Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I have no patience for fools...

or, One more reason ignorance should be painful:

I'm come around to accepting that black guns could be fun for someone on the target range but I don't think they should be used for hunting. The animal doesn't have a prayer against one of these guns. It's pure annihilation and I don't see the sport in that.

My response:
Considering these "black guns" of which you speak come chambered in myriad calibers USED FOR HUNTING -- such as 7.62x39 Russian, 7.62x51mm NATO (or its commercial equivalent, .308 Winchester, one of the most popular hunting cartridges ever made) and .243 and .270 Winchester -- either
A. You have no idea of what you're talking about, in which case it would behoove you to KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, unless you're actually wanting to be made to look like a fool, or actually DO SOME RESEARCH before you spout off; or
B. You're deliberately lying to your readers, in which case you should be thrown off the staff and made an example of.
Either way, your commentary doesn't reflect well on you.

Why in the bloody fucking hell do people who don't know shit about their chosen topic insist on spouting off on said topics? Damn, but that just pissed me the hell off.
(Welcome, visitors from Armed and Safe, Days of our Trailers and The Smallest Minority! Main page is here, pull up a seat & stay a while!)

On the best tunes of '08...

I didn't buy that much new music this year, at least if you define that term as "music released in 2008." What I did buy, though, was pretty good. George Strait's Troubadour was another winning collection from the South Texas cowboy, and as regular readers know, I thought Metallica's Death Magnetic was the best thing they've recorded in 20 years. But even with that, I thought it'd be interesting to see what the Houston Chronicle's music critics thought were the best cds released this year. Neither George nor Metallica made their list, which wasn't really surprising because, of course, many of the critics take the road less traveled and pick a lot of stuff that wasn't really commercially successful. I did see, though, that both of them were raving about one of my favorite country discs that came out this year, Jamey Johnson's That Lonesome Song. I've heard it said that getting such critical acclaim as Johnson's album received runs the risk of turning people off, and I can see where that comes from. I remember how everyone was making such a big deal out of Garth Brooks in the early '90s and I never really thought he was all that. But with the state of modern Nashville country I'd say that Jamey Johnson deserves every single bit of praise that comes his way. With the way things are I'd say it's a lot more of a risk to make a solid country record like That Lonesome Song for a new artist like Jamey Johnson than for an established artist like George Strait, and even Strait's latest had more of a pop sensibility to it than Johnson's record did. (Just as an illustration, I thought "River of Love" sounded a lot like something Kenny Chesney might have done, and I don't mean that as a compliment. But then the title track, "House of Cash," and "Make Her Fall In Love With Me Song" more than made up for that one clunker...) Some really dark stuff made its way onto Johnson's record, including "High Cost of Living," whose protagonist trades his idyllic life for "cocaine and a whore,", the searing steel guitar-soaked divorce ballad "Angel" and "Mary Go Round," the tale of a woman whose man's infidelity sends her off the deep end. Definitely not your typical commercial country radio fare, but the top-10 hit "In Color" was still among the best songs on the cd. It's the song I bought the cd for and it remains my favorite on it.

I see Jacksonville native Lee Ann Womack's Call Me Crazy made one critic's best-of list and that wasn't a big surprise either. From what I've heard of it, it's as solidly traditional as her last effort, There's More Where That Came From, which for my money was arguably one of the best country cds of the decade, mainstream or not. Definitely another one I'll have to check out. I see Joey Guerra had this to say...
Young upstarts Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood may have had better years, but neither comes close to the emotional resonance of Womack’s tunes.

...and the only thing I can say in response is, Yep. Well, not the only thing. Underwood has a hell of a voice, I'll give her props for that, but she wastes it on total crap like "Some Hearts" and "All-American Girl," and even on better songs like "Last Name" and "Before He Cheats" she just kinda falls flat. As for Taylor Swift, well, she has a decent voice when she stays in her range...but in regards to that range, if that voice were a car, it would barely make it out of the Walmart parking lot on a full tank of gas before running out. I don't think either Underwood or Swift could have pulled off an album like "There's More Where That Came From" as well as Lee Ann Womack did. She has the voice. They don't. And it's really just that simple.
But the music I did buy that got played more than anything else, again, was from earlier in this decade. The two cds that really stand out were from a couple of the Texas/Oklahoma red-dirt folks, 2005's Garage from Cross Canadian Ragweed and 2004's Rollercoaster from the Randy Rogers Band. I originally picked up Garage not long after it came out, when I was in North Texas on my Hurricane Rita vacation, and it just didn't really reach out and grab me like the self-titled Purple album did. Its lead-off single, "Fightin' For," turned out to be my least favorite Ragweed tune, and the only one from the cd that really stuck with me, believe it or not. A girl from Fannett that I dated for a little bit told me that she and her red-dirt-loving friends called that cd "Garbage," because they thought it was the worst thing Ragweed had done. From my impression of the cd as formed by "Fightin' For," I had to agree, although I later heard live cuts of "Dimebag" (the guys' tribute to the murdered Pantera guitarist "Dimebag Darrell" Abbott), "Late Last Night," "Final Curtain," "Sister" and "Blues For You" and thought they were pretty good. (almost half of the Garage cd, what the hell?) Later on I heard "This Time Around" on the radio, and that was the song that prompted me to get off my ass and go looking for the cd. (When I bought it on my Rita vacation, I accidentally left it with my uncle when I came back to Southeast Texas.) I picked it up and the studio versions of those songs turned out to be great too; the cd as a whole turned out to be much, much better than I remember. According to my iTunes data, "Lighthouse Keeper" and "This Time Around" are the second- and third-most-played songs on my iPod. No surprise there, as they were my two favorite songs on that cd. (No. 1 on the most-played list was Metallica's "All Nightmare Long," my favorite song on Death Magnetic.) The Garage cd was the second-most-played cd proper on the iPod after Death Magnetic...
...and the third-most-played was the Randy Rogers Band cd. The big song I remember hearing on the radio from this one was "Tonight's Not The Night," and it remains my favorite on the Rollercoaster cd to this day. I also liked "Down And Out," the beautiful ballad "Love Must Follow You Around," and the band's own versions of "Again" and "This Time Around," both of which were written by Randy Rogers and Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman Cody Canada. I sure would like to see the RRB properly record "Some Fools Never Learn"  one day, though...that's always been my all-time favorite song and the bootleg live version on Youtube is very, very good.
Last, but certainly not least, another cd that didn't come out in '08 but that I picked up this year was Nickelback's All The Right Reasons. Like I've said before, I don't have much use for the ballads like "Savin' Me" and "Far Away," but the harder-rocking songs like ""Animals," "Side of a Bullet" and "Rockstar" were more than worth the price of the cd. Between "Side of a Bullet" and CCR's "Dimebag," I'd have to pick "Side of a Bullet" as the DD tribute I liked better. I'd love to see Chad Kroeger and the guys do more harder-edged stuff like that and less of the ballads. Kroeger doesn't do that whole "sensitive guy" thing well, IMHO...
So, that's my two cents. (Maybe more since I spent over two hours writing this...) Comments from the peanut gallery?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One of the downsides of the Internet... that pretty much any blithering idiot with a computer and Internet connection now has a way to spread their blithering idiocy for all to see...

Ban All Guns

The Founding Fathers of our country made a mistake when they said we had the right to bear arms. ...
We need to ensure that those we elect to public office are not so stuck on protecting us from another British invasion that they cannot enact legislation that will limit the number of guns in our country. It is time to end this culture of violence. We have become desensitized to the point that we play video games that glorify murder -- even cop murder.

Now of course I would never argue that brain cell-deficient assclowns like Robert L. Smith be denied their right to say what they wish, but one would hope those with such a bully pulpit would take it upon themselves to get a little more educated on what they're talking about. But, on the flip side of this, we can also read the writings of people like L. Neil Smith, who had the perfect response to this sort of rhetoric:
(A politician) may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldn't have a gun -- but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didn't you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school -- or the military? Isn't it an essentially European notion, anyway -- Prussian, maybe -- and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?

And make no mistake, that's exactly what Mr. Smith is advocating — for everyone to be punished for the misdeeds of a few. No doubt the Deacons for Defense and Justice would be so proud. /sarcasm

(h/t Armed and Safe)

Who are the violent ones, again?

First up, from this morning's Chron, we have what can only be expected from "the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories"...

We are witnessing one of Israel's most brutal attacks on Gaza in memory.

