Friday, April 30, 2010

Guess what! The National ID card is back already.

I read this article this morning, but didn't have time to post. So hopefully I'm not the last person in the blogoverse to point it out.
Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.


Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), who has worked on the proposal and helped unveil it at a press conference Thursday, predicted the public has become more comfortable with the idea of a national identification card.

“The biometric identification card is a critical element here,” Durbin said. “For a long time it was resisted by many groups, but now we live in a world where we take off our shoes at the airport and pull out our identification.

“People understand that in this vulnerable world, we have to be able to present identification,” Durbin added. “We want it to be reliable, and I think that’s going to help us in this debate on immigration.”
This has been pissing me off all day. I'd like to thank all you folks who were so concerned about "foreign riff raff" that you gave the liberal Congress this opening. Thank you, I told you so, and I will think of you ever so fondly every time I can't get a job because I won't carry your goddamn permission slip.

There are a thousand compromises I'll suffer to live with this government, and quite a few I won't. My moving way out here, off the grid and off the rolls was actually quite a compromise compared to my attitude when I was a younger man. But carrying a card showing that I have the government's permission just to earn my keep, that's something I won't do. I don't know if this new bill will go anywhere. I hope not. But if it does, I don't know what that will bring me.

If it brings trouble, it's not the politicians I'll blame. Parasites do what parasites do, and there's not much point in wishing they were different. It's you xenophobic bastards who just couldn't let a few Mexicans earn an honest living, you're the ones I'll blame. Decent people are supposed to know better. If you wanted to fight the welfare state that you say drew so many immigrants, that was fine; I'd have been right with you on that. But that's not what upset you, no. What upset you was the sight of people who weren't like you. That's childish and unworthy of you, or of any respectable person. And every bit of trouble this new obscenity brings me, I wish back on you tenfold.

Long, productive day.

We got the roof sheathing done. M build the boxes for the castellated gingerbread on the top, and then we finished sheathing all around except for the top part of the front. We're stuck on that because of a little problem with the front trusses.

We can still put up the trusses for the dining room, and as far as I know that's the plan for tomorrow. But we're hung up on the porch trusses, because it turns out they're not here. The truss company read the plans and came up with an entirely different, and entirely wrong, idea of what the porch roof would look like. So now we're stuck on those for maybe a week and a half.

We've only got another day and a half with Landlady and M here, and I don't know know how much more we're going to get done. But we did pretty good in seven days.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bad experiences with Magnum boots

I spent years going through my first pair of Magnum desert boots back before I actually moved to the desert. Loved them, so when they went south I bought another pair. They also wore okay, though they constantly raised a big painful callous on one toe. Three years in the desert and they were toast, so last summer I bought another pair of Magnums. I couldn't find desert boots locally and my only attempt at buying them on-line ended badly. So I bought some super-lightweight black zip-side Magnums. Less than one year, and they're falling to pieces.

The stitching's coming loose all over, the sole's about worn out - I just wasn't happy with the way these held out at all. And Landlady has a practically new pair of Magnum desert boots (Ah, the pitter patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots!) and this morning she found a big tear across the back of one, just above the heel reinforcement, that makes no sense at all. If you hit a boot hard enough to tear it like that, seems like you'd notice.

So it looks like I'm going to be shopping for new, and they won't be Magnums. I don't know why the brand went downhill like that. Anybody have a suggestion for a replacement? What with the wooden leg, I need something light but able to survive what I do out here.

You know you're having a crappy day...

When you're in the middle of something really finicky and kind of dangerous that requires all your attention, and you start wondering...

Whatever happened to Charlie Dore?

Half the readers are asking, "Who's Charlie Dore?" The other half are thinking, "My God, Joel, you do need to get a life."

Knocked off early today...

Due to some really crappy weather that blew in. So we didn't get all that much done. But what we did do was f**king cool. We mounted the columns and finished the box headers for the front porch, and they came out great.

Here's the big central column, and a panoramic view of D's butt - just because I ain't no photographer.

The two columns tacked in place. The outer column will be sheathed and stuccoed like the rest of the house.

And to our shock and delight, the box headers came out great! Just right.

This is weird.

A new, green helicopter that doesn't require rapidly rotating airfoils? Why even have rotors? Maybe they're needed for some other function?

Seen at Sharp as a Marble, via Tam.

And now to work.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Landlady's house report...

Had a good day today. We got the bulk of the sheathing up.

Our good neighbor D took the 12X12 column that Landlady and M picked up, sanded it, cut it to length, and routered it to fit the bracket on the porch. In this way, instead of having a 10X10 with a really ugly bracket on the bottom, the column can perfectly fit the concrete pad and - with a little finagling - make the bracket completely go away because it'll be inset into the wood.

We covered the lower part of three walls, and most of the roof. The roof will have a parapet all the way around. Once the gingerbread and stucco are in place, it'll look kinda-sorta tex-mex.

"That's our job!"

Mayor Richard (Mayor For Life) Daley wants to sic the world court on gunowners now.

At a news conference, Daley explained, “This is coming from international mayors. They’re saying, ‘We’re tired of your guns, America. ... We don’t want those anymore because guns kill and injure people.’”

Courtesy of Volokh.

When they poured across the border, I was cautioned to surrender...

...This I could not do.

Will Grigg comes through with another great essay on the walled camp our "small government" activists would love to turn America into:

Last week, many (by no means all) adherents of the Tea Party movement briefly suspended their campaign against invasive government to promote and applaud the enactment of a measure turning Arizona into an authentic police state -- that is, one in which police can demand identity papers from practically anyone and arrest those who don't comply.

Under SB 1070, signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 24, any "lawful contact" between a law enforcement officer and a citizen can end with the latter being arrested and detained if he cannot satisfy a "reasonable suspicion" that he is in the country without official permission.

An incident that occurred two days before that law was signed by Brewer demonstrates that a valid driver's license may not be sufficient to allay that suspicion, and that it's entirely possible for a native-born U.S. citizen who fully cooperates with the police to end up being handcuffed, arrested, detained and humiliated.

On April 22, an Arizona resident who identifies himself as Abdon (he hasn't chosen to disclose his surname) pulled his truck into a weigh station. As his vehicle was being inspected, Abdon was asked by an official to display proof of legal residency. He promptly handed over a valid Arizona commercial driving license; he also supplied his Social Security number and additional personal details.

For some reason this was considered insufficient, and Abdon ended up being cuffed and hauled away to an ICE detention facility while his wife -- who was dragged out of work -- was dispatched to their home to retrieve Abdon's birth certificate and other documents.

Had to take a day off from building... give the blisters time to dry. By Monday evening I was practically dragging myself around on all fours. Landlady and M spent the day on header blocks for the porch and fireblocks everywhere. I spent the day huddling in the lair, reading incomparably bad E. E. (Doc) Smith sci-fi and listening to LB complain about being stuck on his tie-out cable.

But I'll be back at it today. Today we do the roof trusses for the dining room and start the external sheathing. Fun stuff!

Monday, April 26, 2010

View from the Porch...

