Thursday, April 30, 2009

On attitudes, cliques and objectivity

Alternately titled, The hell with it, I will own my words;
or, You know me, never one to pass up some juicy blogfodder.
I think it's going to be interesting to see what the explanation is of the matter detailed here. The organizers of the Second Amendment Blog Bash don't think highly of the Gun Rights Examiners? How true that might be I don't know, considering I've seen the GREs' work discussed by at least one of the bloggers in question. But then one would think that if this excluded Examiner columnist wasn't telling the truth, one of said organizers would be right quick to pipe up and set the matter straight. I know if it was me I wouldn't stand for something so outrageous if it was a lie. And then there's the matter of registration for the bash being closed right after David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh registered. For all anyone knows it could be coincidental, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't. It was only a matter of time before the blogosphere developed the very same clique mentality inherent to the "Authorized Journalists," as well as the accompanying clique-ish attitudes and groupthink. And the development of said mentality was only helped along by the fact that many of those bloggers are friends in real life; I suppose that's the blogger equivalent of the "Authorized Journalists" running into each other at the same cocktail parties or whatever. Anybody who's observed human relationships for any period of time knows when that sort of thing happens it affects one's objectivity. Don't get me wrong; it's great for them that their blogs fostered meatspace friendships. My own blog opened a door for me that I'd been trying to get open for, let's just say, way the hell too long. But I surely hope no one thought that group wasn't going to develop a plan of its own and exclude or ostracize those who didn't quite agree with said plan though those who were shut out agreed with the plan's objectives. That phenomenon is just one of the failures of human organizations that we're probably never going to get around, but it doesn't make it any less appalling or counterproductive.
As for me owning my words...yeah, this was me. I just edited it a bit for this space. I was bein' a chickenshit by not signing my name to it. I don't expect any pats on the back for this; in fact, I'd expect varying degrees of disagreement with some or all of what I just said. But that's ok. Free and open discussion is a good thing.

Heyyyy, one-a my favorite classic rock tunes!

I played this number yesterday on the jukebox as Better Half and I were shooting pool yesterday afternoon! On Classic Vinyl, Sirius Ch. 14: "They said, come on, dudes, let's get it on! And we proceeded to tear that hotel down, we're an American baaaand...."

Yeah, the last couple of days have been really good...

...which would explain no bloggy for you this morning! Better Half woke up and said, "Get your clothes on, you can ride with me to (hometown in Southwest Louisiana)." So I did. We took care of some business there, and once we headed back here she asked me, "What are we gonna do today?"
Me, I had no clue. She suggested we ride down to the beach. So off we went, spent a good 3-4 hours there collecting seashells, walking through the surf and just generally having a good ole time. We came back to our town and went and got ourselves a bite to eat at a Mexican place here in town, a place with a Thursday special on margaritas. Good times, good times. We would be shooting pool right now, but she got called in to go to work. I told her, "There's always next week!" But I am thinking one of those days is going to be spent back down at the water's edge, with an ice chest of full of libations. ;-) We did shoot some pool yesterday, though. It had been a long time since I had a pool cue in my hand, but with application of some of the stuff I learned in high school I held my own, even if a lot of it was seat-of-the-pants. I need to tell the guy that owns the jukebox to balance out some of the Beatles with some Stones. But yeah, life is good...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Well damn. Another good one gone.

One of the greatest voices in country music was silenced today. I just heard about it literally one minute ago. Maybe more later. For some strange and unknown reason I just don't have the words right now.

We're the Only Ones Ventilating High School Kids Enough...

What's that, again?...

FORT BLISS — An Army soldier is charged with murder in the shooting death of an El Paso high school student.
Col. Ed Manning, the Fort Bliss garrison commander, said on Tuesday that Spc. Gerald Polanco is charged with murder, attempted murder and being absent without leave.
Hey, you know how this could have been prevented, right? If only the police and the military had guns!
Oh, wait...

So the politicians aren't experts, huh?

It would seem that's what one South Texas congressman is saying here...

“It is my hope at this time that our borders with Mexico and Canada remain open so that trade may continue to flourish between our friendly nations unless experts, rather than politicians, see a need to close the borders,” said U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio.
Who the experts would be in this case, I don't know. But this post was going to go in a whole different direction not so long ago. I was going to say that maybe Ciro Rodriguez was bringing up this whole expert thing just because it was his ox that would be gored in the event we did close the border with Mexico. I was going to say that he'd do well to tell those Northeastern and big-city Democrats to lay off on the talk about more gun control since they don't really know anything about guns in the first place and are obviously riding this whole "iron river to Mexico" thing in an attempt to force gun control on Americans with what amounts to a bald-faced lie. But one could say that in effect he did exactly that; he was one of the 65 Democrats to sign the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (pdf alert) opposing a renewal of the Clinton gun ban. Whether that was out of political expediency I don't know, and I note that Rodriguez was rated C by the NRA, but still it makes me tend to think he might not have said "leave it up to the experts" just because his district would be affected. I was honestly surprised by that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why don't I mess with file-sharing services?

'Cause of stuff like this right-cheer...

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — After battling a suburban family for four years over music downloads, the recording industry has agreed to accept $7,000 — paid in installments — to settle its federal piracy lawsuit.
If approved by a judge, the settlement will end a well-publicized tussle that began with five record companies accusing Patricia Santangelo, a mother of five, of illegally downloading and distributing music.

Yeah, I know, that's one family out of how many? Still though, I'd really rather not take the chance. I know the advantages people tout of services like that, and I can see where they're coming from -- like, say, you can download one or two songs off a cd you buy before you actually plunk down the cash. But I'd just rather not take the chances of being snared in that legal net. I know the business model has changed drastically from what it used to be before the advent of broadband and mp3s, and I know people also try to justify it by saying things like "the artist makes more off merchandise and concert ticket sales than recordings anyway," and I can see that point as well -- but if the record companies backing the artists don't want you to download the music for free, I think that should be taken into consideration, especially given that, from what I understand, the record companies front the artists at least a portion of the costs for recording and marketing the music. It might seem heavy-handed on the part of the record companies, but isn't it just their taking action to protect their investment? I'll freely admit I used Napster once upon a time, but I downloaded maybe 10-15 songs from one cd that was out of print. If I could have gone to the store and got the cd I would have done that; I later found the cd on eBay for what I would have paid for it in the stores. And the only other online music service I've ever used was the Apple iTunes store. (It's pretty nifty too...if you can't find what you're looking for in a brick-n-mortar store, just go to iTunes and search for it and you're likely to find it. I found what's probably the definitive George Jones hits collection there.) I guess you could say I am still a bit ambivalent about the whole thing...if the artists pay for the production and marketing of the music themselves and want to make it available for free download that's great, but if they don't want to do that I just don't think we as fans should disregard that either. Thoughts?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Onion for country music?

Whatever you wanna call it, there's some funny, funny stuff here...and even the more serious stuff is worth a read.

Interesting point...

...raised by reader and blog-friend Bob S., in comments here:

I think we need to try to reframe the debate from "states rights" to limiting the power of the federal government.
States rights has a very negative connotation, limiting the power of the federal government on the other hand is something easier to understand.
I also see a conflict with the argument we gun owners use for the 2nd amendment. We state that the militia argument isn't a 'state's right' because states don't have rights, they have powers.
Just my two cents.

A good point indeed. I am quite surprised that no one's called out the advocates of that argument yet for in effect arguing out of both sides of our mouth. But then that's largely a semantic argument, from my perspective anyway. I guess one could say "states' rights" is a ham-handed attempt at shorthand for the Tenth Amendment, but it would be a better idea, as Bob says, to argue that certain things are better left to the states than to be micromanaged by the federales, than to argue something with such a negative connotation as states' rights. Either way, though, sometimes I think the people are just going to have to see for themselves the consequences of that Leviathan federal government the Founders warned us about. Which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't want to drag those of us along who didn't vote for that monstrosity.

This is rich...

...coming from someone who's shadowed by 24-hour Secret Service protection, a portion of which carries the very weapons he derides.
(h/t Codrea, who says everything else I'd like to say about this)

"Civil liberties. Civil rights."

"You keep using those terms. I do not think they mean what you think they mean."

MADISON, Wis. — Progressive magazine has a century's worth of battles under its belt.
Through internal disputes, money troubles, a First Amendment clash over nuclear secrets and more, the fixture of the American left celebrates its 100-year anniversary still fighting for peace and social justice.
Editor Matthew Rothschild promised the magazine would oppose Obama when necessary even if it means alienating its liberal readers. He has already criticized Obama for refusing to nationalize troubled banks.
"We are defenders of a set of progressive principles," Rothschild said in the magazine's small, cluttered office across the street from a Catholic church in downtown Madison. "These are principles of civil liberties and civil rights and preserving the environment, combating corporate power."

