No matter where you are in the world, no matter your race or religion, there is only one antidote to an armed bad guy and that is an armed good guy." And at the end of the day it's just that simple. I hope our legislators remain unswayed by those who would leave our colleges target-rich environments.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

How many times was that, again....??

If I heard the deejay right, as he led into Glen Campbell's "Gentle On My Mind," he said that John Hartford-penned song had been recorded over 300 times. Just...wow. That's pretty cool.

In case anyone reading might have doubted...

....where the road of gun bans leads...

Within the last 5 months, Mississippi Law Enforcement affected 3 interdiction stops resulting in a total of 45 firearms seizures....A consensual search of the vehicles revealed five 12 gauge shotguns and one .22 caliber rifle in the towed vehicle...23 long guns and 12 handguns; and approx. four thousand rounds of ammunition...

Huh. Unless I miss my guess, all of those are guns that those clamoring for "assault weapon" bans say they don't want to ban. I wonder how long it would take for the Mexican government to advocate a ban on THOSE guns...and for our elected officials to get on their knees again...

I'm all for working within the system...

...but it's worth asking where the road's leading when the people administrating the system say "screw you and your rights"...

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A tea party to protest government spending and taxing is canceled. Canceled by the government.
Why? They feel too many people could show-up.
And I can almost understand the requirement for insurance, but then I wonder if anyone protesting back in the early 1770s had such a burden and what in the hell happened in the years since that got us to the point of accepting, even embracing, such a requirement. I know more than a few would say that one should go along with it because it's what we as a society have accepted, but then down here in Texas a certain segment of society accepted some asshole behind a badge arresting a woman for uttering an obscenity as she was under the stress induced by an approaching tropical storm. (The charges against her were ultimately dismissed, but it's worth asking how in the hell her arrest was justified in the first place...) I also wonder what some people would say if the protesters decided to disobey and go ahead with the protest in defiance of the government's requirement, being as it would not be the, ahem, pragmatic thing to do. It'd make for a hell of a spectacle to see them led off in handcuffs for that, especially if it was later determined that less than 500 people showed up. From what I understand the tea parties that have been held so far have had very good attendance though, more than 500 people, to be sure. Maybe they ought to hold a bunch of smaller protests, all in roughly the same vicinity. ;-)

"...as I watched my mother die, I lost my head...revenge now I sought, to break with my bread...." You know, I could get used to this Mandatory Metallica channel on Sirius...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Take it from a guy...

...who deals with with this sort of thing to put food on the table:
IE 8 is better - not perfect, but an improvement. However, it still has ActiveX, which is completely and utterly unsecurable.
The problem isn't even so much that you're downloading native code from Al Gore's Intarwebz, but that these controls also have security bugs, they never get patched, and J Random Web Site can invoke them at will.
Yes, the control is signed by Microsoft. That doesn't mean it's vulnerability-free, and since you checked that box that said "Always trust content signed by Microsoft Corporation", it can (and likely will) be used against you.
This is probably why some sites don't work for Hammer - they require ActiveX. Bad, bad security juju.

Not that I had any inclination to go back to Internet Exploder, but for anyone who does, those are words worth pondering, I think. If there are any sites that don't do so well with Firefox, I suppose one could try Google's Chrome, or Opera, and I know there are a few others that I forget. Input, Ted? (or any other security guru reading?)

Tradin' violations...

...of the Constitution, maybe?...

A $700 million initiative to strengthen the U.S. role in the fight against Mexican drug cartels will place Houston at the center of efforts to shut down gunrunning to Mexico, federal officials said.
The Obama administration this week announced a multi-agency effort to assist Mexico’s battle against warring drug cartels by adding hundreds of agents to gun-running units, drug intelligence groups and task forces aimed at fighting kidnapping and public corruption.
The initiative places new agents in Houston to quickly expand Project Gunrunner, a federal effort to staunch the illegal flow of guns into Mexico. A “large majority” of 100 federal gun agents being transferred to the border region in the next 45 days will be assigned to monitor purchases at the 1,500 gun stores in the Houston area, a federal official confirmed.

I guess this could be better than something like an "assault weapons" ban, which of course is a blatant violation of the Second Amendment, but it still leaves the door open to effective violations of other amendments to the Bill of Rights, namely the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, such as happened after a Virginia gun show a few years back. Of course we all know the likelihood is very high of the administration coming back and trying again for that ban...just like the scorpion has to sting, and the fish has to swim, the Marxists we elected have to try their damnedest to take the guns out of the hands of the citizenry. It's just what they do. I do hope the Republicans and the Blue Dog Dems hold the line on their refusal to vote for such a ban, and remind the advocates of such a ban how things went the last time they put through something like that, but we'll see how that one goes.
On a related note, we have this...
A gun trafficker convicted of buying weapons in Houston to arm Mexican drug cartels was sentenced Friday to four years in prison — a forewarning of the U.S. government’s escalating war on narco-violence.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Juan Pablo Gutierrez was a “prolific” purchaser among a group of 23 arms traffickers who bought at least 339 firearms for Mexican organized crime syndicates in 2006 and 2007.
Adler, Gutierrez’s lawyer, said it was time to do more than just look at his client if the U.S. government wants to get serious about weapons going to Mexico.
“Somehow the guns stores, and the gun shows, and the gun manufacturers, are the ones the government should be looking at to formulate a solution,” he said.

Huh. Now it's those damned American gun manufacturers and damned American gun stores to blame, too. I don't guess I am really so surprised, as that's really just the logical extension of blaming the damned American gun shows...

Another good one gone...

I can't believe I missed this...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dan Seals, who was England Dan in the pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley and later had a successful country career, has died of complications from cancer. He was 61.
Just...damn. I didn't even know he was sick. Dan Seals was one of my favorites from the '80s, even the more contemporary sounding songs he did. I see his manager said, "They were Hank Williams, Grand Ole Opry people. He was much more of a country singer than a pop singer."
Listening to the pop vs. the country stuff, I'd believe it. I can't explain exactly why, but I always thought Seals sounded much more at home singing country music, even if a lot of what he did had more of a pop sound. Of course, the irony of it is that the one song I'd bet more people will remember him for than any other, was the most traditional-sounding country song he ever recorded...

Vaya con Dios, Mr. Seals.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kathleen Parker tries once again to be the iconoclastic rebel, and FAILS

Call it that, or call it another feeble attempt to SPEAK TRUTH TO TEH POWER!...

The GOP’s identity crisis just got more interesting with the recent media splash of Meghan McCain, daughter of the senator who did not become president.
Young McCain, who began blogging during her father’s presidential campaign, recently made waves at the Daily Beast when she picked a fight with conservative media mavens Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. This is enough sport to make the little dog laugh, to say nothing of the dish and the spoon.
McCain jammed traffic on Tina Brown’s site with her charge that Coulter is bad for the party. In a voice that is sometimes, alas, reminiscent of a coed’s twitter, she wrote: “I straight up don’t understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time.”
Claiming that Coulter could be the poster woman for the “most extreme side of the Republican Party,” McCain offered herself as the opposite. Bzzzzzt. Give that girl a talk show!
Indeed, McCain’s generation is more moderate, especially on social issues. This isn’t news. Yet, reaction from the more-established right has been a tad intolerant.

...but as for me, I think it's yet more proof that the mushy moderate wing of the Republican Party has been thoroughly infected with what could only be termed as Barack Obama syndrome; that is, they seem to think that for the Republicans to get back in the good graces of the voters, they need to elevate to high positions the pretty people who have no concept of what made the United States of America the envy of the world -- who, in fact, would eschew some or all of those principles, as Barack Obama, as well as John McCain for that matter (and likely his daughter), largely have. Reading Kathleen Parker's latest column, I almost wish I had been able to put money on her not offering any substantive reason that people like Meghan McCain should be the new face of the Republican Party...because, as sure as God made little green apples, the only thing she did was tout the younger McCain's bashing of Ann Coulter and other firebrands. Yee-haa. I don't necessarily agree with Ann Coulter's take on some things, and I am surely not in agreement with, for example, a lot of what Mike Huckabee proposed to do; but if this is all Meghan McCain is — a younger, better looking version of her father (and I have neither seen nor heard anything that leads me to think she's anything but that) — then if the Republicans are going to make her and those like her the new face of the party, then they bloody well deserve to lose, just like they did when they ran with McCain.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random day-off Metallica musings...

