Friday, June 17, 2005
He spent the last year and a half researching, writing, directing, filming and producing an original film called "1944." The film is about the 101st Airborne, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment and their days during the Battle of the Bulge. He spent hours in his school library poring over books and maps of Europe. He studied online journals from the 101st Web site.
Hawkinson's film started as a junior class project. He set out to make a 30-minute comedy, but his research led him in a different direction. He gained a huge amount of respect for the men he researched. So he wanted to take a new approach with his film.
"The more research I did the more I wanted to make something that would be meaningful," Hawkinson said.
Now this is another example where I hope the parents are aware of what a great kid they have. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the effort.
Take a look at the banner on the page--the Bitterroot Mountains, as in Montana and Idaho. Do you suppose that there is some connection between where he grew up and how he was raised? I wonder what the likelihood of getting a kid like this would be in, say, Chicago or San Francisco? I won't even go into the odds of his getting his film made--he used real guns! *GASP!*
Thursday, June 16, 2005
I'm not fan of the misnamed "Patriot Act". It was a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11, poorly thought out, poorly debated and overly broad and invasive. I know I'm not alone in that judgment.
238 members of the US House of Representatives agree with me, and have voted to trim back the Patriot Act a bit. From what I read, it isn't much, but even a little bit is a good start.
Of course, the predictable cries from the less appetizing/dark and creepy parts of the Republican Party are occurring. I really like this:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress in April that the government has never used the provision to obtain library, bookstore, medical or gun sale records.
But when asked whether the administration would agree to exclude library and medical records from the law, Gonzales demurred. "It should not be held against us that we have exercised restraint," he said.
Authorities have gained access to records through voluntary cooperation from librarians, Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller said.
"Voluntary cooperation", huh? I bet it was more along the lines of "You can either give them to us or we'll take them." And the part about "gun sale records" is really not doing the ol' blood pressure any good.
Makes me proud to be a registered Republican, I'll tell you that. Ahem.
The kicker is that apparently the President is threatening to veto the renewal if it trims the Patriot Act at all. Please! Veto it. We can let the whole stinking thing sunset and be done with it. Then we can all thank President Bush for doing the right thing for what I'll bet are the wrong reasons.
My lunch partner and I speculated on "What the heck is this guy doing?" Well, now we know. This guy is on a serious ride, from Argentina, north through the US, across the Atlantic, through Europe and to North Africa. Pretty amazing stuff. Good luck, compadre.
The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.
It gets better though. It's "for the children":
"It was raised not once but several times in the meeting, very emphatically," said Dave McClure, president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, which represents small to midsize companies. "We were told, 'You're going to have to start thinking about data retention if you don't want people to think you're soft on child porn.'"
I think the US government, and in particular the DOJ, is soft on the concept of the Constitution. My lord, even the EU has considered this sort of "maintain logs on all your traffic for however long we say, Mr. ISP" and figured out that between the technical and privacy issues it's a loser. Hell, this sounds like something mainland China would do!
And privacy and freedom advocates, what would you like to bet that if your data appears encrypted, you're going to get some interesting questions? I hope we've all enjoyed the Internet while it lasted--it seems it's days as a useful communication medium may be numbered.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
If you missed it earlier, I've started going to a chiropractor for problems with my back. Well, I've been going for a couple of weeks, and I thought I'd let the world (at least, the little part that stops by here) know "What chiropractic has done for me".
I went into this with a lot of skepticism. I figured this was somewhere in the neighborhood of a backrub, and I had a self-diagnosed nerve impingement--my left leg was hurting down to my calf, burning sensations, the whole business. But since I wasn't getting much help from my MD, Something Had To Be Done.
So on the advice of a couple of co-workers, I went to their chiro. Very nice guy, took his time, took some x-rays, thoroughly explain his take on the situation in my lower back. If I understand this correctly, in layman's terms I have a collapsed joint (vertebrae located at hip level--S1 maybe?) that is impinging a nerve. Might be congenital, aggravated by 2 major and several minor injuries over the years.
So we start treatment--ultrasound to help the inflammation around the nerve, spinal adjustments to get the thing back where it belongs.
I didn't know your back could crack in that many places.
At any rate, my leg stopped hurting after a few adjustments. There is some pain in the back, but that is residual, and will soon start lessening, so sayeth the chiro.
The chiro also tells me that my back will never be as good as it was before this, but I should easily be 80-90+%. Compared to laying flat on my back hurting, I guess that isn't so bad. Of course, I'm going to have to be serious about stretching and exercise, listen to my body ("A 15 minute break at the right time can save you a visit to me."), loose some weight, modify some behaviors, adjust my seating position and so on. All things I should have done anyway or that are minor changes.
He also says I may need to pay him a visit every so often, perhaps once every month or three, for some "preventive maintenance". Fine with me; it beats being out of work. Cheaper, too.
I guess the bottom line is that chiropratic seems to have done me some good. I'm surprised, but happy to be surprised.
This isn't an easy question to answer with any sort of certainty. I've participated in The Discussion more than once, and I've yet to see an answer to the question I find satisfactory. It seems there are just too many ifs, ands and buts. It doesn't seem possible to draw a line and say "Anything over this means war." There are simply too many variables, ranging from your own willingness to die for a cause, through concern on the impact your decision may have on your family, to a simple uncertainty that the way you interpret certain events is "correct".
