Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yee-Haw!

The M1 Carbines are coming! CMP says so!

Time to start saving my pennies.

Pity the Poor DA...

NOT!

Not only is Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in hot water with the NC Bar Association, but now
the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys is calling for him to step down from the "case" against 3 Duke students.

It would seem that DA Nifong's racial pandering is now in the process of boomeranging. This should be worth watching.

(Story link via The Drudge Report.)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sic Semper Tyrannis

The state motto of Virgina applies equally to this:

Saddam Hussein's Brutal Reign Ends in the Gallows

We can argue for days on whether we should have invaded Iraq, if we're fighting the war as it should be fought and so on. But anyone who wants to argue whether this is the just end for a murdering tyrant who butchered his countrymen and plundered the country for the good of himself, his family and his supporters just needs to move on down the road.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Say What?

(Via Publicola)

This may fit in the category of "Christmas Miracles"--NPR (yes, National Public Radio) has done a story on the 100th anniversary of the 30-06 cartridge. Of course, the story does come from Wyoming Public Radio, not the people in Washington.

You got to love the sound of that '03 Springfield bolt.

Monday, December 25, 2006

This is not your normal cheery Christmas fare

(Via The Smallest Minority)

Peggy Noonan has, as she is in the habit of doing, hit another one out of the park--and it isn't even baseball season.

I mean I believe there's a general and amorphous sense that things are broken and tough history is coming.

I believe that Ms. Noonan has got it just right. It explains a lot of what we see these days--the mindless and sometimes random violence, the "I got mine" mentality, the brainless hedonism of our young, the rush to hock one's future to have the McMansion and similar other behaviors we see on a daily basis. It also explains a new emphasis, in some circles, in preparing for an uncertain and troubled future--from laying in guns, ammo and food to investing for an expected market/dollar/commodities/whatever crash.

One can imagine the Romans behaving similarly in the waning days of their empire.

Ms. Noonan posits that many in society have no clue what is going on--they're just looking forward to the next paycheck and the next trip to Wal-mart. Others sense that something is wrong, but can't figure out just what. A few know what's up, and are just enjoying as much as possible before it all blows up. Some know and are preparing to survive it if possible.

And a few are actively working to see that it doesn't happen at all.

An interesting question to ask yourself is which category you fall into--and which one would you rather fall in? Christmas night tends to be a somewhat introspective time for me, and this seems to be a tailor-made subject for it.

Merry Christmas

Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a warm, dry place to sleep and good food to eat. But remember the one who spent his first night in a barn.

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(Luke 2:1-14, KJV. From BibleGateway.com)

Friday, December 22, 2006

A quickie

This is a quick post before I take a perfectly good day and ruin it by going out into the pre-Chirstmas shopping lunacy...

I'm killing time, waiting for Mrs. Freeholder to get ready to go (the eternal saga continues) and some FedEx jocky to deliver a package, likely the HK-91 mags I ordered, that requires a signature. I'm trolling through the blogroll, looking for entertainment. Here's what I've found:

And that will have to be enough of that. It's time to done the chain mail and sally forth from Castle Freehold to battle the Christmas hordes!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Storing batteries

I was Googling around for information about battery storage, in particular the long-term storage of Ni-MH and Ni-Cad batteries, and I found this Battery Storage FAQ from PowerStream It covers most types of batteries you're likely to run into, not just Ni-MH and Ni-Cads. It says to store both types discharged and to charge before using.

Of course, I've been around the Internet enough to know you that you must confirm information. So I kept going down my search results. A number of sites say that Ni-MH batteries should be recharged regularly during storage, and should never be allowed to fully self-discharge. (For those who aren't familiar with the characteristics of the Ni-MH batteries, they loose charge at around 10% per month of storage. They also have a variable, but finite, number of charge/discharge cycles, usually quoted as 500.)

Other sites, such as Duracell and Energizer, say that the batteries will self-discharge to zero over time and must be recharged prior to use. They also note that it will take about 3 charge/discharge cycles before the batteries will hold a full charge again. they don't indicate that there is any difficulties with long-term storage of discharged batteries.

But another battery pack manufacturer, Harding Energy, agrees with PowerStream. Store 'em discharged.

So what's a poor boy to do?

Experiment!

I have some Ni-MH batteries that have been stored since the early spring. They were stored charged, and should be fully discharged by now. I have some Ni-Cads that have been stored a similar period of time. We're going to charge them up and see how they perform. I don't have a lot of really sophisticated measuring equipment, but I should be able to reach some useful conclusion.

Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm flattered, I think

OK, so I'm trolling through the referrers log on Site Meter, and this one catches my eye:

http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0geuq5mKIhFo3cBcYFXNyoA?p=free%20web%20sites%20for%20people%20looking%20for%20sex%20in%20north%20carolina&prssweb=Search&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-405&x=wrt

Yes, the search text is "free web sites for people looking for sex in North Carolina". This blog is the #1 hit.

Not much more to say, is there?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An afternoon at the range

It's been too long since the Family Freeholder went to the range. With moving, football season and so on, time has been at a premium for months. However, as counter-intuitive as it seems, with the nearing of Christmas, we found ourselves with a lovely Sunday afternoon and nothing that had to be done.

Off to the range!

This first picture is of Daughter and her 9mm Springfield XD. The young lady is a very good shot. This picture is from the 10 yard line. Shortly after it was taken, all the plates were down.

The second picture is of Son, shooting what was supposed to be my Smith and Wesson 22A.
He's a better shot than the picture might indicate, as the less-than-manly .22 cartridge is usually not enough to drop plates on the plate racks.

However, good time for all was spoiled and we were forced to leave early. Old Friend's Older Brother and his Lady Friend were also in attendance. Lady Friend managed to break 3 of the 4 rules laid down by Col. Cooper, and did so by pointing a loaded .380 at Daughter's stomach from about 3 feet. When I reached over and pointed the gun in a safe direction, she immediately moved it back. At this point, I moved it again told her in some very specific terms that she was pointing a loaded gun at my eldest child and that I was not impressed.

Now bear in mind, this was an intensely stupid and potentially tragic mistake, but it was a mistake--she was asking me a question about said firearm and not paying attention to what she was doing. The 4 rules worked, because even though she violated three, her finger was well off the trigger. (Col. Cooper, I hope you looked down from Heaven and saw the good that you continue to do us even after your death.) I was doing my parental job, because I immediately noticed the threat to my offspring and dealt with it forcefully.

A normal person, having this pointed out to them, would have immediately realized just how close to tragedy their carelessness had bought us, and would have been appropriately mortified. Instead, she turned something approaching belligerent. Not a Good Thing.

At this point, I removed my children from the danger zone. Shortly thereafter, I plead back pain (true as far as it went, but an excuse nonetheless) and left the range. I informed both of my children we will never again shoot with this person. She is simply too dangerous.

Old Friend's Older Brother saw none of this. He was on the firing line, doing his thing. I haven't told him yet, but I'm going to have to do so--he needs to know. I have the feeling a 28 year friendship may well hang in the balance, but that pales in comparison to my kids safety. I'm not sure how I will bring it up or what I'll say, but it will get brought up and something will be said.

A perfectly wonderful afternoon spoiled. However, it wasn't tragically spoiled, and that makes all the difference.

Let me guess--this clown is going to run for President, right?