We'll leave alone the "peace and social justice" shibboleth. That should have been seen long, long ago for the self-evident horseshit that it is. What really stood out to me was the claim that those cretins are "defenders...of civil liberties and civil rights." Considering the fact that, for example, many of them advocate keeping from my 5 ft. 2 girlfriend the one thing that would best help her defend herself against her 6 ft. 4 ex-boyfriend, I am thinking they have a different definition of "civil rights and civil liberties" than most of the rest of us do. Since the first time I saw her use the term in that legendary column from 1993, I always got a huge kick out of lefty standard-bearer Molly Ivins describing herself as a "civil libertarian," considering how she showed herself to be an authoritarian fascist on the level of, say, Benito Mussolini. Call me crazy, but I didn't think civil libertarians would advocate measures like taking things from people — by force of arms if necessary — for acts they didn't commit. I didn't think civil libertarians would brush off the concerns of other civil libertarians by saying things like "You want protection? Get a dog." But then, maybe that's just the bloodthirsty, warmongering, unenlightened Texan retrosexual in me.

I bet Reid wasn't even aware...

...of the incongruity of his own words...

WASHINGTON — Everyone knows President Barack Obama can deliver a great speech, including the president himself, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid, D-Nev., writes: "'That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: 'I have a gift, Harry.'"

Mmm-hmmm. More of those narcissistic tendencies, I suppose. Reid thinks Americans are going to swallow this crap? Call me crazy, but saying anything about your own gifts is a display of anything but humility, no matter how you say it. As for Americans taking those words without even a hint of doubt about the creature they put in the big chair...well, I'm sure many of them will, unfortunately. It goes back to that lack of critical thinking skills addressed in this space yesterday. And the destruction of the Founders' Republic proceeds right on schedule...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

One of my favorite Tracy Lawrence tunes... "Won't you paint me a Birmingham, make it look just the way I planned..."
Tracy Lawrence wasn't the first one to get that song on the radio -- Ken Mellons beat him to it by a few months or so -- but I always liked Tracy Lawrence's version better. Lord, but I've come a long, long way from the memory that song evokes...

Another worthy read...

...from National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea, in response to an anti-gun rant in a magazine aimed at the black community.... don't understand "gun control" had its roots in racism, either, do you? I notice you never talk about the slave codes that could punish a black man for having a dog because it might attack a white man--or the post-Civil War black codes designed to put firearms beyond the economic means of freed blacks--or a key observation in Dredd Scott, that a black man simply CAN'T be a "citizen" because then he'd have the same rights as whites, including the right to keep and bear arms. Yeah, Chief Justice Taney actually wrote that. You'd know if you took the time to do a little learning before presuming yourself authoritative enough to teach.

Why not ask Roy Innis of CORE where the term "Saturday Night Special" came from? I guarantee your readers won't like it.
Go read the rest.

Maybe he thinks like that, but I don't.

Admit it, you knew this was coming, the conflation of states' rights and smaller, less intrusive federal government with the Jim Crow South...

“The remarks (of Gov. Rick Perry -- ed.) played well with very conservative Republicans who vote in GOP presidential primaries and caucuses,” said professor of politics Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “The country as a whole, though, had a very different reaction.
“This was a throwback to the Old South, a South that was out of the mainstream and viewed as something of an embarrassment. You think of people like George Wallace when you think of the claim of states’ rights. I don’t think that’s the image that modern Texas wants,” Sabato said.

Maybe you think like that, Larry, but I sure as hell don't. Sweet bleedin' Barnabus, these people are absolutely shameless. I daresay anyone whose critical thinking skills are in such sad shape that they think states' rights means being able to oppress certain groups of people with impunity should be demanding their money back they paid for their education, because they were obviously ripped off. Yeah...when Rick Perry's standing in front of the schoolhouse door not letting anyone in, then maybe Mr. Sabato might be on to something. If that level of critical thinking is what American college graduates are finishing their education with, then, quite simply, We. Are. Doomed.

Hey, you mean shooting back actually WORKS?

The hell you say...

ROME — An Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board fended off a pirate attack far off the coast of Somalia when its Israeli private security forces exchanged fire with the bandits and drove them away, the commander said Sunday.
Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white speed boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after the Israeli security officers aboard the cruise ship returned fire.

With pistols, no less, while I'm guessing the pirates had at least semi-auto rifles. Maybe even full-auto. Who the hell's to say, the way the media tries to conflate the two. That takes balls. But then, you do the best you can with what you have to work with. Any way you look at it though, there's a lesson to be learned here. And as is their wont, said lesson will go unlearned by the international community because they'll never, ever learn that there are just some parties who will not be negotiated with or reached out to with pretty words. Come to think of it, our esteemed Dear Leader won't learn that lesson either, I fear...even if we end up being the target an act whose death toll is a hundred times that of 9/11. I do hope I am wrong, but I guess only time will tell.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just some more random Saturday night musings...

Many of the advocates of radio consolidation say it makes it a lot easier to serve certain niches, which is why, for example, you'll see a lot of big cities with a modern-rock station and a classic rock station, both owned by the same company, such as Clear Channel, Cumulus or what have you. You Sirius/XM subscribers know they take this whole niche marketing thing to a whole new level with channels like, say "Outlaw Country" and "Hair Nation." Pretty self-explanatory, right? Well, one of my favorite channels, of course, is the Boneyard (Sirius Ch. 19/XM Ch. 53), which bills itself as playing "hard and heavy classic rock." (Which they do. Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" is playing right now.) They play about 25 years worth of rock on here, from roughly 1970 to about 1995. A sample of the songs I've heard as of late:
Black Sabbath, "Paranoid," 1970
Rush, "Working Man," 1974
Van Halen, "Eruption/You Really Got Me," 1978
Billy Squier, "My Kinda Lover," 1981
Metallica, "For Whom The Bell Tolls," 1984
Guns'n'Roses, "Civil War," 1991

"One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong..."
Billy Squier? Really? Nothing against the Stroke Man, but I just don't see that song fitting in that well on that channel. Or, for that matter, anything else I've heard from him. Put it on the '80s pop station where it belongs. I guess it might fit for the demographic they're aiming for, but still it just seems out of place. Sort of like playing John Michael Montgomery and Collin Raye on the weekend classic country shows some stations do. It might be old music now, but I just don't see that as fitting in with, say, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Just a minor complaint though, really.
And on another note, I am not the biggest fan of "Tears in Heaven," but I think to dismiss Eric Clapton's work just because of that song would be a huge mistake. He and his various groups put out some really great music, even if some of his solo output was more poppy, like "Forever Man." I had forgotten how good that song was till I heard it the other day...

...did he REALLY say that?

Our esteemed and erudite Dear Leader, that is...

After former Soviet pawn and now Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega berated the United States at a recent summit, President Obama joked, in reference to the failed Bay of Pigs operation, “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was 3 months old.”

Wow. "Didn't blame ME for things that happened when I was 3 months old." I've heard various folks claim Obama was a narcissist, and I'll admit I wondered where they were getting that from. I guess I wasn't paying quite enough attention.

What if her answer had been different?

I happen to agree with what Nick Anderson's editorial cartoon is saying here, but I do think it'd be interesting to see how he'd have drawn it had Carrie Prejean's answer to Perez Hilton been different. And wasn't it odd how he just targeted Prejean and not Hilton, who asked the damn question in the first place? I know most editorial cartoonists in the MSM seem to be notoriously inept at getting a clue, but you'd think when they get as far up the ladder of American journalism as Nick Anderson has, they'd be able to hide it better than that.

Yep, that's our politicians...

...willing to step up, make the hard choices and face the hard truths head-on:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering sending more National Guard troops to keep order along the U.S.-Mexican border as drug-fueled violence increases in northern Mexico, defense officials said Friday.
The governors of New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas sent a letter Wednesday to House and Senate leaders, saying that funding the National Guard Counter-Drug Program would allow federal, state and local law enforcement to fulfill the federal government's commitment to reduce demand for illegal drugs in the United States.

Commitment to reduce demand. Just exactly how do they think that's been doing since Richard Nixon got it cranked up almost 40 years ago? I would remind them all of the words Milton Friedman wrote almost 20 years ago:
"Of course the problem is demand, but it is not only demand, it is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels. Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials; illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault."
How long till they face THAT hard truth?

Some funny for your Saturday

I heard Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" last night at work. One of my favorite records from him, but then I like pretty much everything from him. Anyway, I will freely admit I am a Coke man, but every time I hear that song I think of this commercial.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chalk one more thing up...

...on the list of things that Leonard Pitts doesn't understand:

Country, after all, is supposed to be that which pulls us back together after everything else -- politics, race, religion -- has conspired to pull us apart.

Yeah, but what do you do when you have few if any shared core values? What do you do when at least 53 percent of American voters seem to think more and bigger government is the solution to what ails you and have no problem with imposing their values on you -- with your money, natch -- and by force of arms if necessary? What does it say that secession enters the discussion? Seems to me, that to Leonard Pitts it says everything but that Obama and his minions are going too far. And I still don't understand why anyone's calling Perry a traitor here. It isn't as if Perry's talking about launching unprovoked offensives across the borders with the Texas National Guard in an attempt to take over bordering states. I would ask what does it say about Leonard Pitts and his ilk that they would have us go along -- once again, by force of arms if necessary -- with the overreaching federal government that exists now and that our elected officials are well on their way to enlarging even more. One could be forgiven for thinking this is what they want to prevent: that those in the post-secession United States would cast envious eyes at Texas, thinking that whole smaller-government thing was really the way to go after all, and get their own ideas about secession. But that's just my two cents on that.
UPDATE: Well, there was this comment at Vanderboegh's place:
"...saying Texas doesn't like the way things are going in this country and suggesting that if we don't get our act together, his state might take its mountains and rivers and go home."