...which would not have happened had the Hamas thugs not broken the cease-fire by commencing rocket fire on Israel. I've always thought that Israel is more or less treated as the world's bastard stepchild when things flare up as they do periodically. Cretins like Mr. Falk here crank up their endless harping on what Israel does to defend herself and, almost without fail, do not mention who exactly started the whole thing again in the first place. Considering Hamas has as its stated goal the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic state in its place, I'd say it's Israel who ultimately holds the moral high ground here. Am I wrong in thinking that when it's all said and done all the Israelis want is to be left alone?
Speaking of not talking about the other side's aggression in this conflict, check out this little snippet from the Port Arthur News:
Several high profile members of the Jewish comminity (sic) in Beaumont asked not to be quoted for fear of retaliation and their safety.

Can you believe that? People in Jefferson County, by-george Texas decline to speak their minds for fear of reprisal. Fear of what looks to me to be terrorist sympathizers doing only God knows what, in Jefferson farking County, Texas. I do think it's worth asking how many of those afraid to speak up support the various and sundry victim-disarmament schemes championed by the Anti-Defamation League, but in any event the fact that they're afraid to speak their minds for fear of violent reprisal in the United States of America — and, further, in a place populated by folks with a reputation for refusing to be victims — well, that says a whole lot about who's ceding the moral high ground as well, if you ask me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More musings, on late-'90s George Strait...

People speak of various things getting a second wind, a restored energy of sorts. I think it's safe to say that the mid-to-late '90s found George Strait's career catching its third wind, with a bit of a stumble in late 1996 as the last single from the phenomenal Blue Clear Sky cd, "King of the Mountain" flamed out at No. 19 on the Billboard country singles chart. I remember being worried back about that time, wondering, "surely this isn't the beginning of the end, is it?" At the time he'd been at it for well over a decade and had just released the four-cd retrospective Strait Out of the Box. If I remember right, both Merle Haggard and George Jones both had their success start tapering off after about 18 years or so, and while the Blue Clear Sky cd ended up being a huge success both on the radio and in the record stores, still as a fan I wondered what was next after such a dismal showing. Of over 50 George Strait singles that have gone to radio, that was, if I remember correctly, only the third not to make the top 10 on the airplay charts.
As it turned out, though, I need not have worried. Not terribly long after "King" flamed out, "One Night At A Time" — the lead-off single from the next album, "Carrying Your Love With Me" shot to No. 1 and stayed there for five weeks, and the Carrying Your Love With Me cd debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country album sales chart and No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (which charts sales from all genres) with over 194,000 copies sold its first week (Strait's biggest first-week tally until 2005's Somewhere Down in Texas sold 245,000-plus its first week). "Carrying Your Love.." went on to triple-platinum certification by the RIAA for shipment of over three million copies, matching the success of its predecessor in that department and yielding three No. 1 singles, including this one from the summer of 1997, the title track. Maybe not the most innovative video ever made, but it's still a great song, from a great album, too...the man never fails to amaze me.

Random Monday Musings

God, I haven't heard this song in YEARS! Now playing here:

If I could I’d vote for Willie to run our government
“Good mornin’ America, how are you?” He’d say with his pigtails and a grin
He would unite the whole nation with his guitar and his song
It’s the only thing that makes perfect sense
Willie Nelson for President

The last time I remember hearing that song was the year 2000, on Dallas' 96.3 KSCS. (Seems like several lifetimes ago now...) Another great thing about living in Texas — you'll probably never hear regional artists on the big country stations in Atlanta, Chicago or Los Angeles, let alone in regular rotation. I am pretty sure I wouldn't vote for Willie, but that was still a great song. Substitute someone like George Strait and that'd be something I might be able to get behind. Of course, George could be a raging lefty a la Bruce Springsteen for all anyone knows, but his keeping his politics the hell off the stage and out of his music is something I've always respected Strait for...

"you don't have any more...wha?"

I'm surprised Mr. Codrea didn't label this one "We're the Only Ones Baiting and Switching Enough"...

Mark DeAngelis heard that Suffolk County was giving people $200 gift cards to turn in illegal handguns last weekend, so he looked behind a rafter in a warehouse he rents and found a revolver he stashed there 20 years ago, he said.
He called Suffolk's Third Precinct in Bay Shore, confirmed that they were still doing the program and then drove there and turned over the gun, he said.
But after he handed the gun to the officer, he said he got bad news: There was no money left.
"He basically said, 'You just gave me an illegal handgun. We're out of money. Do you have a problem with that?'" said DeAngelis, 43, of Patchogue, who said he bought the gun to get it out of the hands of a man he considered dangerous.

You could also call it another validation of the Steve Wariner truth, "play with the fire and you're gonna get burned." Or yet another definition of the term "Faustian bargain." After all, when you give the cops your ID, who's to say they won't keep it for whatever purpose? It's one thing to turn in a so-called "illegal handgun" anonymously, but to have your name tied to that gun in any way, especially in a liberty-deficient rathole like metro New York, would be nothing but bad. Try as I may though, I can't muster up a shred of sympathy for these folks either. For one they should have had some idea of who they were dealing with, and for two, they were stupid for giving up their own guns. I know I have a different mindset than many — i.e., being from Texas I can't fathom their concept of "illegal guns," and for another I can't for the life of me understand why they'd get rid of them for those fire-sale prices — but it's just what I think and I can't make any apologies for that.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random Observations from Sunday Afternoon TV

Sean Penn and Tim Robbins might well be leftist assclowns, but 2003's Mystic River is still a really great movie — even if it was, as one person dubbed it, "a 'Law & Order' episode in prestige-film drag."
It seems to me that the kids featured on the CMT series Nanny 911 suffer from one thing more than anything else — what Ambulance Driver would call "chronic hickory deficiency." I only saw a snippet of it, but I thought, "you know, if those kids had their asses lit up when they shit all over their Mom like that, I bet they'd change their tune right quick."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

National scold, indeed...

I meant to comment on this, but the time got away from me...

Must we share in every random thought of Thomas Friedman? He has become a national scold, and his constant criticisms have become boring and predictable.

Yep, that's pretty much the long and short of it. I actually thought Thomas Friedman was one of the better columnists at Pravda-on-Hudson once upon a time, but his scolding and lecturing tone got to the point that I just couldn't take any more of it. He thinks he knows everything and isn't afraid to shout it from the rooftops. As for Friedman's adoration of so many things Chinese including the infrastructure, for some strange reason I am reminded of the old wives' tale about the dictators making the trains run on time. I am not sure exactly why, though. It may be things like what happened in Tiananmen Square, or the Chinese government's censorship of the Web, the one-child policy, just general stuff like that. And it deserves to be asked how much of China's money's going to things like debt service and entitlement spending. But of course you'll never see Thomas Friedman asking questions like that. All he'll do is just bitch and moan about how we're supposedly doing things wrong in America.

Aww, well, isn't that special?

It's been what, again?

With the wind of her family's legacy at her back, Caroline Kennedy says her quest for a Senate seat has been a long time in the making.

Yep. All she did was wait until she was of age, and then she stepped up and said, "Give it to me!" One would think if she had a shred of integrity she'd have actually run for that seat as opposed to asking the governor to just appoint her to it. I guess she thinks just because she's a Kennedy she's entitled to it. A lawyer and activist. Wow...and people called Sarah Palin unqualified. Ok then. I am glad to see, though, that certain New York politicians actually do have a problem with the way this is going down, but this particular quote caught my eye:
The bickering intensified Tuesday after New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver suggested that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his supporters have hijacked the process for their own political gain. Many of Kennedy's advisers have close ties to Bloomberg.
"If I were the governor, I would look and question whether this is the appointment I would want to make, whether her first obligation might be to the mayor of the city of New York rather than the governor," Silver told WGDJ-AM in Albany. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, is the most powerful legislative leader in New York.

I see what he's getting at, but here's a thought: What about her obligation to the people of New York — you know, the people she'll ultimately represent if she's picked? What about their interests? Call that one more reason to hold a special election as opposed to just letting the governor make the pick. Of course, Paterson's own whine, that "the bickering sounded 'more like the prelude to a high school program than the choosing of a U.S. senator,'" implies that ultimately he's just pissed off that the insulted New York politicians won't sit back and accept what he wants to do. Which in turn suggests that HE doesn't have the best interests of the people of the Empire State at heart either. Oh well. We all get the government we deserve, I guess.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"...and Reverend Green, be glad to see you..."

"when you haven't got a prayer....boy, you've got a prayer in Memphis..."
I'd guess a lot of folks, mostly younger country music fans, know that song as an album track from Lonestar's Greatest Hits album from 2003. Still others know it as a track off Cher's 1996 album It's A Man's World. But this paean to the home of the blues and the largest city on the Mississippi River was actually recorded first in 1991 by the man who wrote it, Cleveland, Ohio native Marc Cohn — who, ironically, had never set foot in Memphis before he wrote the tune. It was a large part of the reason Cohn took home the Grammy Award for Best New Artist that year...but even if he hadn't won that award, "Walking in Memphis" would still have been a great song, and a great record too. To my ear his version of it is by far the best.