The Discussion is once again going on, this time at Kim du Toit's Nation of Riflemen blog. This is one of the best and most annotated versions of The Discussion I can remember, which is why I'm noting it here. It's a lot to read, and getting longer by the minute. There are also a lot of excellent links to follow, some of which lead to scholarly papers that will take you hours to read and mentally digest.
However, it's an important topic, and one that may be becoming more, rather than less, topical. Visit Kim's place and take part, or lurk if that's what you prefer. But you should read this--it's important.
Edit, 6/15/2005: Kim du Toit's thoughts on "when" are here.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Old Friend's Older Brother decided early last week that he needed to buy a pistol for himself and one for his Lady Friend. This isn't as scary as it might seem, since he grew up shooting. His Lady Friend also shot as a young child, but had not fired a round in many years.
Now I will question his choice in guns. For himself, he bought one of the winning contestants in the Ugly Gun Awards, the Hi-Point. (At least I was able to convince him to get it in .45 ACP.) One of my mother's favorite phrases was "ugly as homemade sin". Let me tell you, this gun is uglier, if such be possible.
However, it has the major benefit of being inexpensive (as in less, well less, than $200 new), and it seems to "go bang" every time the trigger is pulled. We put slightly over 200 rounds through it without any misfire, misfeed, or misbehavior of any sort. I can't say that about my Springfield 1911's first 200 rounds. I shot a 10 round magazine through it myself, and found it to be quite manageable. I think if you're looking for something inexpensive to stash somewhere as a backup gun, this might be an excellent candidate.
In order to get his Lady Friend reacquainted with shooting, he (in consultation with her, of course) settled on the nifty Walther P22 .22 semiautomatic pistol. Now I like this pistol--I better, since I own one myself.
We also took Lady Friend's 14-year-old daughter for her first experience with firearms. Believe me, this was with some trepidation on my part. I like the kid, but she is a natural blonde, if you follow my meaning.
Yours truly played the part of instructor and range master to these three as well as Daughter and Son. Rather a large group by my standards, but manageable. The all took to Col. Cooper's rules, the range rules and my rules without objection. I also gave them a brief introduction on safe loading, watching out for squibs, aiming, etc. I also made it clear that there is a moral responsibility that goes along with firearms ownership and use, and the possible consequences of carelessness. I tired not to overplay it, but I made it clear that strict adherence was mandatory, and violators would be sidelined for the duration of the trip.
300 rounds of .45, 100 rounds of 9mm , 400+ rounds of .22 and 4 hours later, we had finished. With the exception of less than one 50 round box of .22, all ammo was expended, and a good time had by all.
Daughter and Son both shot fairly well, with daughter working up her courage enough to try my 1911. She went 5 of 7 on 10" hanging steels from 10 yards. Son may have found his forte in rapid-fire shooting, since he seemed to do much better shooting quickly than when firing slow-fire.
Older Brother shot fairly well, for someone who hasn't shot in years and never owned a pistol. His Lady Friend also shot quite well. But our star was Lady Friend's daughter, who shot a pretty steady 70% when shooting either a .22, a 9 mm or a .45 ACP.
Older Brother is scheduling a trip to the next range business meeting where he'll be applying for membership, with me as sponsor. Another lost shooter returns to the Second Amendment fold. What else could you ask for in a weekend?
Sunday, June 12, 2005
It would seem that the Lefties are coming out of the woodwork to once again to skew history. I swear they're worse than cockroaches.
OpinionJournal.com calls it The Great Ground Zero Heist.
Michelle Malkin pronounces it The Desecration of Ground Zero.
A web site has sprouted to Take Back The Memorial.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow this does. Anyone know an exterminator that gets rid of this kind of vermin?
As a good survivalist, you should be prepared for all eventualities. The good students at Colby College have taken that credo to heart.
I wonder where I can get one of the cage things?
It seems that the Sacremento (CA) Valley Shooting Center has decided that enough is enough, and has decided to ban California Dept. Of Justice personnel from further use of their facilities.
First Barrett Firearms decides that they won't sell to those who are trying to disarm us, and now this. Now if we could get the all the other firearms manufacturers, ranges, clubs and so on to stand up, we might get our point across a little better.
Nice move, guys.
So how the dickens do Democrats explain this:
As North Carolina's spending has increased over the past 30 years, the tax burden has shifted steadily toward personal income earners.
In the early 1970s, the total amount of state income taxes paid by people was three times what corporations paid in income taxes. Now people pay eight times as much.Or perhaps they can explain this:
Easley and the Senate say the state needs to cut income taxes for the wealthiest Tar Heels, including many small-business owners, to strengthen the economy.
They propose to drop the top personal income tax rate from 8.25 percent to 7.75 percent over the next two years for individuals who earn more than $120,000 a year in taxable income and couples who make more than $200,000. That would return the top rate to its level before 2001, when lawmakers raised it temporarily during a budget crunch.OK, as someone who has had small business owners in the family, I can understand repealing a temporary tax increase (which should have never happened in the first place).
But would you care to have a go at this one:
They do not propose to reduce the personal income tax rates for the 99 percent of taxpayers in lower brackets.
I guess that those of us who just work for a living don't deserve to keep as much of our money as the wealthy, right? I mean, we aren't out there creating jobs, we're just paying mortgages and day care bills, putting food on the table and clothes on the bodies and those sorts of trivial pursuits.