News.com reports Senator John McCain (RINO-Manchuria) is proposing a law that will levy a $300,000 fine (plus, one must assume, prison time) for any webmaster or blogger who fails to report "obscene" postings on a website or blog. This is the flip side of a bill that will force sex offenders to register their email addresses.

This is just utterly scary. We bloggers could handle the problem by simply turning off comments, but we generally have to comments on for a reason--we like to hear what our readers have to say. For those who run web-based discussion sites, such as War Rifles or Timebomb 2000, life won't be that easy. No matter how many moderators you can field, the idea of checking every post is overwhelming. I'd bet we would see many boards close shortly after this POS became law.

This sort of law is one of those that is frightening prone to abuse. Similar laws relating to use use of the US Mail have a long history, going back into the 1800's, of such abuse. Can you imagine some political operative targeting a blog unfriendly to their patron using this law? All they would have to do is post something "obscene" (and remember, obscenity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and their "prevailing community standards") way back in the comments. They then notify the proper authorities, and bing-bang-boom that PITA blogger is outta there!

No only does this proposal never need to become law, but we don't need anyone who would even consider such things as President of the United States. And Arizona, do you really want this guy representing you?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Lest we forget

Today is the anniversary the beginning of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II--The Battle of the Bulge. Over 160,000 casualties were incurred on both sides. Fought during some of the worst weather of one of the worst European winters in decades, our troops. either weary from battle or new and untried, fought the Nazis to a standstill, then threw them back. Some historians say this battle may have shorted the war by months, as the Nazis used their last remaining supplies in a last ditch effort to turn the tide.

There is a certain movie of the same name I believe I will watch tonight, after all is done and the house is quiet.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Picture? I don't see any picture.

OK, not all cops are bad. Stipulated.

However, enough are that we always need bear in mind that it happens. In that spirit, Claire Wolfe has a very interesting picture in this post, with a link to a Radley Balko post on his blog, The Agitator. Be sure to read the whole post; it's quite interesting.

Now here's the interesting part. Claire actually posts the picture. Radley doesn't, I'd guess copyright reasons. He does link to it, however, the link is broken--"Image not available." Hm-m-m. I go to the web site for the 61st College Photographer of the Year, and guess what? No photo. It's been removed "at request of photographer".

The photo was taken of a small incident during a Durham drug raid. Justin Cook, the photog, is from Chapel Hill.

Now check this map to see if you get the picture.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Speaking of political correctness

In researching the piece below, I ran across this:

The 10 least politically correct movies ever


I own 6 of them. How many do you own?

A modest proposal

(With apologies to Jonathan Swift.)

I've often said I do my best thinking in the shower. (Sorry for that visual, those of who who know me in the real world.) Something occurred to me to day, and I think I may be onto something with it.

Political Correctness has out of control. Don't believe me? Here's just a couple of headlines from the last few days:
I'll spare you a long list; I know of you have blood pressure problems.

The question is "How do we fight political correctness?" I say fight fire with fire. For my example, I'm going to use the names of sports teams.

For the last several years, we've seen an increasing number of teams taking fire for the names of their mascots, and many of them changing their mascots to something more acceptable to the PC crowd. Many teams with names referencing anything Indian, er, Native American, have changed their names, and the Washington Redskins pretty much fight a yearly battle to stay the Redskins. Other mascots who happened to have firearm handy have been disarmed, and God help you if you're team was "The Rebels".

Now here's how I see this working. We have a mythical high school football team here, the Silver Valley Indians. Ack, can't have that, since it's disparaging to the Native Americans who once lived in harmony with nature in this area before the E-e-e-vil White Europeans arrived and took their land from them. Let's instead honor the area's historic connection with silver mining, and call them the miners.

Oh, not so fast here. This area was settled by the Scots-Irish, and by dingy they labored in those mines, working 18 hours days and dying in mine accidents so that some rich so-and-so could get richer. You're not going to denigrate (opps, can't use that word) belittle the contribution of my ancestors just because they had the misfortune to be poor!

OK, we'll call then the Silver Valley Deer. After all, we have a lot of deer around here, and since deer are fast and agile runners, what better mascot for a football team. Right?

No you won't! I will not stand for anyone taking advantage of helpless animals, even to the point of stealing their name to apply it to a barbaric sport like football. Deer are gentle and pastoral creatures, who would be just fine if we would all stop hunting them and driving our cars in places where they still run free, free like the wind!

Alright, let's just call them the Silver Valley Alphas, after the first letter in the Greek alphabet. I don't think so, sparky. Calling the the Alphas is simply a not-so-subtle putdown of the teams that are further down the Greek alphabet, and it will harm their self esteem in ways we can't yet comprehend Besides, who says we should use the Greek alphabet anyway? What about the Zulu alphabet, or the Mayan, or the Easter Islanders so that we can honor their contributions to alphabets world-wide?

Getting my drift? Once you start being politically correct, there's no end to it. The more you try to stay PC, the harder it becomes, until your belief system wraps you up and smothers you in indecision, lest you offend someone, somewhere.

Let's use their own belief system, and choke them to death on it. Every time someone tries to go all PC on you, one-up them. Tie them up with their own BS and beat them senseless with it.

And of course, since we'll be hypocrites in doing so, we get to be the ultimate in non-PC while doing it. Bonus Points!

Three-peat!

Or as they say, "Once more with feeling!"

The Bulldogs won 13-7 over an excellent opponent, James Kenan High School, at Kenan Stadium at UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday. This game was a defensive battle, as opposed to the Dogs entire season, which was a series of offensive blowouts.

These young men showed a lot of maturity in this win. While playing excellent defense, on offense they committed a number of costly mistakes, resulting in a high amount of penalty yardage. Still, they were able to overcome these errors and bring home their third 1AA football championship in a row.

Next year won't be so easy, as the team will lose 16 seniors to graduation, including our best back and half back. I guess we'll get to see how our JV "grows up".

The Family Freeholder indulged in a post-game celebratory dinner at the Ramshead Rathskeller, a Chapel Hill fixture. If you ever get there, be sure to try a "Gambler", either a single or a double. Food to die for.

Go Bulldogs!

Friday, December 08, 2006

For your consideration

This talk by Dmitry Orlov, "Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for peak oil than the US", has been getting considerable play about the Internet in the survivalist/prepper communities. I've given it a once-over, and it does raise some interesting points.

One conclusion he arrives at, based on the fact that most people in the US do not own their home--the bank owns it and they're making payments-- is that in a major economic collapse, a lot of people are going to find themselves thrown out onto the streets when they can't make the payments.

I have to wonder about that. Right now, if you stopped making the payments on your home loan, you would indeed lose your house. But what if it wasn't just a relative few people, spread around the country--let's say 1/3 of all American homeowners suddenly started defaulting on their loans. Could (and would) the banks and other loaners of money begin a massive orgy of repossessions?

You see, banks are not in the real estate business, and in general have no interest in being so. Banks are in the banking business. When a bank repossess a house, the bank usually isn't the one to actually do the work--it's farmed out to a company who specializes in it. The defaulted loan is sold at a loss, and fairly quickly the whole thing becomes someone else's problem. That someone, who is now in possession of property they've bought at a hefty discount, then sells it, usually for less than market value, to someone else.