One of my coworkers, who's a bigger Metallica fan than I am, was telling me yesterday about the (not-a-)-surprise show the guys played at this year's South by Southwest music festival in Austin, for about 2,000 people at the legendary Stubb's Barbecue. Some lucky farkers, the folks who made it to that show. Anyway, he rattled off the set list...

Creeping Death
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Harvester of Sorrows
Broken, Beat and Scarred
Sad But True
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Master of Puppets
(second encore)
Seek and Destroy

I laughed and asked him, "You notice any particular time period that was left out there?"
"Yeah, about 13 years or so!" (the Load-Reload-new Garage record-St. Anger era)
I told him it seemed to me that the band was trying to win back the older fans they ran off during that time, and he agreed. Looking at some of the setlists from the North American tour on livemetallica.com gives one that impression as well, as the bulk of the sets were from the first five albums (Kill, Ride, Master, Justice and Black) and Death Magnetic. I'd be surprised if anyone really missed much from that era, although it did have its high points.
I also found out that ex-bassist Jason Newsted was going to be playing with them when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That one REALLY surprised the hell out of me, as I'd heard they did not part on a good note and that there had been bad blood between them ever since. I guess they must have made up since then...

Yeah, well, I recommend you kiss my arse...

I just got an e-mail, from the Internet site whose name starts with the letter Y and ends with something that rhymes with the sound you make when you sneeze. "(Website) recommends that you update your browser...to the newer, safer Internet Explorer 8!" Yeah, sure, safer for about 30 minutes or so till the damn hackers get ahold of it...

....yes, of course...

what Bill Hammond says makes PERFECT SENSE....

AUSTIN — Texans would be allowed to stow their guns and ammo inside their locked cars or trucks while at work and parked on employer property under a controversial bill passed Wednesday by the state Senate.
Opponents, among them a number of influential business groups, argue the bill is an affront to an employer’s property rights and are wary of potential gun violence as a growing number of Texans lose their jobs.
"We believe it's a basic property right that should be preserved," said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business. "Someone who is terminated or laid off can go to a parking lot and in a matter of seconds be back with a weapon and it could be a disaster as a result of this legislation."

...because everyone knows that those laid-off employees with murder on their minds would leave their guns at home if it wasn't for this new law. You know, I can understand the property-rights angle...but on the other hand, what good is your right to your property if you're dead? I mean, if you yourself wind up dead because you decree your workplace to be a gun free zone, well, that's just you paying the price for your own ignorant or stupid choices...but your employees shouldn't have to gamble their lives on your having your head in the sand. It's a thorny issue, I know, but you'd think the business owners could come up with a better argument than the one Bill Hammond came up with.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quote of the day...

...from Scott Chaffin, in comments to this post:

OK, that's two posts about someone I've never heard of. I thought Sugarland was on 59 running out of Houston. Look, no one whose mama named him (it is a him, right?) Kristian with a K needs to be talking trash about anything, except how slow the courts are in legal name-changing.
Here's your label for Big & Rich: horseshit. Here's another one: customized horseshit for radio and tv commercials.
Yeah, it's useless arguing, fershur, but it breaks up the day.

There ain't a thing I can add to that but, WORD....

Hey, big surprise, anti tries to have it both ways....

...in comments here:

I'd bet if you spoke to some of those FFL guys down near the border, they'd tell you business is damn good, with a wink and a nudge. What do you think?
It seems to me that you do as much spinning as you accuse the Bradys of. No one really knows what percentage of the guns are fully automatic in the Mexican war, just like no one really knows what percentage of the other guns comes from the States. Helmke says too many; I agree.
Now, I could say say something about that outrageous slander of the FFLs. Anyone who knows anything about the way they do things knows they'd bring that wink-and-nudge arms-sales-to-cartels bullshit to the attention of the feds right quick, and that they'd help clamp down on it even if there weren't all those laws against on the books because it would just seem to be the right thing to do. But that's no surprise, as they pull that shit all the time. Here's what needs to be pointed out: the fact that the above snippets, in effect, completely contradict each other. On one hand the commenter is blaming the FFLs for arming the cartels, but on the other hand he says that "no one knows how many of those are machine guns."
Epic FAIL, Sparky! If there were evidence to support that the FFLs were arming the drug cartels, there would be accompanying stats on how many of those weapons were fully automatic. You can't blame the FFLs for this and say on the other hand no one knows how much of that weaponry's fully automatic. You can't have evidence for one without evidence of the other. Nice try, but we know our stuff. Better than you and your kind do. Once again, the facts are on OUR side...

A nice change of pace...

Even with the most anti-gun administration in history, gun control still hasn't gained that much traction even as they have that much more leverage with the Mexico drug issue, and boy, are they getting frustrated!

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress may be alarmed by the surge in Mexican drug violence and its potential to spill across the border, but they grow silent when the talk turns to gun control as a solution.
Yet when Attorney General Eric Holder suggested reinstituting a U.S. ban on the sale of certain semiautomatic weapons, many lawmakers balked. The 1994 ban expired after 10 years.

I do find it rather puzzling though, how there haven't been any stories about how "lawmakers grow silent when the talk turns to drug legalization or tighter border security as a solution," though. And for as much talk about how the cartels get weapons such as grenades, rockets and such...why isn't there any talk about banning those? (Yes, I know, because they're already banned...that was a purely rhetorical question.) I did find this part of that story quite ironic...
Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., who chaired a hearing on guns going to Mexico, said he is not seeking widespread gun control but Congress must do something.
“We don’t want to get distracted by the gun industry lobby of the NRA trying to talk about (how) every attempt to bring some sanity to the situation is somehow an attempt to get rid of everybody’s Second Amendment rights,” he said. “That’s a red herring.”

...because the fact is, every single word, every single sentence spoken by our lawmakers in favor of another "assault weapons ban" is the true red herring here, as it's what distracts us from the real causes of the carnage south of the border — namely the corruption of the Mexican military that facilitates weaponry going to the drug gangs (no doubt some of which was purchased with Merida Initiative money from the United States), and the full-auto weaponry from China and Venezuela. And then there's the old "We must DO something!" canard, never mind that the government's "doing something" is part of what got us here in the first place. Not that I'd expect any different from a Northeastern Democrat, but still Mr. Tierney comes off as not having a clue as to what he's talking about. At any rate, another benefit of having our Republic of Texas back...we could militarize and fortify the border as much as we wanted to and those Washington leeches wouldn't be able to say a damn thing about it. Hey, a Texan can dream, can't he?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hey, waitaminute!...

You know how this could have been prevented?

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — A one-time Army paratrooper was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for killing a fellow soldier and wounding nearly 20 others in a sniper attack at a North Carolina base more than a decade ago.
Kreutzer's victims were preparing for a morning run on Oct. 27, 1995, at the massive Army base in eastern North Carolina when he opened fire with a rifle from a concealed position.
He hit and wounded 16 soldiers from the division's 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment as they left an athletic field. He also shot three other soldiers who tried to stop him, wounding two and killing Maj. Stephen Badger.

If only the police and the military had guns! Oh...wait...

Just one last music question for the day...

...of these hypothetical music fans with Sugarland and Metallica bumper stickers on their cars, how many of these folks would like anything in Metallica's catalog older than the self-titled "black" album? My guess is not many. (You will do, what I say, when I say...back to the front!") Just a thought...

Just some more music thoughts...

I suppose some folks might read that last post and wonder, "why is it that somebody like Cody Canada can rag on mainstream country but it's not ok for Kristian Bush to do the same thing to the alt-country folks?"
Well, that one's rather simple. It seems to me that, where Cody Canada was talking about the quality of the music itself, Kristian Bush was more or less pulling a Toby Keith, mouthing off because of his own insecurities and not really offering a blasted thing as far as a well-grounded argument goes. (I wonder, does Bush think Johnny Cash was some kind of poseur because Cash didn't shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die?) It's funny, really...the one song that Sugarland's gotten the most recognition for is more or less the polar opposite of the three-minute positive-not-too-country uptempo love songs that they've become known for. And if you wonder where that came from, it was actually the title to an Alan Jackson album cut from a few years back...