...With apologies to Tam.

Work crew was down to three today, though D showed up in the afternoon with a frame for a porch column he'd casually thrown together like a piece of architectural art. We put up all the interior wall frames today - I can never again say I've never installed a pocket door.

Went pretty well, considering all the master builders are off the job and we're pretty much making it up as we go along from here out.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Down tools, Sunday afternoon

Tired and sunburned, and on schedule. We got the dining room framed in, one interior wall, and all the main roof trusses up.

Are you Liberty Lovers, or are you Conservatives?

Do you want freedom, or do you just want to bitch about Obama? Because I really wish you guys would make up your minds.

I know this is kind of old, but I just saw it this morning, courtesy of Radley Balko. It concerns a Tea Party rally in Phoenix, Arizona:
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio gave the main speech, focusing largely on his signature issue of illegal immigration. But the former Drug Enforcement Administration agent also blasted the federal government as wasteful and said he wasn’t worried about federal investigators looking into his law enforcement tactics, which have led to accusations of racial profiling.
Joe Arpaio. Keynote speaker at a Tea Party rally. There's a strange combination.

When I was a kid in a Detroit public school, there was a ritual where kids were picked for sides in a baseball game. Each designated team captain would pick a kid, who would then go to the right or left of the bunch depending on who picked him. The criteria for who got picked first were generally pretty logical; size, strength, prior demonstrations of competence. There were always kids left over; kids that the team captains would have just sent home, given the option. That ritual came to mind while I read that Tribune article this morning.

In my fantasy, I bunched up everybody who called himself a lover of liberty. I held up a picture of Joe Arpaio and asked each one, "What do you think of this guy?"

And whenever somebody said, "Oh, man! America's Toughest Sheriff! I love that guy!" I sent him home. Not my type; don't want him on my side.

Listen to me, because this is very important. I'm no great guru, but I do know this: Liberty isn't about countries. It isn't about groups, or parties, or ideologies. Liberty is about people, it's about individuals. You either love liberty for everybody, or you don't love liberty. Because liberty is not a privilege bestowed upon the blessed few who were born in the "Land of the Free." Liberty is a natural right. You were born with the right to your own individual liberty, and so was that brown guy in the dirty jeans.

Now yeah: If he came here without his paperwork in order, he had to know he was breaking the country's laws and he chose to take his chances with that, just like you or I take our chances when we choose to break a law. But let me ask you: Do you cheer on the Forces of Law and Order when they bust some guy for illegally defending his home with a gun? Do you cheer on the ATF when it prosecutes an FFL for not keeping his paperwork carefully in order? I'll bet you don't. What's the principal difference? The law is the law, right?

I'm not going to argue "free schooling," or "free healthcare." Those are separate issues. You get more of what you subsidize; that's a basic law of economics that any dolt should be able to see. I don't take "free" stuff that's paid for by unwilling others, but I'm getting older and my legs are bad. Someday I'm going to have to make a choice between taking that "free" stuff stolen from others, or putting a shotgun in my mouth because I live in the desert and we're fresh out of ice floes. Which way will I go? Probably the former: I'm not quite that principled. So I'm not going to argue about ideological purity when it comes to matters of government-provided "welfare." On that issue, I live in a glass house. But what I will argue - what I will insist upon - is that if you think liberty is only for people like you, if you don't love liberty for people who aren't like you, you don't love liberty.

Your opinion of Joe Arpaio is a perfect litmus test of that. Joe Arpaio is a petty, brutal little tyrant who gets off on hurting people. I despise him. There's nothing I can do about him, and unless you're one of those Maricopa County voters who keeps him in his job there's nothing you can do about him, either. There's no shame in being genuinely helpless about a situation somewhere else.

But if you're one of those who cheer on "America's Toughest Sheriff" because he's only hurting those "other" people, people you don't like, the "illegal aliens" or the non-violent drug users, then face a fact: You are not a lover of liberty. I don't want you on my team. Go home.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Got the walls up...

...On Landlady's new house.

Had a bunch of people show up today, and worked for almost ten hours. Had a bit of a hurry-up-and-wait start, what with planning and a few disagreements on how to proceed. But once the master builders started slinging wood, it went really well.

I am very sore. We still have the dining room walls to build, which are a much smaller project, and then...then we figure out how we're getting the roof trusses up there. Interesting times await.

I'm gonna go collapse in a heap now.

Oh, my goodness...

How to bring chaos to a sleepy little hobby blog:

1. You write one little inflammatory thing.

2. It gets linked to WRSA and Sipsey Street.

3. The server melts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wall done!

Get it? Wall done? Huh HAH - I slay me.

Hey, I'm tired and punchy. Sue me.

Thanks so very much to W, who pitched in on the big stuff, every time another set of hands made the difference between a big job and a real ordeal.

D came over this morning, and we got all the lumber sorted out. He brought his generator over, and we brought ours down the slope. Sawhorses and worksites are laid out, extension cables are coiled, fuel is in place - we ready, boyo. S and D both have serious chops in the house-raising biz, and the rest of us are going to stand by attentively, do what they tell us, and place bets when they argue. Which they will. Three work crews: one for headers, one for frames, one guy with a chop saw just to cut lumber to size. Ten people have promised to show up; with any luck at all we're gonna get this sucker framed and sheathed by the end of the weekend.

House-raising party at seven in the morning!

It's kinda sobering to reflect...

...that most of the things that have tried to kill me have been my own damned fault. Stupidity is a capital crime, and it seems like I keep getting one reprieve after another.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is Bertha Lewis a plagierist?

Hm...vehement denunciations of someone named Goldstein, blaming him for all the suffering of the oppressed masses, whipping the faithful into a frenzy of hatred... I don't know - it all seems strangely...familiar.

So the last holdout in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain fiasco has agreed to move. I don't know what his legal costs have been over the past three years, but if you discount those, he made out like a burglar at $3M. Bertha Lewis, CEO of the New! Improved! ACORN, is...rather less than pleased, it seems.
Well, the housing at Atlantic Yards will be built, and the day after he moves out, which I hope will be sooner rather than later, the building that he squatted in these past years should be razed to ground immediately, and salt poured into the soil, so that never again can the likes of one of the biggest shakedown artists in Brooklyn return. We will still be here, we will still be fighting for the all the people that Danny spurned and used for his own enrichment. We hope that now everyone in Brooklyn and New York can see him for what he really is and can see what his actions cost Brooklyn. I hope whatever he settled for was worth the pain and misery he caused to so many people who just wanted a decent place to live in Brooklyn and who just wanted a decent job and a place for their family.
And now comes the next phase in the train wreck, if this latest gigantic "taking" goes the way of Pfizer and Kelo...

So you want to move off-grid? Let me tell you about my day.

Well, this isn't the most auspicious building day we've had.

I went to cut off the excess rebar on the Landlady's retaining wall. Knew I was nearly out of acetylene, but I didn't even get the first bar hot when the torch died. Tried my hacksaw: Wore out my only two blades and only got through four bars. Figured I'd put it off, since I didn't have any choice, until I could get to town.