I have a bit of first-hand experience in this area, because that's how we bought The Freehold V2. It was a repro. We didn't buy it from from a bank, we bought it from a holding company, who bought it from another holding company who bought it from the bank.

These holding companies are in business to make money, not to help out banks. My thought is that if a huge number of people should default on their home loans, you can bet the real estate market is probably not going to be good--houses will simply not be selling. These companies will stop buying these repro'd houses, and the banks will be stuck with them--and in the real estate business, like it or not.

At that point, I think they would be far more likely to work with borrowers to keep them in the houses. This would protect the house from the sort of damage that normally occurs with vacant properties (protecting the bank's investment), and would serve to keep any squatters out. (Think about it, in this scenario, there will be a refugee population moving about.)

The banks would probably offer some sort of sweetheart deal to the borrower, deferring interest, principal or perhaps the entire payment, hoping that things would get better and that they would eventually get their money.

Of course, I could be way wrong on this.

I still think the best best, if you believe there will be an economic collapse, is to get all your debts paid off soon. Store supplies of all sorts to see you through the coming dark days.

But it is an option to consider.

Virtual Firefly

Browncoats rejoice! Firefly is coming to the Internet as a massively multiplayer online game. Shiny!

Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait until 2008 to be bad guys.

(Not sure what Firefly is all about? Go here.)

From the "Clueless on the Hill Department"

New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer and Arizona Republican John McCain, in a press release, said they planned to introduce a bill at the beginning of the 110th Congress in January that would require registered sex offenders to submit their active e-mail addresses to law enforcement.

This is clueless on so many levels that I'm rendered rantless. But let's try...

There are how many places you can get a freebie email account? Yahoo, Google and Hotmail spring to mind, but a quick web search will reveal literally dozens of sites offering free email addresses. It generally takes, oh, 5 minutes to get one.

They already have problems just keeping up with the pervs physical addresses, and now we want to try and track email addys? It'd be just as effective to tell them that they can't use the Internet--and they'd have just as much chance of enforcing it.

A staffer must have to follow these dolts around and remind them to breathe.

This is yet another piece of "See how we're protecting you from {insert latest perceived evil here}! Keep us in office and nursing off the public tit!" feel good lunacy from the national mental asylum known as Washington, DC.

That loud humming sound is the Founders all doing 10,000 RPM in their graves.

HP settles with California

News.com reports that HP "will pay $14.5 million to settle civil charges related to the company's now infamous spy scandal". This is the same State of California where the legislature killed a bill to make the tactics used by HP (known as pretexting) at the behest of the MPAA.

Hypocritical government bastards. Can you say "revenue enhancement opportunity"? I thought you could.

Cool tech toy

If you live in an area where public Wi-Fi hotspots are available, check out the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. Browser, VOIP, IM, music and video in one relatively portable device. It's based on Linux, so it's hackable, and apparently a community has already started up to do just that.

Very interesting, and just in time for Christmas gift giving for your favorite tech geek.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Time passes

(Recommended by The Mountain Man)

People tend to mark the passage of time by remembering events of the past--"It was the last year we had a decent snow" or "It was the year so-and-so broke her arm", using them as points from which to measure the passage of time.

It's been 65 years since Pearl Harbor was attacked at 7:55 AM, Sunday, December 7, 1941. That's the point that most of the survivors seem to measure the passage of their lives from.

Here's hoping that this won't be the last anniversary they are able to mark.

Monday, December 04, 2006

For your consideration...

This essay by Orson Scott Card is mentioned in The Smallest Minority linked below. I've just read it and I think you should do the same.

Unintended Consequences

The Smallest Minority has this excellent piece on the continuing militarization of our police. Especially interesting is the Cato Institute map of "Botched Paramilitary Police Raids". Be warned, it makes for some frustrating reading.

The need for a post like this is brought to you courtesy of the War On Drugs, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States Government. All of their rights reserved. Yours, however, are forfeit.

Got a cellphone? You may have a bug as well.

(Via Ars Technica)

I've seen the idea that your cell phone could be eavesdropping on you in novels and around the Internet, but I've been a bit skeptical. We now have confirmation that this is a real capability.

Nextel, Samsung and Motorola Razrs are all vulnerable to this.

New rule--if you have a cell phone and you want to have a truly private conversation, be sure to pull the battery first.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Interesting...

(Via Chaos Manor)

You know, if they could live up to it, these people wouldn't be the worst neighbors you could have. Their manifesto (stop bitching about the word and read it) is not your normal "progressive" lunacy. I don't completely agree with it, but there's a lot in it that is common ground with folks like me.

Making a better nail

(Via Chaos Manor)

If you want a better nail, this guy has it. I know one thing--for $15, if I was building a house, these would be in it, or I'd have a different contractor. Pity there's no easy way to retrofit it into existing construction.

(Link to product web site.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies and campaign promises

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

In other words, we said whatever we thought would get us elected, and now we're going to begin backpedaling as quickly as possible. Of course, if you expected different from politicians (and I'll beat both sides with this particular stick), then you really have been living under a rock your entire life.

It's like the old joke:

Q: How do you tell a politician is lying?
A: Watch his mouth. If it moves, he's lying.


Of course, by going with a commission, they hope to avoid any major reforms that would effect Congress while at the same time passing the buck for their inaction to what is sure to be a "blue ribbon panel" of unelected so-and-sos. This means the so-and-sos can't be held accountable, and no matter what the recommend, Congress can plead that "they're were just following the recommendations of the panel.

It's a lovely racket, and one that Democrats seem to specialize in.

Are all you people who "sent a message" happy yet?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fighting the flu

Joining numerous other levels of government, my home state of North Carolina is waving its arms about over the inevitable flu pandemic. (Mistake #1--assuming it will be an influenza pandemic. There are other diseases.)

During such a biological disaster, the state would shut down any gathering where the virus could be easily spread. Schools, churches, shopping malls and theaters would be closed. Concerts and sporting events would be canceled.

Well, it's a start, anyway. But what about grocery stores, drug stores, Wal-mart and so on? People gather there out of necessity--they need to buy the goods required by daily living. During a pandemic, they're still going to need food, and things like pain relivers, tissues, vaporizers and so on will be flying off the shelves. Or will they simply have to resign themselves to being sick and hungry at home? (Somehow, I don't think that will happen gracefully.)

Perhaps the National Guard will be delivering these things door-to-door. Oops! They're mostly in Iraq. OK, scratch that idea.

Health care workers are concerned that there will be shortages of supplies, hospital beds and that "Up to 40 percent of the doctors and nurses in the state's hospital system sick with flu, treating a loved one at home or too scared to come to work." I would wager that 40% is a conservative estimate. The Freeholder knows a couple of folks in that realm, and one has already made it clear that they will not be reporting to work in this sort of situation. The other is laying in additional supplies of food and so on. (Mistake #2--underestimating the seriousness of your situation.)

At least some of those planning have their head screwed on correctly, however. Brian Letourneau, public health director for Durham County, says "We're building our response under the assumption that we're on our own." Smart fellow--he won't be disappointed when FEMA is a no-show at the dance.