Not just the mountains and rivers, bub. All of our oil, our fertile agricultural land and cattle, our 50 million guns, all of our veterans, all of our gunsmiths and firearms-related manufacturing facilities, Dell Computer, Texas Instruments, and other high-tech companies, our share of the armor and aircraft the Feds have here, the Pantex nuclear weapons assembly facility, etc., etc. We can feed and fuel ourselves, and with the money we make from selling oil to the half-frozen people in the Northeast, Detroit and Chicago, we can outfit whatever kind of armed forces we need to defend ourselves - better than we can already, that is.
Oh, and I suspect that oil-rich Oklahoma and a couple of other nearby states will come along for the ride.
Such are the thoughts that come to the fore when distant politicians cease to represent us, and begin to represent alien concepts and the interests of their own pockets.

Just some random Friday short takes

Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime is an awesome cd and I look forward to checking out more of their material from before they went the more commercial route, but "Jet City Woman" is still a great song.
Listening to the Jimmy Wayne hit "Do You Believe Me Now," I can hear answer of the woman he's addressing. "Yeah, I believe you. Question is did you really believe yourself? If you did you wouldn't-a left the door open for him to make a move, you schmuck." God forbid I ever do that.
Regarding the ABC anti-gun hit piece from a few weeks back...I honestly wonder how many non-gunnies watched it while keeping in mind the previous attempts of the media to rig the game over the years, such as the Dateline: NBC-General Motors fiasco, CBS and Dan Rather's pushing the fake memos before the '04 election, AP reporter Rose French's hatchet job on the .50-caliber rifle, and CNN's Eason Jordan accusing American soldiers of targeting journalists -- with no proof whatsoever to back up said accusations. I know that corrections were issued and those responsible were punished, but it's worth asking why such dishonest hackery is continually put forth as truth. One would get the idea the media are relying on Americans' short memories...

How long will they beat that drum?

The U.S.-guns-fueling-Mexico-violence drum, that is...

Texas led the nation as the source of known weapons smuggled into Mexico with 40 percent of the total, or 4,800 firearms in 2008 — a year in which a record number of confiscated weapons were traced to U.S. retailers.
In recent weeks, ATF tracing statistics have become increasingly politicized as gun-control advocates like the Brady Campaign cite them as grounds for new legislation and Second Amendment rights activists challenge what they mean.
Adding to that debate are widely varying counts of the number of guns smuggled into Mexico, the number seized and the number traced. Accurate totals can be difficult to obtain.
In their absence, a fight is underway over the origins of untraced weapons.
Top Mexican and U.S. politicians have asserted that the high percentage of guns traced to U.S. sources in the past — 90 percent of all those submitted for traces — indicates that a large majority of guns in Mexico not traced also comes from U.S. retailers.
But gun rights advocates argue the number of guns traced is but a small fraction of the total in Mexico.

Now one thing's a new one on me -- U.S. politicians asserting that a large percentage of guns not traced come from U.S. retailers? Do they have any evidence whatsoever to back this up? Do we have any idea exactly what types of guns aren't traced back to U.S. gun stores? Am I the only one who finds it outrageous that American government officials would actually propose more infringements on our rights based on such circumstantial evidence? Words fail me. I see lefty bloggers in Texas and elsewhere calling Rick Perry a treason advocate for mentioning secession and advocating states' rights, but they say nary a word about those who would limit Americans' right to arms with amounts to be barely a shred of concrete evidence and fail to explore alternatives. (If I didn't know better I'd say that, as opposed to having any real patriotism, said lefty bloggers are just pissed that Perry doesn't want the citizens of this fine state dragged on down the road to the collectivist shithole Obama wants to make the United States into.)
But I digress. None of the above is to say I think even more ironclad evidence would justify infringements on our rights. As the great L. Neil Smith says, "The freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right -- subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility." But again, the fact that some of our lawmakers would actually advocate abrogation of our rights on, again, what amounts to be NO EVIDENCE? Just whose side are these people on? And why aren't they being called out as traitors, let alone not on trial with their lives on the line for treason?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ah, yeah, this is a good 'ern... the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: "Look at your young men fighting, look at your women crying, look at your young men dying, the way they've always done before..."
I remember that biting piece of social commentary, the lead-off track from Guns 'n' Roses' Use Your Illusion II, being all over the radio in late 1991. One of my middle-school friends had that tape and we wore it out on his jambox listening to it in the mornings before class. I've said before here that I thought Use Your Illusion II was the better of the two G'n'R 1991 releases, and that song was one of the reasons why. Now that's not to say I agreed with what I thought the song was trying to say -- that is, that War Is Never the Answer -- but I still thought it was a great song that did have some worthwhile things to say.

Oh-hooo, HELL YEAH! 8:26 am: "Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind...people think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time..."
My favorite Black Sabbath tune, the title track from their 1970 sophomore album Paranoid. That opening guitar riff always makes me go about 10 mph faster when I am behind the wheel. ;-) They also play a lot of Black Sabbath on the Boneyard, from both the Ozzy era and the Dio era. I like Ronnie James Dio, but the Ozzy Osbourne-era Black Sabbath records remain my preference.

And it continues unabated...

...the Great Obama Gun & Ammunition Rush, that is, even in the largest city in my beloved Texas...

...Gun stores nationwide and in Houston are reporting a high demand for guns and ammunition amid rising fears of restrictive gun controls and crime related to the economic downturn.
In Texas, the number of applications for concealed handguns swelled to 12,587 in February, up from 7,626 in the same month last year, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety.
Nationally, the number of FBI background checks, which are required whenever someone buys a firearm from a federally licensed retailer, jumped 29.2 percent in March 2009, compared to the same month last year.
Traffic at the center’s classes is up four times compared to last year, said Rob Corson, managing partner at Memorial Shooting Center.
“They’re worried about their security,” Corson said. “The day after the election, gun sales exploded. We ran out of everything.”
The store sells 30,000 to 40,000 of the 9mm rounds per month, and about 15,000 .45-caliber rounds.
Ammo sales alone are more than double what they were last year, Corson said, adding that some manufacturers have told him it would be months before new orders could be filled.
Rob Friedberg, a collector who has bought about 10 guns in the past year, said he couldn’t find any 9mm, .223-caliber or .40-caliber Smith & Wesson ammunition last week.
I must say, I think that's pretty amazing, especially considering the state of the economy now. I never would have thought of this industry as recession-proof, but it's pretty evident that folks learned from the last Democrat president in office. I do wonder how many of the people buying guns now voted for Obama, though.
Of course, as we all know, they have to get something from both sides, and indeed they did...
Some gun control advocates think the run-up is due to unwarranted fears created by gun enthusiasts.
“The NRA has been trying to push this fear that Obama is going to start small and take away people’s gun rights, which we all know is not going to happen,” said Marsha McCartney, a volunteer with the North Texas Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence.
Ahem. No, what we all know is that Marsha McCartney is blowing smoke. The fact is, if Obama wasn't going to at least try to strip Americans of their right to at least certain arms, the Bradys wouldn't have endorsed him, let alone have crowed so loudly after the election that they "won" and that the NRA "lost." Of course, when Marsha McCartney says "gun rights," she probably means "nothing bigger than a single-shot .22 pistol."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why do I get that idea?

The idea, that is, that "immigration reform" is synonymous with "amnesty," "decreasing border security," and "not deporting more illegals back to Mexico"...

NEWARK, N.J. — A nationwide group of Latino ministers has a message for illegal immigrants: Stand up, but refuse to be counted in the 2010 U.S. census.
The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders is urging undocumented immigrants to boycott the census — which is used to calculate everything from federal funding to congressional representation — unless Congress first passes immigration reform.
I remember Houston deejay John Walton, of the Walton and Johnson show (currently on 93.7 the Arrow now, if I remember correctly), had a pretty good way of putting it: "If you don't have borders and a common language, you don't have a country." We know the Hispanic activists are working on weakening the first, and with their whines on "English-only" laws they're also working on that second thing too. I wonder what they'd do if we reformed our laws to make them more like the ones discussed here...
Now, none of this is to denigrate Hispanics' work ethic or anything like that. I've seen these folks work, and how representative they are of the Hispanic population I don't know, but the guys who moved me into my current residence? They. Busted. Their. Asses. With nary a complaint I heard, even as they moved my gun safe. I sing their praises to everybody I know, as I tell 'em that I don't know where the stereotype of the lazy Mexican comes from, 'cause like I said, those guys busted their tails and got the job done faster than I ever would have thought they could, and that thought wasn't because of their race -- it was because I had so much stuff.
But with no common language, no common culture, and what would seem to be fewer common values as evidenced by the corruption endemic to the Mexican government and tolerated by the Mexican exactly do you think this is going to go?
You may ask anyone familiar with Mexican history since 1912 what the rule of law means south of the border. Or, for a modern example closer to home, take a look at some of the seamier La Raza-dominated suburbs of LA. These millions of newly minted citizens will toil upon the Democrat latifundistas' political plantations as indentured servants for the next fifty years and gradually, in the end, the American Republic will be as dead as its Greek and Roman predecessors. If, that is, it doesn't catastrophically collapse in the next decade or so in a welter of racial warfare and Balkan "ethnic cleansing" that will make the former Yugoslavia look like a kindergarten at play. The devil will walk abroad in the land and our children's children's children will curse our folly.