This is a three minute song
To tell her that I love her
And how wonderful we get along
A sweet sentiment that's borderline slick
A lotta right and not much wrong
It's a little bit edgy, but softer than spaghetti
Weak yet redundantly strong
It's a three minute positive
Not too country up-tempo love song...
Sometime during another interview, Bush also said, "Eventually what you get is: 'I can't figure out which George Strait record to buy because I don't know which song is on which record. All 50 of them are great, but you can’t tell them apart.'"
Spoken by someone who has maybe one or two Strait albums from a certain time period and never really sat down to take in the nuances of each one. And he seems to be saying it like it's a bad thing. Yeah, I'll admit a lot of George's stuff sounds similar, but, huh...silly me, I thought that was part of having a signature sound. Strait's not the only singer one can say that about, honestly. Just for another example, at a glance how was Alan Jackson's Drive really that much different from Who I Am, the album that came eight years before? I know both Strait and Jackson have had a monumental impact on the genre, and it's a delicious irony that their respective catalogs will very likely be remembered 40 years down the road by a hell of a lot more people than that of Sugarland, but I still don't understand why Kristian Bush has to be such a jerk. It's not the fault of the people he slams that he's barely worth the shit on their shoes.

Another clueless hack...

...that would be Kristian Bush of Sugarland...

...There are only so many thirtysomethings who'll emotionally connect to style over substance, which a lot of [modern] Appalachian stuff is. I'm a huge Gillian Welch fan, but she's from Malibu, California. I'm from Dolly Parton's hometown Sevierville, Tennessee...
Appalachian music (and by extension, alt-country and Texas-red dirt country) is about style over substance? Big words coming from a member of a band the bulk of whose radio catalog isn't really that much more than the bubblegum fluff that's sadly all-too-typical of what's coming out of Nashville these days. And as for this mention of hometowns...what the hell does that have to do with anything? Considering the band Lonestar is from Texas and Jerry Jeff Walker's hometown is Oneonta, New York, that seems to me to be an incredibly thin reed to hang an argument on. And taking his example of "Jeff Tweedy singing about being lonely and poor and dumped, all these things which he is not..." well, he might not be now, but he very well might have been at some point in his life. I can't say for sure because I don't know anything about Tweedy's personal life, but the fact is some people can pull off that authenticity without having lived a lot of what they sing about. Just as an example off the top of my head, I'd have never guessed Marc Cohn was not a native of the city he sings about in his signature song "Walking in Memphis," let alone that he'd never even been to the city before he wrote the song. One wonders what Mr. Bush thinks of an artist like Jamey Johnson, who (as far as I know) never got caught with a hooker in some seedy motel with a mirror and a line of blow on the bedside table.
But it's ok really, because if you go back up a little piece, you'll see that insecure little sourpuss Kristian Bush is at heart, REALLY come out:
Most days, I feel like I'm about to be vetted, and they'll find out I'm not real," Bush concedes. "I keep thinking: 'They're going to ask me a question about George Jones I don't know the answer to.' But those exclusive cultural identities don't exist the way they did. You can have a Sugarland sticker on your car next to Metallica, and nobody is offended."
Huh. One would think the way he mouths off he really wouldn't care about not knowing the answer to that question, precisely because of those now-defunct cultural identities. I don't know...you know, I don't really mind Sugarland's music, there ARE a couple of their songs I really do like, and I'll readily admit Jennifer Nettles has a great voice — but Kristian Bush's attitude just really turns me off, to the point that I'm tempted to unleash teh snark about how I wouldn't defile the good name of Metallica (or my own reputation) by putting a Sugarland sticker next to a Metallica sticker. Honestly, if I wanted to boast varied musical tastes, I'd be putting a George Strait sticker next to that Metallica sticker, or maybe plugging the iPod into my stereo and putting on shuffle where one of those will very likely be followed by the other.
As for country radio programmers becoming more liberal...well, I can't argue with that, as they're as complicit in the watering-down of country music as the suits in Nashville are. He obviously thinks this is a good thing, but considering the fact that he comes off as not having any particular allegiance to the genre, I'm tempted to ask why anyone would give a damn what he thinks.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A pleasant surprise

Watching the Cartoon Network with my baby and her youngest son, Looney Tunes is on, and guess who I see? Speedy Gonzales! I know there was some controversy a few years ago with ole Speedy, that some people argued he was an offensive stereotype...and I was quite surprised to see that LULAC actually argued for the Speedy shorts to be put back on the air. I have to say, I thought that was pretty cool. All of those cartoons are just timeless, Bugs, Daffy, Elmer Fudd...good, good stuff, even after more than 50 years.

Another snapshot...

...of the decline of Western Civilization:

OAKLAND, Calif. — The parolee who shot five Oakland police officers Saturday, killing three and gravely wounding another, was hiding inside his sister’s nearby apartment, where he ultimately was shot dead himself.
And neighbors knew it. But no one told police for nearly an hour. If neighbors had spoken up sooner, said one woman who lives nearby, some of those lives might have been saved. But in East Oakland, lamented the woman, Elaine, who refused to give her last name, that just doesn’t happen.
“I’ve been crying all day. It makes you feel bad,” she said. “But you just don’t want to be a snitch. The word, ‘snitch,’ it’s almost worse than murderer.

Yes, indeed...but remember, friends and neighbors, all cultures are equally valid and non-deserving of judgment and no cultural norm is any better or worse than any other! After all, if we call this sort of thing out for the depravity it is we risk being called judgmental, and that would just NEVER do! Besides, everybody knows this sort of thing is the eeeeevil gun lobby's fault anyway! If they'd drop their completely unreasonable opposition to commonsense measures like needs-based licensing, registration, and gun and ammunition bans this sort of thing would NEVER happen! I mean, people like Sarah Brady and Paul Helmke in effect tell us as much every time something like this happens, and they'd never, EVER lie or advance deception to advance their agenda...would they?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tyranny in a small town

Kevin's post yesterday reminded me of this story that I saw a few weeks back in the Houston Chronicle...

TENAHA - A 2-decade-old state law that grants authorities the power to seize property used in a crime is wielded by some agencies against people who are never charged with, much less convicted of, a crime.
Law enforcement authorities in this East Texas town of 1,000 people seized property from at least 140 motorists between 2006 and 2008, and, to date, filed criminal charges against fewer than half, according to a San Antonio Express-News review of court documents.
Anything of value was up for grabs: cash, cell phones, personal jewelry, a pair of sneakers, and often, the very car that was being driven through town. Some affidavits filed by officers relied on the presence of seemingly innocuous property as the only evidence that a crime had occurred.
Tenaha Mayor George Bowers, 80, defended the seizures, saying they allowed a cash-poor city the means to add a second police car in a two-policeman town and help pay for a new police station. "It's always helpful to have any kind of income to expand your police force," Bowers said.

Now, you'll note that neither Mr. Bowers nor any of his colleagues had any comment on whether innocent people were in effect having their possessions stolen from them; in fact, he seems to be saying that the ends justify the means. Any kind of income, eh, even stolen goods and cash, apparently. I wonder what the Founding Fathers would say, or what they would do. Something tells me it would involve tar and feathers, or perhaps even a rope and the tallest tree in the county...

Tell me something...

...was this guy really causing harm to anyone else, let alone enough to justify serving time in federal prison and being stripped of his right to keep and bear arms?

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, whose incorrigible bootlegging ways were as out of step with modern times as his hillbilly beard and overalls, took his own life rather than go to prison for making white lightning, his widow says.
“He couldn’t go to prison. His mind would just not accept it. … So, credit the federal government for my husband being dead, I really do,” Pam Sutton said in an interview Wednesday from the couple’s home in the Parrottsville community, about 50 miles east of Knoxville.

Once again, I don't discount personal responsibility here, but I can't help but think Mr. Sutton's only crime was doing something the government didn't approve of, something that was wrong only because the government said it was. He may not really be a sympathetic character, but that doesn't change the fact that the feds did him wrong and that it could have been any one of us for another crime. "First they came for the moonshiners..."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just a pop-culture question for this Saturday morning....