The Freeholder suggests that you re-examine your disaster preparations. (Something you should do from time to time anyway.) We'll all heard the old "3 days of food and water business", and if you're reading this, you probably realize that that's crap. You should always have a minimum of 30 days food, a week's water and a way to purify more. In the case of a pandemic, a 6 months supply of food isn't unrealistic--a year would be prudent, in my view. Remember, this won't be like a normal flu season--this will come in multiple waves over a period of 2-3 years. You may need to take refuge in your home not once, but several times.

It would be smart to plan for other goods, such as medical supplies, batteries, ways to keep warm and so on for a similar period. Consider how you will handle the needs of everyday life if certain services, such as trash pickup, aren't available because all the truck drivers are out sick. What could you do (or what would you be willing to do) to help your neighbors?

Plan and prepare now, while you have time to think things through and the goods are available for you to stock up. Waiting for the pandemic to arrives may well mean that you and yours become statistics.

Plan on helping yourself. As Mr. Letourneau noted, we're probably going to be on our own. Government will not be able to help everyone--they may not be able to help anyone. You, your family and your neighbors may all have to do something unusual in this day and time--rely on only what you have to see you through. And you may find yourself left to your own devices for quite some time.

Our civilization, despite appearances, is a fragile construction. As Americans, we've seen what a relatively small event, 9/11, did to our economy, our peace of mind and our society. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader--how bad would a world-wide pandemic hit us?

Express your gratitude

Let's Say Thanks

I have.

I get the feeling...

(Via Drudge)

That today is going to be a day for, well, let's call it flakiness.

Judge Orders Treasury Department to Make Paper Money Recognizable to Blind People

Now at the risk of appearing insensitive (What!! Me insensitive? I'm hurt.), Judge Genius here seems to have taken leave of her common sense. I can understand how dealing with paper currency is hard on the blind or visually handicapped, but to attempt to require the US Treasury to "make it all better" through some ill-advised scheme to make currency different sizes is going to cause a lot of trouble.

Let's look at this for just a second. In order for this to work, you would have to make the size differences large enough that, well, a blind man could see it. Given that there are bills in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations, that means there will have to be a considerable size difference between the largest and the smallest, assuming we keep the traditional rectangular shape of most paper currency. (God help us if we start trying different shapes.)

So, men, how will your wallet deal with this, especially if the largest size is much bigger than the current bills? Looking at my wallet, the answer is going to be "Not too good".

How about vending machines? I wonder what it will cost to design, manufacture and install these into all the vending machines that currently take bills? (Hm-m-m, that is a point against the proposed new dollar coin as well.)

Tills in cash registers? Bank teller drawers? Money counting machines? The list is long, varied and expensive when you start considering it. All this for the benefit of a relative few. Heck, it would be cheaper to design a hand-held device that would scan a bill and would verbally tell them what it was, then distribute them free, than to go through all this.

Smart. Real smart. Let's hope someone above the district court level stops this before it gets out of hand.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Now here's something to consider

(Via Chaos Manor)

They Didn't Attack Switzerland is a "sort of" two part article, and both "parts" are worth reading. In the first part the author, Bill Walker, examines why no one attacks Switzerland. He makes some George Washington-esque points about the Swiss habit of avoiding foreign entanglements (and minding their own business), and how this plus a strong civil defense system has lead to many years of peace and prosperity for the Swiss people. (He also makes a pith point that "US policy is the evil-parallel-universe inverse of the Swiss." I hate to say it, but there if you grant him his basic premise on why Switzerland stays out of trouble, it's more than a little accurate.

In the second part, he makes some valid points on the US' lack of a civil defense infrastructure and how, for far less than we're spending on our current security theater, we could have a real civil defense and protection from the nightmare terrorist scenarios. He also gives advice on what us "Joe Averages" can do for ourselves, since our Federal Government seems to be ignoring the task.

I think it's worth your time to read and consider.

Uh-huh

(Via Drudge)

There is absolutely no way I'm going to comment on this story. I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night--and Mrs. Freeholder does visit this place on occasion.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And now for the payback

(Via Drudge)

You just knew the Democrats wouldn't be able to contain themselves for long, right?

The incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is promising an array of oversight investigations...

While I'm sure there are a number of interesting things the current administration has done that need to be exposed, I don't believe for a New York Minute that any of these investigations has anything to do with that. The next two years are looking longer and longer, and the best we may be able to hope for is gridlock.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And now we know who our intrepid auto recycler is!

(Via Capitalist Lion)

Our auto recycler is Jeremy Clarkson of the show Top Gear.

He also recycles Toyota Priuses (Prii?), which may be the only reasonable use of the things.

In the video, please note how the final projectiles completely pierce the vehicle and kick up the dust in the berm. A thing of beauty....

Auto recycling

(Via Rivrdog)

When you have an old car that no longer runs and you live way out in the country, you simply take the old car out in the back 40 and leave it. If you're a Jeff Foxworthy-style redneck, you put it in the side yard on blocks. If you're really into the "green" thing, you take it to a salvage yard where they may or may not pull of the good parts and shred the rest up into little bits that will be sold the China as scrap and returned to us in the form of cheap toasters at Wal-mart.

This gentleman has a much more entertaining way of disposing of the old beast.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, all

Me and mine would like to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. Try not to overeat, OK?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Take...how many?

Once again, the US Mint is going to try a new dollar coin. They hope for better acceptance than in their previous attempts.

It won't happen. The only way get a dollar coin accepted is to stop printing dollar bills. Do that, and it will be accepted. Not without a lot of howling, but it will be accepted. There will be no alternative.

And for a change, the government would have used it's coercive force to accomplish something positive.

Feeling neither warm nor fuzzy

(Via Drudge)

Well, we can now have a new hobby. At random intervals, look up into the sky and raise your middle finger in salute:

Global Hawk to Fly 1st Mission Over U.S.

I really like this quote:

This landmark flight has historic implications since it's the first time a Global Hawk has not only flown from Beale, but anywhere in the United States on an official Air Combat Command mission," base spokesman Capt. Michael Andrews said in a statement.

Air Combat Command, huh? I'm feeling less warm and fuzzy by the second...

(For those who haven't been following aerial drones, Global Hawk is an "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle provides Air Force and joint battlefield commanders near-real-time, high-resolution, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery".)

We can hope that these things are only being used against suspected terrorists or similar miscreants. (We can really hope that they were being used to protect our borders and help stop illegal immigration, but that wouldn't be hope--that would be delusional.) However, given our government's history with surveillance technologies, I doubt that it will be long before your local SWAT team will be requesting Global Hawk support before they execute that "no knock" warrant on a suspected drug dealer.

Let's hope they get the address right.

Of course, they could just call up and ask for Predator support instead. It is, after all, the next logical step in our journey to Empire.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Damage Control! Damage Control! Answer up, Damage Control!

Nancy Pelosi has taken a torpedo and is listing.

Here's hoping she sinks with all on board.

Does a leopard change its spots?

(Via Drudge)

I think not.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, taking the first step toward a 2008 White House bid, said on Thursday a return to principles of limited government and "common sense conservatism" would carry Republicans back to power after last week's election drubbing.

You have to give the man credit for seeing the obvious, sort of. However, I view "common sense conservatism" just like I view "common sense gun control"--it's a smokescreen designed to take in the gullible and wishful-thinkers.

"We increased the size of government in the false hope that we could bribe the public into keeping us in office," McCain said, adding Americans "still prefer common sense conservatism to the alternative."There's that "common sense thing again. I believe we're seeing the beginnings of McCains's campaign message.