More guns 'n' politics comin' soon, I reckon. ;-)

More good times at work...

...brought to you by Nickelback playing on Big Dog 106 just a few minutes ago...
So I was at work the other day, and my boss asked me, "You know what I want?"
I said, "Tell me what you want..." doing my best imitation of Billy Gibbons from the song blogged about here.
Boss: "Pistolero, dude, that was about the gayest thing ever that you could have done."
Good thing I wasn't drinking anything right about then, 'cause I'd have spewed it all over the place as I busted out laughing. "Dude, sorry, I couldn't help it, I was just listening to that cd!" Which was true, it had just played on the iPod. He's a pretty smartass guy, but still I wasn't expecting that...

" many dogs will die, how many more will bleed..."

From San Diego, the same old story of trigger-happy drug cops shooting another dog who apparently posed no threat to them. But even though reasonable people could argue all day long about that threat and the level thereof, that argument ultimately obscures a larger question evoked by another question asked at the Reason link: What are we going to have to do to get people to stop writing shit like that off as collateral damage in the War On Some Drugs? I'd guess there's really not that much we CAN do, that it's ultimately going to have to get even worse for Americans to be shaken out of their apathetic stupor. Considering the Bill of Rights — you know, what was supposed to have been a guarantee of protection against the predations of government — has also been made "collateral damage" by the War On Some Drugs that's really the only conclusion I can reach. I wonder what the Founders are thinking as they observe this particular aspect of the decay of their Republic.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, to one and all...

1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Merry Christmas, to one and all. Regular blogging will resume later.

"She fills my bed with gasoline..."

"'d think I would've noticed..."
...yeah. Another great song, from another Canadian rock band. I don't remember the first time I heard this song, but something about it just really appealed to me. The lyrics, the delivery, the arrangement, just an all-around great package. I don't know if Chad Kroeger could pull off a song like this, but Theory of a Deadman lead singer Tyler Connolly just nails it dead-on. Video here.
"...oh, it hurts to live...and I remember the day, when you left for Santa Monica..."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More Going Mac...

Continuing with yesterday's riff, via Jeff at Alphecca, we have this...

The Mac's been on a roll, both due to its highly regarded Mac OS X Leopard operating system and to an unhappy reception for Microsoft's Windows Vista. The result: For the first time in memory, the Mac's market share has hit 9.1 percent, according to IDC data, and Windows' market share has dipped below 90 percent. (Linux distributions make up the rest.)

But can either Mac OS X or Linux be more than a niche OS?

I suppose that's a fair question, considering the case the writer makes for the continued viability of Windows in business applications. And even though for what most home users do the Mac OS or Linux would probably work just as well, I'd guess that the business attitude would carry over to home use. Honestly, as a Mac user I am fine with that — and contrary to what some might think, it's not because of the supposed appeal of being a fan of a niche-market product. I could give two shits about niche appeal for anything, even though the flip side of that argument — many people like a product, therefore it must be superior — never made any sense to me. No, what I like about that small-market share vis-a-vis computer operating systems, is the fact that most of the viruses and such are still going to be targeted toward the software with the largest market share — i.e. Windows, Internet Explorer, etc. Speaking of that last one, looks like we're getting another demonstration of the reason some call it Internet Exploder...and for the record, I blog and do everything else in Safari or Firefox on a MacBook running OS X Tiger. I know next to nothing about Linux, but I have heard nothing but good things about it, and we can add to that this comment from reader and blog-friend Ted:
Ubuntu Linux - up and running in 15 minutes.

You can't ask for better than that, especially for something that as far as I know doesn't come pre-installed. I'm sure most Linux users wouldn't mind it staying the niche OS that it is for the same reasons cited by Mac users like me. I suppose there are exceptions to that, but I'd bet money that number is made out to be much, much higher than it actually is.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Random Computer Musings...

or, another plug for Apple!
So I saw this delightful number this morning at Gerard Vanderleun's American Digest:

Last night I had one of the most frightening dreams a man can have. I dreamt that someone, who hated me very deeply, got me a new computer for Christmas. I woke up screaming, but the dream persisted. The horror! The horror!
This Christmas puppy came loaded with Fritterware. It had Pantless OS, BrokenWindows 2010, HomelessOffice 2004, Internet Destroyer, Fretscape, Opensource Godzilla, iEverthingEverywhere and Pong. The Paperclip was back as the host of a computer training program aptly named RageMaker. When I opened the box in my nightmare my first impulse was to rip open all my other presents in hopes that someone had given me a gun so I could just shoot myself.
Nothing is worse than life itself than a fully loaded new computer, and I've been using them for nearly 20 years. Setting up a new computer is like getting ready to French Kiss an elephant; you know it will be a new experience, but you know it won't taste like veal cordon blue.

*snerk* When I got home from the Apple Store in Houston with my MacBook, you know what I did? Turned it on, plugged in my Ethernet cord and off I went. And so it has gone since I've had it. As far as I remember there weren't any drivers to install or anything like that. In any event it was arguably a hell of a lot better deal than was a comparably-equipped Windows laptop, even with the higher price. The only things I've installed on it besides AOL Desktop was Microsoft Office for Mac, the Flip4Mac Windows Media adapter and ShapeShifter, and the machine runs just as smoothly as it did when I got it out of the box. The only issues I've run into with the Mac OS are with third-party programs that have certain issues with the Mac OS and reputations for shitty tech support anyway. I don't know if there's as much freeware and such on something like a Dell that you'd order direct instead of going to Walmart, Best Buy or wherever, but either way I think a Mac is still a better deal, even (and in Microsoft's case, especially) with the computer manufacturers drafting of customers as their guinea pigs. I've been using Mac OS X Leopard for a little bit and so far it seems to be just as reliable and stable as Tiger. For those in the market for a new desktop OR laptop, I honestly can do nothing but recommend the Mac if you're looking for a low-frustration experience.

That's me, with a capital M, that's me ten times ten...

How to Win a Fight With a Liberal is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Take the quiz at

Found at Drumwaster's place, and those of you who know off the top of your head where the title of this post came from, well, I salute you. ;-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ignorant fraud, indeed...

Would-be RNC chair Michael Steele, on gun control:

What do you need an assault weapon for, if you're going hunting?

Never mind the whole "assault weapon" misnomer here. And we've all discussed, ad nauseum ad infinitum, the hunting utility of semi-auto rifles, which I am guessing is what Steele's talking about when he says "assault rifle." Honestly, one would think such a question would have been answered once and for all at least 16 years ago, when the Korean shopkeepers employed semi-automatic AK-47s to protect themselves from rampaging hordes of looters during the 1992 L.A. riots. One would think an exclamation point on that answer would have been the post-Katrina situation on the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. And then, if I remember correctly, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo used less than 20 rounds of .223 to do their dirty work in Washington in the fall of '02 — and with the way they did it, they could have pulled it off just as easily with a bolt-action deer rifle, of the type the politicians say they don't have a problem with. I guess it's a testament to the ignorance of a politician that he (or she) would ask such a question in this day and age, but still it's absolutely inexcusable. I'd like to think some education on the issue from various perspectives — from Katrina-type situations and what the Founding Fathers themselves had to say on the individual's right to arms of military utility to the War On Some Drugs and the history of gun control as a tool of racist oppression — would alter Steele's perspective, but then again he should have been more in tune with that anyway, considering he wants to be the chair of the party supposedly seen as the champion of that particular right. I hated to see that, really, as Steele seemed to be a promising start to the end of the days when the GOP was seen as racist, sexist or what-have-you. That particular opinion is bullshit anyway, but someone like Michael Steele in the upper ranks of the GOP would have gone a long way towards illuminating it as such.
(h/t David Codrea)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A not-so-old (to me, anyway) Christmas favorite

One day about eight years ago, when I was living in North Texas, I was listening to the radio early in the morning, 99.5 the Wolf out of Dallas, when I first heard the most outrageously funny "Christmas" song I'd ever heard in all my days on this earth. They called it "The Twelve Drinks of Christmas." Come to find out it was actually called "The Twelve Daze of Christmas," and it was done by jazz singer Fay McKay, who I just found out died earlier this year. And I just heard it again, this time here. Words can't do this one justice....if you haven't heard it, well, just listen...

Random musing...