Weather kept doing weird things. It was below freezing overnight, seemed like it might warm up, then the clouds socked in and the temps dropped maybe twenty degrees in an hour.

Got W's uber-router moved, and for a wonder that project actually went well. His reception is much better, and mine is a bit better too. We've got a cable strung overhead instead of in underground conduit where it belongs, though. That's going to earn me another of Landlady's sad looks and a comment about hillbilly engineering, but for now W can use his computer again. So I blame him.

Went to town. Not surprisingly, the one business in the little town near where we live that advertises welding gas doesn't actually fill bottles, and isn't interested in swapping my puny little one. One of these days I'm going to buy myself a serious welding/cutting rig.

So I went to the hardware and - grumble - bought some hacksaw blades. Also bourbon: This turned out to be providential.

On the way home, though, I thought I'd give the hacksaw a miss and stop at D's to borrow his angle grinder. I can think of things that are more fun than cutting rebar with a grinder, but none of them involve hacksaws. He lent me the grinder happily enough; I ran a whole bunch of extension cord, fired up the generator - need to top off the cistern anyway - and got to work.

Felt like a real safety-ninny for borrowing M's good goggles before I got going. Should have saved the effort and looked more closely in D's grinder kit, because twenty minutes later I was sporting a brand-new bloody lip and loose tooth. After bouncing off my mouth, the grinder grabbed the collar of my sweatshirt and tried to cut my throat. Fortunately it's an old shirt and just tore apart. Of course it was my favorite sweatshirt, but I'm touched that it gave its life to save mine. Should have screwed on that perfectly good side handle that I overlooked before I began. Stupid; too much of a hurry.

Just about then, of course, it started to snow. I'd already given up on pouring concrete this miserable bloody day, but by god I was going to get the last block stacked.

Nearly finished with that, but the last half-dozen blocks I need are holding down the tarp that keeps the weather from ruining my brand-new sacks of concrete. It'll only take a minute to finish with the blocks before pouring concrete, and by god though I'm coming down to the wire and tomorrow is the last possible day I AM GOING TO FINISH THIS CUSSING WALL BEFORE THE HOUSE BUILD. Just so you know.

It is now snowing and raining torrentially. In case the Landlady asks how come that case of beer she bought for the build party is no longer sealed and complete, tell her Ghost demanded a boilermaker.

Weatherman still says weather will be nice for the build weekend. He'd better be right: I've got a gun.

Engrish may not be the writer's first language.

So W and I are trying to move his uber-router to the powerhouse, in hopes he can get some use from it. My wi-fi still works okay, but his really sucks and he paid for the thing. We've got 500' of Cat5e and it's only about a 200' run, but we didn't have any cable ends or a terminating tool. So W, master of Internet-fu, sent for the tool, the plugs, and a tester. Neither of us really know what we're doing.

A problem arose when he attempted to read the instructions for the tester:

  • This cable tester cannot test only electrified product.
  • 9V reduplicated battery is used in this tester. Battery is advised to change if any weak light appears.
  • Test cannot be done while RJ45's copper screezers are not totally pressed. Any disobeys may lead to a permanent damage of the end.
  • Please use quality tools to press the cable.
  • Any end not notified by 6P6C cannot test telephone cables. Any disobeys may also lead to a permanent damage of the end.

Y'know, I used to get paid to fix language like this. Thought I'd left all that behind me.

I don't object to him because he's from Kenya...

I object to him because he's from Chicago.

Back on the subject of all those bills flowing from the Arizona legislature lately. Some I love, some I loathe. This one just makes me go "WTF?"

It's not that I disagree with him on any particular point...

It's just that I wonder why he spends so much of his life in such high dudgeon.

Billy Beck gets a lot of quote time in the freedomista blogoverse, because he's so damned quotable. I do worry, though, that he's going to blow a major vessel at some point. Here he's upset because Bill (Meaning of "is") Clinton seems to have paraphrased him...
Here is a word for that despicable person: I am "a Southerner", too, you strutting ignoramus. I was born in Little Rock, and my mother graduated Central High School six years before Eisenhower finally saw fit to roll out the National Guard. Don't even try to hand me your threadbare sanctimony about "paying" for the Civil War. For many reasons which I will not attempt to relate to you, I am quite beyond your ex cathedra pose in the matter. You have nothing to say to me. Sit down and shut your insipid mouth.
I have to admit, I'd be delighted if Bill Clinton or someone equally contemptible chose to disparagingly quote me. It would make my year. It would be ever so affirming to have such people acknowledge me as an enemy. In my perfect state of mind - rarely achieved, I admit - I barely acknowledge them at all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I think I'm corrupting the neighbors.

Well, the delivery guy from the lumberyard just left, having unloaded all the framing lumber, fasteners and insulation for Landlady's house. D came over to help me get things squared away. The fellow who delivered the roof trusses hadn't had a way to lay them down flat, and none of us were looking forward to what was going to happen when we cut the straps holding them together. So D suggested that we get the lumberyard guy to use his forklift and help us lay them down. Seemed like a good plan to me.

"And if he won't," D said, "We can just shoot him."

I looked at him askance. "Uh, that seems kinda extreme."

It turns out he was just trying to get me to notice his new toy. "Hey!" I said, "I didn't know you had an automatic."

Now, D is an retired man, a little older than me. Unlike me, he's not a burnout survivalist wacko, and he normally affects cowboy styles. I knew he had a pistol, but that's a revolver and in the years I've known him I've only seen him wear it once. He doesn't normally go armed.

But now he's traded in the cowboy pistol and leather for a nylon holster with a brand-new plastic-framed wonder-nine. Only time will tell if he'll get into the habit of carrying it, though. When he took it out to show me, he was distressed that it was already getting dusty. It's been blowing hard since morning, and it's a dirty day.

"Yeah," I said, "They do that. You just gotta clean'em in the evening."

Up until just now...

...I would have thought nobody would be stupid enough to attempt armed robbery in a gun store. LabRat posted documented proof that this is not the case.

HINT: It does not go well. But not for the reason you might think.

EMBED-Robber Surprised by Guard Dog - Watch more free videos

Overheard at a build site...

W: "Little Bear! C'mon! Come with Uncle W!"

LB: I don't trust you. I suddenly want to stay with Daddy. I suspect a trap.

(It was, in fact, a blatant and obvious trap.)

W: "I've got cookies!"

LB: (Gallops off with W to the trap.)

QoD - On the Nature of Government

"But government's very nature is one that deserves skepticism and mistrust. After all, as an institution with a "monopoly on violence," there's no reason to involve government in any aspect of human life unless you're trying to make people do things they don't want to do -- with dire consequences for noncompliance."

- J.D. Tuccille

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Up! Against! The Wall!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Okay, first thing:

You know how yesterday I thought I'd miscounted how many bond-beam blocks I needed by one? Well, I was wrong not completely right about that. I found one this morning that had gotten wrapped up in the tarp covering the concrete sacks. So my count...was...perfect.

