Sunday, March 30, 2008

Marking an Anniversary...

...over at Matt G's place, as he notes that 97 years ago Friday, the U.S. military adopted the Government Model 1911 as its official sidearm. I did not know the military rejected the 9mm cartridge eight years before. It would be interesting to see some intrepid Authorized Journalist ask the brass why political expediency took priority over what had been proven time and time again to, y'know, actually WORK in the field....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"'s always there..."

Sometimes you just have to ask, what the world's coming to...

Sometimes sobbing and sometimes feisty, 86-year-old Tillie Black recalled on the witness stand Wednesday how she awoke to find two men dragging her out of bed.

"Something hit me on the head in the doorway," Tillie Black said. "It was something really hard. It laid me open here," pointing to a place beneath her white hair where she received 10 or 12 stitches.

Other evidence indicates she was hit with the handle of a ball-peen hammer so hard that the hammer's head snapped off.

She said she slipped in and out of consciousness as the two men beat and kicked her and tied her to a chair as they ransacked her rural Brazoria County home where she has lived alone since her husband's death 11 years ago.

When the more slender of the two men pulled on her diamond ring and said he'd have to cut it off, "I was afraid he was going to cut my finger off," she said.

Her testimony came during the trial of Vincent Woodard, 22, who, along with Eddie Jermaine Johnson, now 19, is charged with beating and robbing Black and stealing her pickup before dawn on July 25.

Just think, y'all. If Paul Helmke, Michael Barnes, Josh Sugarmann and their ilk had their way, this story would be playing out in the households of the elderly, weak and otherwise defenseless among us even more than it already is -- as some might put it, it really would be rule by the young and the strong, or "might makes right." She did exactly what they suggest, nay, demand under force of law, law enforced by other men with guns -- she had no arms for her defense. I really can't find the words to say just how morally repugnant, how evil, these people are for peddling the damnable lie that we can't and shouldn't be trusted to provide for our own safety. And it's just one more reason that I honestly believe there's a special place in the deepest, darkest, hottest pits of hell for those who advocate the sheep mentality of thinking someone else is responsible for your safety.

Interesting Walmart Encounter

Or, alternately titled, "One Of the Joys of Living In A Red State..."
Yesterday when I was at Walmart I saw a guy shopping. He had on a t-shirt. Guess what that t-shirt had on the back of it? A pistol. And not just any pistol, but a Springfield Armory Professional Model 1911. Straight from the Springfield Custom Shop, made entirely in the United States, it's at the very top of the Springfield pistol line -- and that's reflected in the pistol's $2,500 price tag. And you know me. I had to pipe up.
"You know, I'd love to have one of those Springfield Professional Model 1911s, but those things are EXPENSIVE."
He turned around and it was off to the races. We stood there and talked guns for a good 10 minutes or so. He competed in IPSC at the Orange Gun Club, loaded his own ammo for the.40 and .45 and was a big 1911 guy, of course; he said he got his first 1911 at the tender age of 12 but that he also liked the HK pistols. We talked about everything gunnies talk about, including all the hooey published in the gun rags. That particular topic came up as we were discussing the Taurus 1911 and I told him I'd heard nothing but good things about it both in the gun rags AND on the Internet gun boards.
"Yeah, places like that, they don't hold anything back," he said, speaking of the boards. I told him about my almost getting one of those Taurus 1911s but barely missing out on it, as it was gone just a couple of days after I decided to put it on layaway at Shooters Supply.
But I thought that was pretty cool. I've never before been one to just talk to complete strangers out of the blue, and it's not so often someone makes it so obvious he's a fellow gunny. It made me think of an instance of someone asking on (I think it was) the High Road, what he should say to someone he thought might have been a fellow gunny -- in Massachusetts. The guy was afraid of being ostracized if the guy wasn't a gun person because of the political climate in Massachusetts. I'm sure it'd be a lot less likely that I'd run into a guy at Walmart with a Springfield Armory t-shirt -- and the same could probably said for Springfield Armory's home state of Illinois, too. It's good to live in Texas. I bet it'd be just as good in Kentucky, though.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We owe you nothing...

From the brain-cell-frying corner of Algore's Internets known as the Huffington Post...

30,000 is not too many. Ah, I see.
What to do? As invited previously, both poles (as in polar opposites, but Poloks as well) owe it to 30,000 fatalities a year to hammer out a life-saving compromise.
The primary function of government is to advance the public welfare, NOT make sure every nut-case has a gun.
But the NRA crowd won't even TALK about licensing, registration, and gawd ferbid that such result in anyone being denied their sacrosanct right to bear arms, whether "for the purpose of maintaining a well-ordered militia" or otherwise.
Actually, no. As far as I am concerned those of us who own guns and cherish our right to self-defense don't owe anyone a damned thing. Those 30,000 deaths are a tragedy, but I've said it before and I'll say it again -- how many of those 30,000 people met their Maker by their own choice? From what I remember that number is at least 18,000 -- the number of suicides committed annually with firearms. So let's just talk about the other 12,000. Of those, how many of those who pulled the trigger did so to get themselves out of a jam created by their own bad choices? And why is it that we don't ever talk about the circumstances surrounding and influencing those bad choices? Somehow I think the answer to that is if we did, the leftists among us would have to face some cold, hard facts that they quite simply are afraid of. They're just a bunch of chickenshits. And so they take the easy way out and blame the inanimate object. And those people have the stones to call US the irrational ones.
As for licensing and registration...once again, oh ignorant one, we will not countenance such nanny-state schemes because we know where they ultimately lead, as sure as night follows day, or as Tam put it, sure as God made little green apples. And of course the NRA might well sound unreasonable to many, but that's all right. I for one would rather strangle that "reasonable restrictions" dragon in its crib than have to fight it with hot lead later. Now and then, though, I can't help but think that the hot-lead option is ultimately where we are going, especially as our would-be overlords prattle on about teh "public safety."
Oh, and this was just priceless.
If we elect another Republican in November, I am getting some guns.
You can't make this stuff up, friends. They raise ten kinds of hell about what the Republican-controlled government is doing to our country, yet they want guns regulated to the point that said government is the only group who has them. I am not entirely sure what that says about their thought processes, but it sure as hell isn't anything that would make me comfortable with trusting them with anything sharper or harder than a Nerf ball.