...am I the only one who'd like to throttle the person who came up with the word "bromance"? I'd say that word sounds (and makes male friendship sound) quite gay, but that's an insult to homosexuals that they REALLY don't deserve...

More fallout from the insane drug laws, indeed...

Leave it up to the American government to demand a private business put valuable personnel in harm's way...

Union Pacific is failing in its responsibility to stop Mexican drug cartels from hiding narcotics on U.S-bound trains, according to a Justice Department lawsuit that railroad officials say places unrealistic demands on their business.
“Union Pacific cannot send its personnel into Mexico to locate drugs, because they would not be allowed to carry arms or use K-9 teams, would have no legal authority and would be forced to turn over drugs to unreliable authorities in Mexico. Union Pacific employees would be subject to arrest in Mexico and would be unarmed in the face of vicious drug gangs,” said Donna Kush, spokeswoman for the Omaha, Neb.-based railroad.

One could also say it's more fallout from the Mexican government's refusal to police its own government. After all, whose fault is it the authorities are unreliable there? Either way this is just disgusting. It's bad enough that the feds are trying to infringe on the rights of the American people because Mexico doesn't take care of its business, but now this? What do they expect Union Pacific's people to do when they find those drugs? Or when one of those drug traffickers sticks a fully automatic weapon (courtesy of the Mexican military) in one of their inspectors' faces? Honestly, I'd think Union Pacific was doing everything they could to stop the traffickers from putting drugs on those trains; but at any rate, if the feds are going to demand more of Union Pacific here, they ought to be decent enough to put federal agents on those trains or at the border to inspect them. I guess Obama and his team think that money was better-spent buying votes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Can you say "cognitive dissonance"?

I knew you could...

"I gave up on Nashville a long time ago," he (Pat Green -- ed.) sang during the fiddle shuffle of Here We Go.

Compare that, if you will, to this more recent lyric:
Well, I sure am tired of these coffeehouse gigs
'Cause there ain't no money and there ain't no chicks
It's gettin' harder and harder to get my kicks so I bought a little ticket to Nashville
Cause I wanna see my name up in neon lights, drink pink champagne and party every night...

Don't get me wrong. I am not altogether opposed to Texas guys going to Nashville and making it big. (case in point: George Strait) But in the case of Pat Green it's just really rubbed me the wrong way. And I guess the above contrast is the perfect encapsulation of the reasons for that. He'll stand up there on the stage at Billy Bob's and the HLS&R and sing that line about "giving up on Nashville" and have everybody saying "Hell yeah!" and then turn around and go to Nashville, prostrate himself before those record execs and bastardize his music, compromising everything he stood for? I know he has a family to support now, and that he's entitled to do whatever he wants, but he comes away looking more than a bit hypocritical. (Of course Cross Canadian Ragweed says "Fuck Nashville" too, but then I'd love to have seen the looks on the record executives' faces at Universal South when they heard "Walls of Huntsville" and "Cold Hearted Woman." Or "Wanna Rock And Roll," for that matter.) I guess all of this is to say I don't have a problem with Pat Green wanting to do better for himself. I just don't see why he had to compromise to such a degree to do it. After all, from what I've read the powers that be in Nashville know all about the red-dirt music scene; one would think they'd take its practitioners for who they are and not try to put them through the Nashvegas star-making machine. Who knows? Maybe that's where Pat's heart was all along, or maybe the money helps him sleep better at night. Either way he ain't what he was. I don't think that's good and I make no apologies for that. Somehow I doubt I am alone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm not surprised...

....that the intellectual George Will would say something like this, but it still teed me off....

There are more than 6,600 licensed American gun dealers on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. They should obey the law...
The vast majority of them do, you ignorant prick...
UPDATE: Courtesy of Mike W. in comments, we have this, from David Hardy from Of Arms and the Law (DH is in my bookmarks; I'd have caught it myself if I'd had time to make the blog-run this morning, thanks Mike):
This is a strange case. The Arizona Attorney General (not ATF) brought State charges against a Phoenix-area gun dealer, claiming he'd supplied over 700 guns to Mexican drug cartels.
And the AG loses on a directed verdict -- meaning the judge finds that the evidence is nonexistent: no rational juror could find for the prosecution.

Wow. Does anyone think George Will will write a follow-up column apologizing for making an example of X-Caliber and acknowledging he made an ass of himself? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

A sign, perhaps?

In spite of this bit of chicanery from the Houston Chronicle:
(all emphases mine -- ed.)

The Obama administration plans to deploy additional federal law enforcement agents to the U.S.-Mexico border to choke off southbound shipments of automatic weapons...
...we still get this bit of very heartening news:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, 65 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR), expressed their opposition to the reinstatement of the failed 1994 ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines. These congressmen cited numerous studies that proved the 1994 ban was ineffective, and they strongly urged Attorney General Holder to stop his effort and instead focus on the enforcement of existing gun laws.

If you go on to read the letter, you'll see those Democrats also mention the fact that most of the weaponry with which the cartels are causing their mayhem are not available on the civilian market in the United States. Amazing. Either these guys didn't get the memo that the truth didn't matter to the gun-grabbers in their party, or they completely disregarded it. Either way it really says something that that many House Democrats are willing to call out that "America fueling Mexican bloodshed with machine guns and grenades freely available on its civilian market" meme as the dishonest bullshit that it is. So much for that "mandate for common sense gun laws" the Bradys trumpeted right after Obama deceived his way into the White House. I do wish they'd have said something about the natural right of self-defense recognized by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the arms that amendment covers, and their utility in extreme situations such as the 1992 L.A. riots and post-Katrina New Orleans as opposed to resorting to an argument grounded in social utility...but in these times I'll take anything that'll help. As David Codrea put it, CUM ULLA SELLA IN PUGNO TABERNA. ;-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Macs are great, but not perfect...

Yeah, those new Apple iMacs are the bee's knees, but would it have killed the Apple engineers to have put the USB ports on the side of the machine as opposed to the back, where you have to turn the damn thing around to plug the cable in? Inconvenient as all hell, especially for the fields in which the Mac is heavily used...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Re: Pat Green's latest...

....is it just me, or is "Country Star" a piss-poor ripoff of Nickelback's "Rockstar"? I mean, maybe it was too much to expect that he'd still make music like what he was making on the smaller labels and when his audience didn't go that far beyond the college campuses, but just....damn. I didn't expect it to get quite that bad. How the mighty have fallen, indeed.

Heyyyyy, another favorite song I ain't heard in YEARS!

"....get rid of Joe the Grinder, you better be there alone, 'cause the Old Man From the Mountain's comin' home, wind it up now.....YEAH!"

Quote of the day

From Bob S. in comments to yesterday's post, this pretty much stands on its own, no additional commentary from me needed...

Voters makes the rules? Is that why the Brady Campaign uses the courts so many times to try to get their way?
Incredible...the voters have overwhelmingly approved concealed carry in states but they try to get it overturned.
In Georgia, voters, via their legislators, approved concealed carry in the unsecured portions of the airports but the Brady Campaign praises the Mayor and Airport managers who directly defy democratically elected officials.
"Americans who have lost loved ones to gun violence are tired of the guys with the guns making the rules."
Yep, we are really making the rules. That is why I'm carrying my fully automatic Thompson Machine Gun into the Court House this afternoon to get my car tags....oh wait. Never mind. Guess we aren't making the rules after all.

Just something I'd like to point out here

The only reason we're seeing this....