Wish I could say the same about the concrete count. I had to order 15 more bags for the final tier.

But with the exception of that final tier, the wall is now complete. My right arm is miraculously almost back to normal this morning, W kindly pitched in, and we kicked out this phase I really wasn't looking forward to in a mere three solid hours, and used all but one sack of concrete doing it. This wall's got a lot of concrete in it. But all I need to do now is cut off some rebar, which is actually fun because I loves me some fire, stack the final line of blocks, and do about half the fill work we did today. And the wall will be done! Not exactly far ahead of schedule, but at least not behind it.

Papiere, Bitte.

Paying attention to laws, prospective or current, is not something I habitually do on this blog or in my personal life. Lately I've been posting a lot about a raft of pro-gunowner laws in Arizona, because they serve my philosophical interests. I like it that gun ownership is coming back toward "normalization."

But in following those laws so closely, I've been remiss in not paying more attention to another excretion of the Arizona legislature, one that passed the Senate and headed for the Governor's desk yesterday.
PHOENIX -- The question of whether police will be required to ask people if they are in this country legally is now in the hands of Gov. Jan Brewer.

On a 17-11 margin Monday, the state Senate gave final approval to a package of changes in state law that proponents say will help crack down on illegal immigration. Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, the architect of the plan, said state action is necessary because of the political failure in Washington to secure the border.


SB 1070 would overrule any policy or procedure of a city council or police department that keeps officers from enforcing federal immigration laws. It also says that, when practicable, police must inquire about the immigration status of those they encounter as part of their regular activities.

And to ensure compliance, the legislation permits anyone who believes police aren't doing all they should to file suit, with judges required to impose fines of up to $5,000 a day if the citizen suit succeeds.

It also permits police to arrest those who are not citizens if they are not carrying their visas or resident alien documents issued by the U.S. government.
Remember when "Papers, please" was always a joke about Nazis?

Y'know what? I don't have a "valid" driver's license. I don't carry "identification papers" or "proof of legal residency," and I don't plan to start. In fact, if some cop demanded that I prove I was born here, I'd have a hard time doing it. Guess that makes me eligible for summary arrest and possible deportation if I'm ever stopped in Arizona. Maybe I should bone up on my Spanish.

Of course that's not going to happen - at this stage. I'm too obviously white, and speak colloquial English with an American accent. But since bills like this are so fraught with unintended consequences, and will cause such complete chaos among "legal" residents and people who just have the misfortune of having been born swarthy, there will be a next stage. National ID has not gone away. If you'll recall, the drive for RealID the last time was about immigration as much as sorting out the "good citizens" from the "terrorists." You can't only demand that "aliens" carry ID papers at all times, because that won't work - for any such scheme to make any rational sense at all, EVERYBODY has to carry them.

And that'll be the day when everybody forgets that "Papers, please" used to be about Nazis.

So if you're loving this bill, and the others like it, because they get down on all those "illegal aliens" that upset you so, just you wait. Your time is coming, and it will come swiftly. It won't just be the "furriners" who'll need to keep their papers in order.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Interesting Times Day!

And interesting things are happening.

On this date, all sorts of interesting - and usually tragic - things happened. Among which, the following:

1529 - At the Second Diet of Speyer, a group of rulers and independent cities protests the reinstatement of the Edict of Worms, beginning the Protestant movement along with a series of religious wars that continue to this day here and there.

1775 - The Battle of Lexington and Concord begins the American Revolutionary War.

1861 - Baltimore riot of 1861, a pro-Secession mob attacks United States Army troops marching through the city.

1933 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the abandonment of the gold standard.

1943 - The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins.

1961 - End of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

1993 - Eighty-one people are slaughtered by fire, gas and gunfire by forces of the Federal Government at the end of the siege of the Branch Davidian building outside Waco, Texas.

1995 - The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, is bombed, killing 168.

In this country, April 19 is called Patriot's Day and is used to commemorate the Battle of Lexington and Concord, which kicked off the shooting phase of the American Revolution. It has been so for all my life, as far as I remember. But according to these idiots, people who consider themselves "patriots" should cease to do so. They claim to believe that people such as the brave souls attending the "Restore the Constitution" rally in Virginia are just right-wing militia crazies, insensitively celebrating the Oklahoma City bombing. Suggesting that the principles bled for by the patriots at Lexington and Concord ought to be restored and lived up to has somehow become the act of scary "extremists."

I got two bits of news for you, ladies.

First - The date of the Murrah building bombing is only not a coincidence if the date of the Branch Davidian massacre isn't. And if it isn't that would be on the heads of FBI goons, not the people at those rallies.

Second - The people at those rallies aren't the extremists. They're just good, brave people who still believe in the political process. The real extremists stayed home, because they don't.

You better pray those good people get their way. You better pray you never meet the real extremists. Because that would be a very interesting day.

Oh, Lord...

So I'm working on the Landlady's retaining wall, right? And nothing's going just right, because when I woke up this morning I could barely raise my right arm after taking a header in the yard yesterday afternoon. And then I find out that I miscalculated how many bond-beam blocks I needed by exactly one, plus I broke one trying to bust out a side for a corner block, which means I'm down two blocks. I look all over and can't find any laying around. But I figure there must be some at M's build site, so I put the boys in the Jeep and get ready to drive over there.

And I'm just pulling out when I see a big green pickup driving into the meadow near the Landlady's build site. It's D&L, delivering a bunch of pallets for the lumber that's supposed to arrive on Wednesday. So I leave the boys in the Jeep while we unload the pallets. What with that and conversation, that takes maybe half an hour. Then I figure while I'm out I may as well hang the load of laundry in the washer, and that takes another few minutes. Then I come back to the Jeep...

Where I find that somebody - I'd blame Beauty, but she wasn't even there - has decided to use the shift knob for a chew toy, completely destroying the push-button thingie that lets you get it out of Park. I get it sort-of working, so now you can shift the transmission but you can't lock it into park, which on our hills is definitely a Bad Thing. And now I've got something else to fix, plus trying to figure out how to explain this to Landlady, who owns the Jeep...

I'm supposed to be the care-taker, not the parts-breaker.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Perfect endings and misguided precautions...

Got an early start on a strenuous day, as I said earlier. My cable-pulling adventure came to nothing, endlessly forcing a fish tape through underground conduit that doesn't seem to go anywhere. Finally gave up after digging a useless hole to see what the cuss was going on, getting the tape stuck a few frustrating times, and slipping on the dust and taking a lovely back-flop that's got my shoulder complaining. I now had one trouble-free limb left, and that seemed like a good place to end the work day.

What I need is a nice hot shower. Got the dogs squared away and limped, towel-clad, into the barn where we keep our beautiful townie shower. Got the water going, soaped up...and noticed that the water seemed to be pooling at my feet. And getting deeper.

Oh, for cussing swearing cuss! A perfect end to a perfect day! I've already got a leaking apartment sink pipe and an apartment stove that works great at all times except in the presence of the Landlady. Now what?