A song from BobG's latest playlist brought back a memory that made me grin...
A good while back, one day when I was at work this woman I work with started singing, "If you got the money honey, I got the tiiiime..." Just for grins I thought I'd ask her if she knew who originally sang that song.
"Hank Williams."
I was like, do what? She had about three decades on me, so I thought for sure she would have known that was the late, great Lefty Frizzell. I told her this and she insisted that no, it was Hank Williams. For a good couple of weeks it went on like this, until one day I came in the office and she looked at me with a wry grin, shaking her head." I said, "What?"
"You were right."
"I TOLD you!" We both had a good laugh about that one, and she started rattling off other classic country songs to see if I knew their titles and who sang them. About 95 percent of them I did. She was pretty surprised that I knew so many of those old songs, with me being as young as I was. Like I've told folks before, I'm a bit of an odd sort as far as that goes, as a lot of the music I like came out either before I was born or when I was too young to understand it. And it's all just as good now as it was when I first discovered it...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"...tell me what you want..."

...or, Hey, I lurrrves me some slightly cheesy pop-rock, too...
Like a lot of people, I'm sure, I have a love-hate relationship with Canadian rock band Nickelback. I am not a fan of the ballads like "Savin' Me" and "Far Away," but the faster, harder-rocking songs like "Animals," "Side of a Bullet," and tonight's featured song are pretty good, I think, even if a lot of purists might turn up their noses at it. A well-explored theme, to be sure, but I really liked Nickelback's take on it, and the video made me grin, too. I saw the band referrred to as the Rascal Flatts of modern rock on another music blog I read periodically, but that just ain't fair — 'cause there's no way in hell that boy-band could pull this off. I heard this song on the way to work today, and I just HAD to crank it up!

"Hey, hey, I wanna be a rock star..."

Mean Girl syndrome, maybe?

or, Kathleen Parker opens her elitist yap again in this morning's Chron...

Difference between Kennedy, Palin is office sought
It is a legitimate question: Why is the resume-thin Caroline Kennedy being treated seriously as a prospective appointee to the U.S. Senate when the comparatively more-qualified Gov. Sarah Palin received such a harsh review?
It is legitimate, at least, to those inclined to see apples and oranges as essentially the same.

Right then, ok. I really don't have any idea what Sarah Palin could have done differently for elitist harpies like Parker and Peggy Noonan not to shit on her like they have since she showed up on the national scene. Given Palin's impeccable resume I don't know that they wouldn't have been so hard on her if she had been a governor of a larger state like, say, my beloved Texas. The only thing I think that could explain their overweening animosity is the phenomena explored in this movie, and in the book on which it was based. Only this time, Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan — hell, even David Brooks, if I may be so blunt — play the role of the popular-girl clique and, of course, Palin plays the new girl on campus who goes to the top of the food chain, so to speak, and shows them all up as the poseurs they are. And we see how jealous it makes them, as in this instance, instead of talking shit and scheming behind her back, they talk shit on the pages of the country's newspapers. I think it's safe to say I am roughly of two minds on this. On one hand I think it's good that they do this out in the open so conservatives can see them for what they are and discount their opinions and influence accordingly, but on the other hand I think it's pretty damn pathetic that they didn't ditch that petty middle-school mentality however many years ago. Any way you look at it, though, Palin's still the winner. She's accomplished more so far in her life than these pathetic, petty pundits will by the time they're on their respective deathbeds. I'm sure deep down they know that too, which I think only exacerbates the pettiness inherent to that middle-school mentality they're all stuck in. But it's still an ugly thing to see, more so among people who should have grown up and out of that by now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Probably the worst legacy of the Kennedy assassinations...

Jonah Goldberg, in today's Chron, on Caroline Kennedy's decision to seek the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton:

Kennedy, Palin treatment evidence of cultural divide
One could say without fear of overstating things that the liberal reaction to the inexperienced Caroline has been somewhat more gracious than the reaction to the "inexperienced" Palin. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has devoted two columns in as many weeks to this "fairy tale" scenario in which Kennedy, our "tragic national princess," is finally rewarded — for her years of quiet dignity, selflessly avoiding scandal and the paparazzi — with the Senate seat that once belonged to her uncle Bobby. What's astounding about the normally sensible Marcus' case for "the Cinderella Kennedy" (New York magazine's phrase) is that she doesn't really make one, at least not on the merits. Marcus doesn't even bother. It's all schoolgirl gushing.
Here's a news flash: Not everyone truckles with doe-eyed awe at "America's royal family." Some of us don't even like the idea of American royal families. JFK and RFK had their good points, but they don't deserve the beatification they receive on a daily basis. As a man, Teddy Kennedy is hardly a role model, and as a public servant he's not much better. I, for one, don't think denying poor black kids private-school scholarships (aka vouchers) is heroic. Nor do I think his support for alternative energy, except when it might obstruct his Hyannis Port estate's views with windmills, is admirable.
Simply, the Kennedy clan is no priestly caste, serving as the conscience of the nation, and its progeny do not deserve eternal deference.

A-yep, I'd say that's about right. As the title of this post implies, of course, I think this phenomenon is perhaps the worst legacy of the JFK and RFK assassinations. No doubt our Founding Fathers are looking down at us as they shake their heads and scream, "That sort of thing is exactly what we fought, bled and died to rid you of, you fools!" And Goldberg's assessment of Teddy is pretty much spot-on. (It would seem, as well, that Caroline rolled closer to the Teddy tree in terms of her support — or, lack thereof — of the RKBA, to name but one issue...) It really would be interesting to see what path Teddy would have traveled had his last name been Smith, Jones, or anything but Kennedy — or, for that matter, if his brothers hadn't been cut down in the prime of their political careers. He probably still would have gotten away with the Chappaquiddick episode being a Kennedy, but probably he might have been viewed in roughly the same light as Roger Clinton, i.e., the black sheep of the family. I'd like to think most Americans outside New England see him as exactly that, but any way you look at it, the fact that Teddy's their senior Senator doesn't speak well of Massachusetts voters (no offense, Jay G and Ted). Who are the suckers in this country again?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I never would have expected this...

...Seriously, though, it's a real eye-opener and interesting read too, thanks for the link, Linoge:

...another rifle of military origin is moving rapidly into prominence in the hunting and sport shooting world: the AR15 .223 and AR10 .308. And, like its predecessors, the AR platform is meeting resistance, even outright opposition, from many hunters who are personally wedded to earlier gun designs. No surprise there; when the lever action was first used for hunting, traditionalists, whose idea of a "real" hunting gun was a single-shot muzzleloader, distained the need for a repeat-fire tool.
First-generation bolt-action military surplus rifles were also disparaged by many sportsmen as "inappropriate" for hunting.
But the AR design's proven capability has already made it the rifle of choice for top-level civilian high-power rifle competition. It is also increasingly the rifle of choice for serious long-range varmint and predator shooters, and it's appearing in increasing numbers in the big-game hunting arena, as well.
It should. ARs are not all just .223 caliber. In fact, most people are probably not aware that the AR design originated as a .308 (7.62mm), not as a .223 (5.56mm).

To be honest I never would have thought about hunters in the earlier years being disdainful of more modern technology. Metcalf here makes a near-airtight case for the utility of a semi-auto rifle for hunting. And I never would have guessed that the AR design was originally a .308. One would think the very first line of Metcalf's story would give pause to the Fudds:
Virtually every type of centerfire sporting rifle in existence started off as a military weapon.

Note he didn't water it down by saying "military-style." As for yesterday's letter-writer having never seen anyone using semi-auto rifles such as the ones mentioned in HR 1022, I think there's actually a very simple explanation for that. I'd think that has a lot to do with the folks he's been hunting with for however long he's been hunting. The letter said over 50 years. Well, the popularity of ARs and such has only made itself known over the last four years or so, if I am not mistaken, since the sunset of the Clinton-era "Assault Weapons" Ban. Meanwhile, all the folks who had been hunting before and after still went on using those scoped bolt-action rifles (aka, of course, those military-style high-powered long-range sniper rifles), oblivious and resistant to the semi-auto trend just as their forebears were resistant to the lever- and bolt-action rifles. But any way you look at it the Fudds are still craven assholes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So the looks are apparently all that matter... the Fudds:

In his letter Monday, "Firearms were misrepresented," Lawrence G. Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation accused the Chronicle editorial board of defaming basic semi-automatic firearms as "military style" and "assault" weapons. Well, if you look at pictures of the weapons confiscated from the killing fields of Mexico, they look exactly like our military issue. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, well, you know.

Well, it might look like a bona-fide assault weapon, but of course it doesn't shoot like one, unless the Mexican drug runners are buying stolen GI weaponry. (And, well, so what if it did?) The Chronicle editorial board was doing nothing more than using the incendiary emotion-driven rhetoric so essential to the gun-grabber canon. "We must ban teh eeevil assault veapons! For teh safety of teh childrenses!"