Re: the murder of Meredith Emerson...

...there's absolutely nothing I could say that the 'Dog didn't say here, and a hell of a lot better.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Morning 1911 Musings: Kimbers, External Extractors and Short Barrels

From Loving, Texas, this referral, handguns better than Kimber?
There are those who say the Kimbers are the best production 1911s out there, but I am not sure I agree with that. They are great guns indeed, but I'm not so sure that they're really worth the higher prices than, say, a comparably equipped Springfield Armory or Dan Wesson. (More on that in a moment, stay tuned!) I've heard good things about the Smith & Wesson 1911s but as of yet I don't have one. Although I've heard lots of hell-raising about the external extractors featured on the S&W pistols, from some of what I've read, Kimber was the company that soured the American gun buyer on that deviation from the original design. They had it on their 1911s for a while but eventually went back to the internal extractor. I will say that the only trouble I've had with either of my Kimbers was a weak magazine spring on the Tactical Ultra II -- and that gun is not only one of the external extractor models, but it is also one of those infamous 3-inch-barreled pistols. And if you visit the gun boards for any length of time you'll find people raising ten kinds of hell about the micro 1911s. They're either very good or very bad -- if you get one that runs you're golden, but if you get one that doesn't run, it'll NEVER be 100%. Fortunately mine works, but again, I've heard a lot of people say that the shortest 1911 you'll be able to deal with is one of the Commander-size pistols with the 4.25" barrel. I'd say that for the .45 or the 10mm that's a pretty good compromise -- anything shorter and I'd be more worried about the corresponding velocity loss, more so with the .45 since it's big and sloooow to begin with. But then many of the worries about said velocity loss, from what I understand, come from the fact that many if not most people use hollow-points in their personal defensive weapon. I've never driven anything across the chrony with my micro 1911, and no matter what, at closer ranges with ball ammo it's still going to beat the hell out of a sharp stick.
Back to the Kimbers in general, though (back to you, Bob!)...I've heard people say that when you buy a Colt, you pay a premium for the name. To what extent that's true of the Colts I do not know, but I tend to think you definitely pay for the perceived prestige of the name Kimber when you plunk down the cash for one. I still would like to have an Eclipse Custom II in 10mm one day, though.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He has risen...

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Some musings on Texas music...

I ran up on this thought-provoking commentary from Houston deejay Leslie T. Travis on her blog re: the Texas Roadhouse and the music she plays on it.
Interesting how even the Texas music fans have the same complaints that mainstream music fans do about certain artists getting too much or too little airplay. But as she said, they're the superstars of our movement and not playing them wouldn't be a very smart thing to do. Besides, I think the argument about certain big stars drawing in the audience and keeping them around for more holds a hell of a lot more water here than it does in other contexts. Just as an example, I've heard it argued before that people like Shania Twain and Faith Hill were good for country music because they drew people to country radio that otherwise wouldn't be listening. (For me, that's what evoked the term "country music for people who don't like country music.") I never could understand that argument, because if these people are tuning in for Faith Hill and Shania Twain, do we honestly believe they're going to go out and buy George Strait, Alan Jackson or Billy Currington? I suppose there are a few who will, but still I don't understand why this argument is given so much validity by certain fans.
But with the Texas country it's different. If you listen to what Leslie T. plays on her show you'll find out, for example, that there's not that much difference -- musically speaking -- between the bigger artists like Pat Green and Kevin Fowler and the lesser-known artists like Todd Fritsch and Max Stalling. Of course you'll have the rockers like Cross Canadian Ragweed, but from what I've heard they seem to be the exception to the rule. (That is most definitely not to say that I do not like CCR or consider them unworthy of being called a Texas country-rock band. I farkin' lurrrrve me some Ragweed, as you should know if you're a longtime visitor -- although I know some might not.) So if Pat, Kevin and Cory Morrow are what it takes to draw people in to hear Aaron Watson, Todd Fritsch or Brandon Rhyder, then I am all for that. Truth be told the biggest problem I have vis-a-vis Texas artists on the radio is that they're not played enough. The Texas Roadhouse is great, but still it would be wonderful if more of the music Leslie T. played on Sunday nights was put in regular rotation during the week. I understand somewhat the reasons that it isn't, but still it irks me a bit and I blame that more on the state of radio these days than anything else.
And then there's another excellent point:

Still to many listeners, some of the OLD songs are new. For those that listen every week it seems like we just play a bunch of old tunes. To those that are hearing it for the first time (or even the 5th) it's all new to them.
She's exactly right, of course...and just as in mainstream country, the older music is every bit of worthy of being played as is the newer stuff. All the older stuff from Pat Green, Cory Morrow and Roger Creager, she's exactly right when she says all of it is going to be new to some people. I'm sure when I first heard songs like "Take Me Out To A Dancehall," "Nashville Blues" or "The Everclear Song," by that time they were old hat to a lot of people -- but it was that early stuff, that's so familiar to so many people now, that got me to stay and check out more of the Texas artists. And I am reasonably certain that I am not the only one. Leslie's hamstrung in a big way, I'll admit it -- she does work for a country station in a major market that is owned by a big corporation, so of course she's not going to get to play as wide of a variety of the Texas stuff that she wants to, nor is she going to get to play as much of it. Basically she only has five hours a week to work with -- if she had a few of the other 163, or if the Texas music was mixed more into the other 163, things would be a lot different. As it is, though, I think she does a great job with what she has to work with and I for one appreciate that. It could be a lot worse. We could have one of those cookie-cutter countdowns full of the music we hear the rest of the week.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ooooh, my favorite Charley Pride song..

here: "Walking along, whistling a song, half foot and fancy free...a big riverboat, passing us by, she's headed for New Orleans, there she goes, disappearing around the bend...roll on Mississippi, you make me feel like a child again..."

Tell me again about that target demo...?

Via just about everyone, it seems American Hunters and Shooters Association rep and NRA turncoat Bob Ricker is haunting the gun blogs and casting aspersions on those of us who believe in that whole "shall not be infringed" business, saying things like "AHSA is reaching out to a more educated, sophisticated and straight thinking hunter and shooter demographic."
Well, let's see here.
Educated. I have a bachelor's degree in communication from Lamar University and work in a communication-related field in which other college-educated professionals seem to think I am pretty good at what I do, in several aspects. It took me ten years to get that degree, but that was due to changing majors and having to work to pay my rent, tuition and car payment. I'm guessing that Ricker would imply that education makes one intelligent, so I'll also note that after I took the ASVAB military aptitude test in high school, I had the local Army recruiter call me and tell me I scored so high on it I could enter into any MOS I wanted to. However, due to factors beyond my control, I was unable to take that route. But I've said it before and I'll say it again -- education doesn't necessarily lead to intelligence or enlightenment. This is proven once again by the fact that Bob Ricker and his ideological soulmates are always resorting to ad hominems, straw men and other such bad arguments -- if they were as smart as they like to think, they would admit the lack of validity of their arguments.
Sophisticated. Well, ya got me there. I'm just a good ole Texas country boy more than anything else. I do love me a good red wine, but if I had my way I'd rather be drinking iced tea on the porch. I drive a pickup truck and as opposed to opera, classical or whatever, you'll find George and Merle Haggard on the iPod, as well as some of my down'n'dirty Texas favorites like Deryl Dodd and Cross Canadian Ragweed. So I guess that leaves me out of THAT.
Straight-thinking. Well, I busted my arse in college for ten years for a reason -- I knew that to get anywhere and make a decent living I'd have to have that piece of paper in my hand. But I'm guessing in Bob's world when you get right down to it even that doesn't mean shite.
Really though, all of that is perfectly ok with me, because Bob Ricker and the rest of those frauds are little more than a bunch of elitist pricks. And all of their word vomit is little more than verbalization of their frustration at the fact that they've pretty much been nailed to the wall. If Ricker and his elitist Fudd buddies don't think people like me worthy of their organization, well, I must say, I'd consider that a badge of honor.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ooooh, that had to hurt, eh, Rebecca?

Via just about everyone, comes this and this from Sebastian, the Pro-Gun Progressive. In the clips linked here, he debates Rebecca Peters of the International Action Network on Small Arms, and well, she quite clearly got her ass handed to her. I am biased, but still it should be noted that she just breezed right over some critical points Sebastian made -- so even by the academic rules of debate she came up on the short end of the stick.
The one that immediately comes to mind is toward the end of the first segment, where Sebastian speaks of the court rulings that the police have no duty to protect the individual. How does Peters answer this?
"Well, they can't protect everyone, if a large portion of everyone is carrying a's a scary sort of image...that you're only able to enjoy your rights as a person in a democracy if you're only able to shoot everybody who might potentially be a threat to you, that is not the way that democracies come about. The basis of society should not be that every person should be able to kill anyone else that they want to."
Well, first off, how about that straw man! Me, I don't WANT to kill anyone. With apologies to Charlie Daniels, "I'm the kind of man who wouldn't harm a mouse, but if I catch somebody breakin' in my house, I got a big ole .45 a-waitin' on the other side." And I sure as hell won't be happy about it -- though I'll be thankful if I live. I've heard it said that those forced to make the choice between killing or being killed in the context of violent, immediate crime don't ever really get over being forced into that. The basis of society ISN'T AND NEVER WAS that "every person should be able to kill anyone else that they want to." And it's more than a little disingenuous of Rebecca Peters to cast a free society as such.
And then there's that woeful ignorance of history -- "you're only able to enjoy your rights as a person in a democracy if you're only able to shoot everybody who might potentially be a threat to you, that is not the way that democracies come about." Well, actually, that kinda IS the way that democracies come about, and constitutional republics as well for that matter. It was only by armed revolt that our forebears threw off the yoke of the British monarchy -- and that's just one example. Not only is being armed and willing to use force the way free societies come about, it's also the only way they will actually STAY free. This is the way it's always been, ever since Cain slew Abel. There are those who argue that violence and tribal war are the natural state of man, and once again, the evidence is in abundance with even a cursory examination of history -- it's always been one tribe wanting to rule over or exterminate another, or seize their assets, right on up to this very second. One could even argue that on the micro level, one tribe is that of the violent criminals and the other is the tribe of the law-abiding citizens. There are always going to be certain groups of people who want to rule over and impose their will on others, and the only way they'll be able to do this is if their desired subjects are unarmed and unable to resist. And Peters said nothing about even this, let alone situations such as the one mentioned here.
But beyond all of this, well, let me say what I said to James, the Texas Gun Nut --
Sometimes the only thing left to say is...
"You can't have my guns. If you come for them I will kill you and as many people you bring with you as I can. And that is not a threat -- it's a promise."
It might sound extreme -- SayUncle referred to it as "scaring the white people" -- but sometimes the only thing you can do is rattle the sabers and rattle them hard. Sometimes it's just the only argument the other side will listen to. And ultimately, once again, it's the whole rationale behind the RKBA -- "if you screw with me bad enough, I will kill you."
Sebastian, if you're reading this, good job, my friend! Bravo!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"...the public health community can go pound sand."

