Thursday, March 29, 2007

Interesting Contrast...

in today's issue of one of the local newspapers, the Port Arthur News...(emphasis mine --ed.)

...Castle Doctrine, a law upheld in 14 other states, gives Texans a stronger legal right to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, cars and workplaces.
...Someone who is against Castle Doctrine, however, is Peter Hamm, communications director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“There is no one in jail in Texas or anywhere else charged with using deadly force illegally for self defense,” Hamm said via telephone Wednesday. “We don’t understand what this new law is trying to solve and we fear the law, and others like it, will be used by people who should be in jail.”

The law, he said, takes the ball out of the hands of the criminal justice system.

NRA, authorities support new law

Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist, said he applauded Perry for signing the bill into law.

“Gov. Perry is the first governor in the country to sign Castle Doctrine legislation into law in 2007 and I’d like to thank him for his support” Cox said. “This is a victim’s rights measure. Crime victims don’t have the luxury of time when confronted by a criminal. This law gives victims the option of defending themselves and removes any mandate of forcible retreat set either in state statute or in case law.”

“The Castle Doctrine bill is about putting the law back on the side of the victim, the way it’s supposed to be.”

Port Arthur Police Chief Mark Blanton agrees with both Cox and Perry.

“I think the governor’s statement says it all, ‘the right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but is intuitive to human nature,” Blanton said. “If you are in your home with your wife or by yourself why should you have to retreat for self defense? Or if you are carjacked why should you have to retreat?”

What does it say about the Brady Bunch and their ilk when they disagree with the police on an issue like this? They're always claiming to be on the side of law enforcement and public safety. How interesting it is than on an issue which at least Southeast Texas law enforcement officials are going on record as supporting, the Bradys oppose them. To what extent Chief Blanton's remarks represent law enforcement as a whole is indeed arguable, but considering he is an appointed official -- even if he did come from the rank-and-file -- it's quite refreshing to see that someone in his position would stand up and be counted on this issue as supporting the rights of the people to defend themselves. Good on him.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A New Adventure on the Horizon

Yes, the last few days have been busy, but actually pretty productive on the gun front.
I love shooting the 10mm, but it's absolute hell on the wallet, as is the .45, at least with my meager income. So I thought a while back that perhaps I would take the plunge and get into the handloading game, to save money and customize my ammo to my guns.
So last week, I took the plunge and ordered the RCBS turret press kit from MidwayUSA; it comes with the press, a beam scale, powder dispenser & funnel, case lube kit& loading block, hex key wrench set, deburring tool, case loading block and the Speer Manual No. 13. A couple of more things I'm gonna have to get before I get started, specifically a charging die to simplify things a little bit and I am not 100% sure what else. I've heard reloading is just as much fun as shooting...and I am about to find out for myself!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Random Ramblings on Referrals: Kimber vs. Ruger?

It would seem that I am the No. 1 result for this search.
Kimber vs. Ruger P89? I'd have to say that one's like, well, I don't know. Why anyone would want to compare those two is completely beyond me. They're both great pistols, no doubt about it, but it's like comparing a Ford Super Duty to maybe a Mustang, or even a GT. Two completely different pistols, with two completely different personalities, but again, both great. I can honestly say it'd hurt less for a cop to take my P89 after a good shoot, if only for the fact that for the price of probably even the most basic Kimber Custom I could get two P89s. The trigger on that P89 certainly is no 1911 trigger, but I can say it's better than the Glock's water-gun trigger. Which would I rather have, if money was no object? Probably the Kimber, if for no other reason than that the 1911 is my favorite autopistol platform, but I wouldn't turn up my nose at a Springfield or Smith & Wesson 1911 either.
Kimber vs. Ruger P89?
If you have the money, why not both?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Giuliani Singing Same Song as Michael Bloomberg

...or, at least he was, at one point.
Via THR, we have this, from Human Events:

The new Giuliani of states’ rights simply does not square with the mayor of the ’90s.

In 1993, Giuliani met with then-President Clinton to discuss national gun registration and supported the Brady bill, which had recently passed, but Rudy argued that it didn’t go far enough. Clinton, largely crediting Giuliani for the idea, enthusiastically sent Atty. Gen. Janet Reno off to develop a gun-licensing and registration system.