"Common sense conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best, that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves and do them efficiently," he said.

Whoa, there! Now the wheels are off the tracks. Besides that "common sense" thing, we're changing the basic premise that conservatives have on government, in its Federal incarnation--that it should restrict itself to its clearly defined Constitutional role, and outside of that, leave us alone.

Further along, the article starts discussing the other potential Republican presidential hopeless hopefuls:

Public opinion polls show McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who already has formed an exploratory committee, are early leaders in a crowded field of potential Republican candidates.

Other possible contenders include Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, New York Gov. George Pataki, former Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson and Sens. Bill Frist of Tennessee and Sam Brownback of Kansas.

Well, there's an inspiring group for conservative voters. The Governor of the People's Republic of Massachusetts (and the #8 man on Human Events' list of Top Ten RINOs. (Dec 2005)); a southern governor who, judging from this seems to be another "compassionate conservative"; the #6 man on Human Events' list of Top Ten RINOs. (Dec 2005); the original compassionate conservative's former Secretary of Health and Human Services; the soon-to-be deposed (and ineffective) Senate Majority Leader and a guy who accepted over $40,00 from Jack Abramoff.

If this is the best the Republicans have to offer for the 2008 elections, then they are well and truly fucked. And we conservatives have no home in their party.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You have to wonder

Electronic voting: the silent catastrophe

If this is correct (heck, even if it is half correct), you have to wonder just how much difference this made in the election results, and in who's favor.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today is Veteran's Day

I doubt that those of you who read my blog regularly have missed that point. I just want to ask a small favor of you--find one vet today, and say "thank you".

Friday, November 10, 2006

Goodbye, Ricky kitty

We had to bid goodbye to our Ricky kitty this morning. At nearly 17, he had beaten diabetes and was slowly declining from chronic renal failure. I took him to the vet yesterday after a precipitous drop in his weight. The exam showed an infected mass, possibly cancerous, on his tongue. When I went to pick him and his antibiotics up, he was having problems walking. Given his poor condition and the stress of the trip, the vet and I hoped that a nights rest would perk him up.

It didn't. This morning, he was worse. We took him to the vet, who had just gotten his bloodwork back. The news was bad--along with the worsening problems relating to kidney failure, the diabetes was back. We discussed the options, which were few. We knew that all we had done for the past two years was so that he could live a good life, not to force him to exist because we were too cowardly to allow him to go--and I wouldn't allow that effort to turn into something evil and nasty. The euthanization procedure was gently done, and Mrs. Freeholder and I were with him at his last conscious moment.

A short while ago, the entire family finished burying him in the back yard of the new Freehold.

Right now, I'm just sick. Even though I know we did everything we realistically could, I wonder if we could have done more? I don't think so, but those thoughts seem to keep coming to the fore.

I'm going to go find something useful and brainless to do outside in the warm sun that Ricky will never bask in again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Roll over and play dead

(Via Worldnet Daily)

President Bush on Wednesday said increasing the national minimum wage is likely an issue on which he could cooperate with Democratic leaders in Congress.

"I believe in a lot of issues we can find common ground and there's a significant difference between common ground and abandoning principles," the president said in a news conference a day after midterm elections in which Democrats gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Maybe there is a difference between common ground and abandoning principles, but I'm not sure this President knows it. I'd feel a lot better if he put the Democrats (and the remaining Republicans) on notice, saying something like "I'm a born-again conservative and I'm warming up my veto pen!" Of course, that is highly unlikely.

2008 is looking dimmer and dimmer.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hm-m-m, it may happen faster than I thought

After watching Jericho (which now seems a bit more plausible), I started nosing around the web to see how things were playing. My mood is now decidedly darker:

Gaza Shelling Prompts Hamas to Call for Attacks Against U.S.

Well, I'm glad they didn't confuse us with Spain.

Donald Rumsfeld Resigning as Defense Secretary


Rummy, if you were willing to fall on your sword, why couldn't you have done it a couple of months ago when it would have done some good. All you've done now is put blood in the water.

Democrats' Wins Embraced Overseas

Especially by our Islamic terrorist enemies.

Tuesday night was a Good Night for Gun Control Advocates

Stock up on standard capacity magazine, ammo, semi-automatic anythings and anything in .50 BMG now, before the rush.

Democrat Spending May Mean Higher Taxes

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

But the thing that I and others find the most humorous is that, despite all of the warnings about electronic voting machines and how Karl Rove would surely use them to hijack the election, there are no stories about "stolen" elections, no stories about the poor and downtrodden being denied an opportunity to vote--hell, there are precious few stories about problems, if you discount those in the first few hours.

Of course, those stories started to disappear soon after it began to be obvious the Democrats were going to win big. Amazing how the tune changes when they win.

My take on the elections

Democrats didn't win, as much as Republicans lost. They lost by running away--from the conservatives who voted them in in the first place. They lost because their top leadership, who portrayed himself as a "compassionate conservative", had a lot more compassion than conservative in his makeup, and people got tired of it.

I made some time to listen to Rush Limbaugh today. Despite his on-air demeanor, he often has some useful things to say. the best point he made was that Conservatism (as opposed to Liberalism) won. The only conservatives running were conservative Democrats. While not strictly true, his point is well taken. No Democrat supported by the far-left fringe of their party won a national race. But a number of conservative Democrats won theirs.

While a number of conservative commentators and media outlets are downcast, Rush was pretty much buoyant. He says that it's because he no longer has to "carry the water" for those who don't deserve it. Maybe if he had made a point of not doing it, things would have worked out a bit differently.

I've been plenty critical of the President and his party when they merited it--and they've merited it a lot. For the past 2 years, and you could argue that it has been more like the past 4 or 5 years, the Republican Party has failed to "dance wit' the one who brung 'em". I suspect that lead to a number of conservatives who stayed home to send a "message" to the Republican Party. Bad idea. What you've done is to put the fox in charge of the hen house.

I held my nose and did as I've counseled everyone to do--voted a straight Republican ticket. Not because I thought that was the "right" way to vote, but because the consequences of a Democrat takeover of Congress were too dark to contemplate. Let me throw out a few thoughts for you to wake up at 3 AM and consider:
  • A fast exit from Iraq and a failure to finish hunting down terrorists
  • Failure to renew the tax cuts
  • Even more government spending and spiraling debt
  • The passage of an illegal immigrant amnesty bill, cleverly disguised as "immigration reform"
  • Son of Assault Weapons Ban (New and Improved! with Confiscation)
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
  • President of the Senate Harry Reid
  • Boosting the chances of a Democrat President of the US in 2008
Those of us who are conservative (or at least, mostly conservative), can hope that the Republican Party, after they stop seeing stars, does a little soul-searching and realizes they lost because they strayed too far from what most of us saw as the ideals of the party. They have 2 years to get their act together, convince us that they have seen the error of their ways and get us some conservative candidates on the ballot. It's either that, or they'll loose again in 2008.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This will be an important book

You should read it. You can read the first 5 chapters now by going here. (Warning--this link won't be good for this purpose forever. Go now.)

Carnival of Cordite, #79

The Carnival is in full swing at Spank the Donkey. I've got to get out more....