I should mention that the barn plumbing doesn't have a septic field, since there's no flush toilet. There's just a 2" pipe that comes out of the ground at the nearest slope and periodically makes a juniper's day. There is no reason...there is absolutely no reason, I say!...that the drain pipe should be clogged. Unless, as has been posited, something built a nest in there. In which case the plumbing snake is about to have a gruesome job of work.

Towel-wrapped once more, I stomped outside and over to the pipe outlet. There, happily, I found the trouble without, er, trouble. Somebody had decided to preempt the afore-mentioned nest by wrapping the pipe's end in window screen and securing it with gaffing tape. When I yanked it off, the inside looked as though it had seen no more than two wash-loads worth of laundry lint. Also, when I yanked it off the shower bed abruptly emptied itself.

I'm going to see what's at the bottom of my bourbon bottle now.

Look who's got something to say...

...about people who keep their oaths!
I think that all you have to do is read the paper every day to see how many people there are who are deeply, deeply troubled. We know, now, that there are people involved in...these “hatriot” groups, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, the others – 99 percent of them will never do anything they shouldn’t do. But there are people who advocate violence and anticipate violence.
Coming from you, Bill, that's really compelling. Maybe not in the way you intend, but...

Yes, I know. It is a busy day. But there's no law says I can't have a sandwich and ciggie in front of the 'pooter. I've already helped dismantle and load some cell-tower batteries for recycling, did the morning Walky, and made some money moving a very cumbersome hay shelter from "over there" to "over here." Now I'm off to pull some cable. I'm the only one who seems to have reliable wi-fi from W's very expensive uber-router, and that wasn't exactly what he had in mind when he bought it. (Though I appreciate it, W.) So we're gonna try to pull some Cat5e through the existing conduit to the powerhouse, and relocate the router to that more-central location.

It's shaping up to be a busy day...

So in anticipation of poor blogging etiquette, here are funny pictures.

Seen at GunRights4usall.

Dunno where I found this one. Had it for years.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Arizona Gov signed the bill!

And about time, too. I've watched this every day, and was starting to think she was going to let it go without a signature.

Three months from yesterday*, Arizona goes to Vermont Carry.

This blows me away. I spent most of my life in cities, where you were in less jeopardy from the Forces of Law and Order if you walked around without pants than if you let somebody get a glimpse of your pistol. I often thought my pistol caused me more trouble than it promised to solve, because my greatest fear was cops. I don't remember when I first learned that Vermont didn't forbid open or concealed carry, but I do remember being flabbergasted. I'd spent so long in fear of the law, for doing something I considered not only my right but simple common sense, that I truly couldn't conceive of having it any other way.

I live now in ... the place where I live, and open carry because I can. I've done it for years, I'm not the only one, and the locals don't bother me. But if I throw on a coat and it covers my holster, I'm suddenly breaking the law. To quote Jubal Early, "Does that seem right to you?"

Apparently it didn't seem right to the government of Arizona. Congratulations to all who worked to make it happen! May the meme spread far.

*EDIT: There's some confusion as to when this new law goes into effect. Three months from signing or three months from the end of the legislative session? I don't know. I've heard it authoritatively stated both ways. Guess it goes into effect when it does.

I finally took LB's toy away...

Yes, I manipulate the boys from time to time.

Precisely how this coffee can got half a mile from home, I really can't say. It was downwind, and I'm constantly picking up windborne litter that's snagged in a tree or cactus. But a coffee can seemed a bit large, heavy and aerodynamically slippery to get blown that far. Little Bear made it worse by carrying it a bit farther away every time we encountered it during walkies, and I didn't feel like carrying it that far back. Most litter I can just stuff in a cargo pocket.

So I made a game of it. I started manipulating our walkies so that we encountered the coffee can on the way home. And each time he'd carry it toward home until he tired of having his jaws cranked that far open. Today, after maybe a week of that, it found its way into a trash can.

And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space...

...'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daryl Gates has left the building...

...and gone to meet Jesus. Let us hope for his sake the Lord is in a good mood.

During his long career with the LAPD, Gates became known as the guiding mind behind many things I hate, including SWAT and DARE. And while he certainly didn't invent the "War on Drugs" or the concept of the vicious, racist cop, he did what he could to institutionalize them. And he didn't care who he had to kill to get it done. Money quote from here:
''It seems to me that we may be finding that in some blacks when [a choke hold] is applied, the veins or the arteries do not open as fast as they do on normal people.''

It doesn't happen often, but days like this do make me at least momentarily hope there's a hell.

H/T to Claire. Good damn riddance, indeed.

Well, that didn't take long.

Don't look at me. It's no use getting angry about it, and after all I did warn you. Where do you think you're living?

So some California gunowner-rights activists decided to make a point by openly carrying empty handguns in public. I suppose their hope was that in this way they'd open minds to the fact that guns in the hands of peaceable people aren't evil, or even misled. They attracted all the wrong but perfectly predictable attention. The sheep bleated in horror, the nannies tut-tutted, the cops preened and posed, and the lawmakers did exactly what you'd expect them to.

Guys, seriously. I have complete sympathy for your plight, I really do, but what did you think was going to happen? There's no hope for California. Suck it up and get yourselves out of there. Yes, I know it's inconvenient to move and the weather's really nice. But how much are you willing to put up with?

Now, Children. Don't worry your little heads about self-defence...

...Or we'll throw you in prison.

From the Atlanta Gun Rights Advisor, a tale of a brave protector who'd rather see you dead than have his sinecure threatened...
The Chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Ed Setzler, asked him about a hypothetical situation. First, he asked everyone in the room who had a Georgia Firearms License to raise their hands. Fifteen or twenty people out of the fifty or sixty people assembled in the room raised their hands. Representative Setzler then asked the Chief to assume that the room full of people were on Emory's campus at a business seminar when a murderer at the back of the room begins shooting people in the audience, one by one. After setting the scene, Representative Setzler asked the Chief whether he would prefer to see one of the fifteen or so people in the room with a gun put a stop to the killing.

Chief Watson's response? He informed the committee that it was his feeling that more people would die if fifteen of the potential murder victims had guns than if the people were helpless, disarmed, and just waited for the police to respond and save them.

The disturbing thing about his demeanor is that he actually acted like he believed what he was saying.
Chief Watson is probably not quite as stupid as he comes across here. Being a Kampus Kop, I assume he's aware of the well-established record on how campus shootings typically go. If students and faculty actually depend on the "only ones" to save them, the shooting generally goes on until the shooter runs out of ammo or decides he's had his fun and offs himself. At that point the po-po charge bravely in, further traumatize the surviving flock, and pose for the newsies.

On the other hand, if some brave soul has chosen to ignore the disapproval of officialdom and arm himself like an mature member of his species, the shooting typically ends rather sooner.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Half done now.

We've had several nights with no freeze. I got the steel bent and tied, and the concrete poured for the first bond beam layer on the retaining wall for the Landlady's Casa Del Prada. I got a late start, but I'm well on schedule to finish the wall before the house-raising party. Three courses down, three to go.