In May 1994, as the battle over the ban on certain semi-automatic firearms reached its height, Giuliani threw his support behind the ban. On the eve of the final vote, he noted that so-called assault weapons “have no legitimate purpose.” When the ban passed, Giuliani commented that “this is an important step toward curtailing the indiscriminate proliferation of guns across the nation.”

When a lunatic attacked innocent civilians at the Empire State Building in 1997, Giuliani used the tragedy to again push for gun control beyond his city’s limits: “We need a federal law that bans all assault weapons, and if in fact you do need a handgun, you should be subjected to at least the same restrictions—and really stronger ones—that exist for driving an automobile. ... Congress needs to pass uniform licensing for everyone carrying a gun.”


I knew he believed these things, but I never knew the context in which he said them. As they say, it's deja vu all over again. The fact that the national movers and shakers in the Republican Party are pushing Giuliani as the Great Hope for 2008 is a sad commentary indeed. He's not any better than Bill Clinton, and we all know what Clinton did on the gun front...and the frightening thing is, Clinton did his dirty work in only two years. Only the voters throwing the Democrats out in '94 stopped it from going any further...and it's not at all certain that the GOP will be back in the driver's seat in Congress after the 2008 elections. We are indeed experiencing the Chinese curse of living in interesting times, but I for one would go for a little more boring right about now.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Saturday Pawn Shop Adventure

Saturday morning I took a little ride up to Beaumont, to one of the local pawnshops. They had a bunch of rifles, but not so many pistols. A Ruger P94 .40S&W, a couple of Glocks, some old blued Smith & Wesson .38 Specials, and several 1911s -- which was what I was on the lookout for, anyway -- a Para and one of the highly-sought-after Taurus 1911s, and a nickel-plated Remington-Rand from 1943. I'd never seen one of those...all the 1911s I'd seen from that era were either blued or parkerized, but the guy at the counter said something about it going through the custom shop, I think. The Rem-Rand went right about for what I thought it might, though I'd rather have had a blued or parked pistol. One of the guys at the counter said the Taurus had maybe 50 rounds through it...the pistol had a price tag right about what I expected it to be -- a little more than Shooters Supply, but still a pretty good deal if the Taurus is indeed everything everyone says it is.
But I went in there more than anything else to inquire about a Dan Wesson Razorback. I thought for a long time that Dan Wesson was like Kimber in that they sold directly to dealers and that to be a stocking dealer you had to place an order for a certain amount of guns. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that was not the case, that Dan Wesson sold through the distribution network; I had not seen a wide selection of DWs at Davidson's, so I was thinking that maybe they only sold through stocking dealers. As it turned out, though, the fella there at the counter looked up the Razorback and found it through another distributor for just shy of a grand after tax. Which is just about what I was expecting. They used to be cheaper, but apparently Dan Wesson is the dark horse of the 1911 market. I hadn't heard much about them for a while, but I started digging and found out they got a hell of a (good) reputation, especially after CZ bought them out. Everybody I'd talked to was always talking up either Kimber or Springfield; I didn't even know Dan Wesson was in the 1911 business until I found out about the Razorback. The pawnshop guy, who knew his stuff pretty well, it sounded like, was quite vocal with his opinion, too. He said that he wasn't going to pony up $20,000 to be a Kimber stocking dealer, that the Kimbers were overrated and that the Dan Wessons were much better guns. I can't really argue with the "overrated" remark, with the way some people have talked about them, even though my experience with them has been quite good. As I've said before and as I'm sure more than a few people will say as well, there are folks out there who think Kimber is the end-all and be-all of 1911s. He also had an issue with Kimber's methods in that if the gun was bad, you had to send it back to Kimber instead of the distributor. I think what he was saying was that if the distributor sent them a malfunctioning gun, they'd take it back and send the customer another one, and with Kimber being a dealer-direct manufacturer they more or less precluded that option. As for my erroneous thought that Dan Wesson only sold dealer-direct, pawnshop guy basically told me that he was selling Dan Wesson 1911s before Dan Wesson 1911s were cool -- although not in those exact words. If I remember right, he told me he had a Pointman Seven and it was a great gun. Needless to say I was quite thrilled. The next closest Dan Wesson dealer is Carter's Country in Houston, and while I always have fun in Houston and wouldn't have minded going over there, I just preferred to keep my dollars here. Plus, I am not exactly rollin' in 'em. ;-) As of yet I am not sure when, but a Razorback will be mine, oh yes, it will...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Blast From The Not-Too-Distant Past: The Murder On Music Row Controversy