The title of this post was Robb Allen's response to this claptrap, which he characterized as "almost too much to fisk." But me, I love a good fisking, so line 'em up and buckle up, boys and girls, here we go...

For the public health community, the question isn’t what the framers intended, but what works.

And of course we all know that "what works" for most public health professionals seems to be ever more restrictions up to and probably including more or less a total ban on firearms probably much like the one D.C. now has in place. You know, for teh childrenses. But I would bet that "what works" in the opinions of public health professionals is probably just as much a function of their political beliefs as it is what they were taught in their formative years, and this seems to be backed up by the author's later bitching about teh eeeevil "gun lobby." Beyond all this, though, why does "what works" and "what the framers intended" have to be mutually exclusive? And if you don't think that's what the author is implying, check out this nugget:
...blaming individual users is counterproductive
Contrast this with what John Adams said in the early days of the Republic:
Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

I think it's safe to say that part of that morality -- arguably one of the things at the core of that morality -- is being accountable for your own actions and holding others accountable for theirs. And this, of course, runs directly counter to what the author of the linked piece is saying. She's basically saying that it's "counterproductive" to "blame" the criminals and, presumably, to lock them up and throw away the key or put them down like the rabid animals many of them are. (and now that I think about it, that's actually an insult to the animal, because the animal didn't have a choice in getting to that rabid state -- the criminal does have a choice.) She might call it blaming them, but as one who cherishes liberty and individual freedom, I'd like to call it holding them accountable.
No matter what kind of gun laws are eventually allowed, DC needs to do something about gun violence.

Ah, yes, the eternal cry of the anti-liberty nanny-stater: "Somebody needs to DO something!" They did do something, 31 years ago, and it didn't work. You think it might be time to, y'know, try something else?

And, of course, a final insult in the comments, where the author's beliefs are put out there in all their resplendent glory:
There’s no way for us to have a functioning society if we insist on absolute liberty to do anything we please. I’m glad that there are restrictions on driving drunk, driving at excessive speeds, and shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Maybe some of us will just fundamentally disagree about this, though.
I was unaware that any of us were insisting on the liberty to drive drunk or at 90mph through a school zone. It seems as if that's all these people have is insults and faulty arguments. Who in the bloody fuck does this, this person *spit* think she is, comparing me and those like me to drunk and reckless drivers? DAMN these people. All I can say is, what about the tens of millions of gun owners who didn't kill anyone yesterday? What about their rights? Yes. Liberty is inherently dangerous. It appears they don't like that and don't care about those of us who are willing to deal with it. And once again, I am reminded of the classic exchange:

"Why don't all of you gun-nuts go off and start your own country?"
"We did. Who let you in?"

Who let them in, indeed...and can we throw them the fuck out?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mmmm, yeah....

Now playing here: "How bluuuuue, can you make looooong, till I can I go on, loving you, when you're bluuuuue, can I feel...."
Can't relate to that song, but I love it still, my favorite Reba McEntire tune, a No. 1 hit the week of Jan. 19, 1985. I still think Reba's a great singer, but her newer stuff can't hold a candle to what she did back in the '80s when she was still carrying the neo-traditionalist banner with George Strait.

Awww, yeah! 9:12 pm: "Sometimes I think about leavin', do a little bummin' around...I wanna throw my bills out the window, catch a train to another town, but I'll go back workin', gotta buy my kids a brand-new pair of shoes..."

Game, Set and Match: Heller Nails Fenty

Via The Shooting Wire, we have this....