So far, Heller is firing blanks.
The courts have upheld federal laws banning gun ownership by people convicted of felonies and some misdemeanors, by illegal immigrants and by drug addicts. They have upheld laws banning machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. They have upheld laws making it illegal to carry guns near schools or in post offices. And they have upheld laws concerning concealed and unregistered weapons.
...is that "the courts" are by and large ignoring the bulk of the Heller decision and the Second Amendment itself. Which isn't really all that surprising, but it is quite disturbing. No doubt they're citing "evolving societal standards" or some such bullshit, but it leads one to wonder what else the courts will deem worthy of a revised look in light of those "evolving societal standards." And of course they'll get away with it, because the American people today by and large "believe we can vote away rights rather than adhere to the Constitution as our Republic requires." (thanks for that, Mike W.) No doubt a showdown will eventually come over that "dangerous and unusual weapons" clause. I shudder to think how that'll fare vs. the "in common use" test. Somehow I think Lady Liberty's gonna take another bullet when that day comes. I do hope I am wrong, but I fear I am not. One wonders when the day will come that we finally believe that we don't have any recourse through the courts anymore. It seems that day after day we get closer.
Ooooh, Tanya Tucker, at the Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "Of all the people in the world to be standing at my door, telling me she left me, you know the one I left you for...I sat down and thought it over now I've come to this conclusion, don't believe my heart can stand another you...don't believe my heart can stand another you, I need someone who'll be gentle, kind and true..."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well yeah, see, that's the problem with democracy...

Gun-banning fark-tard Paul Helmke:

Most of us believe that in a democracy, the voters make the rules.
Yep, and that's the problem with democracy, which is why the Founding Fathers set up a constitutional republic with certain safeguards for protections of the minority — so 51 percent of the people couldn't just vote away the rights of the other 49 percent on a whim.

Americans who have lost loved ones to gun violence are tired of the guys with the guns making the rules.
Yes indeed, so how about we disarm the ATF and let them enforce their bullshit rules with their bare hands, and maybe the DEA agents while we're at it? Somehow I don't really think that's what he was talking about.
Helmke was, of course, riffing off Wayne LaPierre's remark at CPAC that "the guys with the guns make the rules." Which, of course, goes to a fundamental truth — you can, ultimately, only get away with enforcing your decrees on people if you're better armed than they are. Not that I'm surprised that would go right over a Brady-ite's head, but still I do find it frightening that someone so ignorant of such basic truth would have the ear of the most powerful man in the world. I do wonder though...what does he think happens when "democracy" ultimately fails, as it seems to be well on its way to doing here?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A nifty little Youtube find...

...or, Yeah, I admit it, I was screwing around on the Internet at work yesterday...
I'd always wanted to hear the original version of "Blitzkrieg," the other tune on the B-side of Metallica's "Creeping Death" single from 1984. A lot of times Youtube is good for this sort of thing. So off I went looking for it, and while I did not find it, I did find this.

Some clever soul took a bunch of movie clips and combat footage from World War II and made a video for the song. I haven't a clue where they got all that, and it's all so obvious you see it and wonder, "Now why didn't I think of that?" Really cool, though.
On another Metallica-related note, Sirius is running a limited-engagement all-Metallica channel, Mandatory Metallica on Ch. 27, to commemorate the band's upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I have most of the stuff they're playing on it, but it's still worth listening to. I do think they could have just completely omitted the material from the Load records and the channel would have been none the worse though. I didn't care for either one of those. AT ALL.
Heyyyyy, good stuff now: "SLAVES! Hebrews born to serve, to the pharaoh...HEED! To his every word, live in fear....FAITH! Of the unknown one, the deliverer...WAIT! Something must be done, four hundred years...So let it be written, so let it be done..."

An old saying comes to mind....

...reading this story (all emphases mine -- ed.):

AUSTIN - Casino gambling at resorts and Indian reservations. Video slot machines at racetracks. It's all on the table at the Texas Legislature.
Lobbyists for the gambling factions are working to win support. Opponents want to stop the proposals from gaining momentum. For both sides, the next couple of weeks could be crucial.
Lawmakers aren't desperately looking for new sources of revenue, like taxes on gambling, especially since billions of dollars in federal stimulus money are coming to the state.
"It's been my observation that the Legislature looks more favorably upon the expansion of gaming legislation in years where it looks like the budget is going to be difficult to make without it. This doesn't appear to be one of those years as we're figuring our way through the stimulus package," said Republican House Speaker Joe Straus.

And what might that old saying be, you wonder? Well, here's your answer: "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime."
I suppose it might be getting to be Americans' nature to take a handout whenever it's offered, but still I found this bit of news quite enlightening. The Law of Unintended Consequences in action, perhaps? Here we are, having the feds give Texas this money, and as a direct result of that Texas legislators are putting off the implementation of a way to bring more money to Texas honestly instead of effectively waiting for the next government handout. (And yes, I suppose it might be a stretch to call a casino an "honest" source of funds, but it's still a damn sight more so than a government handout.) What are they going to do when the stimulus funds run out?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yeah, I pretty much agree...

...with all the comments here so far...

Count me as one of those who love their guns FAR more than that stinking cesspool of corruption to the south of us.
Speaking for myself, I definitely love my guns more than I love Mexico.
Let's see. My guns or Mexico...ummm. Fuck Mexico.
...and I am not the least bit ashamed to admit it either. They don't give a damn about our freedoms, why should we give a damn about their disintegrating shithole of a country? I suppose there's always the little problem of all the political refugees streaming across the Rio Grande, which will have to be dealt with one way or another, but then that's an entirely separate issue from the one of the source of the drug cartels' firepower. They need to clean up their own damn backyard before they start pissing and moaning about what they think we're doing wrong. And even then, that right to keep and bear arms is still non-negotiable.

A new level of demagoguery...

...from one Ruben Navarrette, Jr.:

SAN DIEGO -- It's time for the American people to stop living in a state of denial and get serious about stopping gun shipments into Mexico.
Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, has noted that as many as 2,000 weapons enter Mexico from the U.S. every day -- most of them through Texas and Arizona, and many of them are purchased legally at gun shows and gun stores. Many of the transactions come in "straw purchases," where drug traffickers use Americans -- including friends and relatives -- to buy guns.

Note here that Navarrette says nothing about stopping the flow of drugs northward. I guess that's probably because such an action would imply some semblance of tighter border security. Not that his stance surprises me, but still I find it appalling that he along with so many other people are so willing to blame Mexico's troubles all on American weaponry — anyone who knows anything about American gun laws knows, of course, that the full-auto weaponry, grenades and such are all very tightly regulated here in the United States. Arguably much too tightly, I would think, for Mexican drug cartels to waste any meaningful amount of time trying to get them here when they could get them much easier (and cheaper, no doubt) from the Mexican military.

When someone goes north looking for work, Mexicans naively assume they have seen the last of him. And when guns go south looking for trouble, Americans assume the same about the havoc they create.

Hey, more blaming of the guns! Amazing. The way he talks one would think there were roving bands of animate, feral weaponry ravaging the Mexican countryside and terrorizing the Mexican population. Funny thing about that though, I have yet to see such weaponry doing the same to American citizens. It's always somebody shooting the gun instead of the gun shooting itself here. Do those roving bands of weapons down in Mexico go foraging for ammo too? I wonder if they could find us any cheap 7.62x51mm NATO, and maybe some .45ACP while they're at it...

Napolitano has promised to increase the Homeland Security Department's cooperation with Mexico to help curb the southward export of assault weapons. And, on that topic, Attorney General Eric Holder caused a stir when he turned the drug war into a debate on gun control.
"As President Obama indicated during the campaign," Holder said, "there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons [which expired in 2004]. I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum."
That was all it took. Those who love their guns more than their neighbor to the south were eager to believe CNN's Lou Dobbs when he declared: "Attorney General Eric Holder is willing to sacrifice our gun ownership rights under the Constitution for the benefit of a foreign government, in this case Mexico."
Suddenly, the anti-Mexico crowd had a new warning for America. And like the rest of their gibberish, this bit of nonsense fit on a bumper sticker: "Obama will take away your guns -- to please Mexico."

WOW. "Those who love their guns more than they love Mexico"?! Wow, talk about outrageous demagoguery. I am speechless here. What a way to cast freedom-loving Americans. With such offensive rhetoric one could be excused for thinking Navarrette's sympathies don't lie with the country he calls his home now. If that's the case — and judging by much of his other scribblings it would seem that it is — then why is he still here?
As for the "gibberish" he speaks of, it sounds about right to me. After all, the "assault weapons ban" didn't do anything to help crime before; what will the next step be when it fails to make a dent in the violence south of the border now? We all know that's exactly the way it's going to go because the cartels aren't getting their most dangerous weapons here. And Lou Dobbs' statement sounds about right to me; the anti-gun record of the new administration, and the antipathy held by the new President and AG isn't exactly a secret...