If you will, indulge me this one-time rambling.
Driving home from work tonight, I heard this not-so-old tune from George Strait and Alan Jackson:

Nobody saw him running, from Sixteenth Avenue
They never found a fingerprint, or the weapon that was used
But someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul
They got away with murder, down on Music Row

The almighty dollar, and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition, and for that, someone should hang
They all say "Not Guilty!", but the evidence will show
That murder was committed down on Music Row

For the steel guitars no longer cry, and fiddles barely play
But drums and rock 'n' roll guitars are mixed up in your face
Ol' Hank wouldn't have a chance on today's radio
Since they committed murder down on Music Row

They thought no one would miss it once it was dead and gone
They said no one would buy them ol' drinkin' and cheatin' songs
Well there ain't no justice in it, and the hard facts are cold
Murder's been committed down on Music Row

For the steel guitars no longer cry, and you can't hear fiddles play
With drums and rock 'n' roll guitars mixed right up in your face
Why the Hag wouldn't have a chance on today's radio
Since they committed murder down on Music Row

Why they even tell the Possum to pack up and go back home
There's been an awful murder down on music row
It was right about this time seven years ago the controversy was raging in the country music community, as pop-masquerading-as-country singers like Tim McGraw, Martina McBride and Shania Twain were ruling the country music airwaves, and Rascal Flatts, country's answer to N-Sync, was just getting started. Larry Cordle and Larry Shell's biting commentary on the state of modern country music had started making the rounds late in 1999 and causing quite a stir in some corners. I remember I was thrilled when I found out Alan and George were going to record this song and even more so when I actually heard it, as I thought it was a drop-dead perfect indictment of modern country music, both lyrically and instrumentally. Tim McGraw, aka Mr. Faith Hill was the most outspoken about the song, as I recall him saying "anyone who has a problem with crossover can go jump in the lake." I thought that was quite asinine of him, considering he was touring with George Strait at the time, and while I did and do like a lot of his music, that just jumped all over me. I thought even less of him as he got the nerve to actually record an answer song of sorts, "Things Change." Granted, he had a right to speak his mind, but still I just didn't like it. I remember thinking at the time that he was more or less biting the hand that fed him, with those comments and the recording of that song. He wasn't hurting for money, but I have no doubt that the exposure he got on the George Strait festival tour surely didn't hurt him any either. And I also remember being ecstatic when I found out Alan Jackson was going to be taking Tim's slot on the festival tour in 2001, in the wake of the infamous horse incident in Buffalo, New York the weekend before the 2000 tour's June finale in Texas. That seems like several lifetimes ago now...and things have indeed changed the last seven years, with people like Craig Morgan, Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner taking country back to its more traditional sounds. It'll be interesting to see how things are in the coming years, but I for one hope to never again see the likes of Shania Twain in country music. We'll see...

Monday, March 12, 2007

One More RCOB Moment: Roanoke Times Publishes VA CCW Permit List

Every now and then, I see something so breathtakingly arrogant that I almost, almost want to put my fist through the computer screen. This is one of those times.
Via THR we have this, from the Roanoke (VA) Times (no linky from me to that rag!):

Today is the start of Sunshine Week, the annual week in which we reflect on the importance of open government and public records. To mark the occasion, I want to take you on an excursion into freedom of information land. We're going to find out who in the New River Valley has a concealed handgun permit.

I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters already: It's nobody's business but mine if I want to pack heat.

Au contraire. Because the government handles the permitting, it is everyone's business.

There are good reasons the records are open to public scrutiny. People might like to know if their neighbors carry. Parents might like to know if a member of the car pool has a pistol in the glove box. Employers might like to know if employees are bringing weapons to the office.

And all Virginians have a stake in checking that their government is not making mistakes, for example, by issuing permits to convicted felons. Open records allow the media or any private citizen to check.

Actually, I would argue right off the top of my head that there is only reason the CHL permit records were open to the public: compromise with those who don't think the public can be trusted to carry guns. And this idiot journalist apparently didn't stop to think that the mistake the government made was letting the felon out of jail in the first place -- if said convicted felon can't be trusted to carry a gun, then why the hell is he walking free? Said idiot journo also conveniently forgot to mention that, "Abusive ex-husbands/boyfriends might like to know if the objects of their spurned affections are packing as well. They have a right to that information. It's public record, you see." Whether any licensed carriers will suffer any repercussions from their privacy being invaded remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that the chances of such have been increased dramatically because of the reckless actions of the Roanoke paper.
Looks like, though, from the reactions on the Roanoke Times blog, that a few of those who had their privacy invaded are rightly angry about it.