“It’s a simple case to me,” Heller said, “It is wrong for the government to tell me that it is OK for me to have a gun during my work hours, but illegal for me to have a gun when the only thing I want to protect is me.”
At that point, a reporter interjected: “the Mayor (DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty) says the handgun ban and his initiatives have significantly lowered violent crime in the District. How do you answer that, Mr. Heller?”
The initial answer certainly wasn’t expected – Dick Heller laughed. Ruefully.
Pointing at the Mayor who was making his way across the plaza, surrounded by at least six DC police officers, Heller said, “the Mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“He doesn’t walk on the street like an average citizen. Look at him; he travels with an army of police officers as bodyguards – to keep him safe. But he says that I don’t have the right to be a force of one to protect myself. Does he look like he thinks the streets are safe?”
There was no follow-up question.
I don't care who you are, that was just awesome. As Tam might say, SNARK FOR THE WIN!
In all seriousness, though, Heller was right on the money -- he nailed that son of a bitch Adrian Fenty right in the ass. If Fenty actually believed what he said, he wouldn't be traveling with a gaggle of armed bodyguards everywhere he goes. It's easy for him to say that, as he lives a completely different life than his subjects. I'd love to know who that reporter was and if Dick Heller's answer to his question will actually make it into his or her story. I'd bet the cost of my plane ticket to Kentucky that it won't. And I'd also bet that no reporter asked Fenty why he feels his subjects shouldn't be allowed the same rights to lethal force that he has. So much for the press being a watchdog over the .gov. Of course, we all know that particular role was made into a sick joke a long time ago.


A search for you know what yielded this, with an interesting bit of information...

The First release of the Fortis is being developed in both 10mm Auto and .45ACP, there will be other calibers available in the future.

Interesting, very interesting, especially if all one has to do for a caliber change is to change uppers. As of yet the only pistol line I've seen that has this capability is EAA's Witness line, which is basically a clone of the highly-esteemed CZ75. Coincidentally, the Witness is one of the very few non-Glock and non-1911 pistols out there chambered for the 10mm. The reports I've seen on the Witness have been mixed, evocative of the old poem...
There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.
Contributing to the horrid part of that equation is what I've heard about EAA's customer service, which is pretty much that it's the absolute worst in the gun business. From what I've heard about the Witness it's built like a bank vault, much like the Ruger P-Series pistols, and for that reason I had considered making a Witness my first 10mm -- but I heard about said customer service and decided to bite the bullet, so to speak, and get a Kimber. For what I paid for that gun I probably could have bought TWO Witnesses. It'll be interesting to see how much of a dent in the sales of the Witnesses the new Fortis will put in, and how said dent causes EAA to respond vis-a-vis customer service. If it causes them to change things that would be nothing but a good thing, even if the Fortis is priced competitively with a mid-level 1911, as Fortis GM Eric Kincel said on the blog. I'm guessing that would be between $700-900, compared with about $450 for the Witness from what I remember when I was looking for a 10mm way back when. I'd pay for it. Quality costs money, but when it comes to things like firearms, that quality is -- at least up to a point -- always worth more than you pay for it.
More info on the Fortis here.

...does this new template make my blog look fat?

Anybody having trouble reading the blog after I upgraded and tinkered with the template? Seems to be coming out all screwy with Internet Exploder, but I know it works fine in Firefox and Safari.
UPDATE, 3-19: I changed the template completely, to a different one. How's it look now? That question would be for the Internet Exploder users, but I know this one looks fine in Firefox and Safari as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So today's the day...

...that DC v. Heller is argued before the Supreme Court (liveblogged here), the most significant Second Amendment court case this generation's ever seen. Ultimately, I believe, the question is -- are we a free people, who can and will be left to our own devices? Or do the courts believe us to be a people to be shepherded, whose rights may be sacrificed on the altar of the oh-so-nebulous concept of "public safety"? I said a while back that I'd bet it was going to go 5-4 either way...word is that Anthony Kennedy's leaning toward the individual-right interpretation, which makes it at least 5-4 for the IR. Robb Allen suggests that should Messrs. Gura and Levy prevail, a national holiday should be held in their honor -- a suggestion with which I wholeheartedly agree. In any event, Joe Lemire's words still ring true...

A disarmed man is a subject of the state, not a citizen. I refuse to be a subject, and because I am a free man, I am therefore an armed citizen. Here in the Carolina mountains, I am surrounded by other free men. This is our birthright, and something sixteen generations of my family have defended. We don’t much care what you overpaid, supposedly “public servants” in D.C. think of that.

But if the Supreme Court wants to pretend that “shall not be infringed” doesn’t mean exactly what it says, us Carolina boys will be glad to re-enact the burning of D.C. for ya. I’m pretty sure the decendants of the Green Mountain boys will want to help, too, and we might even find some of Sam’s kin with an itch to set you straight. There’s plenty of us decended from the founders still around, you know. And we have a message for you:

From our cold, dead hands, motherfuckers.

Or, once again, as my Texican brethren told the Mexicans at Gonzales in 1835,

"Come And Take It."

Monday, March 17, 2008

...just go buy another one, I guess...

More referrals here, via the Google search for Raven jamming problem, or something along those lines. One of those affordable defensive arms the media and politicians are always pissing their pants over.
If you're having that much trouble with it, hell, just go buy another one. I guess one could say that's the one redeeming feature of those inexpensive pieces is the fact that having to replace it will not put a dent in your wallet. But if you're going to take that route, who's to say that you won't have to replace the next one? I don't know what the odds are, but considering the prices I've seen on the used market I'd recommend going with something used from one of the more reputable makers like Ruger, Taurus or Smith & Wesson -- something I personally would feel much more comfortable depending on. YMMV, of course.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Now playing here: "She kissed him while I got a beer, she didn't think I'd show up here...I'm a crazy ex-girlfriend..."