Call Vanderboegh a crank if you want, but I for one wouldn't dismiss his musings that easily here, especially considering the Hispanics have their own grievance-mongering race-baiters that make the NAACP and even the Black Panthers look like total pikers. "Ethnic cleansing can't happen here"? I wouldn't be so sure. It ain't like it hasn't been tried here before. (Ku Klux Klan, anyone?)

Another great cover...

...of one of those oldies, from Van Halen, at the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: "They'll be swingin', swayin', records playin', dancin' in the street (dancin' in the street!)..."
I never knew VH did so many cover songs in the David Lee Roth era. I knew this one and "You Really Got Me," but there was also "Ice Cream Man," which I never knew was an old blues song written originally recorded by Midwestern blues man John Brim back in the early '40s. I also just recently heard their recording of the old Linda Ronstadt song "You're No Good." It was pretty good too, but as far as that song goes you just can't beat the original.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two of my favorites, one right after the other...

...on the drive home...
You know what lyric always cracked me up?
"Corn won't grow way up on Rocky Top, dirt's too rocky by far,
That's why all the folks on Rocky Top, get their corn from a jar."
Yep. I hadn't heard that song in quite a while. As far as I can remember it's the only Osborne Brothers song I've ever heard, but I really like their sound. No doubt if I keep listening I'll hear more, though.
And right after that, one of Hank Williams Jr.'s slower numbers...
No one to talk to, all by myself, no one to walk with, but I'm happy on the shelf...ain't misbehavin', savin' my love for you...Now I know for certain, you're the one I love...I'm through with flirtin', just you I'm dreamin' of...Ain't misbehavin', savin' my love for you..."
First recorded by Fats Waller in 1929, "Ain't Misbehavin'" has become a standard, recorded by countless artists since then. Hank Jr. made a name for himself with the more rocking country songs -- I think it's safe to say his sound owed much more to the Outlaw movement than to his father and all the folks his father influenced -- but his rendition of that sultry standard has always been one of my favorite records from him. I hadn't heard that song in, it had to be years, before tonight. Man, it's good to hear all that stuff again...

One of the Greatest. Songs. EVER.

....right now, at Outlaw Country, Sirius Ch. 63, by another of my Texas favorites: "And I just thought I'd mention, my Grandma's old age pension, is the reason why I'm standing here today...I got all my country learnin', milkin' and a-churnin', pickin' cotton, raisin' hell, and bailin' hay, I been to Georgia on a fast train, honey, I wasn't born no yesterday...I got a good Christian raisin' and an eighth-grade education, ain't no need in y'all a-treatin' me this way..."
God only knows how many times that Billy Joe Shaver staple's been recorded, but it's a great one. I know Shaver recorded it first on his 1973 album Old Five and Dimers Like Me, but he did an even better, more rockin' version on his Tramp On Your Street cd, recorded with his son Eddy Shaver 20 years later. It's not that often that I think newly-recorded versions of classics by the original artists measure up to the original recordings, but yeah, that later recording of "Georgia On A Fast Train" blows the doors off the original. (Cory Morrow nails it on his 2-cd live set Double Exposure as well.) Also on the Tramp On Your Street cd is a great newer recording of "Oklahoma Wind" with Waylon Jennings. As far as I know that song was first recorded by Shaver in 1982, but I've never heard that version.

Yeah, I remember... bet your ass I do. To my fellow Texans out there, and all those who wish they were...
Happy San Jacinto Day!
Remember the Alamo and Goliad, indeed, and the fighting spirit that was in Sam Houston and his men, not just today, but every day.

Heeding the lesson?

Yeah, we'll see how that works out...

WASHINGTON — The last time a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress banned civilian sales of military-style assault weapons, it took American voters just seven weeks to rebel.
They handed Republicans control of the House and the Senate for the first time in 40 years.
There is indeed a lesson there, but some of these fools don't ever learn, as evidenced by Dick Durbin's whine about "no one sticking their necks out for sensible gun control." I don't know how many Americans would go so far to say "sensible gun control" is hitting your target," but fortunately it would seem that their idea of such is much different than that of Mr. Durbin, who would probably disarm Americans completely if he had his way. I got a huge kick out of E.J. Dionne whining yesterday that "He was not elected by the gun lobby....Will Obama stand up for the people who actually voted for him?" Funny stuff, because as we all saw in 1994, gun owners might not have elected Obama, but we can sure as hell make things a lot harder for him if he crosses us. I don't know how many gun owners voted for Clinton in 1992, but I'm sure Bush the Elder pissed more than a few of them off when he signed that executive order banning importation of certain semi-auto rifles. Had it not been for that, Clinton might well have lost the election. And of course everyone knows how close the 2000 election was -- would it have been that way if not for Algore's advocacy of tighter gun laws? We'll see how it goes, but considering the administration's willingness to take backdoor routes to more gun control, once again, I am not so optimstic.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ahhh, yeah, Mel Street...

Hey, who here likes Mel Street? I sure do! "Forbidden angel, I know I must let you go...While everything in me says love you, my better judgment tells me no...I love you so I know I can wait to unlock heaven's door, when my forbidden angel is not forbidden anymore..."
I think the first time I ever heard Mel Street was on Bryan-College Station's 98.3 KORA back in the late '90s when I was living in that area. I knew George Strait had done at least one of his songs and I knew the name, but once I heard the voice I was a fan instantly. Mel Street had a great honky-tonk voice....he was another of those singers who died way too soon and isn't played or even mentioned nearly enough.

Huh, hell just got a bit colder... it seems it's the Ninth Circuit, the most left-leaning circuit court in the land, that has incorporated the Second Amendment.with its decision in Nordyke v. King. Unanimously, no less. (h/t Borepatch)

(1) It points to evidence that the right was seen as very important by the Framers, and concludes, "This brief survey of our history reveals a right indeed 'deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.' Moreover, whereas the Supreme Court has previously incorporated rights the colonists fought for, we have here both a right they fought for and the right that allowed them to fight."

(2) It points to continued support for the right from the Framing on, noting among other things that 44 state constitutions contain a right-to-bear-arms provision.

(3) It particularly points to the support of the right, including its self-defense component, around the time the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified.

Wow. I honestly thought that incorporation would come with the test of Chicago's gun laws in the Seventh Circuit before the Ninth Circuit got to it. Looks like a pretty good sign, even if it's only binding for the Ninth. My, my, my, to be a fly on the wall in Mayor Richard Daley's office right about now.

Conway Twitty sings of blurring the genres...

...sort of, right now at The Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "I love to hearrrr Bill sing about Kentuckyyyy, and the Allman Brothers' Raaaamblin' Man...we put the music all togetherrrrr, so dance to the Boogie Grass Baaaand...."
I never would have thought of calling the Allman Brothers' sound anything like "boogie grass," but again, I don't think the line between Bill Monroe and the Allmans was that long or that winding. Of course, I'm sure there are those who would beg to differ. I'll freely admit my own perspective is a bit skewed; as you might know, most of the music I blog about here came out either before I was born or when I was really too young to understand it. Just as an example, that particular Conway Twitty song ("Boogie Grass Band") was released in 1978, when I wasn't even a year old; and at the other end of the musical spectrum, the last of what one would call the old-school Metallica records, ...And Justice For All, was released ten years later. So I approach it as one who looks back on it all, not as one who listened to the music when it was on the charts. I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see some aghast at some of those old Southern rock records being played on the classic country stations nowadays, never mind the suggestion that they actually fit pretty well. They'd probably be some of the same people who didn't care for the pop influences of Conway Twitty. Not that I'm saying that's bad, just making the observation. Some of his songs I didn't like precisely because of those influences. ("Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night," anyone? Blech.) He could sure nail the country sound when he wanted to, though.
Speaking of blurring the genres and the perspective of folks older than myself, AlanDP has some observations of his own as an older music fan. All of which I absolutely agree with.

Once again, we're not getting the whole story here...

...or, E.J. Dionne throws a hissy fit in his latest Washington Post column as he once again uses the First Amendment to take a crap all over the Second, seen in this morning's Houston Chronicle...