This is a serious issue worthy of serious discussion, without hyperbole or distortions.

Oh, my. I am sure he said this without even the slightest trace of irony.

"In a single seizure," the ambassador said, "we detained half a million rounds of ammo, 270 semi-automatic assault weapons, fragmentation grenades and ... sniper rifles. And they were all coming from the U.S. side of the border."

Fragmentation grenades? From the United States? Sniper rifles? Does he have any documentation whatsoever to back up this claim? (No, of course not. He just says it and Mr, Navarrette laps it up, as it fits the narrative perfectly.)
And once again, why no talk of drug legalization or border control? How much longer are we going to talk around this issue?

Heyyy, another of my favorite cover tunes!

Bone Clones weekend at the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19, where they're playing covers of old songs, and guess what's playing now? C'mon, you knew it, sing along with me now..."Twenty-seven, everyone was nice, gotta see em, make em pay the price, see their bodies out on the ice, take my time...Am I evil? Yes, I am!"
A cover of an old Diamond Head song, "Am I Evil" was one of two covers (the other being a blistering rendition of "Blitzkrieg" by the band of the same name) that originally appeared on the B-side of Metallica's "Creeping Death" single, if I remember correctly. Those two songs later appeared on Metallica's debut album as bonus tracks, and then later issued on the 2-cd covers set Garage, Inc., which was where I discovered them. I wasn't that keen on the newer covers on that set, but the second disc with the stuff from the Ride and Justice days was definitely worth the coin...

I know he didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway...

Houston Chronicle music critic Joey Guerra, to pop-gone-country former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker:

Why do you think fans have accepted your sound over crossover discs from Jewel or Jessica Simpson?
I'd say it's because, like Dan Seals, Darius Rucker actually sounds like a credible country music singer and not like he's not just taking advantage of the popularity of the genre. (Considering some of the music Seals put out, one could say that's where his heart was all along, even if a lot of it had the more contemporary country sound.) Hell, even back when Hootie was still going strong I thought they could probably pull off making a country album if they really wanted to. Now I don't know if Darius Rucker will ever write or record a song as timeless as "Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)," but he's done pretty well for himself so far, I think. I was quite pleasantly surprised by Mr. Rucker citing Dwight Yoakam, Nanci Griffith and Hank Sr. and Jr. as his favorites. Considering that, it'll be interesting to see where he goes musically.

There's a lesson here somewhere...

...give me some time and I'll figure out what it might be...

AUSTIN — Knives and drugs, cell phones and smokeless tobacco. Even McDonald’s hamburgers.
Texas prisons were a virtual bazaar of prohibited and illicit goods smuggled in by guards and correctional employees who rarely faced harsh punishment when caught, according to a Houston Chronicle review.
But remember, friends and neighbors, bans on drugs and guns in our less-restrictive society will fix everything! Something here did catch my eye, though...
Top prison officials have called for zero tolerance in stamping out prison contraband, though it “doesn’t mean someone is terminated,” said the prison system’s spokeswoman, Michelle Lyons.
“It means it’s addressed and is dealt with accordingly. In some cases, depending on the contraband, the fitting punishment is probation or suspension,” she said. “In more serious cases, where the facts support that the person intended to introduce contraband to an offender, then it’s dealt with possibly by termination.”
Doesn't mean someone is terminated. Why in the hell not? I mean, it's one thing to walk through with a cell phone or an unopened can of chewing tobacco that's intended for your own use, but I don't understand why bringing prohibited items in for inmates should not be a firing offense. It'd be interesting to see how the flow of contraband into the prisons would be affected if they did crack down on it like that. I guess the prison system must be pretty hard-up for workers. Maybe paying them more and making the jobs more financially attractive wouldn't be such a bad idea, although I don't know how spending could be shifted any more than it is considering state agencies have to basically justify their existence and the money they spend as they come under review every so often by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. At any rate, a pay raise for those in the prison system is probably something Texas legislators should seriously consider.

You mean a lighter sentence wasn't the answer here?

The hell you say...

A man accused of arranging a drug cartel hit that ended with the wrong man being killed in a Houston parking lot was already on probation for a murder he committed seven years earlier.
Steven Torres, 27, still had an electronic monitoring device strapped to his ankle when he was arrested in December in the 2006 shooting death of a man mistaken for the boss of a rival drug gang.
He was 16 when he committed his first murder and tried as an adult, but a jury gave him probation.
Two jurors said Torres got probation because was he was young, had a newborn child, and could possibly turn around his life.
“They wanted to give him a second chance for killing somebody; I had a very hard time with that,” recalled one juror, who said he was finally persuaded to join the majority but wishes he had stood firm.
Oscar Tamez, a family friend, remains bitter that the jury didn’t send Torres to prison.
“The blood of Mr. Perez, who got murdered at that restaurant, it is on their hands,” he said.
Now, you all know I'm a huge advocate of personal responsibility, but still I find it very difficult to argue with what that family friend said. That jury had the chance to put him away but they didn't. Call me a hardass, but once you do something like what Mr. Torres did ten years ago, you don't deserve another chance. No matter how old you are. When I was 16 I would never have thought of settling an argument with bullets. And somehow I doubt I am alone here. You'd think that being responsible for a newborn child, he'd have figured out another way to settle the argument with the guy he killed. That all by itself should have been a sign to those jurors that this guy was a danger to society and should have been put away for a good long time. Maybe justice will be done now, but it's just a damn shame someone else had to die for it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday morning music musings

I must admit, I thought it was quite ironic that I'd hear two of my Texas music favorites, Cross Canadian Ragweed and the Randy Rogers Band, at a Mexican restaurant in Sulphur, Louisiana yesterday afternoon. Not that I thought their fan base would stop at the Sabine River — as a matter of fact, the first and only time I've seen CCR live was at Cowboys in Lake Charles and it was pretty well packed — but I just thought that was really cool.
I got this comment on one of last week's posts:

I teach at a local school, and it never seems to amaze me how the high school kids still like Waylon, Merle, Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, George Jones. About the time I think there is no hope, I put on one of my old CDs and the kids all know and like the lyrics...

Interesting, but not altogether surprising. I'd bet as most folks get older they by and large get introduced to that older music right about then and more than a few even like it. I had older family members who listened to it, and then I heard even more on the radio late at night during my high school years. I sure wish I'd had high school teachers who were cool enough to play that stuff.
Heyyyy, this is another of my favorites, at Willie's Place, Sirius Ch. 64: "I was born, in Saginaw, Michigan...I grew up, in a house on Saginaw Bay..."

No surprise here, I guess...

...but still, what the hell?

WASHINGTON — A top Homeland Security official told Congress Thursday that National Guard troops will intervene on the U.S.-Mexico border only as a “last resort” to combat drug violence.
Another member of the panel, Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said the border violence can be solved only if all parts of the equation are examined.
“Let’s examine our gun laws,” he said. “Let’s cut down on U.S. drug consumption, let’s ask there to be more resources to root out drug money laundering.”

Cut down on drug consumption? Has this guy been asleep for the last 25 years? What the hell was the whole "Just Say No" campaign about if not lowering drug consumption? I guess I shouldn't be surprised that a Massachusetts Democrat would advocate the same old failed policies — funded with American taxpayers' money, natch...damn, talk about your throwing good money after bad — and more measures infringing on American liberties, but still it never fails to disgust me. And of course Mr. Tierney says nothing about beefing up border security. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at that either, considering a good chunk of his constituents probably don't give half a shit about it, being as they live 1,500 miles from said border. (JayG, TOTWTYTR and Ted, I 'magine folks like y'all are the exceptions to that rule. You're on the memo list when we in Texas take our marbles and go back to the way it was before 1845.) How much longer? Is it going to take a full-scale border war to wake them up in Washington? More and more, I am thinking that it will.

Mmm....more classic George Strait...