A-yep, this'll do too, 11:25 pm: "He was born, in Oklahoma...his wife's name, is Betty Lou Thelma Liz...he's not responsible for what he's doin', 'cause his mother made him what he is...and it's up against the wall, redneck mother..."

I Get Referrals

Via the Site Meter, this one from Lubbock, Texas Tech Red Raider country, torrent +"songs we wish we'd written" .
Dude, I know what you want, and now that I think about it, it kinda pisses me off. You want the music but you don't want to pay for it. I mean, it's bad enough when people go looking to rip off music from big-name artists, but I figured down here in Texas the audiences of singers like Pat Green and Cory Morrow would at least be loyal enough to support them with their money. I know they make more from the live shows than the record sales, and for all I know some of the Texas artists might not even mind their music being downloaded for free, but still it just rubs me the wrong way. And I don't mean to imply at all that it's less okay to go looking for free music from someone like George Strait, but it just amazes me that someone would go looking to get something free from the likes of a Texas artist with a much smaller audience, who doesn't have the backing of a major label and/or country radio. You wanna download the music? Fraggin' go to iTunes and pay for it. It's about a buck for a song. If you can't afford that, well, maybe you should cut back on the pizza and Shiner Bock? Just a thought...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Catching Sh*t For No Good Reason

And now, for more on something else that bothers me...the delicate sensibilities of some people.
Over at his blog, AD's been catching hell the last couple of days for a rather trenchant observation: of the speakers (at an EMS conference --ed.) will be James Hyatt, Executive Vice President and C.O.O. of Virginia Tech University.

The title of his presentation? Campus Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The program doesn't say whether it's supposed to be informative or humorous, but in any case, it oughta be a short lecture.
Then proceeded the wailing and gnashing of teeth. "Tasteless! Words fail me! Too many college students can't be responsible!"
Right, okay, because *some* college students can't be responsible we should disarm everyone. What. The. Hell. Ever. Let's see, here in Texas, well, let's just say I chose to carry my Springfield GI 1911. Factor in the cost of that weapon with the cost of ammunition to become proficient with it. For purposes of the argument we'll define that as minute of goblin at 15 yards, and 1,000 rounds of 230-grain ball. And then there's the cost of the concealed-handgun license class, which here in Texas is $140. Assuming $17 for the cost of 50 rounds of said ammunition and $420 for the sidearm, and taxes, we're already north of $800. You think anyone's going to invest that kind of money and gamble it by not being personally responsible for it? Everyone's different indeed, but in the case of someone who's going to carry a weapon, I'd like to think that person is going to be thinking on a deeper level than your stereotypical college student who gorges himself on pizza and beer every night. Some might call this a good argument for a CHL requirement and the accompanying costs that go with it, and really, I don't mean it like that. I think the only permit we need to carry is the the one we get under the natural law of self-preservation, which could be stated as "everyone has the right to own the most effective self-defense tools he or she can manage." Furthermore, even the exorbitant Texas CHL fees are but a fraction of the cost of a good weapon. I got that Springfield cheap and I know there's no way in hell I could get it now for the price I got it in early 2006.
As for the "tasteless joke" complaint...cry me another Ohio River. If someone gets offended because of such an offbeat observation, and it makes them think, well then all I can say is so much the better. I don't know how often that would be the case -- likely as not it would make the Perpetually Offended retreat back into their shells -- but it can't be anything but bad if we as a society can't say what we think about things (in whatever way we deem necessary to trigger thought and debate) just because someone, somewhere, might get offended. But maybe that's just me. I know that if I was a Virginia Tech parent, before the shots stopped on that April day I'd have been on the horn to my legislators demanding to know how in the hell this was supposed to happen considering the fact that Virginia Tech officials were on record as effectively saying the campus was safer because everyone was disarmed. Tasteless joke? Hardly. I'd say that considering the fact that everyone's STILL disarmed at Virginia Tech, they're still just as vulnerable and that there's little if any point in VT's James Hyatt bothering to show his face there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Obfuscation of the issue

It would seem leftists are good at that, as evidenced by some of the comments here. For those who don't want to click, and really, I don't blame you, one Ray Schoenke of the American Hunters and Shooters Association goes into a full-fledged bitch-and-moan session about the NRA exposing and calling out his sham organization for what it is, a Trojan Horse full of virulent anti-gunners. It's been done over and over, so I think that for now I'll leave that particular dead horse alone, though I will say some of the commenters do a fine job of calling out Schoenke and his people for the lying frauds they are. But, naturally, more than a few of them are quite clueless:

...the greatest threat to our gun rights is not the Democratic Party, but the continued loss of hunting lands to unchecked development.

As the owl would say, O RLY? The leading Democratic candidate for president of the United States says he supports a ban on the sale, transfer and possession of all forms of semi-automatic firearms...
this candidate is very likely going to be lending his sympathetic ear to certain big-city mayors agitating for ever-tougher gun laws because they can't keep their crime problems under control...
hunting is and has been on the decline for a while...
self-defense handguns like the Glock and 1911 and semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 and M1A are the best-selling in the country...
..but the biggest threat to Americans' right to keep and bear arms is the continued loss of hunting lands. Good grief, but I have had it with these cretins. If I were a bit more Pollyanna-ish I would say that the reason anyone would say that the biggest threat to gun rights was hunting-related was that they were confident of a favorable ruling before the Supreme Court later this year, but I know better than that. These people willfully have their heads quite firmly wedged in their asses. It's all about teh Party to them, clear records of teh Party members be damned. I am all for unity, but every now and then I don't think it'd be such a bad idea to play dirty.
"Hey, Sparky, you can go to the grocery store to get meat. You don't need to engage in such a bloody, barbaric sport as hunting. Let alone with an intermediate sniper rifle."
Oh, and Ray Schoenke? You can go straight to hell, Scooter. You and all your anti-gun and Fudd buddies, too.