Keane also stated, "These guns are used every day for hunting." I've been hunting for more than 50 years, on leases from the Panhandle, the Piney Woods, South Texas and Colorado, and to this day, I have never seen a hunter on a lease even in possession of one of these "military-style" weapons, much less hunt with it.

Neither did Jim Zumbo, apparently, but that didn't mean people don't do it. And, well, if the author of the above missive never saw one of those "military-style" rifles, well, that only means he and his fellow hunters were using a "high-powered long-range sniper rifle." Honestly, what's up with this whole "military-style" bullshit anyway? From what I understand the Army's M24 Sniper Weapon System is more or less a souped-up Remington 700 chambered for the .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO — you know, probably one of the most popular hunting rifles, and hunting cartridges, ever made. Really, if we're going to call one type of gun "military-style" wouldn't the honest thing to do be to call them ALL that?

A good read for your Wednesday morning...

Via Mike Vanderboegh, we have Sundown at Coffin Rock. I remember reading this a long time ago, maybe not long after it came out, but there's still much food for thought in it...

"...Sure, we knew guns were important; we just didn't think it would ever happen in America. But we had to do something about crime, they said. It was a crisis. Everything was a crisis! It was a drug crisis, or a terrorism crisis, or street crime, or gang crime. Even a 'health care' crisis was an excuse to take away a little more of our rights."

Part II to the story is here, as you scroll down. I'd love to see a Part III.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"...I get up, at seven, yay, and I go to work at nine..."

Yep, I bet you classic rock fans out there know that line!
I never was a really big fan of Rush, heretical as that may be to some. They did (and do) have good chops and wrote some great songs, but Geddy Lee's vocals were just annoying as hell to me. (As far as prog-rock goes, I always preferred Yes.) But even with those lead vocals, "Working Man," from the band's self-titled 1974 debut album, was just a hell of a song, with Lee's bass and Alex Lifeson's electric guitar line. The electric guitar intro always makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Pretty funny that I heard it going TO work yesterday, and coming home FROM work tonight. ;-)

"Yeah, they call me the workin' man, I guess that's what I am..."

Monday, December 15, 2008

A-yep, that's about right...

Quote of the day, from my blog-friend Mike W., in comments to this post:

Shit happens in national parks, but as we so often see with anti-gun liberals, they'd rather bitch, whine, and remain blind as shit to the world around them.

Yes, indeed. And of course you see them once again making the natural right to armed self-defense a wholly partisan issue. It makes me glad I am not a pro-gun liberal. It's gotta be a huge disappointment to see shit like that from people you'd more or less agree with 98 percent of the time. I still hate it, though. This should be an issue that conservatives and liberals alike agree on.

A few words on a not-so-old injustice...

...mentioned in yesterday's Chron:

LIVINGSTON — Preschoolers on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation play beneath a leaky roof and beside aging emergency exits. Tribal members who seek treatment for diabetes and cancer at the nearby health clinic share the facetious warning, "Don't get sick after June" — money may run out for the year.
A tourist train once lured visitors and their dollars to the reservation but today sits idle in its tunnel, weeds choking the tracks. A once-grand outdoor amphitheater is falling apart.
These sad conditions worry Alabama-Coushatta leaders, but they say the American Indian tribe's history is proud and its destiny is hopeful. What they want now is the Legislature to help them relaunch a shuttered casino that drew big-spending gamblers to their remote East Texas land.
"In the end we'll be successful. It's just not easy," said tribal council chairman Carlos Bullock, who is working with the Tigua tribe of El Paso to get an Indian casino bill passed when lawmakers convene in January. Both tribes' casinos were closed in 2002 by court orders sought by then-Attorney General John Cornyn.

I remember when all of that was going on, that is, when Cornyn was in the process of shutting down the casinos, I saw a bumper sticker that had on it a dead-nuts-on summation of the absurdity of the situation:
"Since Texas is not a gambling state, I play the lottery and eight-liners and go to the dog track. Support economic self-reliance for the Alabama-Coushatta of Texas."
I always thought the Alabama-Coushatta and the Tigua tribes got the short end of the stick as far as the gambling laws went. Maybe the casinos did run afoul of the law, but I don't understand why the Texas Legislature basically left the Indians twisting in the wind like they did. From everything I've heard about the casinos they seemed to be a pretty lucrative enterprise for the Indians, bringing their communities jobs and cash. Further down in the story it's mentioned that the Tiguas brought in $60 million a year, and that the Alabama-Coushatta casino brought in $1 million each month. I don't know how something like that will work out in today's economy, but I hope the Texas Legislature does right by them this time and that it works out for them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You'd think he'd have done some sort of research...

or, yet another case of an assclown with a keyboard using the First Amendment to shit all over the Second:

Concealed guns are coming back to your national parks and wildlife refuges, ending an absence that dates to the Reagan era.

This is so park visitors can protect themselves from the hordes of marauding muggers who have never turned up in the parks but -- who knows? -- could any day, couldn't they?

Marauding muggers who have never turned up in the parks? Tom Teepen said it, I believe it, that settles it. I'm sure the family of Meredith Emerson will be ecstatic to find out that their loved one's death was apparently some sort of elaborate ruse involving Ms. Emerson, the media, Georgia authorities, and of course Gary Michael Hilton, the one involved in Ms. Emerson's supposed death — and who knows who else played a part in this? And what about the body? Who the hell provided THAT? No doubt the happiness of Emerson's loved ones will only be exceeded when they see her smiling face and hear her voice again. I wonder how much longer they'll have to wait.
(for the sarcasm-impaired, the preceding post was completely tongue-in-cheek)


Unlike the columnist mentioned above, I'll admit when I've made a mistake.
Today was actually the third time the Texans beat the Titans, who now hold an 11-3 edge in the series, according to this from the Nashville Tennessean. That is all...

Talk about your nail-biter...

Houston Texans 13, Tennessee Titans 12, 4:22 in the 4th. Houston has the ball. I think if they win today it'll be the first time they've beaten the Titans. Things are looking pretty good...
Damn, but Houston's defense is really stepping up today.
WOO-HOO! 1:55 left, Texans take over! Oh, HELL YEAH! Steve Slaton takes the ball to the Tennessee 34!
39 seconds left, Slaton took it into the red zone.....oh, HELL YEAH! Marc Vandermeer on KILT, "The Texans do the job! A titanic victory for the Texans over Tennessee!" 13-12 final, damn, but that was GREAT! Texans are now on a four-game winning streak, first in team history, also the first time in eight tries to have beaten the Tennessee Titans. Formerly known as the Houston Oilers. Suck on that, Bud Adams. ;-)

Some Sunday morning humor...

So I was just screwing around on the web last night when I got off work, and I was reminded of this classic bit from a few years back...

20 Easy Rules for Writing About Country Music
The Way the Pros Do It!
By Cheryl Cline
There's been a little bit of discussion on the Internet mailing list POSTCARD2 about how rock critics treat alternative country. To tell you truth, the way rock critics write about country, alternative or any other kind, has always grated on me. I started thinking about it, then wrote down a list, then cast it in the form of rules for people who want to try their hand at becoming the next Robert "Bob" Christgau. Not to pick on Bob, though -- most rock critics appear to have these rules tattooed on their frontal lobes.
I know that there are some rock critics who can write wonderfully about country music. This is not about them.

You gotta read the whole thing, but these are a couple of my favorites...

Declare that country music deals in "nostalgia" for a "past that never was." Fail to recognize that this "past" not only *was* but *is* for many people.
Laud the country artists who display character traits most cherished in rock, and whose lyrical concerns hew closest to a rock sensibility.
Play up these traits in country artists you want to make over as rock icons, while glossing over traits any they might exhibit that are more prized by country. (example: play up Johnny Cash as an outlaw; play down Johnny Cash as a Bible scholar.)
Harp on the "dark side" of country music, saying stuff about how the twisted psyche of country artists is what makes the best country music; blithely write about the peccadillos of country artists as if they really are more nuts than rock musicians.

I don't know exactly who she was writing about, but I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few writers at, say, Rolling Stone thought exactly like the writers she was lampooning. I always got that vibe from a lot of what they wrote, anyway.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who wouldn't throw a party?

Jonah Goldberg, in this morning's Chronicle:

The folks at the Chicago Tribune are Christmas Pony Happy because Blago tried to strong-arm Trib ownership to fire members of the editorial board. Instead, Trib editors will get to have a big tailgate party outside Blago's cell window.
Newspaper people love that sort of thing.