Who will face down the gun lobby?
...Earlier this year, when Attorney General Eric Holder called for a renewal of the ban on assault weapons — he was only repeating the commitment Obama made during his presidential campaign — the response from a group of 65 pro-gun House Democrats was: No way.
Their letter to Holder was absurd. “The gun-control community has intentionally misled many Americans into believing that these weapons are fully automatic machine guns. They are not. These firearms fire one shot for every pull of the trigger.” Doesn’t that make you feel better?
Those Democrats should sit down with Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. “Time and time again, our police are finding themselves outgunned,” Rendell said in Harrisburg last week. “They are finding themselves with less firepower than the criminals they are trying to bring to justice.”
"Doesn't that make you feel better?" Wow, really, is that the best he can do? The only rebuttal to that that he can come up with? This is what passes for argument at one of the newspapers considered to be the pinnacle of American journalism?
And of course if you read the column you'll see him leading the whole thing off with the "U.S. guns fueling Mexican drug war violence" meme, which shows us all where he's coming from -- namely, using the same half-assed reporting that's gotten that now-debunked meme accepted as gospel truth among too many Americans. Nothing about the Mexican military arming the drug cartels with the full-auto weaponry, grenades and rocket launchers, nothing about the wide-open border, nothing about the obscene profits of the illegal drug market that funds those acquisitions. Nope, it's all the fault of those damned American gun shows and those damned American gun laws. Wow, this is one of the most argument- and fact-bereft columns I've seen from Dionne in a pretty good while...although, granted, I don't read his columns that often. For all I know he lowers the bar with every missive he pens.
As for "the police being outgunned by the criminals"...well, for purposes of this argument we'll stipulate that as the truth. Guess what? Even if it is true, that's not the fault of the eeeevil gun lobby either! Where are the criminals getting the funds to buy these weapons? Or, more to the point, how much of that weaponry was purchased with drug money? And what about all those grants various and sundry police departments are getting all the time to buy equipment to fight that War On Some Drugs? What in the bloody hell do they buy with it? Oh, wait...they buy armored personnel carriers with belt-fed machine guns, that's what they buy with it. Not exactly the right tools for the job, to put it mildly. But I guess if those big-city "journalists" like E.J. Dionne started looking into things like that, it'd make their Two Minutes' Hate aimed at the American gun culture look like the ignorant tripe it is. And you know how those people hate, hate, HATE to have their preconceived notions challenged. Of course, if I built such a narrative around such preconceived notions I'd be upset too, but it's still quite disgusting to see American journalism come to this. And, of course, the question remains. In fact, it's more urgent now than it was six months ago, and we all know the reason for that. What about all those semiautomatic rifles in citizens' hands now? And of course, what about the fact that the last "assault weapons ban" did nothing to reduce crime? Why do they just come right out and admit their goal like Charles Krauthammer did before the passage of the last ban? To wit:
"...The assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea...Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation."
Which, of course, will no doubt be facilitated as Obama gets himself a sympathetic judge on the Supreme Court and reverses Heller.

Hey, here's an idea...

Everybody knows what would have prevented this, right?

A 32-year-old Houston man's breath test showed he was legally intoxicated two and a half hours after he drove into a water-filled ditch in north Houston on Saturday, drowning five children who were passengers in the car, a prosecutor said today.

Car registration and licensing...
...wait, maybe alcohol registration and licenses to drink? I say that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was that far off in the future. You know, for teh childrenses...
On a more serious note, can anyone give one good reason that son of a bitch doesn't deserve a bullet to the head?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A multimedia genius? Maybe...

Yeah, I agree with Kevin Baker wholeheartedly. Yet again, that is. The great Bill Whittle is as good on video as he is in print. You need to watch this.
"...the current product of CNN, Newsweek and all the rest are as far from actual news reporting as our current Congress and federal government are from the ideals that our Founders had in mind at the very birth of this great nation." Yes, indeed.

Weeeeellll, isn't that speeeecial....

....if I may channel The Church Lady upon reading this...

NEW YORK — The Dalai Lama's nephew has finished a 900-mile walk across America to protest what he calls Chinese suppression of Tibetans.

Well that's real nice. I'm sure the Tibetans are feeling so much better this morning, considering the Dalai Lama's nephew made the Chinese see the error of their ways....

...wait, what now? You mean the Chinese are still being the heavy-handed authoritarian pricks they've been for so long? You mean it's probably going to take more, a whole hell of a lot more, than stupid symbolic shit like 900-mile walks to stop the Chinese from mistreating the Tibetans? Well, that just harshes my Sunday mellow somethin' fierce, I tell you what. I am pissed right the hell off now.

Just some observations for the day.

There is much I could say on this anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolution, but Mr. Codrea says it well. I will say, though, that it really is a crying shame that the media devote so many more column-inches to Oklahoma City than they do to what happened 220 years before. I know the OKC bombing was a huge historical event, but so was, to cite another event a mere two years before OKC, when the Branch Davidians were burned to death at Waco -- another event that gets a dearth of coverage or analysis every year.

Another favorite that walked the line...

...between country and rock, on Classic Vinyl, Sirius Ch. 14: "I can see why you think you belong to me...I never tried to make you think or let you see one thing for yourself...but now you're off with someone else and I'm see, I thought that I might keep you for my own..."
I say that song sort of blurred the line between the genres, but honestly it seems to me that "Amie" was one of those songs that was a rock song just because the industry said it was. Maybe rock in name only, sort of like an act like Rascal Flatts is country just because the industry says it is. That's not to imply that Pure Prairie League sucks as hard as Rascal Flatts does and certainly not to imply that PPL was nothing more than a marginally talented boy-band aimed at the wrong demographic for its supposed genre, though; they were always one of my favorite bands and I don't think they sucked at all. I think several bands from that period could have made damn good honky-tonk country records if they'd sat down and made a go of it, particularly the Southern rock bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I know Skynyrd covered Haggard at least once. And really, was it that far from the Allmans to Waylon and Willie? (Slightly different styles than Haggard and Jones, I know, but in my experience, those who like any of the artists from that time like most if not all of them.) So much of that subgenre, in fact, sounds more country than a too-big chunk of Nashville product that's being peddled as such these days. Which is probably why I find myself going back to it so often.

We know how to fix this...


Grisly slayings brings Mexican drug war to US

Why, ban the guns, of course! Not like it'll make a difference to the cartels, considering they get most of their armament from the Mexican military, but of course we all know facts to a gun-grabber are like kryptonite to Superman...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why I Read Scott Chaffin

Because he writes like this rat-cheer...

The man who denigrated and dismissed the tea party dealios and their denizens has the goddamned nerve to put up an FAQ about the tea parties that a) appears semi-straight (hence my complaint about his goddamned nerve), and b) plugs his employer multiple times, as if anyone cares what PJTV had to say about it (I’m sure some do, and they will directed there by their peers, but PJTV are definitely not a Frequently Asked Question in any universe.)

I’m not finding much of a reason to read Moran any more these days. If I need to be called an under-educated over-principled hick, I’ll click over to Memeorandum.

Or, you could read George Will if you wanna be called an under-educated hick who doesn't even know what principles are...

Another treasure unearthed

via Sirius, of course....
How many of you knew that Skeeter Davis recorded an answer song to Hank Locklin's "Please Help Me I'm Falling"? Interesting, it was pretty good too. I always did like Skeeter Davis' voice.

Seems at least one Texas Dem swallowed the bait...

...on the whole "border gun shops arming Mexican drug cartels" bullshit...

...I support the Second Amendment right of the people to bear arms, including handguns, hunting rifles, as well as other arms; however, I believe that some arms such as RPG's (rocket-propelled grenades), hand-held rocket launchers (bazookas), and warfare rifle-type assault weapons can and should be subjected to regulation and prohibition.
It's pretty frightening that a member of Congress from Texas, of all places, would actually go on the record as saying he believes one can get grenades and rocket launchers from your friendly local gun store. (And of course anyone worth listening to here knows those arms already ARE highly regulated by the .gov.) I guess I shouldn't be surprised, considering a majority of Congress voted to spend more than $700 billion on that "economic stimulus" plan without even having read it, but if Texas Democrats are that ignorant, I can't even begin to imagine how bad it is with representatives from less-friendly parts of the country. As for "I support the Second amendment....but..." well, once again, one would do well to disregard everything before the word "but," it seems.

An interesting factoid...

...that I was quite honestly surprised to see reported in an MSM outlet as opposed to a blog:

The letters, e-mails and a tally of phone calls were released by the Governor’s Office in response to a public information request. Perry’s decision (to reject $555 million in stimulus money o the condition that he change state unemployment laws -- ed.) was favored 2-to-1 by those who weighed in.
“We will not be bound by the suffocating government regulations which will alter our way of life and attempt to destroy our spirit!” said a Magnolia woman in an impassioned e-mail.
“I applaud your courage, sir, in your stance on the economic ‘spendulus,’ reads the elegant handwriting of a Llano woman who had watched Perry on a news program.
Reflecting the rise of social media, several used Twitter, a social networking Web site, to send pithy reactions, including “huzzah!” and “BOO!”
I must say that's quite encouraging. To read the reactions of the mainstream media (or the Houston Chronicle columnists, anyway) you'd think people were going hungry and being kicked out of their houses due to Perry's rejection of this money. And reading that headline, no doubt many would think most of the correspondence directed Perry's way regarding that decision was opposed to it. I am glad to see at least some in this state still have the intestinal fortitude not to increase their dependence on the federal government, even though it leaves the possibility for more hardship on their part. Good on them.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A favorite tune, from a favorite classic rock band...

at Classic Vinyl, Sirius Ch. 14: "I met a gin-soaked barroom queen in Memphis, she tried to take me upstairs for a ride....she had to heave me right across her shoulder, 'cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind...."
I've always been a big fan of the Rolling Stones; they were another one of those bands from that era that just couldn't do any wrong musically speaking. In the Beatles vs. Stones battle, I gotta come down squarely on the side of the Stones. I liked some of the Beatles' records, but mostly they never did much for me.