Also, the window guys came back today and installed the windows for M's dome. It still doesn't have a working door, but it does have a lovely set of windows. Hope to get pictures of that tomorrow.

Geez, I'm the only one here full-time and the only one not making progress on his house. Guess I'd better get cracking.

Could be, could be.

Well, there's a first time for everything. The blossoms are fading from the fruit tree, but there's been no killing frost so far this month. Some blossoms were lost to wind, but this is the first time I've seen since I've lived here the flowers go to their natural end.

Could it be there'll actually be fruit on the fruit tree this year? It'd be a first.

Oh, I'll bet they will.

The New York Times, on an itsie-bitsie oopsie found in the new health care law...
WASHINGTON — It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way. And, perhaps fittingly if unintentionally, no one may be more affected than members of Congress themselves.

In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.

For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available.
“The whole point is to make sure political leaders live under the laws they pass for everyone else,” Mr. Grassley said Tuesday. “In this case, after the committee completed its work, the coverage provision was redrafted by others, and that’s where mistakes were made. Congress can and should act to correct the mistakes.”
I have no doubt that our Congressional masters will act without delay to correct any mistake that seems to raise any expectation they must abide by the results of the laws they force on us. After all, our Congressional masters labor so long and unselfishly, protecting us from the vicissitudes of freedom and liberty.

And they're just so darned important.

A question I have often pondered...

She could kick the crap out of him, but instead she lines up with the others and puts up with this. Is it because she doesn't know she has teeth and hooves?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Honorary M14...

Yeah, somebody from a previous life discovered this blog and wondered that he saw me with an (shudder) AK47. I'd just like it to be known that the AK that is apparently in the picture is really, through an intricate religious ritual, an honorary M14, okay? The original M14 is in a rifle case, easily accessible with a bunch of loaded magazines. But like I said yesterday, I've got a problem with everyday gear where I sweat it getting all banged up. So the AK is everyday gear. It doesn't mean I've left the Church of the Immaculate M14, or anything like that. It's just that immaculate gear doesn't get it when you actually carry it every day. That's all.

I mean, who really cares if your AK gets all scratched up in everyday use, right? It looks like an AK, but for religious use it's actually an M14. Really. That's all I'm saying. It's not that I've fallen from the ranks of the faithful or anything.. Seriously.

Am I protesting too much?

How a Democracy is Superior...

It's that time of year again, boys and girls.

From here.

H/T to Wendy McElroy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goodness, that feels nice.

Just took my first real soaky shower in almost six months.

We installed a genuine towny shower in the barn apartment last summer, and all summer and autumn it was pure decadent pleasure. But the barn isn't heated when nobody's staying there, and we had our first pipe burst before snow even fell. So with death in my (and W's) heart I turned off the pressure and emptied the pipes.

During my Winter Of Solitude I had to strictly ration propane use; basically if water wasn't freezing in the sink, and it did sometimes, it was warm enough in the lair. Put on another sweater and quit your bitching. You get used to it. But what you don't do except on very special occasions is take off your clothes and get wet. I wasn't entirely joking when I told a friend at the end of that period, "I don't worry about smell. I worry about rashes." It's a wonder anyone would come near me, and I noted they did tend to stay upwind.

This past winter wasn't nearly that bad, because I had access to transport and could move propane bottles any time I wanted. So I was much more profligate with the heat, and much more willing to get nekkid and take a sponge bath. But still, there were times when I looked at that lonely shower in the barn and gave a sad little sigh.

The freeze danger isn't completely over, but screw it: we've got to fire it up soon anyway because the whole gang will be here at the end of the month for a houseraising party and besides W and I are both heartily sick of being without the washing machine and that oh-so-luxurious shower.

Got me a new holster today...

For the past three+ years I've lived here, I've used a Galco pancake holster that never really suited me. It was more appropriate in the state I lived in before, where you never, ever open carried but sometimes, like when driving long distances, an IWB holster was too uncomfortable. But I never liked the forward rake or the high ride, the leather was too thin and flexible and it would never stay still on my belt. Not a bad holster, just not right for me. Still, you use what you got and it never seemed worth it to shop for a different holster.

This one's genuine tax-eater quality; the best your money can buy. A fellow at the flea market had a bunch of them, and I didn't ask where they came from but I'm gonna go ahead and guess they were liberated from a room fulla obsolete gear. He had some that were shinier than this one, probably never issued, but I don't like my everyday gear too shiny. Then I sweat the scratches, y'know?

Why does Schumer hate cute baby airplanes?

The trampling injuries have barely healed from Chuckie Schumer's last stampede to a TV camera in light of some perceived outrage on the part of the airline industry. He's as responsible as anyone alive for the airlines' current dire financial situation. So you'd think he'd just shut up when an airline does something, however stupid, to try to stay aloft.

But "Schumer" and "shut up" are not words normally found in the same sentence. He's at it again.

It's become as predictable as 1,2,3:
  1. Spirit Airlines announces idiotic plan to charge travelers for carry-on bags.
  2. Newsie covers the story.
  3. Ayatollah Schumer rushes to camera, declares jihad.
New York Sen. Charles Schumer calls the fee a “slap in the face,” and said he'll get the government to ban airlines from charging fees for carry-on luggage.
I know it's asked so often that the question has become a cliché. But for God's! Sake!

Where the rollicking hell does this asshat get the authority to even express an opinion, much less issue a ban, on what a private business charges for anything? How can any sane man even have the effrontery to say such a thing? And why in the name of cute fuzzy puppies does anybody pretend to take him seriously?

H/T to Tam, who owes me my appetite back for showing me this before breakfast.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's not really about guns.

The Firearms Freedom Act now signed into law by six states and apparently about to become law in Idaho seems, at first glance, to be about guns. Hey, the word "Firearms" is right in the title.

But it's not just about guns. It's not really about guns at all. For some weeks, as I noodled it, I've wondered why the states chose this particular issue to hang their point on. I'm still wondering. But I'm glad they chose this as opposed to a money issue, which would probably have been easier to sell to their legislatures but also more susceptible to Federal bribery or blackmail.

There's a good article on the subject here, which starts out talking about the Arizona concealed carry law, a topic I've been following, but then segues off into a much larger issue.
Last year, the Arizona Legislature passed a concurrent resolution known as the Arizona Health Care Freedom Act, which will appear on the ballot this November. If approved by Arizona´s voters, it will amend the state´s constitution and guarantee Arizonans two things:

That all Arizonans have the right to spend their own money to obtain legal health care services.

That all Arizonans have the right NOT to participate in any health care system, of any type.

Arizona is also on the verge of passing a bill that would nullify Cap and Trade (SCR 1050), as well as passing another bill that declares "..any incandescent light bulb manufactured entirely within Arizona and not exported to any other state is not subject to federal regulations." (HB 2337).

Question: What do all these bills have in common? Answer: They all push back against Congress´ abuse of the "commerce clause".