Random Musical Observation

...if it weren't for the lyrics, "Saturday Night Special" would actually be a pretty good song. My favorites from Skynyrd, though, are and have always been "Gimme Back My Bullets" and "Tuesday's Gone."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More McCain Musings

Ahab said in comments here:

I despise (voting for McCain). But like KDT says, I love my country more than I hate John McCain, which is why I'll be punching his name into the infernal machine come November.

Once again, I can see his point, but still I do not agree. Personally, I agree a lot more with Tam's translation of that -- "I love my country so much that I'll screw it by encouraging the GOP to nominate more statist tools like John McCain." And although I don't think any less of many who are going to vote for McCain because of Kim du Toit's sentiment, I still think Tam's interpretation is dead on. When you have someone like John McCain who so gleefully betrays conservative ideals, then really, what's the point of voting for him? We survived eight years of one Clinton. Would more of another, or Barack Obama, really be all that bad if we could at least counterbalance them in Congress? I'd be willing to try to find out. I really don't see how it could be any worse.
(more here...)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Good stuff tonight...

"You ask me what I like about Texas, I tell you, it's the wide open spaces, it's everything between the Sabine and the Rio Grande....It's the Llano Estacado, it's the Brazos and the Colorado, it's the spirit of the people, who share this land..."

Ooooh, CLASSIC George Strait! 8:03 pm: "...Well, I woke up this mornin', looked outdoors, I can tell my milk cow, I can tell by the way she 'loowwwwwws...if you see my milk cow, please drive 'er on home....'cause I ain't had no milk and butterrrrrr, since that cow been gone..."

Another unexpected musical gem...

I love all kinds of music, though my tastes run towards what many people might think of as unpolished. So there's more than a bit of irony in the fact that my favorite song of all-time, from any artist, from any genre of music, is from one of those artists whose music was not quite so raw, or traditional, for that matter -- although he certainly had it in him to do that kind of music. This favorite song leaned more that way, even if it wasn't quite Jones- or Haggard-esque:

"Some fools never learn,
Play with the fire, and you're gonna get burned
It's only love, when you're loved in return...some fools never learn,
Some fools never learn."

I heard long ago that there was a video for the song so last night I went to Youtube to see what I could find...and while I did not find the video, I did find something else.
One of my new favorites I've been hearing on KILT's Texas Roadhouse and other places is the Randy Rogers Band. "Kiss Me In The Dark," "Better Off Wrong," and "Tonight's Not the Night" are the songs I've been hearing more than anything else, and they're all great songs. "Yeah, tonight's not the night, to play it safe or take it easy..."
So I was looking for the Steve Wariner video for "Some Fools Never Learn," and what did I see as the No. 1 result?
"Randy Rogers performing 'Some Fools Never Learn' by Steve Wariner."
And I thought, hmmm, could this be the same Randy Rogers who's made a name for himself down here? So I clicked on it, and sure enough it was! Just Randy strumming his guitar and singing, and it's actually very good. Not quite as good as the original, but I would love to see a cover of this from them down the road. To say the least it was completely unexpected. Most times when you see one of the new Texas artists covering an old song live it's something from an artist like Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings or Guy Clark, or even Neil Young in the case of Cross Canadian Ragweed. I would never have guessed I'd see a cover of this from one of our guys, even if it is one of Steve's more traditional numbers. Much less that it'd be that good. The things one finds when one goes looking for something completely different...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

More Cornell Campus Idiocy

...from an old source, Cornell Sun blogger Tony Manfred:

Usually I don’t bother with comic books due to an overriding suspicion that everyone associated with comic books is a gigantic nerd, but now that Captain America packs heat I have to delve into the gag-inducing world of tighty-whiteys and moldy retainers to stand against guns.

You really shouldn't bother with the written word either, Sparky. Were I a potential employer I would have some serious reservations about hiring you after seeing this and your previous scribblings.

Superheroes fly or shoot web out of their forearms or don purple short-shorts and smash people or do just about anything other than shoot people. Shooting people is in no way super. Comic book readers all over America are overturning coffee tables in their mother’s basements in rage; they are interrupting sixteen-hour World of Warcraft sessions to rant about Captain Copout on some of the least-read message boards in the universe.

Despite its embarrassing lameness, this Captain America saga has some relevance to Cornell as the Student Assembly is considering a resolution that would allow licensed gun owners to carry their arms on campus. The passage of this resolution would effectively transform the student body into the new Captain America — armed and paranoid and ready to pump some nutty grad student full of lead in the name of justice.

Actually, I would argue it has absolutely no relevance. Zero, zilch, zip, nada. If I am not mistaken, unlike the fictional Captain America, Cornell students licensed to carry a sidearm don't have any kind of superpowers. They're just normal, everyday people who try to be prepared for any contingency they can be.