The question remains...

...the one evoked by this Chron editorial, that is...

So we find ourselves engaged in this momentous debate. The protesters’ voices and ideas are welcome. But a resolute majority sees things differently.

There are those who say, "work within the system," but what do you do when you're so clearly outvoted? It seems to me that those so aghast at what Rick Perry said vis-a-vis secession would quite clearly have everyone who didn't want the bigger, more intrusive government sit down and take it and everything that comes with it anyway. (Who's calling whom anti-American NOW, Texas Dems?) I've said here before that democracy is a system in which if 51 percent of the people vote to strip away the rights of the other 49 percent then that's just too bad for them. Read that above quote and then tell me I was wrong.

They need to take a look at that mascot...

...the University of Texas mascot, that is...

AUSTIN — On the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, about 300 University of Texas students marched to the state Capitol to protest bills that would allow concealed firearms on Texas college campuses.
The rally at the Capitol steps included a bell tolling 32 times for the victims killed by a student gunman at Virginia Tech in 2007. Some of the students held signs that read "More Guns, More Blood" and "Remember VT."
The UT mascot now, of course, is the longhorn. Maybe they ought to change it to the sheep, because it seems to fit so much better. I've always been more of an A&M fan, I'll admit it, but now I'm just flat disgusted with the UT student body. I know there were counterprotesters at this rally, but still..."Remember VT?" How about "Remember UT '66," when students with firearms in their cars helped limit the carnage by making it more difficult for bell tower shooter Charles Whitman to take aim? Or how about "Remember Pearl High School" or "Remember the Appalachian School of Law?" I see our old friend John Woods made an appearance here too...
"The fact that the Texas gun lobby looks at the horror of the Virginia Tech tragedy as an opportunity to push its deadly agenda is utterly disgusting to those of us who lost loved ones in this tragedy, and to those who survived as well," Woods said.
With all due respect to you and your experience, Mr. Woods, you carpetbagger, you can go to hell.

Well, that depends, Jimmy...

...on what your idea of America is...

Texas House Democratic Caucus Chairman Jim Dunnam of Waco said for Perry to even hint that secession was possible was “irresponsible.”
“I am surprised that Governor Perry would reinforce a sentiment that is so clearly anti-American. He should choose his words more carefully unless they are intentional,” he said. “If they are intentional, they should be condemned.”
I suppose one might call that anti-American...but if indeed it is, it's anti-American in name only. There are those who might say that America really isn't America anymore. Oh, there are pockets of it here and there, of course, but the Founding Fathers would be quite aghast at what we've become, with our tolerance, our embrace even, of big government and our dependence on it. I do wonder, if Mr. Dunnam thinks America as it is now is so great, why doesn't he go back to, say, where it all started...New England, with its high taxes, gun bans and the like? No doubt he'd be much more comfortable there, being a Democrat and all. Or maybe even California? Hell, the Golden State has been a laboratory for the policies of his party and they've been shown to be a resounding failure. I love America, truly I the Founding Fathers established it. But we get further and further away from that every day. If there will remain an America worthy of all the blood that has been shed for it, sooner or later we're going to have to stop and completely reverse course. If I may be so honest, I think Dunnam and his ilk are the real anti-American folks here.

Hey, another gunblogger!

Frequent commenter Bob S. has a blog. Let me show you it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mmm, one of my old favorites...

....from that genre of music that George Will thinks is music for a juvenilized nation, at Willie's Place, Sirius Ch. 64: "I walk for miiiiles, along the highway, well that's just my way...oooof sayin' I love you, I'm always walkin', after midnight, searchin' for yooooouuuuu...."
I've observed before that I was not really that big of a fan of Patsy Cline's countrypolitan style of music, but there are some songs of hers that I do like, and this steel guitar-driven number ranks at the top of the list. She did have one hell of a voice and she used it to great effect always.

Oooh, yes! 10:08 a.m.: "Let's, fall to pieeeceeeees, together...why should, we both faaaalll apaaarrt..." Of all the songs George Strait has recorded, that 1984 No. 1 hit has always been my favorite from him.

11:37 a.m. "Aaaalways laaate, with your kisseeees....won't you come to my arms sweet darlin' and stayyyyy..." I liked Dwight Yoakam's cover of this song, but you just can't beat Lefty. I'm sure Mr. Yoakam would agree. Lefty Frizzell was another of those who was taken from us far too soon. Bill Mack just said, "You know what the trouble is? We just don't have any more Lefty Frizzells." Sadly all too true.

I'll wear what I want...

...thank you very much...

On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically — running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim.
(A confession: The author owns one pair of jeans. Wore them once. Had to. Such was the dress code for former Sen. Jack Danforth’s 70th birthday party, where Jerry Jeff Walker sang his classic Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother. Music for a jeans-wearing crowd.)

How does the old saying go, clothes don't make the man? And how about that straw man argument that some would say that "good and bad taste" is an elitist assertion? (As one who would say that, for example, fans of acts like Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift have at best questionable taste, I think Mr. Will comes off as more than a little ignorant.) Whatever the case may be, I think George Will has gotten to be proof positive that being in that fetid swamp on the Potomac River for a certain period of time destroys your connection to the people in the rest of the country, to say nothing of your soul. "Obnoxious misuse of freedom"? SRSLY? Blue jeans as a costume? Wha...? Silly me, I just wear 'em because they're comfortable and that's why I've always worn them. And I'd bet that's why the vast majority of my fellow denim-wearers do the same. I've heard Will is a big baseball fan, which to me is pretty funny considering what he writes here. Why? Because I will bet you there are people in his social stratum (See? I can use big words too!) who would say that baseball is a child's game that grown-ups shouldn't concern themselves with and that the fact that "supposed grown-ups" (Will's phrase, not mine) play such a game professionally (and write about it in the newspaper!) is more proof that we have become "juvenilized" as a nation. At least he knew I was about to say, at least Will knew that "Up Against The Wall Redneck" was a classic, but we all know the only reason he cites it as such is that somebody told him it was, not that he actually would know anything about that genre of music. (For the record, that's one of my all-time favorite tunes.) As for that last paragraph, and its last sentence...I'd bet he thought the fans of that music wouldn't figure it out, but it seems to me he's saying that country, perhaps more specifically Texas/Americana/red-dirt country and probably the old country too, is music for a juvenilized people. Merle Haggard music was aimed at ten-year-olds? Is he SERIOUS? Ray Wylie Hubbard? "Conversation with the Devil," "Wanna Rock and Roll"? Cross Canadian Ragweed, "Walls of Huntsville"? THIS is music for a "juvenilized nation? (One wonders what he thinks of genres like thrash metal.) Has this guy even...Sweet bleedin' Barnabus, this is just...I mean, I can't believe a writer would have that much contempt for his or her audience. On the other hand, it's likely folks like me aren't really his audience, but still this column was quite the eye-opener. I always had Will pegged for a snob, but I'd never have guessed his nose was THAT high in the air.

How about this?

From this morning's Chronicle:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, meantime, said that consultations with Mexico on the drug problem are "not about pointing fingers, it's about solving a problem. What can we do to prevent the flow of guns and cash south that fuel these cartels."
Ban cash? How about declare on a war on it since it apparently works SO WELL on drugs and guns? Morons.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yeah, I do care...

In reply to this post:

If you don't care that these "extremist" groups are out there hating and perhaps hunting blacks and gays and illegal immigrants and Muslims then who will care about you when they come for you?

I do care. I care that the administration wants to make these blacks and gays and immigrants and Muslims more dependent on the government to protect them by tightening the restrictions on guns and ammunition. And I don't appreciate being lumped in with, say, the malcontents at Stormfront just because I think the federal government's getting too big and too powerful. How about those groups dedicated to a single issue? Can you say National Rifle Association? They quoted Martin Niemoller. So when they come for the peaceaable gun owners like me with the handguns and semiautomatic rifles who aren't hurting anyone and just want to be left alone, I take it we can trust those who share the above sentiments to speak up for us and those like us? We may not be looking at another Third Reich, but just the same I find the direction this country's going in to be quite troublesome.

I didn't think Perry had it in him...