Originally introduced and passed in Montana, the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA), declares that any firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states. The FFA is primarily a Tenth Amendment challenge to the powers of Congress under the "commerce clause," with firearms as the object. (source,

States that have signed FFA´s into law now include Arizona, Monatana, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Idaho´s Governor Butch Otter is expected to sign House Bill 589 into law, which will bring the total to seven states. Additionally eighteen other states have introduced nearly identical bills in their state legislatures. These bills have passed through one or more houses in five of those states.

Arizona´s FFA (HB 2307) is about much more than the right to keep and bear arms. The legislative findings contained in the act affirm that our union is a compact between the people of the several states, their state governments, and the federal government of the United States. It also declares that, "The tenth amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the constitution and reserves to the state and people of Arizona certain powers as they were understood at the time that Arizona was admitted to statehood in 1912. The guaranty of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Arizona and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed on and adopted by Arizona and the United States in 1912."

Furthermore, the act explicitly denies that the federal government has any authority whatsoever to regulate commerce which takes place exclusively inside Arizona´s borders (intrastate commerce), which pertains to the manufacture of firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition. This assertion is clearly a direct challenge designed to confront the perversely expansive interpretation of the "commerce clause" which has prevailed in the US Supreme Court for decades.
(emphasis mine)

I've said in the recent past that the push-back on gun-owner rights caught me by surprise. I'm not going to claim that I said all along freedom would win out on the issue, because I'm firmly on record as having said the exact opposite. Current events are showing that - on this issue alone, you understand - I was wr...

I was wro...

I was not as right as I usually am.

It's my own private Inconvenient Truth. I've believed, and said, for decades that this country had an inevitable trajectory. That it would go from crisis to crisis, each resulting in more federal control of everything we do and say. That it would end in totalitarianism. And that it would brook no revolt or even protest against that trajectory. So yeah, the concealed carry thing surprised me. Frankly, I expected a total nationwide gun ban long before now. People with guns are less likely to act like compliant sheep when pushed, meekly flocking to the shearer. I didn't believe the government would tolerate it. I ... wasn't right about that.

But this new issue is what's really got me pondering. The upswell in states-rights sentiment - and more than sentiment, action - really shocks me. That it's not just happening among some April 19 Tea Party activists, but actually in one state legislature after another, just astonishes me, just knocks me down. State legislators have not traditionally boasted much of a reputation for their foursquare courage in standing up to unreasonable Federal demands.

And I snickered at the early signs of this growing "screw-you" consensus. States passed "resolutions:" well, big deal. Resolutions without the force of law are harmless, meaningless fun. States kicked back against Real ID: well, that was good, but that was about money. A lot of the state legislatures that protested Real ID made it very clear that they'd have happily rolled over on the issue if the feds had agreed to pay the freight. Most state governments are at least as broke as the feds. They can't raise taxes too much without being bodily thrown out of office, and they're forbidden to mint money. I figured most of the protesting legislators didn't really care about Real ID, it was the "unfunded mandate" they were kicking at. Welcome in light of the issue, but ultimately meaningless in terms of the larger picture.

It's starting to look as though I was ... not right ... about that, too. And that possibility makes the future a much more interesting place to ponder. Are we moving toward state nullification of federal laws and regulations, clearly stated and acted upon? Are some states moving toward - dare I say it - the S-word? I can't wait to see how this works out.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Forty years after Apollo...

The Space Flight Prevention Agency continues to expensively deteriorate.
"So what we are doing is relying on commercial capability to get us access to low Earth orbit, to get us to the International Space Station.

"But to get to places like the moon and Mars and other beyond LEO places, that, we feel, is the responsibility of your government. Because that's risky, that's an investment that we can't really count on a commercial entity taking until we've demonstrated the ability to do that and do it safely."

Oh, just get the hell out of the way.

When you think you've got everything planned...

...That's when Uncle Murphy will come to call.

Okay, it's about seven in the morning. Shaping up to be a beautiful day. Landlady and M are due around one. M's bringing the door for the Secret Lair, so I've got to be ready to move that when he arrives plus whatever Landlady has planned. I've only got maybe an hour's work to do shoveling shit this morning, and that'll leave me lots of time and walking range. (When you're a one-legged guy, you plan around how much walking you can do.) So! I'll take the boys for a nice cross-country walky to S&L's place. If they're in, maybe Ghost can spend the day with them. If that works out, Little Bear and I can walk to J&H's place, and he can spend an hour playing with Luna while I clean the corrals. Then we'll walk home for a nice rest and leisurely lunch.

Uh huh. The trip to S&L's went well enough. We had a chat, Ghost and Little Bear had a nice butt-sniff with their new Shih Tzu. Ever see a five-pound dog get in the face of an Akita/Doberman mix and back him right down, because he had the temerity to get a scratch from Mom? Wacky fun.

Little Bear and I then went about two miles cross-country to J&H's place. I brought a leash with me, because I couldn't be sure that Little Bear would be civilized around the horses. I put him in Luna's pen. Luna's a Pyrenees pup and has grown - a lot - since they last met. She's huge and full of energy. Also she's not the best-behaved dog in the world. Before he could even negotiate a polite nose-bump she reared up, grabbed him by the ass and... Uh, Luna, I'm pretty sure that's his job. Well, he was a obnoxious adolescent once, too. I hadn't even got the door secured when he was looking at me as if to say, "Can we leave now?"

J met me in the yard and said there were a couple of extra things to do. He's been tearing down the goat pens and using the materials to surround the whole ridge top. The front part of the fence, now complete, goes right through the biggest manure pile, and it seems he only moved the part where the fence had to go. He wanted me to move the part that's on the wrong side of the fence to the right side of the fence.

Sigh - that would have been easier before you built the fence, J.

The next thing he wants me to do is clean out the horse trailer. They've got this big three-horse trailer, and normally it wouldn't be any big deal except the horses belong to his wife and... Look, I'm really not getting down on H, okay? She's a very nice lady, makes a kick-ass salsa that she shares freely, and anyway I was getting paid. But this lady never cleans anything. Heracles may have had more trouble with the Augean Stables than this trailer promised to be, but I'll bet not by much. After I got it raked out, after I dragged the heavy rubber mats outside, I spent the best part of an hour on my knees scraping fossilized horse shit out of the corners with my belt knife. Then I could clean the mats, of course. Ugh.

Happy to do it, especially since I'm getting paid. But could we have maybe planned this more in advance? Last Wednesday I just raked corrals and left, and I could have made time then. Today I had other things going on, plus after the manure pile my stump was starting to get kinda raw.

Anyway - got it done. J, bless him, gave LB and me a ride home on his way to town, which by the time I was done I was really hoping for. And now I'm sitting with my leg off, feeling like I never want to move again, expecting to hear M's truck arrive any second so the actual work day can commence.

Just had to take that extra walky, didn't I? Putz. At least I don't have to worry about entertaining Little Bear. He's done.

"We've got to get organized!"

"If those racists, homophobes and morons won't act like ... racists, homophobes and morons, we'll just have to do it for them!

"Wait. What are you people doing here? Go get your own forum!"