A Democrat voting Republican

(Via Random Nuclear Strikes)

Orson Scott Card is voting Republican. Here's why. I don't totally agree with him, but it's well worth the time to read.

The smartest thing I've read recently

(From Random Nuclear Strikes)

The 10 Commandments of former Sen. Harry P. Cain:
  1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  3. You cannot help small men by tearing big men down.
  4. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  5. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  6. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  7. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  8. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  9. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative.
  10. You cannot really help men by having the government tax them to do for them what they can and should do for themselves.
Wisdom, distilled.

Reminder--check your fire extinguishers

I was prompted by a thread on Timebomb2000 to check out the fire extinguishers around The Freehold. Much to my surprise and chagrin, I found that the one beside my bed had leaked out it's propellant. Time to replace that one. Also per that thread, I'm going to salvage the powder to use in the event of a chimney or frying pan fire. I'm not too sure I want to get that close to a burning chimney, but it would beat losing the house.

Check your extinguishers now.

Yes Virgina, there is no consensus on global warming

(Via Timebomb 2000.)

Or at least on the cause of it.

The Physical Evidence of Earth’s Unstoppable 1,500-Year Climate Cycle

From the Executive Summary:

The Earth currently is experiencing a warming trend, but there is scientific evidence that human activities have little to do with it. Instead, the warming seems to be part of a 1,500-year cycle (plus or minus 500 years) of moderate temperature swings.

It has long been accepted that the Earth has experienced climate cycles, most notably the 90,000-year Ice Age cycles. But in the past 20 years or so, modern science has discovered evidence that within those broad Ice Age cycles, the Earth also experiences 1,500-year warming-cooling cycles. The Earth has been in the Modern Warming portion of the current cycle since about 1850, following a Little Ice Age from about 1300 to 1850. It appears likely that warming will continue for some time into the future, perhaps 200 years or more, regardless of human activity.

Evidence of the global nature of the 1,500-year climate cycles includes very long-term proxies for temperature change — ice cores, seabed and lake sediments, and fossils of pollen grains and tiny sea creatures.


There are also shorter-term proxies — cave stalagmites, tree rings from trees both living and buried, boreholes and a wide variety of other temperature proxies. Scientists got the first unequivocal evidence of a continuing moderate natural climate cycle in the 1980s, when Willi Dansgaard of Denmark and Hans Oeschger of Switzerland first saw two mile-long ice cores from Greenland representing 250,000 years of Earth’s frozen, layered climate history. From their
initial examination, Dansgaard and Oeschger estimated the smaller temperature cycles at 2,550 years.
...

None of these pieces of evidence would be convincing in and of themselves. However, to dismiss the evidence of the 1,500-year climate cycle, it is necessary to dismiss not only the known human histories from the past 2,000 years but also an enormous range and variety of physical evidence found by a huge body of serious researchers.

You might want to put those plans on buying future ocean-front property in Denver on hold.

Rmember who the enemy is

(Via Drudge)

Just in case I haven't pointed this out recently, no matter what our political beliefs, we need to remember who our real enemy is:

Al Qaeda terrorists planned to use "dirty bombs" to blow up the Heathrow Express or a Tube train passing under the Thames, a court heard today.

Dhiren Barot, 34, also plotted to strike at the West End's leading hotels and mainline railway stations.


Yes folks, Muslim terrorists want to kill us in wholesale lots. Surprised?

Barot expected the devastation and loss of life to match 9/11 and the Madrid bombs, the court heard.

The attacks would have been coordinated in a series of back-to-back explosions with further strikes on landmark buildings in Washington, New York and Newark, New Jersey.

Something to consider on your way to the polls--who do you think is going to do a better job of protecting you from this sort of threat? Democrats, with their "We need to understand and reach out to these people while we run away from them" strategy, or Republicans with their "War on Terror" strategy?

Personally, I think the Republican's strategy is stupid (because it doesn't go far enough), but the Democrat's is suicidal. Given the choice, I'm going to go with stupid.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Death by hanging

Well, if you've been under a rock all day, Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death by hanging for "crimes against humanity".

OK, I can go with this. By any normal standard, the guy was a ruthless, bloody, vicious bastard, as were most of his family, friends and acquaintances. He's getting (assuming the execution is carried out) somewhat less than he deserves. The world will hardly be the worse when he's gone.

I'm also amused that the "explosion of violence" that the lamestream media was panting for hasn't happened, at least so far. Yeah, there's been some disturbances in some predominantly Sunni areas, but nothing out of line with an ordinary day in Iraq. It's simply astounding how little this bunch knows. Then again, when you never get out of the Green Zone, I guess it's easy to be uninformed.

My main problem is with the whole "crimes against humanity" thing. I'm not comfortable with how it's been applied ever since the concept was dreamed up during the early part of the last century. The Nuremberg trials, while not a travesty of justice, still lead to the execution and imprisonment of some for whom "I was following orders" should have been an allowable defense.

At some point, the whole "crimes against humanity" thing is going to come around and bite the United States (or more likely, some of our military) squarely on the behind. Some of our "not quite enemies" have already tried to have George Bush hauled before the World Court on such allegations. I believe that it's also been proposed for some of our military personnel.

One of these days, the leftist loons will find themselves with enough (hopefully temporary) power that they will successfully pursue one of these prosecutions. And then, the fun will begin.

Unclear on the concept

(Via Drudge)

University of Pennsylvania president Dr. Amy Gutmann is obviously unclear on the concept "Why suicide bombers are bad." I say this with more than some confidence after she posed
with UPenn student Saad Saadi who was dressed as one.

Dressed as "Glinda the Good Witch" (more like "Glinda the Dumb rhymes with witch", given that her father fled Hitler and the Nazis in 1934), the smiling Gutmann posed with a grim appearing Saadi, who was later quoted in the campus paper as saying he was dressed as a "freedom martyr".

The Freeholder's suggested remedial actions? First, Dr. Gutmann needs to lose her job. She has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is unqualified. If her judgment is this poor, who needs her running a university?

Second, if Saadi is here on a student visa (or any visa), he's immediately deported. If he's a citizen, then he needs to be fully investigated as a potential terrorist suspect.

I know I shouldn't be, but I am constantly amazed at the human race.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jericho

The one, and I do mean only, show that I watch on network TV is CBS' Jericho. For those who don't indulge, the basic story is "What happens in the town of Jericho, KS after a nuclear detonation."

The good point of the show is that it's fast-paced--you don't get bored with it. The bad point is that a lot of things are inaccurately portrayed, such as radiation effects. Of course, as an example, if the radiation in the story line had worked as it would in the real world, it would have been a really short series. (Episode 1, bombs go off. Episode 2, a fallout-laden rain hits a pretty much defenseless Jericho. Episode 3, everyone is dying to radiation poisoning.)

Still, for someone with my, shall we say, particular outlook on life, the show is like a really good roller coaster ride--it keeps you wound with adrenaline. Of course, it also gives me a case of the screamin' willies every week, along with the near unstopable urge to go stock up on something else.

If you're not watching it, or have missed it, you can go to Innertube and catch up.