...but apparently he does:

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

I do wonder what Perry would have done had the current expansion of federal government power had been going on under the watch of, say, Rudolph Giuliani. I hope he would have had the integrity to stand up then too, but I still think this resolution is a great thing and am glad to see him throwing his support behind it.
Via Scipio, though, we have this from American Thinker:
According to the Department of Homeland Security, Texas fits the Department's profile of potential domestic terrorism described in their newly released report titled, " Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment".
It is the opposition of the "overreaching power of the federal government" that may have sealed Texas's fate as a terror state.
A terror state. One wonders what would be the administration's action against such a state, considering Obama's hopelessly naive and dangerous outlook vis-a-vis real terror states across the pond. Would they think we need to be negotiated with too? Considering the political machine Obama came from, I'm guessing we would be the ones beaten into submission via the might of the American military -- assuming, of course, the members of said military actually obeyed an order to launch an offensive against us. At any rate, a cursory check reveals nothing of Perry's declaration from the Associated Press or the state's major newspapers; it seems to have garnered little more than a passing mention on the newspapers' blogs. I guess they think Obama's dog is more important.

Psychos as pop-culture heroes?

I agree with most of what Jonah Goldberg writes, but I honestly have no clue where this came from:

Of course, tales of Blackbeard and the like have always fascinated, but in recent years pirates have joined ninjas, mafiosos, drug dealers and even serial killers as pop-culture heroes. If we can make cannibals and psychopaths — albeit fictional ones — like Hannibal Lecter and Showtime’s Dexter into sympathetic figures, it’s no wonder we can take a profession historically associated with murder, rape, pillaging and torture and turn it into a Disney franchise.

Now, I know nothing of this Dexter figure, but from what I remember about The Silence of the Lambs and the reception to the book and the movie, no one really considered Hannibal Lecter any kind of hero. Of course that was more than 15 years ago, so my memory may be a little off. But I would really hope that the American people would be able to distinguish the Disneyfied pirates from the real thing, especially in light of recent events. Hell, now that I think about it, I am almost surprised Goldberg didn't mention Hagar the Horrible...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A badge of honor... being labeled a fanatic by the Quislings in our ranks, wouldn't you say?...

In the words of my generation: PWNED.

Quote of the Day, from Sebastian-PGP, on Michael Savage's ill-informed rant against a certain class of weaponry:
"You’d think a guy who spends his waking hours filled with paranoid delusions about Mexican invaders and Muslim culture-warriors overrunning us and making us burn bibles and read Korans at gun point would understand why it makes sense for the average American to have access to semi-auto rifles."
Yes, indeed.

Ooh, Moon Mullican!

Hey TOTWTYTR, your guy's on Willie's Place: "Well the Cherokee chief as he dances along, he does an Indian boogie to a white man's song, singin' hey-ho-a-leena..." I know his catalog is so much more than that one song, but I still like it, even as overplayed as it might be. He was a Texan too, born in the East Texas pines about an hour north of Houston.

Phony movement?

I don't know, it looks pretty real to me...

Felicia Cravens and her friends call themselves the Houston Tea Party Society, part of a national movement in which thousands of people in cities across the country plan to stage Tax Day Tea Parties on Wednesday to protest the federal government’s billion-dollar economic stimulus packages and bailouts for the banking and auto industries. Tea parties are planned for nearly a dozen cities in the Houston area, including Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Friendswood and Pearland.
Critics have derided the Tea Parties as a phony movement drummed up by Republicans angry that Barack Obama won the presidency.

They have it wrong. It's the leftists who employ the astroturf. And it should be noted, of course, that every account of the tea parties has the organizers saying it's not a partisan thing -- not just in Houston but everywhere else too. Like one of the commenters said, they'd be ticked no matter who was spending their money...or, I might add, their children's and grandchildren's money. Honestly, why should it be a partisan issue? Republicans voted for the bailouts too, and as Mr. Vanderboegh points out, even certain Southern Republicans, who should be among liberty's staunchest allies, are starting to cave on other things...
(Alabama Congressman Spencer) Bachus discussed a number of topics in his speech Thursday morning. He did not give the response some small city officials were hoping for when they asked if he would oppose all gun bans.

Instead, he said, it may be necessary to ban some assault weapons to keep hunting rifles and guns from being outlawed.
Vanderboegh goes on to point out that Mr. Bachus said this with the knowledge that 65 Democrats signed a letter to the Attorney General telling him to back off trying to pass such a ban. Ignorant and a chickenshit to boot. Personally, I don't understand how banning some guns will save the rest, especially considering what can be done with a scoped bolt-action deer rifle in the hands of a skilled marksman. I shudder to think of how many people focused on the tools of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo as opposed to their tactic.
"They used an eeeevil assault veapon!"
"Well YEAH, but they coulda pulled it off with that thirty-aught-six boltie you bought last deer season too. It would have been easier for them too, with the fine scope you put on that thing. You really think your guns are safe?"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ahh, I love this one too...

...on Outlaw Country, Sirius Ch. 63: "B-double E double R U-N, beer run, B-double E double R U-N, beer run...all we need is a ten and five-er, car and key and a sober driver, B-double E double R U-N-beer run..."

Ooooh, one-a my favorite modern rock records...

..on Octane, Sirius Ch. 20: "Everyone's pointing their fingers, always condemning me....nobody knows, what I believe, I believe, and I'm staring down the barrel of a .45...."
My favorite song from Shinedown, that was the first song I ever heard from them. I also liked the radio version of "Burning Bright." That whole album was pretty good, actually...

Well now, ain't this just cool as hell... the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: Diamond Head, "Am I Evil." Yep, the original version, this is the first time I've ever heard this. I am still a bigger fan of James Hetfield's vocals, but the original is still pretty good.

You're not gonna like the answer, but that's YOUR problem...

Received in my work email: Whatever happened to "Just Say No to Drugs"? turned out to be a dismal failure? One that has cost us far too much, in dollars and civil liberties?

Are they counting on Americans' short memories?

Sure seems that way...

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mexico's ambassador to the United States says shutting down the flow of money and weapons from the U.S. into Mexico is key to dealing with the violent drug cartels in his country.

Nothing new here, more or less the same crap they've been pushing for the last few months...but on the other hand, Mr. Vanderboegh heard at the gun show that more than 100,000 ARs were on backorder from various manufacturers. To whatever extent that is true (and I wouldn't be surprised if they were low-balling it), anyone who's been trying to get a gun or ammunition knows both of those commodities are in pretty short supply and have been since Obama got elected. I'm sure you see where I'm going with this, but I'll let my friend James take it home:
So, even though there is a nation-wide shortage on evil ugly rifles and the ammo that feeds them, and the prices of same are through-the-f'ing-roof (especially compared to black market items that are readily available in South America),
The Mexican Cartels are buying them up in bulk.
Yeah. Right.
Now, about that bridge you were selling....

Yep, that's right. The mainstream media is trying to put it over on the American people that the Mexican drug cartels are fueling the Great Obama Gun Rush, once again choosing not to give the full story. That seems to be a recurring theme in various situations. Like somebody's got an agenda to push. Imagine that. I would hope enough Americans have the presence of mind to use their critical thinking skills to deconstruct this meme and see it for the foul and malicious lie it is, but given what 52 percent of American citizens voted for last November I am not too optimistic.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Whine a little louder...

...why don't you?

I generally feel that Kanye (West -- ed.) provokes the negativity he often receives from the media. But the South Park episode crosses the line. I imagine regular South Park viewers will argue that this episode was no different than what regularly happens on the show so Kanye should not be upset. But I disagree.
For South Park to devote an entire episode to Kanye being the butt of a joke that dubbed him a gay fish is baseless and over the top.

Not any more baseless or over the top than Kanye West saying "George Bush doesn't care about black people." But I bet you didn't say anything about that, did you Sparky?

Even plain, she was always beautiful to me...

I don't know if I've ever seen Xavier make this observation before...

I resisted owning a 1911 for a long time simply because I considered it to be an ugly gun, an old man's gun.

...but still it surprised me a bit. He would know much better than me about the 1911s in the 1980s gun rags being ugly, as I was young and not really that much into guns back then to boot...but I always thought the M1911A1 was one of the most beautiful guns, one of the most beautiful machines period, that I'd ever seen -- even the plain-jane parkerized Springfield GI that was my first one. To this day I feel that way. And my first centerfire pistol was a Ruger P89, with my first .45 being its big brother the P90. Even as I bought those guns, though, I always did want a 1911, and once I laid my hands on that first one that was it. I saw a quote on The High Road that summed it all up really well...
"I think maybe it has 'divine proportion' that appeals to me on a subconscious level or something. Looking down at the top of the slide, at the elegant simplicity, the curves and the slenderness, it just looks right. Then when you hold it, its so heavy and cold, it feels like a real machine. I always thought of the 1911 as the American samurai sword."
Yes, indeed.

Just shut up, George...

He may well be right here, but I honestly don't think George Will has any business bitching about anyone mocking the Constitution after he himself nitpicked the Heller decision the way he did. Had the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment the way George Will thought they should have, local and state governments would have been free to mock the Constitution just like they're doing in Illinois. One could say the state of Illinois' draconian firearm laws still make a mockery of the Second Amendment. But he apparently thought that would have been just fine. What makes any one part of the Constitution any more sacrosanct than any other?