Thanks for upsetting my wife. She has a concealed weapon permit to protect herself, not so you could publish it online for criminals to see.
Concealed handgun permit holders and sex offenders???? Your a class act, way to abuse the first amendment while trying to strip us of the second.

The problem with the mainstream media today is that they have forgotten the difference between "can" and "should". There are a great many things we can do that are legal but just not right. The Roanoke Times has with this article proven that they are no better than the rest of the mainstream media.

I for one will no longer spend my money on a publication with such low ethical standards. In addition, the company where I am employed has advertised in the Roanoke Times in the past, I am in a position to see that this will not happen again. Clearly 3,826 concealed carry permit holders in the New River Valley mean nothing to the Roanoke Times as newspaper buyers, maybe advertising dollars mean more.

I found that last thing quite gratifying. I don't know how well a lawsuit against the Times would fare in court, but as the Zumbo affair showed, if enough wronged people raise enough hell about the wrong done to them, the advertisers will sit up and take notice. Let's hope Virginia gun owners make enough noise for the newspaper's advertisers to see that maybe the paper didn't do the right thing. The Roanoke Times deserves to pay, and pay dearly, for their sanctimonious reporter's reckless disregard for Virginia gun owners' privacy and safety. To the extent Trejbal's action was about open government, it shows the dangers of letting the government say we can't carry the most effective implements for self-defense unless they give us permission. If that wasn't the case, then this would be a moot issue, but in any event, if we recklessly pulled out our guns and indiscriminantly pointed them at passers by, we would rightly be punished for our actions. Trejbal and the Roanoke Times should face no less for their reckless actions here, whether it be by their advertisers or the courts.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

10,000 Visitors!

How 'bout that. One day shy of my one-year blogiversary, I got my 10,000th visitor! One year ago yesterday evening, my blog was born, and at 9:25 last night, I rolled past the mark with a referral from Firehand. I thank him and all the others who have blogrolled me as well.
And a special thanks to all of you who make Live from the (upper) Texas Gulf Coast a part of your day. Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Hell Freezeth Over: DC Handgun Ban Goes Down

I was busy at work today, so I am just now seeing this, but via just about everybody, comes the wonderful news that Washington D.C.'s handgun ban has gone down in flames, ruled unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the Second Amendment.

T]he phrase ‘the right of the people,’ when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual.” The majority opinion sums up its holding on this point as follows:
To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment’s civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.

The majority opinion also rejects the argument that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a State. And the majority opinion concludes, “Section 7-2507.02, like the bar on carrying a pistol within the home, amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional.

Let us all hope that this is the beginning of the end of the collective-rights interpretation -- or, as SayUncle calls it, the no-rights interpretation. And, of course, the victim-disarmament advocates, as Tam so eloquently called them once, are up in arms, so to speak.
Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, at the Huffington Post:
While today's decision is a dream come true for America's gun lobby and gunmakers, it may mark the beginning of a long, national nightmare from which we will never recover as a nation.

And just for those who still think Sarah Brady and her evil minions don't support the same goals as Josh Sugarmann, consider Paul Helmke's comments from the Washington Post:
The 2-1 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Parker v. District of Columbia striking down the District of Columbia's handgun law is judicial activism at its worst. By disregarding nearly seventy years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, two Federal judges have negated the democratically-expressed will of the people of the District of Columbia and deprived this community of a gun law it enacted thirty years ago and still strongly supports.
I'd argue that as opposed to disregarding precedent, the court, as Alex Kozinski might put it, found the courage to oppose a blatantly unconstitutional law and create new, better precedent. And as a commenter at Homeland Stupididy said:

The “democratically-expressed will of the people” was to make blacks drink out of separate water fountains, sit on the back of the bus, and go to substandard schools. The “democratically-expressed will of the people” elected Hitler to power for god’s sake.

Thank god for the court ruling that an INDIVIDUAL has a right (EXPRESSED in the Constitution) that can’t be taken away by the ‘democratically-expressed will of the people”.