Can you really blame them, though? As bad as I think the typical big-city journalist mentality is for the Founders' Republic, as detestable as the Fourth Estate has become, the fact is that many folks have fought and died to protect the right to criticize one's elected officials without fear of the exact type of reprisal Rod Blagojevich wanted to exact from the Chicago Tribune. Of course, I for one am not surprised in the least. The same thing that was said of Barack Obama can and should be said of Rod Blagojevich: He has no respect for the Second Amendment, what makes anyone think he'd have any kind of respect for the First? In any event, though, it's gonna be fun to see how much dirt Obama got on himself, being an alumnus of the Chi-town political system and all. Somehow I can't help but think that if you get that far up, you WILL end up with at least a small taint of corruption...

Friday, December 12, 2008

And once again, the question arises...

upon reading this...

Freed Ark. school shooter applied for gun permit
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After serving nearly a decade in custody for opening fire at a Jonesboro middle school in a 1998 sniper attack that killed four students and a teacher, Andrew Golden was released last year at age 21 and tried to start a new life.
While co-defendant Mitchell Johnson found himself in trouble with police within 6 months of his release, Golden went to Cape Girardeau, Mo., registering for a driver's license and adopting a new name. He caught the attention of police only once, after losing control of a motorcycle along a rural road in northern Arkansas this spring. But by then, he was Drew Douglas Grant, a student at a Batesville community college.
Then he applied for a state concealed weapons permit. Police revealed this week that he was denied.
"It just doesn't sit real good," said Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann, who investigated the school shooting a decade ago and knew Golden's family long before it. "He hasn't been in any trouble since he got out and hopefully he won't be. But still, he shouldn't be allowed to carry a firearm."
Golden applied for the permit Oct. 7, noting the seven hours of training he had taken on handgun fundamentals, ammunition, self-defense and the law, and target shooting on a firing range.

All righty then. Maybe Andrew Golden shouldn't be allowed to carry a firearm. After he had such a role in killing four people I'll grant you that. But still the old question is appropriate — and I'm guessing the AP hack didn't ask it — if Andrew Golden is so dangerous he allegedly can't be trusted with a gun, then why is he not still in jail? I am guessing he is allowed to at least touch a gun if he completed the training for his permit with one, and they also say nothing about him being prohibited from owning one by state or federal law. So maybe they don't think he's so dangerous after all. With that in mind, his being denied a carry permit seems to be nothing more than a punitive measure to me, and an excessively punitive one at that...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hang them from the highest tree...

or, Hell yeah, rent-seeking should be a capital offense, especially when the rent-seekers are trying to undermine Constitutional rights to fatten their wallets...

An organization known as Ammunition Accountability is pushing to make coding technology mandatory across the nation. Its website claims it is a group of "gun crime victims, industry representatives, law enforcement, public officials, public policy experts, and more" who are "saving lives one bullet at a time."
If states pass the legislation, manufacturers will be required to laser etch a serial number into the back of each bullet and the inside of cartridge casings, a patented process developed by Seattle, Wash., resident Russ Ford and his business partners, Steve Mace and John Knickerbocker.
According to Seattle Weekly, the men couldn't find an ammunition manufacturer to agree to stamp bullets, so they hired a lobbyist to push for state legislation to require the laser coding. They launched the Ammunition Accountability website and successfully introduced bills in the following 18 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

(WARNING: More foul language follows)
Do you fucking believe that shit? They couldn't find anyone who wanted their technology, likely because it would have in all probability financially destroyed the businesses they were targeting, so they hired a damn lobbyist to get state governments to strong-arm said businesses into adopting their product. And if you go on to their web site you will not see WORD ONE about the cost-effectiveness of this program beyond equipment and licensing fees. Nary a word about how the criminals could get around it, nary a word about how innocent people could have their lives fucked up beyond all repair, nary a word about how the flaws in this could and would clog the system and lock it up tighter than Dick's hat band. And, of course, nary a word about the fact that this would be yet another avenue for further weakening of both the Second and Fourth Amendments. Yeah, I really don't think there's any punishment too strong for these shitstains. Hang them. Hang them all from the highest tree on national fucking TV right along with Rod Blagojevich and his ilk. And let their bodies twist in the wind, as a warning to all the rest who would ever contemplate taking a shit on our rights for money.
(More from Peter, who's arguably calmer than about this than I am...)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Karma, maybe?

I don't know, but when I saw this, from Pravda-on-Hudson re: President Bush's EO allowing carry in national parks...

“Anticipating what Barack Obama has called “common-sense gun safety laws,” the Bush administration has rushed through a last-minute gun rule that is the antithesis of common sense.”

and then this (h/t The Liberty Sphere)...
The New York Times is considering potential asset sales and is in discussions with lenders as it prepares for one of the “most challenging years” in its history.

Advertising revenue fell sharply at the paper in November, dragged down by weaker spending in the entertainment, property and automotive advertising categories.

and finally, this...
Media conglomerate Tribune Co., smothered by $13 billion in debt and a drop-off in advertising, on Monday became the first major newspaper publisher to seek bankruptcy protection since the Internet sent the industry into a tailspin.
Most of the company's debt comes from the complex transaction in which the company was taken private, with employee ownership, by real estate mogul Sam Zell last year. Although Tribune's next major debt payment isn't due until June, the company has been in danger of missing financial targets set by its lenders.

Other newspaper companies have also struggled with their debts, but many have negotiated with lenders to ease their targets in exchange for higher interest rates.

"Tribune's debt was so outsized and so disproportional to its cash flow compared to these other companies that it can be the sore thumb sticking out rather than an example of the industry," said Ken Doctor, media analyst with Outsell Inc.

The Tribune owns the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, as well as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Sun of Baltimore, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, six other daily newspapers and 23 television stations.

...I thought, well now, that couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch of assholes. With — just for a few examples — the stories we got just this campaign season alone on Barack Obama, the sliming of Joe the Plumber and the above-mentioned media outlets' constant use of their own First Amendment rights to crap all over the Second Amendment, I'd say it's about time they got some sort of comeuppance, even if it might have been mostly unrelated to the vomit they've been printing. One might argue that it could be related, for the revenues could have been declining due to spiraling circulation numbers due to the public's dissatisfaction with the "quality" of "news" in said outlets. Whatever the case may be, honestly I don't even have the slightest bit of sympathy for any of them.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Yep, I like my chicken fried, too...

Yeah, you know what this post is about, I bet...
I've been hearing this song more and more lately. If I remember right the first time I heard it in its entirety was Saturday morning as I was riding into work, and I just had to crank it up. Another one of those down-home celebrations of the little things in life, sort of in the same vein as the Rodney Atkins song "These Are My People" or Alan Jackson's "Where I Come From." As far as I know this is the very first single from the Zac Brown Band, but they sure picked a good one. I am interested in hearing more.

Monday, December 08, 2008

If I had put money...

...on what I wrote here...

Mark my words, to follow this story will be another Chron editorial advocating the passage of another semiautomatic rifle ban, this time with teeth, under the guise of "being a good neighbor" and "helping our friends south of the Rio Grande fight the scourge of illegal drugs and gun violence." Nothing about tightening the borders, nothing about our insane drug laws, nothing about Mexico's insane gun laws.

I would have won today!
No turn of phrase can hide the link between gun sales in Texas and the violence just over the border. If we want Mexico's cartels under control for our own security, we need to halt their incredibly easy access to military-grade weapons on this side of the border.
...So it is in Americans' interest to upgrade our regulation of gun sales. Sensible restrictions on military-grade weapons is not punishment — it's self-preservation. This is why we regulate pesticides and prescription drugs.
Smart regulation of a potentially dangerous consumer product isn't going to hamper law-abiding citizens' constitutional rights. In fact, imported assault rifles were effectively banned (independent of the now-expired federal assault weapons ban) with no ill effects, from 1989 until just eight years ago. But in 2000, the Bush administration began allowing foreign manufacturers to circumvent the law.
The import ban embodied the spirit of the Second Amendment, which cites regulation, as well as the right to bear arms, as part of public security. And Americans still managed to pursue their favorite sports and protect their families from intruders.

Wow. A gun ban, which effectively infringes on Americans' right to keep and bear arms and therefore violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, is keeping within the spirit of the Second Amendment because it "cites regulation." This is what passes for informed opinion in the main newspaper serving the fourth largest city in the United States, folks. Nothing about our insane drug laws, nothing about the accompanying "war" to uphold them and that war's undermining of the Constitution, nothing about Mexico's insane gun laws. Oh, and nothing about beefing up the security on the border either. (If I remember correctly the 1989 import ban was passed as part of that war on drugs. Yet the violence apparently continued unabated. There's a lesson in there somewhere...) So in effect what the Chronsters are advocating is to "ban the guns again, only HARDER!" I am not surprised, but it's still pathetic.
(Welcome, visitors from A Keyboard and a .45! Main page is here, pull up a seat and stay a while!)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Reply to Linoge

(Linoge, I don't mean to be picking on you, buddy — it's just that my reply was getting long and so I decided to make it into a post of its own.)
Linoge, in comments to the last post:

what, exactly, are they going to do with the people who voted that government into existence?