Yeah, it sure took enough, didn't it?

...or, Another failure of the justice system, maybe?...

Cinco Ranch High School student Spenser Vogt lived in a comfortable gated neighborhood in Katy, drove a nice sports car, worked at a Wal-Mart and had just been accepted into college.
Lee Carl Banks III lived with his mother in a poorly kept south Houston apartment complex after being expelled from Yates High School. He had no car and no job, and was wanted in a Harris County courtroom to explain why he had botched his probation.
Police say they may never know exactly why the pair’s second face-to-face meeting on March 27 turned violent, but said Banks eventually confessed to shooting Vogt so he could steal the victim’s 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse and other items.
Interviews and public records suggest Banks, a former Yates High School drum major and one-time aspiring journalist, had problems controlling his temper.
One Yates High School instructor said she was so badly frightened when Banks lunged at her in 2007 that she considered quitting her job. Banks later sent an e-mail to fellow students threatening the teacher’s life.
Court records also show Banks was arrested last year on allegations of assaulting a former boyfriend and damaging his apartment.
Yates magnet school coordinator Myrtice Newhouse said Banks became belligerent when she asked for a medical excuse because he had missed class one day.
She said Banks followed her out of her office, then lunged at her in front of a school police officer.
“He just lost his mind,” Newhouse said. “He was hollering, screaming. It made me contemplate quitting. It frightened me that bad.”
In March 2008, Houston police arrested Banks on allegations that he struck his then-boyfriend and pushed him into a window.
He pleaded guilty to Class A assault of a family member and was placed on deferred adjudication for one year, but failed to comply with his probation, court records show.
Prosecutors sought to revoke Banks’ probation and convict him of the assault charge, saying he hadn’t taken part in a domestic violence treatment program and had not paid court fees.
He was arrested March 18 — nine days before the killing — then released from jail with orders to return to court March 30 for a probation revocation hearing.

Like one of the commenters said, "So it took two attacks, two arrests (with two releases), a 'botched' probation and a murder to finally get him locked up?" The guy should have been locked up, indeed, and hopefully now he will be, but it really is a shame that it took the death of an innocent to do it. Ultimately I don't think it was Spenser Vogt's fault that he got killed, but it deserves to be asked if he'd still be alive if he'd exercised better judgment. And I don't think he was as naive as someone like, say, Kirsten Brydum, but I definitely think that naivete played a prominent role in his death. At any rate, I don't see why my rights -- or any other American's rights -- should be restricted any more than they already are just because pieces of human debris like Lee Carl Banks don't think they have to obey the rules of civil society. That seems to me to be punishing us for his crime. And that, well, that just ain't right.

Another of those songs that'll never get old... the Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "Funny, she still looks the same, time has brought so little change...why did she turn up again, just when my heart was on the mend?...Wish I didn't love her so, better hide until she goes...uh-oh, trouble's back in town..."
I've been fortunate since I've had Sirius, to have heard more of the Wilburn Brothers besides that song, but that one was the first I'd ever heard from them and I've always loved it. TOTWTYTR was blogging last night about some of the programming changes on Sirius and how in some ways it's not as good as it used to be. I agree with him to an extent -- just for an example, I've been a bit disappointed in Bill Mack's Sirius debut on Willie's Place because he doesn't play nearly enough music -- but even with those programming changes what I've heard of Sirius is still so worth the money it's not even close. Like I told Borepatch in comments, there are more than 100 other channels to choose from. No matter who you are, you're bound to find something you like. I've found a hell of a lot. ;-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Something to keep in mind...

...from my blog-friend JayG:

Yippie-ki-yay-motherfucker indeed. Do NOT fuck with Texans. Them crazy sumbitches'll hunt you down and kill your stupid ass.

Yeah, he'll be getting the memo when we in Texas take our marbles back, no doubt...

Another random musical observation...

Lars Ulrich's drum rolls on the live cut of "One" that I just heard sound an awful lot like a machine gun. I wonder if they set the drums up to sound like that? Pretty cool either way, though.

Wow, way to slander between 50 million and 80 million people there, guys...

I knew the folks on the Houston Chronicle editorial board are altogether opposed to the natural right of self-defense with the best tools available, so it was a given that they'd oppose the college gun bill -- but I certainly didn't expect this:

...It’s a horrifying thought. It is our fervent hope that cooler heads in the Senate will prevail and block its passage. Students have enough on their plates without having to worry that horsing around, drinking or otherwise acting like a college student could result in an unintended tragedy.
Within the last month, 57 people have died in eight mass shootings around the country.… Most of the killers were registered gun owners.

So, unless I miss my guess here, the Chronsters think that the 50 million to 80 million gun owners in this country are all ticking time bombs. If they don't think that then why would they say such a thing? I wonder how far it is from that to having us tattooed, or making us wear special patches...yeah, I know. Maybe that's a bit farfetched. But then so is the proposition that that those of us who own guns -- between a third and half of this country's adult population -- are all just waiting for the right thing to flip our internal switches and make us go on murderous rampages. As for that "registered gun owners" wonders if that was a Freudian slip by the editorial board letting us all know what they're going to advocate next. I certainly am glad I am not a college student anymore, because I'd really hate to be thought of as an overgrown infant. I do still find such a line of reasoning quite insulting, though. I'd think that most of the college students who take the time and make the effort to get that CHL are well aware of what could happen if they're "horsing around" with that loaded gun. One wonders if anyone at 801 Texas Avenue has ever handled or shot a gun.
As twisted as they are though, it gets even worse as we go on to the letters to the editor:
If the sponsors believe their bill will have a deterrent effect making campuses safer, then I challenge them to apply the logic to their own environment and allow citizens with licenses to bring concealed handguns into the House and Senate galleries.

And what would the problem be with this? The legislature was the body that approved the CHL system in the first place. Not letting CHL holders bring their sidearms in the capitol would seem to imply they don't trust us, which would further imply that they don't trust the system that they themselves approved. But then they should be letting us carry in there licensed or not. So. Do our legislators trust us or don't they? If the answer's "No," then we have a bad, bad problem, folks. How in the bloody HELL did we let ourselves get here?
The cowardice of bearing arms has no place in our institutions of higher learning. Civilization is difficult enough to achieve and maintain without promoting an arms race within the very institutions we rely on to teach the rules and processes of civil society.

Cowardice of bearing arms? WTF? I am completely speechless here. I would think the cowardly thing was burying one's head in the sand, as this writer seems to do. And as for said arms and how they might relate to the "rules and processes of civil society"...well, if this writer was actually thinking instead of spouting off big words and trying to come off as some sort of intellectual, he'd realize that every now and then there are those who break those rules in rather violent fashion, as we've seen...and ultimately, the only way those laws are going to be enforced is with the threat of lethal force. That's just the way human nature is. The only question is, who is going to wield that force? I would argue that those who want to push that responsibility off onto others are the real cowards here, but then maybe that's just me.

I will wager anyone we will have another “event” before 2010. Then, of course, good old Texas will make the front page and TV news once again.
Once again? When was the last time we did make the front page for any kind of incident like the one this writer's implying will happen? The one incident that I can think of is the shooting at the Tyler courthouse in February 2005...and from what I've read about that incident (NOT in the MSM, mind you), were it not for the bullet-resistant vest the asshole with the rifle was wearing, the shots fired from the Colt 1911 held by Texas Concealed Handgun License holder Mark Allen Wilson would have neutralized him before he endangered any more lives. I will wager that if we do have another "event," it will be in a gun-free zone and the above-quoted writer will be calling for yet more stringent gun laws.

College campus police patrols are all that students need for security.

And nail files, rat-tail combs, keys, etc. ...
Thought for the day, guys: A society which fails to recognize its citizens' natural, God-given right to self-defense, a right inherent to those citizens' very existence, is a society unfit to survive.

Friday, April 10, 2009

They almost got it this time...

the Houston Chronicle editorial board, that is...

...Speaking in Ankara, Turkey, this week, Obama declared that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.”
This is a wholly commendable sentiment, but as others have pointed out, the president’s words do not make it so. Since well before 9/11, radical Islamists have made it clear at every opportunity that they remain very much at war with America.
Obama is equally on point in reminding that the United States is home to a growing and increasingly influential Muslim population. We are, and that should be viewed and used as a strength.

It's good to see that the Chronicle didn't deny that we're more or less at war with radical Islam, but I don't know if I'd cast that growing Muslim population as a strength just yet. Unless I miss my guess, England has a growing Muslim population too, and we know how the English Parliament kowtowed to the Muslim clerics. Hollywood's already yielded to the Islamists once. I suppose that wound was still fresh and raw so soon after 9/11, but I'd be surprised if they wouldn't have done it even if The Sum Of All Fears was being made now. I do hope our government has the stones to tell the Muslims in this country -- if indeed we get to the point of inviting someone like Geert Wilders to Washington -- "Hey, this is how it is in this country. If you can't deal with being offended once in a while, then this ain't the place for you to be." Given who's in charge now though, I am not the least bit confident.