A-yep. And once upon a time, that sort of thing was sanctioned by longstanding court precedent, too. (Plessy v. Ferguson stood for almost 60 years before it was struck down by Brown v. Board of Education.) I'd say court precedent is a very poor argument for making new laws or not striking down old ones. As I said here,
Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution in and of themselves, in the context of history, don't carry nearly as much moral weight (but, of course, far too much legal weight) as some people seem to think they the top of my head, Plessy v. Ferguson, Kelo v. New London, U.S. v. Cruikshank, and Dred Scott v. Sanford all come to mind (yes, I know Plessy was overturned), and without opening up the abortion can o' beans, there are those out there who think Roe v. Wade, in the words of pro-choice Washington Post columnist Michael Kinsley, was a "muddle of bad reasoning and an authentic example of judicial overreaching." (If you really wanted to, I suppose you could go all the way back to Marbury v. Madison (1803) for an example of judicial usurpation...)

Today was a great day for individual liberty in our nation. Let us hope we can advance further.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Apparently It Was NOT A Joke...

Kathleen Parker in today's Chronicle...

...In Selma, Ala., last weekend at the "Bloody Sunday" commemoration, Hillary auditioned for a dual role — not just Southerner, but Southern preacher in the style of a Martin Luther King Jr.

That dry rustling you hear is the sound of millions of people cringing.

It was clear that Hillary was trying to imitate the oratorical style of her black predecessors to the pulpit — something no white person should ever attempt. But what she must have imagined sounded like passion was to mere mortals the screech of an angry woman.

Her audience, nevertheless, was polite and affirming (Southerners are like that), even as she turned on the worst fake accent since Kevin Costner played Robin Hood.

Shouting the words from a gospel hymn, Clinton was so off-key that anyone tuning in would have assumed it was a joke — a parody of a politician speaking in native tongues, Granny Clampett auditioning on American Idol.

"I DON'T FEEL NO WAYS TIRED," she said with the robotic twang of a computer generated Southerner. "I COME TOO FARRRR FRUM WHERE I STARTED FRUM. NOBODY TOLD ME THAT THE ROAD WOULD BE EASY."

Somewhere deep in the brains of every man listening was a little lizard shouting: Somebody hit the mute button, for God's sake, hit the mute!

In politics, we're not supposed to talk about style over substance, especially when it comes to women. But no male politician would get away with what Hillary pulled in Selma. Moreover, speaking style is not irrelevant to leadership, as Americans have noted the past six years.

What was Clinton thinking when she hijacked a gospel hymn and effectively mocked her audience? Her speech exposed not just an incompetent ear, but disrespect for the people gathered....

Parker wasn't kidding about the lizard and the mute button. I heard the clip of this on the Walton and Johnson show earlier this week and I just couldn't help but think this had to be some sort of joke, or that someone took a tape recording into some kind of top-secret invitation-only Democratic gathering...but apparently it wasn't, and worse than that, the audience seemed to be eating it up. I just have to ask what the reaction would have been had George W. Bush been the one standing up there trying to ape that oratorical style. My money says he would have been roundly condemned by the audience and the national media jackals alike, and for good reason. Had it been any other speaker, it would have been spun nine ways to Sunday that the speaker was making fun of the audience. Speaking of the audience, I also have to wonder if any of them thought they were being made fun of; after all, it's been said that the Southerner is pretty much the last demographic in America that it still remains politically correct to ridicule.

But I guess it's ok since Hillary's a Democrat and spent time in the South. Sigh...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

IL AWB: Call Me Torn On This One

Via Jeff at Alphecca, once again, comes this from CNSNews:

A proposal to ban "assault weapons" is advancing in the Illinois Senate, much to the dismay of "freedom-loving Illinoisans," the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) warned on Tuesday.

Sponsored by Senate President Emil Jones, SB16 --
the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2007 -- would prohibit the manufacture, sale and possession of hundreds of models of rifles and shotguns.