...at Willie's Place, Sirius Ch. 64: "....but I wonder now, if it makes a difference, does Fort Worth ever cross your mind...?"
Three years after he first hit the charts, Strait was on a roll; "Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" was his fourth consecutive No. 1 record and the very first No. 1 hit of 1985, the title track from the album that went on to be the CMA's 1985 Album of the Year. Of course it still would have been great without all that success and recognition...more than 20 years later, it still sounds good. If I had to pick one George Strait album to take to the desert isle with me, that'd be the one.

Quote of the day!

...from Bob Owens, the Confederate Yankee:

The Brady Campaign, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is the Westboro Baptist Church of the gun confiscation movement.
Quite the novel way to put it, and pretty much right on the nose, too...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another bullet in the foot, indeed...

So Kevin Baker asked Shooting USA host Jim Scoutten about the possibility of televising Boomershoot. His reply:

I've always thought there are some events that shouldn't get National TV coverage.

When we'd like the public to think of competitive shooting to be like other mainstream sports.

I guess Mr. Scoutten is entitled to his opinion, but it really does seem that he's afflicted with at least a mild case of cranial-rectal inversion, not to mention a dash of myopia to go with it. I remember 20 years ago NASCAR wasn't really a mainstream sport either, but today it's one of the most popular spectator sports in the United States, right up there with NFL football. Something tells me it didn't get that way by those involved with NASCAR taking the attitude that "some events shouldn't get national TV coverage."
What I really didn't expect though, was outright bigotry, further down in the Arfcom thread...
So what, in my judgment, is not acceptable for prime time national TV?
1) Camo worn by any competitor in any match, except active duty military events, reenactor events, or history segments. (Knob Creek fails the test, as does the SOF annual competition.)
2) Wearing any clothing, T-shirts, etc, that carry offensive statements or images, or T-shirts with ripped off sleeves.

It's worth asking what he'd define as "offensive." Mr. Baker himself has pointed out before statements from certain raging moonbats that more or less interpreted the "Celebrate Diversity" t-shirts as saying "let's go out and shoot us some n*ggers and w*tbacks." I don't suppose Mr. Scoutten would go as far, but still I don't think such an attitude helps the cause.
4) Sniper Competition Events that allow participation by civilian teams. There is no way to explain civilian snipers to the public.

He certainly isn't very imaginative, is he? I really don't see something like that as being much different than an athletic competition, as there are many people will tell you that the shooter is every bit as important as the gun itself. And that's just one way to market it off the top of my head. I'm sure there are folks who could think of several other different angles. And it deserves to be asked — How far is it from "there is no way to explain civilian snipers to the public" to "there is no way to explain civilians owning sniper rifles (or rifles accurate out to hundreds of yards) to the public"? Disturbingly not far enough, I would think. After all, most common hunting calibers are accurate out to hundreds of yards right out of the box. And as we all know it's really not much of a stretch for the anti-gunners to cast the common hunting rifle as a "sniper gun." Granted, it's going to take a lot to make a Jim Gilliland-type shot, but then not every shot a sniper takes is going to be from 1,300 yards away either. (And if you'll read that thread, you'll see that SSgt. Gilliland got his start hunting squirrels at 5 years old. But I digress.) I can understand why some folks might not think some televised shooting sports would go over well, and I could have understood Mr. Scoutten saying that sort of thing was not what his audience would go for, but I find his advocacy of keeping some of the shooting sports in the closet more than a little bit offensive. We should be working on making it all acceptable to the public. Ultimately, that's the only way we're going to win.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yep, that's a good little lefty...

...never letting the facts get in the way of a good bout of Bush Derangement Syndrome, in the comments to this story:

" assault rifle "
Thnak you, W.

Yep, it was all that evil bastard Republican George W. Bush's fault, even though the rifle Mr. Martinez used was banned from further importation 20 years ago, more than a decade before George W. took up residence in the Oval Office. Amazing how that works, huh?
On a tangentially-related topic, in comments to an earlier post TOTWTYTR asked about Murdering Mama Martinez, "And why isn't SHE on death row?"
That's a pretty good question. I wouldn't be surprised if she got what she did due to some sort of plea-bargain. You know, so they could fill her slot with a nonviolent drug offender. It'd be quite interesting to see if the now-deceased Mr. Martinez might have reconsidered his actions later if his mother had gotten what she deserved for what she did. I guess now we'll never know, but at least one of them paid the most appropriate price for their actions.

Oh no, it could never be about integrity, could it?

Requiring voter identification at the polls, that is...

AUSTIN — Faced with the likelihood that state Senate Republicans will ultimately pass a controversial bill requiring voters to show photo identification cards, Senate Democrats opened the fight Tuesday with delaying tactics designed to give the House a better chance of killing the measure.

And it would seem that this is the typical Texas Democrat response:

“This is about Republicans scaring off just enough eligible elderly, disabled, blacks and Hispanics to stay in power four more years, plain and simple,” said Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, of the Republican proposal.

Yes, indeed. It could never be about beefing up the integrity of the system. It could never be an attempt to ensure that our elections don't turn into some banana republic Chicago-style complete and total joke. No, never. It's nothing more than a power grab by those evil bastard Republicans. You know, now that I think about it, the Dems would really be the fly in the ointment when it came to us going back to the Republic of Texas. If we ever really did it we very well might need all the people in other parts of the United States who believe in what we're doing, to come down here and help us balance out all those folks who vote in assclowns like Eliot Shapleigh. I wonder how we could pull that off...

So, how about that European utopian ideal?

From this morning's Houston Chronicle:

WINNENDEN, Germany — State officials said today police have slain a 17-year-old gunman who killed 15 people in a school shooting in southwestern Germany.
Baden Wuerttemburg governor Guenther Oettinger says police shot the suspect after he fled the school.
State Interior Minister Heribert Rech says three teachers were among the 15 dead. Police say at least 10 students were also killed in today’s attack.
“He went into the school with a weapon and carried out a bloodbath,” said regional police chief Erwin Hetger. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”
Hey, you know what would prevent things like this? Tighter gun laws...hey, wait a minute...
In 2002, 19-year-old Robert Steinhaeuser shot and killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a police officer before turning his gun on himself in the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt.
Steinhaeuser, who had been expelled for forging a doctor’s note, was a gun club member licensed to own weapons. The attack led Germany to raise the age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21.
You mean to tell me nanny-state schemes like gun licensing and registration still allow for people to fall through the cracks? Surely this is a joke...I mean, I hear various media idiots, thuggish politicians and blood-dancers like the Bradys people all the time saying that we need tighter gun laws, just like the ones they have in Europe. For teh childrenses or some such. Reading stories like this one would almost get the idea that said laws are only good for giving the government a list of gun owners to make it more convenient for them to round up the guns later on. Hmmm....

Mmmm, vintage Van Halen....

...at the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: Well, no lyrics, as it's that bad-ass guitar solo "Eruption" that leads into the guys' remake of the old Kinks hit "You Really Got Me." Good, good stuff, one of those songs that'll never get old. That guitar solo has always given me chills, and I don't think it'll ever stop. And the cover of the song itself is probably one of the best covers of any song in any genre, period. "Pleeeeeease, don't ever let me be, I only wanna be by your side...."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Would it be wrong of me...

to say that this story warmed the cockles of my cold black heart?

HUNTSVILLE — A Fort Worth man convicted of opening fire with an assault rifle to gun down a woman and a friend after stalking her to collect a debt was executed Tuesday night.
James Edward Martinez told his mother and sister, who were watching through a nearby window, that he loved them and thanked them for everything they had done for him.
“I hope y’all can move on after this,” he said. “I’ll be fine. I’m fine.”
Martinez told them all again that he loved them and added, “take care, OK?” He then told the warden he had nothing else to say.
As the drugs began taking effect, his mother was overcome with emotion, sobbing and scratching at the glass that separated them. “James don’t leave me, you can’t die. Don’t leave me,” she cried. Officers brought a wheelchair into the room and removed her and her daughter before Martinez was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. CDT, nine minutes after the lethal drugs began.

That might sound cold, but if you read on to the end of the story you'll see that this poor mother has a criminal history of her own, having been given probation for the slayings of her ex-husband and his fiancee. It's only appropriate that she experience the pain she inflicted upon the families of her ex-husband and his fiancee. Notch another one up for justice, friends and neighbors!
But then, here's some more of that media bias (emphasis mine -- ed.):
At the shooting scene, authorities found 27 shell casings from a high-powered Austrian-made military-type rifle.