Don't forget

You can get more information here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Biting the hand that feeds you

(Via The Smallest Minority -- his post)

I've made a few posts here about Firefly and Serenity. Firefly was a Fox TV series by Joss Whedon (of dubious Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame--I never liked those shows) that could best be summed up as a repeat of Reconstruction set 500 years in the future in another solar system. Firefly was the best TV show I never watched. I got it on DVD after reading so many great things about it. From there, I went to Firefly Talk, The Signal and various fan fiction writings. Eventually, and amazingly, there came Serenity, the Universal Studios movie that continues the Firefly story.

The only reason that Firefly didn't fade into obscurity, and one of the primary reasons Serenity was made, is a rabid fan base. I've been around SF fandom since the 70s, and I've never seen a group with such loyalty to a show--especially one that was canceled after 13 episodes. These fans, known as Browncoats, have made viral and guerrilla marketing into something approaching an art form. In some part, they are responsible for Serenity being made, and being profitable.

So Universal, proving that Hollywood still doesn't get it (remember what happened to all the Star Trek fan sites a number of years ago), has decided to threaten 11th Hour Art, who runs a small CafePress shop that has merchandise using the Chinese characters for "serenity", among other things. The demands made are simply overboard, including demands for a retroactive license, customer lists, turnover of all remaining merchandise, cessation of business and a firstborn male child and the obligatory threat of a lawsuit.Other vendors are pulling their wares out of fear of a similar letter.

Now, we can sit here and argue about copyrightand whether these people were in the wrong. That's all fine and good, but the fact of the matter is that Universal has relied on the Browncoats and the vendors they support to tote the note for the advertising of Firefly and Serenity. These folks worked and continue to work their whatevers off because they love this story, and they want more. The fans have proven that they will part with a lot of money to buy not only the DVDs, but merchandise as well.

The only problem was that Fox never licensed anything, and the word is that getting Universal to license it is akin to pulling teeth, and rather expensive to boot. However, in fairness, I will note that it has been done (a year after the movie came out, ahem), and there are now some licensed products coming into being.

So I'm going to issue a big "Way to go, Buttheads" award to Universal studios and their lawyers, who are now being the recipients of way more viral marketing than they probably anticipated.

Clueless morons. You'd have never gotten this much flack if you'd simply written a nice letter offering some generous licensing terms--and you'd have made more money to boot.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nothing much to say

Maybe I'm just tired and busy trying to catch up from my recent trip, but I find myself with little of substance to say. So since I have little of substance, how about some selected short subjects?

First, if you aren't using the Firefox browser, why? It's far safer than Internet Explorer, it works as well (unless you got to Microsoft's website often) and it has, in general, better features. Go download the latest version, 2.0, today at www.mozilla.com. I've been using Firefox for the last year or so, and the 2.0 version for the last several days. I'm really in love with the built in spell checker. Great stuff.

Second, the Iraq war/War on Terror in general. While the war in general may be going well, I'm not so convinced we have Iraq well in hand. My personal feeling is that there are many causes, but two really stand out in my mind. One, we're not willing to do what it takes to win. If we are, why is Muqtada al-Sadr still alive? Two, we're wasting time trying to push democracy on people who have no history or concept of democracy. No solution to offer for number two, but for number one--START KILLING THE BAD GUYS AND HANG WHAT THE WORLD IN GENERAL HAS TO SAY!

Third, the one year anniversary of the Islamic rioting in France. They're at it again, and this time they've progressed to burning people as well as cars.. Surprised? Last year, they rioted, and we're going to have milk, warm cookies and more social programs. Catch a clue--they don't want jobs, they want us dead. We're an anathema to them, and they can't handle it.

Fourth, the November elections. They're important. They're always important. Yeah, the Republicans are nearly as odious as the Democrats. Yeah, a vote for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Sure, you can "send a message", but you may not like the answer that comes back. Hold your nose and vote Republican. Then send your messages to them.

Fifth, the economy. Yeah, all the numbers say it's doing better, but the thing feels a mile broad and an inch deep. Be ready for bad times--the yield curve has been inverted for two months, and that usually portends no good. While some economists argue that the historical inverted yield curve wisdom may not work in the "new economy", bad times will come again at some point. Depend on it.

Sixth, we broke Camp Freehold down this weekend and brought it all back to the new place. It's now sitting on it's new gravel pad in the new backyard. Looks sort of funny back there--smaller, somehow, than it ever did at the old place.

Hopefully, I'll have time and inclination to blog more in coming weeks.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A rifle for Shifty

This one came in via the CMP newsletter. You should subscribe.

This is a great story about one of the men immortalized in the book Band of Brothers, Shifty Powers, and his new M1. I can't add anything to it, and I won't try.

I'm back!

Didja miss me?

The trip I was on was a "mostly business" trip to Monterey, CA. Yes, I was a pilgrim in an unholy land, and least if you're a conservative or a gun owner. Or if you eat meat and like sweet tea. Did you know that if you ask for sweet tea in a California restaurant, they look at you like you have two heads--and they're both spinning?

I did get to see why people moved there in the first place. Even as overrun with the human race as the California coast is, it is still incredibly beautiful. Sealions, bird life and whales (yes, I did the obligatory whale watching trip) are abundant. The hills come down to the water, and the effect is just startling, especially to someone who was raised on North and South Carolina beaches.

Prices, for everything, are beyond belief. Gas here is $2/gallon, there it's still $2.65/gallon. Crappy houses cost nearly $700,000. The house I live in, on 1.25 acres, can't be bought outside of Pebble Beach in the Monterey area. I have no idea what it would cost, but figure several million. (I of course, paid less.)

From a business standpoint, it was worthwhile, and hopefully I'll be able to give the employer some good value for their money. From a personal standpoint, I missed my family and my home, and while it was fun, those 14-16 hour days on planes and in airports suck. I wouldn't trade the experience, but I'm glad to be home.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Outta here

I'm going to be heading west tomorrow for business. Blogging will be light to non-existent, depending on whether or not I decide to drag my laptop 2500 miles through 3 airports.

Ya'll mind the store while I'm gone.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Somebody finally gets the joke

Napster, Gnutella, allofmp3.com, LimeWire, BitTorrent--the Internet literate know these are all various ways that pirated media content is moved around the world. They exist for a reason--it lets people get what they want, when they want it, in high quality, and cheap.

It also means that the people who produce the content in the first place don't get any recompense for their effort. Not a Good Thing. View it how you will, but movies and music cost money to make. If there's no money to make them, they aren't going to get made. If we want them, it's in our best interest to pay for them.

Of course, a lot of folks, me included, are sick and tired of paying $16 for a CD with 2 decent songs on it. I quit buying CDs, more or less, a while back. I decided it's better to do without the one song I liked than pay $16 to own a copy. Movies are pretty much same song, different verse. Too much investment for too little return.

Well, at least a few folks in big media are getting the picture:

Disney-ABC: "We understand piracy now as a business model"

They go on to say that they now understand why people are pirating content. They acknowledge that it isn't so much that they won't pay for it, but they want it on their terms--high quality, when they want it, where they want it and cheap. You know, what us proles have been saying for years now.

There are issues to be worked out. There is mention of ABC's experiment (now permanent) with streaming episodes of "Lost" and other programs. CBS has a similar feature that I assume had similar issues. (The big thing is that the affiliates are losing money on ads because people are watching online.)

At least they're waking up to the fact that their world isn't ending, it's evolving, and if they don't evolve, they will end. This should be a Good Thing for all of us.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's not our fault! Those mean old men did it to us!