I don't know. Tell 'em "You leave us alone and we'll leave you alone"? Call a truce, as it were? Or perhaps educate them on freedom, responsibility and all those forgotten concepts? You might think that a flip answer, but Vanderboegh and those folks don't strike me as the kind who would herd their ideological adversaries into boxcars and take them to camps with things like "Arbeit Macht Frei" written on the gates. (The victorious North didn't do that to the vanquished Southerners in the aftermath of the War Between the States, did they?) They don't strike me as the right-wing equivalent of Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. A cursory examination of Vanderboegh's writing might not yield the conclusion that he actually ISN'T some crazed wackjob, but a deeper reading would yield that conclusion. You might think Vanderboegh makes the absolutists look like fools, but I think people like that dumbass over at Ahab's place who tried to make Mike and his supporters out to be a bunch of racists make the pragmatists look like even bigger fools. More ignorant by SEVERAL orders of magnitude, to be sure. I note as of yet said dumbass hasn't responded. I hope he enjoys that crow. Maybe some ketchup will help it go down. If he comes back chastened and enlightened I'll happily retract that criticism, but I'll be surprised as hell, too.
As far as our government being a representative republic...well, yeah, it is, but how many people do you think know that, or why it was set up like that as opposed to pure democracy? I'm more or less with Concerned American, the Western Rifle Shooters Association blogger who says,
If a majority of the voters says that I can come to your house to kill, skin, and eat your dog (or child or wife), can I?
Would you just bow your head sheepishly and shrug, saying “The will of the people be done”?

Sure it's a reductio ad absurdum, but the basic principle is quite sound: At some point the people might just have to be told "No." Or "Hell no," or, even "You take one more step and you're a dead man, friend." It won't be a popular thing to do, but, just to illustrate, as someone who might well have been characterized as a "useless eater" by Adolf Hitler due to a certain physical affliction, well, let's just say I personally have a vested interest in STAYING able to back up my "Hell, no" with something better than just a stronger "Hell, no" in case one day a majority of Americans say I should be shipped off to some camp, denied health care or what-have-you. I know the point at which the people will have to be told "No" with hot lead is a different one for many, but I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Certain American gun owners like Islamic jihadis? Really?

I know this phrase is way the hell overused, but it fits — some gun owners among us have officially jumped the shark. (And I DON'T mean Mike Vanderboegh, or even Linoge.)
Once again, the whole "Three Percenter" thing has reared its head, with certain folks in our ranks weighing in once again on the heated rhetoric of Mike Vanderboegh and people like him and the angry words have been flying back and forth the last few days. Are they hotheads, cowards or whatever? I don't know enough about them personally to make a judgment on that one either way. But I've found it amusing that some of us assume Vanderboegh and his kind haven't been politically active, that they've just automatically jumped in with threats to send the lead flying. I laughed out loud when those folks got their collective pee-pee smacked.
But here was this comment from someone with the nom de Internet of Dock, which I wholeheartedly agreed with:
"Instead of fracturing our community, is there any way that we can instead try to mend fences with the 3 percenters? I know, I know, they’re (insert bad thing here) and they are intractable and everything else. Fine. Someone has to wear the big boy pants and be smart enough to realize that we can no longer afford internal warfare of any kind. The modern political reality has robbed us of this luxury."
Yep. There are those who say the Three Percenters can play bad cop to the other 97 percenters' good cop. Apparently this has even happened in the past, as Vanderboegh pointed out:

it would behoove the so-called “pragmatists” of the gun world to use us as Martin Luther King did Stokely Carmichael. Instead of calling us belittling names and trying to discredit us, you should be saying, “Look, Senator, these people have a point and they’re angrier than we are. We wouldn’t go that far, BUT THEY WILL, and you’d better have the good sense God gave a goose and back off the seizure of control over the private sale of arms. And for your own sake, don’t try to ban another previously legal class of weapons. These people will fight, and they’ve already said that after your first shots at them they’ll take the fight to YOU. Not just the ATF and the FBI, but to YOU. Senator, I beg you, is it worth it?”

But, apparently, some are too willfully obtuse to grasp that simple truth, preferring instead to compare the Three Percenters to, well, just read this reply to Dock's question...
...that would be kinda like getting Islam to tame the terrorist groups among them… not impossible, but it would be easier to loudly let everyone know that these wackjobs do not represent the rest of the shooting community.

Classy move there, comparing the Three Percenters to folks who strap bombs to themselves and kill women and children. FUCK YOU, dude. FUCK YOU in the ass, sideways and unlubricated. I haven't been writing letters to anyone threatening civil war or anything like that — one could say my rhetoric is closer to Sebastian's than Mike Vanderboegh's — but as for political activism, I think he and his kind serve a valuable purpose, and I for one wouldn't throw them the wolves as some propose. AND, if you carefully read what Vanderboegh said, you'll note that he said the Three Percenters would fire ONLY after being fired upon — or, as Vanderboegh has said before, "No Fort Sumters." That's a key distinction there, I think, and I think it would be enlightening to know how many on our side are purposefully overlooking that distinction so they can justify their name-calling. One wonders where blacks would be today had Martin Luther King told Stokely Carmichael and his folks to sit down and shut up, or if he had told the Deacons for Defense and Justice to take their guns and go home, that "you wackjobs don't represent the rest of us." Odd how out of one side of their mouth some like to tell us not to use words like Fudd, and out of the other they're perfectly willing to tell certain other factions to go to hell...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Another unlikely headline today's Chron:
Self-defense slayings rise against intruders

JACKSON, MISS. — A convenience store clerk chased down a man and shot him dead over a case of beer this summer and was charged with murder. A week later, a clerk at another Jackson convenience store followed and fatally shot a man he said tried to rob him, and authorities let him go without charges.
Police say the robber in the second case was armed, while the man accused of stealing beer was not.
Just the same, the legal plights of the two clerks highlight the uncertain impact of National Rifle Association-backed laws sweeping the nation that make it easier to justify shooting in self-defense.

I know there are a lot of people who are squeamish about killing over property, but ultimately I think something like what the clerk did in the first case isn't entirely a bad thing. If actions like that cause other criminals to think twice about taking other people's property, then when it's all said and done a lot of good has been done for society. Many will say it's "just stuff" or "a bag of loot," as Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg so self-righteously put it, but at the heart it's a lot more than that. When you get right down to it, taking someone else's property is a violation of their personal sovereignty, and letting said violations go unchallenged and/or unpunished constitutes a dangerous undermining of the social contract that keeps us from descending back into anarchy and tribal war. I know such a perspective is beyond many in the mainstream media and certain advocacy groups, but I bet most of us over in flyover country grasp it quite well.

Wow, for once the Chron got it right...

on the editorial page:

President-elect Barack Obama has sensibly shelved plans to institute his own version of the controversial windfall profits tax.
Good call, Mr. President-elect. This ill-conceived tax was a bad idea when first proposed and implemented 30 years ago. It hasn't improved with age.
Obama's windfall tax proposal was removed from his Web site this week and a spokesman confirmed it was dropped because of dramatic changes in the price of oil. The price of oil has fallen $100 since last summer, when then-candidate Obama started to press the idea. Oil company profits were to be transferred to consumers in an "emergency energy rebate" of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families.
U.S. consumers are already beginning to receive those rebates, thank you — and with an efficiency unimaginable for a government program. As pump prices have slid from more than $4 to less than $2 over the past several weeks, the rebates have come with every fill-up. This is real money — $40 or more for every 20-gallon fill-up.

Damn, this has GOT to be a sign of the apocalypse. A Democrat deciding not to put another tax in place, AND a major media outlet agreeing with it! And then, for good measure, they even admit the market is working better than any government program to "fix" it could! I must say it's damn nice to be able to fill up my truck with $30 instead of $60. Now, maybe the President-elect will get another dose of reality and realize that the lifting of the moratorium on offshore drilling helped that price go back down as well. We'll see how that one goes, but I for one have gotten quite a chuckle out of how plans have changed since the election. It'll be interesting to watch, that's for sure.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Oh, now, that's nice...

or, as the old saying goes, When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department is readying indictments that could send Blackwater Worldwide guards to prison for at least 30 years for their involvement in the deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting of Iraqi civilians, people close to the case said.
Charges could be announced as early as Monday in the shooting, which left 17 civilians dead and strained U.S. relations with the fledgling Iraqi government. People familiar with the charges said they may include an aggressive Reagan-era anti-drug law cracking down on assault weapons.
Though drugs were not involved in the Blackwater shooting, the Justice Department is pondering the use of a law, passed at the height of the nation's crack epidemic, to prosecute the guards. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 law calls for 30-year prison terms for using machine guns to commit violent crimes of any kind, whether drug-related or not.