Again with the loaded terminology. High-powered this time, natch. I wonder what they'd have said if he'd shot those two with, say, something chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum...

So I hear...

...there's a new guest blogger here. You oughta check it out, he seems like good people. ;-)

More media bias...

And the media bias against guns continues this morning, courtesy of the Associated Press...

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Spurned after a brief relationship, James Edward Martinez repeatedly stalked 29-year-old Sandra Walton, insisting he wanted her to quickly repay $1,000 he loaned the Fort Worth woman.
"She was no longer interested in him," Robert Foran, a Tarrant County assistant district attorney, recalled. "And in retaliation, he crept up on her with (an assault rifle), mowed down her friend, and then just laid waste to her as she sat in her car."
Martinez declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared. At his trial, the former welder and laborer insisted a friend was responsible for the slaying and had access to the murder weapon, an exotic Austrian-made assault rifle.

Exotic. Austrian made. Good grief, the way the reporter talks about it you'd think it was some sort of alien death laser hand-crafted by elves or something. But according to this story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, it was just a 5.56mm Steyr AUG. Really now, were the loaded words essential? I really do wonder what they'd have said if Martinez had used a scoped deer rifle, maybe one of these. Would it have been an "exotic Austrian-made sniper rifle" then?

Monday, March 09, 2009

It'll be interesting...

to find out this guy's prior record:

A northeast Houston man acknowledged wanting to hurt his sleeping relatives when he used gasoline to start a fire early Sunday that killed his 5-year-old niece and injured two others, prosecutors said today.
Tracy Bush, 46, showed little emotion at a court hearing this morning as prosecutors detailed the deadly blaze at the home in the 14500 block of Red Tailed Hawk that claimed the life of Brastaya Peace. He was ordered held without bail on a capital murder charge.
Although he repeatedly confessed to setting the fire, investigators say, Bush told them he was not sorry about the tragic results.

Hey, you know what would prevent things like this? Gun licensing and registration...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Self-defense my aching arse...

I was heartened when I saw the title to this story...

Women learn self-defense in honor of Sabrina Pina
Abductions prompt them to protect themselves

...but by the time I got to the end of said story I was thoroughly disgusted. Call it youthful optimism, or even a remnant of naivete, but I honestly thought there would have at least been a mention of carrying a gun and training oneself to use it in a high-stress situation as a backup plan. I was reminded of one of the items from Michael Z. Williamson's brilliant piece on what one has to believe in order to believe gun control works (emphasis mine -- ed.): "That NASA, the military, physiologists, anatomists and trainers all agree and Olympic scores confirm that men on average have tremendously more upper body strength than women, but women should try to defend themselves with martial arts and not a gun." And even if a woman is lucky enough to encounter an abductor with upper body strength equivalent to hers, from what I understand it still takes a good amount of time and training to master those martial arts — time one might not have. I saw that the aim of buying potential victims a few seconds was mentioned, and that's great — but I still think it would be better if said potential victims were taught to use those few seconds to their fullest advantage by drawing their firearm of choice, putting the sights of said firearm on their pursuer and giving said pursuer anywhere from 8 to 19 rounds of quality hollow-point ammunition in his center of mass if he did not cease and desist right that millisecond. (We're assuming, of course, that she empties the gun, but of course it might take only two or three rounds to stop him.) As for disarming one's attacker — are these people serious? It's bad enough to spread the malicious lie that "the attacker will only take your gun and shoot you with it," but to make these women think they would be able to disarm anyone who tried to abduct them is, well...there really are no words. "Wrong" just barely scratches the surface here. One of the commenters pretty much nailed it right on the nose:
"To me, it smacks of a martial arts school capitalizing on all the publicity over the Pina murder....In the span of a few hours, you can hold an introductory seminar about personal awareness. That's a good start, but that's ALL you can accomplish. To pretend that any woman learned self-defense of any kind in a brief, mass course like this is completely misleading and, perhaps worse, may have left some of the women with a false sense of security and capability."
Yep. How many of them will it not work for? And what are they going to do when they don't have a Plan B?

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Another one of Metallica's best....

...from the early days, on the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: "I have lost the will to live, simply nothing more to give...there is nothing more for me, need the end to set me free..."
That whole song is great, but I could listen to James and Kirk's intro on a continuous loop all day long...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Quote of the day

...from Walsingham at Jessica's Well, weighing in on this masterpiece from Iowahawk:

Imagine being Christopher Buckley, Humor Writer, and knowing that some guy named Burge throws off more humor in one blog post than you have in your whole career. For free. When he is just screwing around.

Yes, indeed...

My favorite Tom T. Hall tune...

...now at Willie's Place, Sirius Ch. 64: "In some of my songs I have casually mentioned, the fact that I like to drink beer...this little song is more to the point, so roll out the barrel and lend me your ears, I like beer...it makes me a jolly good fellow, I like beer..."
I know Tom T. wrote some really deep and thoughtful numbers, but yeah, that novelty-ish tune is my favorite. More than a decade after I first heard it — on Bryan-College Station's 98.3 KORA, the station that introduced me to so much great old country I'd never heard before — it still makes me grin, as I crank it up and sing along. Even my best friend got a kick out of it...and he HATES country music. No small feat, that...

What do you do...

...in a case like this?

CLEVELAND - A man suspected of killing his newlywed wife, his sister-in-law and three young children killed himself Friday after police forced their way into the home he had fled to and found him hiding in the bathroom, authorities said.
Crawford has convicted in 1995 of voluntary manslaughter, according to prison records. He was released from prison in 2000 and sent back in 2002 on a felonious assault conviction involving domestic violence, according to prison records. He was freed again in 2007.

The guy was obviously dangerous, as indicated by his criminal record. Yet he was still walking the streets, free as a bird. Still you know there will be those who still blame the "easy availability of guns," completely oblivious to the late Mr. Crawford's record as a clearly dangerous individual. It's worth asking why exactly we can't keep people like that locked away from society, as it would seem they can't be trusted with anything bigger than a toothpick — and they might even be able to get away with inflicting a bit of damage with that. Really, the whole sorry episode brings to mind an old quote: "There is only one remedy to an armed bad guy and that is an armed good guy." And to the nitpickers I would say, even fists count as weapons, especially when the disparity in physical size and strength is big enough, as it could have been here. I don't know if having a gun would have saved the lives of Lechea Crawford, her sister or her kids, but the smart money says that if Ms. Crawford had had the presence of mind to arm herself, she'd also have had the presence of mind to get the hell away (or stay the hell away in the first place) from a piece of human detritus like her late husband. But that's just what I think...

Mmmm, I never knew George Jones did any Western swing!

...but with him being a Texan, I guess it's almost a given that he'd have recorded some Bob Wills at some point. "Roooly poly, daddy's little fatty, bet he's gonna be a man someday..." I don't know who was singing harmony with him on that record, but it was GREAT. And I bet it's out of print too. Sounds like he recorded that sometime in the mid-1960s or so, but I could be wrong...

Friday, March 06, 2009

No Reconciliation....

There's been a lot of talk from all corners for a while about whether the people on each side of the red vs. blue divide can ever be reconciled. Reading about events such as this makes me think, "Negative, Ghostrider..."...

A massive budget backlash came to lower Manhattan on Thursday. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers marched on City Hall, rallying to stop proposed funding cuts.
The rally cries of labor unions, community groups and families outside City Hall could be heard throughout lower Manhattan. Desperation for an economic lifeline brought out more than 50,000 people along several blocks of Broadway in a self-described "Rally For New York."

So in effect, one could say it was the march of the grass-eaters. Seems like everywhere else government actions are being protested, they're protesting that the government's taking too much from them, but there in good old New York City they're protesting because they think government's not giving them enough. How many of those folks would you bet voted for Obama because of his promises of bigger government? You take this, and the tea parties, and the legislation in which the various states are asserting their Tenth Amendment rights, and it's enough to make you wonder what it's all going to come to...