How can I envision a world where everyone is happy and safe and packing heat if I’ve been brainwashed by California liberals to be anti-gun?
Great Scott! A sensible question amidst all the asshattery! There may well be hope for you yet, grasshopper, once you get out into the real world.

A peaceful place with dozens of loaded guns is less safe than a peaceful place with zero guns. No matter your position in the gun debate, whether you’re as conservative as that smutty coke-whore Ann Coulter or as liberal as the overweight hippies at the Million Mom March, you have to agree with that.

No, I don't have to agree with that, because I am in the real world, a place far more tolerant of opposing viewpoints than many so-called learning institutions. And I don't agree with it. I am at the shooting range all the time around people with loaded guns and I have no doubt that I am just as safe there as I am as I sit here in my bedroom. The old question is quite apt -- of all the places people go on a rampage, why don't they ever do it at NRA meetings or gun shows, or places like Knob Creek, Camp Perry or the Golden Triangle Gun Club?

A campus without guns is a safer campus with the lone exception of a Virginia Tech situation — a situation that has never happened on this campus and is remarkably rare.

It may well be remarkably rare, but I am sure that before last April, every single one of the people on that campus thought, "nothing like that could ever happen here..." But it sure as hell did.

We are Captain America 2.0 — lame and self-conscious in a goofy red, white and blue suit, clutching our gun tight and panting the heavy pants of a paranoid not-so-super hero.

I believe this would be called projection. For after all, I think it's safe to say that you, Tony Manfred, are the paranoid one here if you think your gun-owning classmates are going to pull their weapons out and use them on you just because. And of course you're free to think and say what you want, but another old saying comes to mind:
"Better to stay silent and have people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

McCain Musings

I must admit I found this quote from John McCain in this morning's Houston Chronicle rather ironic:
"The American people's patience is at a end for politicians who value ambition over principle..."
Quite empty words indeed, coming from a man who has sold the principles out repeatedly of the people who he proclaims to be his ideological compatriots for the sake of a false "bipartisanship." Which is why I find Caleb's admonition to "Get on the McCain train kids, because it’s our only ride away from HillBama Town" to be rather disheartening. I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one, because considering how many times McCain has sold out the conservative and libertarian wings of the Republican Party, I fully believe he will have no compunction about doing it yet again. And I'd put money on it, whether it be in the form of a Supreme Court judge nomination after consultation with the likes of Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, or a renewed Assault Weapons Ban with no grandfathering and no 10-year sunset clause. I suppose I might have a change of heart between now and election day, but if the election were held tomorrow Fred Thompson would still be getting my vote, protests about "throwing away your vote" be damned.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ooooh, classic Texas music.... "This old porch is a big ole red and white Hereford bull, standin' under a mesquite tree in Agua Dulce, Texas...he keeps on playin' hide and seek with that hot August sun, sweatin' and a pantin', 'cause his work is never done..."
I don't remember offhand which Robert Earl Keen album the studio cut of this song is on, but the one I've always heard was from Keen's first live album, recorded at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas back in 1989 when he was still doing the bluegrass music. What he's doing now is completely different than what he was doing back then. I remember when I first heard the original version of "The Road Goes On Forever" and thinking, "this is nothing like the live cut!" Which, of course, was on Keen's second live album, No. 2 Live Dinner. Taken together they're quite the contrast. If I had to choose I think I'd take Keen's bluegrass-flavored music over the Americana country-rock, but then the new live versions of "The Road Goes On Forever" and "Goin' Down In Style" are damn good.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

...this 'for teh childrenses' shtick is getting old...

It would seem Marian Wright Edelman thinks Washington, D.C.'s draconian gun laws should be upheld, for teh childrenses, of course...

This year, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to overturn a lower court decision striking down the District of Columbia’s 1976 handgun ban designed to reduce violent crime. If the Court reverses the lower court and upholds the ban, it will keep in place a crucial measure for the protection of the health and safety of our children in our nation’s capital, and in communities nationwide.

There are few things quite as disgusting as hiding the advocacy of one's agenda behind a pious concern for the health and well-being of innocents. But now that I think about it, I really don't think Marian Wright Edelman cares nearly as much about teh childrenses! as so many have been suckered into thinking she does. When one gets right down to it, the main reason kids get into trouble with guns -- defined as playing around and accidentally shooting a playmate or something of that nature -- is the fact that they're ignorant of guns, how they work, and the safety rules followed by millions of people who use guns on a regular basis. So one could argue that Marian Wright Edelman not only doesn't have a problem with kids being ignorant, she wants to keep them ignorant, and by extension dependent on into their adulthood on other people with guns to ride in and save them the day the wolf comes knocking at the door. If Marian Wright Edelman cared nearly as much about teh childrenses! as she likes to make people think she does, she would be advocating that kids be educated about the potential dangers of guns instead of being kept in the dark. Either way, she and those like her will have much to answer for.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention this:
It is important to note that the D.C. ban does not prohibit shotguns or rifles.
I find it...interesting that Ms. Edelman did not find it important to note that D.C. regulations mandate the shotguns and rifles be unloaded, disassembled and locked up in D.C. subjects' homes, thereby preventing those arms from being used as they were intended to be. But that would have been the honest thing to do, which is of course far beyond the ken of a gun grabber...

(h/t Rustmeister)