Seriously, who needs television when you've got the intertubz and these people? I'm not a tea partier, haven't even paid that much attention to the movement. But the quality of their enemies makes me think maybe I should join in. If your opponents are this contemptible, you must be doing something right.

Okay, our story so far: It seems there's this organization, Crash The Tea Party - which, judging from the quality of their web site, appears to be two pimply kids in Mom's basement - that has a brilliant plan for discrediting the Tea Party movement in the media. They started a forum, of course, because the Field Marshals needed to discuss strategy with their teeming millions:
This topic will be dedicated to how we should crash Tea Parties. One of the most obvious ways we can do this is by blending in with the crowd and yelling out racist slurs like Jews, Nigger, and Fags. One of us should record the act and that should get good media coverage.
Yeah, great plan. I gather from the discussion that followed that conservative radio shows let the cat out of the bag. The forum suddenly gained a more gigantic membership than the organizers likely intended.

Hilarity ensued.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fear the paranoid white men!

These people need to get a better pitch. Remember every single state that passed Shall Issue laws, and the confident predictions of blood running in the gutters? The jury's in on that one, guys. You were wrong. No mayhem ensued. Live with it.

But these days, though the same old lying claims still get made, they've got one extra twist.
Arizona is a state of cowardly little white men with handguns. They need their guns to prove their manhood. Without them, they have nothing but fear.

This is one reason why Sand Land remains so benighted. Any illusions you may have had that we live in a civilized state should be completely disabused by the passage this week of gun legislation here in Cactus Country that says you don't need to bother with having a CCW permit on you if you plan to pack heat sub rosa.
I've noticed that racism is back in the news in a big way, as lefties predicted, but not in the way they predicted. When Obama was elected, the left predicted that righties would start hatin' on black people again. Didn't happen, so the lefties are hatin' on white people instead. You're racist if you're involved in the Tea Party. You're racist if you don't talk down secession. Now you're racist if you're interested in your own self-defense, because of course only white guys compensating for their teeny-tiny gear would ever want to do that.

I haven't seen the text of the bill so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this one doesn't specify repealing the CCW permit requirement just for white people.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

:^0 Yeah! Me too!

I'm Gobsmacked - in a GOOD Way


Arizona's House of Representatives voted today, 36-19, to allow permitless "Vermont" concealed carry. The Senate passed the bill on March 29, 20-10. Jan Brewer, our Republican governor who took office when Janet Napolitano was elevated to her seat as Secretary of Homeland Security, is running for election to that seat, and running hard.

I think she'll sign it.

I'm shocked. Arizona will probably become the third "Vermont Carry" state in the nation at the end of July.

Very cool.
The site I've been monitoring
for news on this doesn't carry it as of this writing. And the final vote has been hanging fire for almost two weeks. But Kevin at The Smallest Minority says it's so. He doesn't post a link, so I haven't been able to confirm, but it's amazing news if true. The Arizona governor signed the other two pro-gunowner bills without delay, so there seems no reason not to expect her to sign this, the big one. Congratulations, Arizonans! I may have to visit, just so I can walk around with a concealed handgun and not worry about getting busted. That'd be fun; I don't do permits.

UPDATE: Seems to be true.

Y'know, I don't say this often...

...but there oughta be a law against First Ladies promoting their own nanny agendas.

From Eleanor Roosevelt, through Nancy (Just Say No) Reagan, to the current Mrs. (Ms?) Obama, I'm not sure it's ever done that much tangible harm but it sure is annoying. Cloying. Insulting. Who elected these broads, and where do they get the authority to spend your money on their pet hobbyhorse? It makes me nostalgic for Jackie Kennedy, who as I recall just obsessed about White House table settings.

Offered for your, the redheaded stepdaughter of Obamacare, promising to...
give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.
And by "support," of course they don't mean "force."

Hey, Michelle? Here's an alternative. How about you eat whatever you want and I won't bug you about it, and you do me the same courtesy? That work for you?

*sigh* Didn't think so.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

QoD, on how not to throw a baseball.

"It's not the athletic ability, it's the attitude. He expected that he could just let go of the ball, and the earth would rotate the catcher to it." - Anon

This is called a Tamalanche.

I've heard of them, but it's my first personal experience. I don't know what Tam's traffic is like, but I gather she gets more hits in an hour than this sleepy little blog can expect on a good day. She does some very first-class snark, that lady.

It seems she linked a minor piece to something here, and my first clue was when my hit rate increased over ten times between 0500 and 0600. I should say things she finds interesting more often. Thanks, Tam.

Oh, and welcome to the new folks! Feel free to make yourselves at home and wander around.

Does anybody have an opinion about what this means, exactly?

Because it seems kind of meaningless to me. I mean, I know it's a symbol, and it's nice to see state legislators at least symbolically thumbing their noses at the feds. But why this particular issue? And will the states push back on more substantive matters? Like ceasing to send money to the feds so they can stop being blackmailed with threats not to get some of it back?

I'm talking about the Firearms Freedom Act, which as of yesterday six governors have signed into law and a shiteload of states are considering. Montana made the law official last April, and I expected it to quietly pass into obscurity. Lately I've made a real habit of underestimating gun law activists. Now it's all over the place.

As I understand it, the FFA says in effect that if guns or ammo are made in a state and retained within the state, federal laws regarding their regulation have no effect. Every action of the US government since WWII indicates disagreement with that position, since way back in Wickard v. Filburn the feds said everything you do affects interstate commerce even when you're not doing anything, so they get to regulate everything. That was repeated as recently as 2005 in the Gonzales v. Raich medical marijuana case.

Nobody expected the feds to just go quietly along with the FFA, and they haven't. BATFE sent a letter to all Montana FFLs back in July, telling them pretty much what you'd expect the ATF to say: "Screw your law, you'll obey us or find another line of work after you get out of prison. Have a nice day." The Montana Shooting Sports Association and Second Amendment Foundation sued Eric Holder in federal court, obviously hoping for an eventual supreme court ruling. Back in January the feds responded with a motion to dismiss, saying none of the plaintiffs had any standing to sue anybody, and as far as I know that's as far as that's gone. But in the meantime state after state has signed similar bills into law, and that's weird.

As with so many positive-seeming law-related things, I don't know what to think about this. I know what it's supposed to mean, but I'm not convinced that it really means that. How far do you guys think this sort of thing will really go?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When you've got a satellite service...

...which is in your landlady's name, there are things it's vitally important not to do.

Like, for example...and I'm just throwing this out there as an example, right? I mean, it's not that this happened or anything...

It's vitally important not to find this really, really extensive webcomic and read it, page for page, from the front to the finish, during this one really windy day when things are slow.

Because if you do that, and you've got this satellite service where you can only download 750 megabytes in a whole month, and if you go to eighty percent of your download limit the person in whose name the service is gets this nastygram saying so...

And if like in one day you go from 39% of your limit to like 79%...and again, this is just an example because this didn't really happen...

Because if you cross that final one percent, then the landlady is going to get this nastygram...

And if you're not the only person using the service...

Well, then. Like I say. It could get awkward. That's all I'm saying.