Come on now. You knew it was coming. It's just the way government rolls — you give them certain powers and they will eventually misuse said powers. We know what's been said before — as long as you have a War on Drugs, you will have a War on Guns — and really, we should have seen this coming. We should have foreseen the day the government would use laws for the first to fight the second. And you know it's just a hop, skip and a jump from using the law for this purpose to using the law to prosecute folks like you and me for whatever reason, from being a day late on renewing their gun registrations (if it's ever put into place) to a failure to, as Dianne Feinstein said, "turn 'em all in." I'd like to think that if that last thing happened the government would be too busy dealing with other things (if you know what I mean) to be filling the prisons even more than they're already being overfilled, but it should never have been assumed that those laws would have always been used in the limited scope they were supposedly intended to be — just as the federal racketeering laws weren't. Of course the U.S. Supreme Court slapped that last tactic down, but I don't expect them to do the same here. Honestly, though, it's frightening to think our government would have so little respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. Really makes Ladd Everitt and his kind look even more like the clueless Eloi they are. Something tells me the Founders would have gone for tar and feathers long before now...
h/t David Codrea)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Real hard-hitting stuff there, Liz...

Yep, that's the American media, keeping up pressure on our anointed elected officials...

CHICAGO — Barack Obama appears to be enjoying his last few weeks of pondering the nation's problems without being held accountable for them.
On Wednesday, he looked like a man with a load off his shoulders.
In introducing Richardson, he indulged in jokes and smiles that were absent from his earlier news conferences. He pretended to doubt his own statement, interjecting, "I've got to check that statistic!" after saying Richardson once set a campaign record by shaking nearly 14,000 hands in eight hours.
He teased one reporter, saying: "I was not going to call on you again," and then uncharacteristically added a personal touch when he invited the first question.
"Let's start with Julianna Goldman from Bloomberg, who was one of the originals, by the way. She was there every step of the way during this campaign," Obama said.
That morning, he emerged from his downtown Philadelphia hotel and bypassed the open door of his heavily secured vehicle. With a broad grin, he crossed the street to a Quaker school where children chanted his name and eagerly shook his hand.
Later, Obama boarded his Chicago-bound plane and ventured back to the press section for the first time since he was elected. Such visits were a fading memory, although in May he had led his staff in a spirited round of the word game "Taboo," defeating the reporters and photographers.

(Pssst! got somethin' on the corner of your mouth there, ma'am...)
Just think. Newspapers (and by extension, their subscribers and advertisers) pay good money for that level of reporting when they could get it (and better) on the blogs for free. If I was a newspaper publisher I'd be having a serious case of buyer's remorse.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Interesting observations...but what else would he throw away?

...from David Horowitz, via Alexandra von Maltzan:

Obama was elected in large part by a leftist crusade for hope and "change." Now, as president-elect, he has just formed the most conservative Democratic foreign policy team since John F. Kennedy, one well to the right of Bill Clinton....What is more relevant in his Hillary Clinton pick: her prickly past or the fact that, except for Joe Lieberman, she is the Democrat most identified with support for the Iraq War?
Perhaps I should repeat that. Hillary Clinton is the Democrat MOST IDENTIFIED WITH REMOVING SADDAM HUSSEIN BY FORCE. She lost a presidency over it. So, whatever low opinion you may have about Hillary, on foreign policy she is the very best choice for that position that conservatives could expect to get. Even better, because the ONLY issue that really divided Hillary and Obama was the Iraq War. This is President Obama's way of saying, "Okay, now that I'm in office, I'm going to put my anti-war commitments aside and put the defense of the country first. And in case you didn't get that, I'm going to keep George Bush's Secretary of Defense in place, and I'm going to appoint a conservative Marine general as my National Security Advisor."
Maybe some conservatives out there have forgotten, but Clinton's Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, was an anti-Vietnam activist. So were his two National Security Advisers, Tony Lake and Sandy Berger. In fact, they met Clinton in the anti-war movement. Conservatives should be cheering right now, not chasing red herrings.

Interesting points, and I must admit I thought it was a bit odd that Obama would have brought all these older folks in as opposed to fresher blood as part of that whole "hope and change" mantra he used as his marketing slogan. One never knows. Maybe that pragmatism Obama claims to be instilled in him will impel him to keep his Attorney General pick and Congress off the backs of American gun owners. I am not holding my breath on that one, but one can always, um, hope.
What I found to be really unnerving, though, was this, in reference to Obama's birth certificate issue:
...please don't write me about the Constitution. The first principle of the Constitution is that the people are sovereign. What the people say, goes.

Um, pardon my french, but excuse the fuck me? What the people say goes, eh? Ultimately that's NOT what the Founders thought, why the hell do you think they established a republic, whose various minorities could be protected (and that's not necessarily racial minorities), as opposed to a pure democracy where, once again, if 51 percent of the people vote to strip the other 49 percent of their God-given rights then that's just too bad for them? The potential fallout of Obama being forced to step down might well be bad, but when we get down to the nut-cutting, it's far preferable to the alternative of the further undermining of the U.S. Constitution. If we throw that part of the Constitution out for the sake of political expediency, then what part of the Constitution is next? We all know that since Heller v. D.C. was handed down there have been calls from various corners for the repeal of the Second Amendment to facilitate the disarmament of American citizens for the sake of, again, political expediency. And Horowitz's apparent disregard for what's in the Constitution now would only make it easier to change the rest of what's in it that stands in the way of the leftist would-be social engineers about to take control of Washington. Freedom is going to be complicated sometimes, and it might even get messy, especially when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the Constitution and all the rights guaranteed therein...but the alternative of throwing it away just because people might get angry if certain parts of it were upheld, well, that just isn't right. Horowitz further argues that if an amendment doing away with the native-born requirement were put up for ratification it would have a good chance of passing. Well, if it does, then let Congress bring it up and let it be done as the Founding Fathers intended. Anything else would be an insult to them, and to all those who have fought and died in every war since to protect the republic and the laws that back it up.

Quote of the Day!

From David, in comments here:

May I humbly interject here the third world county corollary to Santayana’s Axiom as a partial argument against Horowitz's suggestion that we surrender the Constitution to mob rule?
“In a democracy, those who refuse to learn from history are in the majority and dictate that everyone else suffer for their ignorance.”
There are more than a few reasons that the Founders did NOT give us a democracy but a representative republic when they framed the Constitution.

Yes, yes, and YES. More of my own thoughts on democracy here.

Some folks get it, and some folks don't...

in the letters to the editor in today's Houston Chronicle...

Might the violence in Mexico have some root in the official anti-gun policy over many decades? Private citizens there do not have the right to defend them-selves with modern firearms. They are easy prey for heavily armed criminals and have little defense. Another possible root of the violence in Mexico is the thriving drug trade, which goes on and on due to the large market for recreational drugs in the United States.
There might be two major steps that could help Mexico. First, legalize self-defense with modern weapons. Second, legalize the use of recreational drugs in the U.S. That would take all of the financial muscle out of the criminal gangs.

A-yep, it's just that simple, actually. It'd be interesting to find out just what kind of money one could fetch for proscribed weaponry south of the border precisely due to its illegality, whether it be a pistol or semi-auto rifle. No doubt the illegal gun trade in Mexico is or at least could be just as lucrative as, if not more lucrative than, the illegal drug trade in the United States.
The people who choose to buy, transport and, most im-portantly, to kill others make the decision to break the law. Let's focus on enforcing the laws we have today to reduce the problem. Access to guns doesn't equal more crime. Since 1991, the number of pri-vately owned firearms in the U.S. has increased between 65-70 million, and the nation's murder rate has decreased 43 percent.
Why not address the reason the drug cartels are still in business, despite the use of drugs being illegal in the U.S.? I believe it is because demand is strong. Every time someone lights up a marijuana cigarette or snorts a line of cocaine, they are supporting those who pro-fit from this illegal activity and help to create more violence. Let's address the cause of the problem, and not just the symptoms, to reduce criminal activities here and in Mexico.

Wayne, ole buddy, you're halfway onto something there. You just got one thing ass-backwards. The cartels aren't in business despite drug illegality — they're in business because of it. We're already trying to address the cause of the problem. Does "Just Say No" ring a bell? How about the DARE program? It's not as if we're just throwing people in jail or fining them for getting involved with drugs in whatever capacity here. People are going into this nowadays at least semi-educated, just like they are with alcohol and tobacco. And one more time, why are those two substances not against the law, despite THEIR deleterious effects on society?