As the title says, call me torn on this one.
While I hate it for Illinois gun owners -- after all, this is yet one more violation of their rights -- if this is what it takes for the lion's share of Illinois gun manufacturers to leave the statist hellhole the Land of Lincoln has become, then at least some good will have come of it. This "assault weapons ban" is indeed wrong, but it's not exactly right that manufacturers like Springfield and ArmaLite remain in Illinois to pay the salaries of the very legislators that would ban civilian possession of their products altogether if said legislators could get away with it. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- it's frightening to think of how much gunnie money has gone to finance schemes that take ever more guns out of the hands of the people in Illinois -- and one could probably say the same for New York (where you'll find Kimber and Dan Wesson), Massachusetts (S&W) and Connecticut (Ruger and Colt). Why exactly those companies choose to position themselves in places so hostile to their products, I'll never know, but it looks like that situation just might be ameliorated a bit.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

No Surprises Here, But Still Infuriating: NJ Proposes Ban on .50BMGs

Via Jeff comes this, from the Philadelphia Inquirer...

Democratic lawmakers and Ceasefire NJ, an antigun group, released a plan yesterday to make it illegal to sell .50-caliber weapons in New Jersey. If the legislation is passed, the state would become the second after California to have such a law.
Supporters say the guns are inappropriate for civilian use because they can fire armor-piercing rounds that could penetrate and ignite chemical plants, refineries and rail tank cars. The guns, which resemble hunting rifles, are accurate up to 11/2 miles.

Wow, VPC lies find their way into the article before we even get out of the second paragraph.
The Truth?
...Army testing...stated that a 20mm cannon, which dwarfs the lowly .50cal, was required to break the weakest item on a tank’s exterior – a thermal lens cover. (U.S. Army Worldwide Equipment Guide, 7 Nov 2000) Tank armor is designed to stand up to high-explosive anti-tank missiles with warheads the size of footballs, the very reason that modern soldiers are equipped with rocket launchers. A .50cal cannot penetrate that armor from five feet away, much less the ridiculous assertion that it can do this from a mile away....
Tom Darymple, (is) Senior Vice President of Engineering for the prestigious Trinity Rail Group, which designs and manufactures many of the chemical railcars running today. When asked about the alleged threat of .50cal rifles to his railcars, Mr. Darymple said that they have long tested their cars against almost every form of firearm, to include .50BMG and larger. When asked what happenes when a .50 hits one of his tanks he said with a shrug “It bounces off.” He went on to point out that railcars are designed to survive the force of derailing, and collision with other railcars at travel speeds. By comparison the impact of a bullet, any bullet, is like a mosquito bite.
Call a biased source if you wish, and I don't think I have any choice but to concede that point, but it's been shown more than once that very few antis have any substantive knowledge of guns beyond the fact that they're loud and they make rounded bits of lead and copper go very fast; it's been shown that most of the knowledge about the real power of guns resides on the pro-gun side. In short, I'd say the .50 Caliber Institute is a much more reliable source than the VPC, notwithstanding whatever knowledge Tom Diaz, Josh Sugarmann and the rest of those professional manipulators possess. I seem to remember that when the 1994 "assault weapons" ban was drafted, congresscritters got ahold of something like an AR-15 or AK-47 and just picked out certain features at random, or picked said features off a list. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that NJ legislators unquestioningly swallowed the lies of the Violence Policy Center, but it's still quite infuriating. I can only hope and pray that level of governmental malfeasance vis-a-vis firearm laws never takes hold in Texas or nationwide.

So I bought a new toy yesterday...

Not a gun, but still a nifty little gadget, one that a lot of people have.
I had a Gerber multi-tool for a long time, but it seems I lost it on a road trip a few months back. Really liked it too, it came in handy more than once for me. I've been meaning to get a new one but one thing led to another and life more or less got in the way.
It wormed its way back into the forefront of my mind via L'Affaire de Zumbo, when it was revealed that Gerber was one of Zumbo's sponsors. About the time Gerber dropped him, I got my tax refund and thought, hey, maybe I'll go shopping. So yesterday I did, and I picked up one of these, a Diesel Multi-Plier. It has needlenose pliers, a wire cutter and crimper, a partially serrated knife blade, a cross point screwdriver, small, medium and large flat blade screwdrivers (via an add-on toolkit), can opener, bottle opener, file, saw and scissors. I got the bead-blasted model, and it's a beauty -- actually a pretty good step up from the one I had before, with the only trade-off being that it won't fit in my pocket nearly as well as the one I had before. But that's where the belt loop on the sheath comes in. ;-) I think I did pretty good.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In Belated Honor of Texas Independence Day

To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world --

Fellow citizens & compatriots -- I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man -- The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls -- I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never
forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country --
Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.

In the southern part of Texas, in the town of San Antone,
There's a fortress all in ruin that the weeds have overgrown.
You may look in vain for crosses and you'll never see a one,
But sometime between the setting and the rising of the sun,
You can hear a ghostly bugle as the men go marching by;
You can hear them as they answer to that roll call in the sky:
Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett and a hundred eighty more;
Captain Dickenson, Jim Bowie, present and accounted for.

Back in 1836, Houston said to Travis:
"Get some volunteers and go fortify the Alamo."
Well, the men came from Texas and from old Tennessee,
And they joined up with Travis just to fight for the right to be free.

Indian scouts with squirrel guns, men with muzzle loaders,
Stood together heel and toe to defend the Alamo.
"You may never see your loved ones," Travis told them that day.
"Those that want to can leave now, those who'll fight to the death, let 'em stay."

In the sand he drew a line with his army sabre,
Out of a hundred eighty five, not a soldier crossed the line.
With his banners a-dancin' in the dawn's golden light,
Santa Anna came prancin' on a horse that was black as the night.

He sent an officer to tell Travis to surrender.
Travis answered with a shell and a rousin' rebel yell.
Santa Anna turned scarlet: "Play Deg├╝ello," he roared.
"I will show them no quarter, everyone will be put to the sword."

One hundred and eighty five holdin' back five thousand.
Five days, six days, eight days, ten; Travis held and held again.
Then he sent for replacements for his wounded and lame,
But the troops that were comin' never came, never came, never came.

Twice he charged, then blew recall. On the fatal third time,
Santa Anna breached the wall and he killed them one and all.
Now the bugles are silent and there's rust on each sword,
And the small band of soldiers lie asleep in the arms of The Lord.

In the southern part of Texas, near the town of San Antone,
Like a statue on his Pinto rides a cowboy all alone.
And he sees the cattle grazin' where a century before,
Santa Anna's guns were blazin' and the cannons used to roar.
And his eyes turn sort of misty, and his heart begins to glow,
And he takes his hat off slowly to the men of Alamo.
To the thirteen days of glory at the siege of Alamo.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Exciting Music News

All I can say is, it's about time...

Alan Jackson, George Strait and Jimmy Buffett's May 29, 2004, concert bash at Dallas' Texas Stadium is the source for a 15-track live album due April 3 via MCA Nashville. The aptly named "Live at Texas Stadium" features each man performing five tracks, both on his own and in collaboration with the other two artists.


Here is the track list for "Live at Texas Stadium:"

George Strait:
"Honk if You Honky Tonk"
"Murder on Music Row" (with Alan Jackson)
"Milk Cow Blues"
"Cowboys Like Us"
"All My Ex's Live in Texas" (with Jimmy Buffett)

Jimmy Buffett:
"Hey Good Lookin'" (with George Strait)
"Sea of Heartbreak" (with George Strait)
"Northeast Texas Women"
"Boats To Build" (with Alan Jackson)
"Margaritaville" (with Alan Jackson)

Alan Jackson:
"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" (with Jimmy Buffett)
"Designated Drinker" (with George Strait)
"Texas Woman"
"Seven Bridges Road"
"Where I Come From"

I can't even say how excited I am about this..this CD is going to be awesome beyond verbal description. I was at that show, and it was the same -- I remember well the rumors after the show that it was going to be on some kind of live recording and needless to say, the news of this recording finally making its way to the stores is long, LONG overdue. As a Strait fan, I've longed for a live recording of "Milk Cow Blues" for years (even if we can't have a live cut of "There Stands The Glass" this is every bit as good), and the duet of "Designated Drinker" is a keeper too, as it was (I believe) the first time George and Alan ever sang it together live. And this was the first time in years that Strait has done "All My Ex's" live, as far as I know (I've seen Strait 13 times since 1996, with the most recent being at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Tuesday night). I can say it was a hell of a surprise to see Buffett come out on stage and sing it with him as well. That was also the first time I ever heard Alan's rendition of the old bluegrass tune "Seven Bridges Road," and he did a hell of a job on it. (Incidentally, the Hank Jr. song is "Texas Women.") And Buffett's show was quite an experience, with his selected songs being high points of the show as well. "Margaritaville" was the first song on his encore, if I remember correctly, and you could barely hear him, George and Alan because of the crowd. It was, for lack of a better word, rockin'. ;-)
Come on, April 3....