I'm just waiting for the feminists to jump on this bandwagon:

An old-boy network at Hewlett-Packard contributed to the legal troubles of former Chairman Patricia Dunn and undermined the leadership of former CEO Carly Fiorina, the women suggested Sunday on national TV.

In separate interviews on the CBS television news program "60 Minutes," both Dunn and Fiorina say while each was still working for HP, former board directors Tom Perkins and George Keyworth plotted against them.

"Clearly they were aligned in how they thought I should reorganize the business," Fiorina, who was ousted as HP's CEO in 2005, told reporter Lesley Stahl. "But these were people that, for all their gifts and all their accomplishments, didn't understand what running an $85 billion company is all about."

Tom Perkins "didn't understand what running an $85 billion company is all about"? Spare me the drama, queen. Tom Perkins of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers? Just spare me.

Dunn said that Perkins has a vendetta against her for disclosing to the board the source of the leak: [George] Keyworth, a friend of Perkins.

And I suppose that her actions in pursuit of the leak, which have cost HP some serious market cap and bad press, had nothing to do with it. Perkins may have been PO'd, but the guy isn't that stupid. If anything, I would suspect he was PO'd at his friend, not because of him. After all, Perkins got Keyworth the job--and Keyworth's actions made Perkins look bad.

The root of the problem is that both of these women were the wrong person for the job. Fiorina was, as far as the board was concerned, going in the wrong direction and harming the company. Dunn exhibited a serious case of poor judgment, which is not a good thing in a Chairman of the Board.

Both of them made poor decisions that cost them their jobs, but rather than own up to it, they want to make it someone else's fault. That's something they have in common with a lot of failed CxOs of both sexes.

The kicker is what this entire little exercise in Corporate Ethics (Lack Thereof) is all about. As Ephraim Schwartz points out in his Infoworld column, the leaks were about whether HP would pursue a direct sales strategy (selling directly to the customer, a al Dell) or an indirect strategy (selling through resellers and VARs). This "discussion" has apparently been going on at HP for over a decade.

HP seems fated to be yet another in a long line of companies that have eventually failed once the founders are no longer in control. That's a shame, because at one time, it was a damn fine company.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How to win

(Via Timebomb 2000)

I've made several posts in the past weeks on how to lose the war in Iraq/War on Terror. Want to know how to win it? Shawn Macomber thinks he has the answer.

The olbilgatory range report

OK, since everyone knew that I was finally going to the range, I'll just bet you're actually expecting me to blog about it, huh?

Saturday was cold (for this time of year) and wet, with occasional bouts of mist. Not the perfect day to go shoot. However, I haven't been to the range in so long I wasn't about to let this slow me down. Weather like this is why you have woobies, windshirts and boots.

So, with our little gang suitable attired, we descended on the 200 yard range. Along with me and the kids was Old Friend's Son, with 4 deer rifles to sight in--a .243, a .270, a 30-06 and a 7mm WSM. (I'll say this for the boy, he had all the distances covered, with the exception of Next ZIP Code.)

We took a Ruger 10-22, a Henry .22 lever action (Son's gun, he calls it his "Birthday Boom") and a fairly newly acquired Ruger Mini-30 in stainless with a wood stock.

It wasn't to be an auspicious day for shooting.

OF's Son lead off by zeroing the .243 in short order. This was the highlight of the day. Next he tried the .270. The gun belonged to a friend of his, and they had tried last year to get it to shoot somewhere in the vicinity of a bullseye. They failed then, and we failed now. Something is terribly wrong with that gun. I've offered to take a look at it, and I hope they oblige me, because I'm really curious to find out what's going on. A box and a half of ammo later, scope adjustments used up, we quit trying.

Next was the 30-06. This one zeroed, but seems to be only about a 2-3 MOA gun. Being a Remington 700 ADL, I find that a bit upsetting. Of course, that's good enough to kill a deer, and since that's the intended purpose, I guess it will do. It better. If not, OF's Son's Friend may come zero his own rifle.

Then we worked on the 7 mm WSM. I know for a fact this gun is a tack driver--I helped zero it last year. This year, the longer he worked with it, the worse it got.

"Are you sure you're turning the adjustment the right way?" asks I.

"Yeah, counter clockwise moves it to the left."

I'd been watching. He had started out to the right, was turning the adjustment counter-clockwise and was just getting further and further right--and more and more frustrated.

"Are you sure you're turning it the right way?"

"Sure I am," says he, turning in about 8 more clicks--without ever looking at the adjustment screw. He finished the box of ammo (and by the way, this stuff is $25 a box) and the holes were completely off the target.

He was ready to give up. "I just don't know what's wrong," he said, rubbing his shoulder. He was getting sore, recoil pad or no. I asked him for some ammo and told him to spot for me and I'd give it a try.

I checked the scope adjustment screw. Counter clockwise moves the POI right. Uh-huh. I dialed about 20 clicks clockwise. That got me on paper. Five more shots and it was shooting sub-MOA groups around the X. (I told you, the thing is a tack driver. Utterly wasted hunting deer.)

The kid hung his head. "I just don't understand--I knew that I was adjusting the right way."

I told him that's the problem with assuming--sometimes your assumptions are wrong. I also told him that I think that's a problem with the newer scopes that use a finger adjustment rather than a screw driver--you can adjust without looking at the screw. When you look at the screw, that arrow is right there, and if you miss it, it's your fault. That didn't make him feel better, but I think he learned a little something.

During the period he was shooting, me and the Little Freeholders were also shooting, sort of. The 10-22 came out of the case with a problem--it wouldn't cock. I foolishly hadn't brought any screw drivers, so I couldn't do anything about it. Daughter was less than impressed. (Note to Self: Self, go get another set of screw drivers that will henceforth live in the range boxes.)

She had also been up way too late and gotten up way too early. She retired to the truck with a blanket for a nap. I hated it, but it was her choice.

Son was banging away with the birthday boom, and hitting nothing. He complained, and I reiterated the proper hold and aim instructions. He still couldn't hit anything. I knew the little gun shot fine, so I tried. I didn't hit anything. ????

Looking at the rifle, I finally noticed that the step ramp that adjusts the rear site had gone missing. The search was futile--no ramp. So that gun was finished for the day.

That left the Mini-30. Anyone who's been around guns long knows that the Minis (both the -14 and -30) are fun guns with a reputation for inaccuracy after prolonged shooting and crappy after-market mags. I can't testify to the inaccuracy issue for reasons soon to be clear, but I will stipulate the after market mags are stinkers. I got the gun, the original 5 round mag, 2 10 rounders, 3 20 rounders and a 30 rounder. The 5 worked flawlessly, one of the 10 pretty much worked and one was junk, one 20 worked flawlessly and the other 2 were junk, and the 30 is actually a 20--it won't work reliably with more than 20 rounds loaded.

Oh yeah, and the factory sights SUCK! The first rounds were about 10" down and 10" right. Using all the elevation adjustment, I got it to an inch or so low. Windage is adjusted by drifting the sight in the dovetail, and if I didn't have screw drivers, you can bet I didn't have a brass drift and a hammer. So I contented myself with loading mags for Son to try out.

All in all, not one of our better days at the range.

Big Bada Boom!

So let's see a show of hands out there--who is surprised that North Korea was able to develop a nuclear weapon?

Yeah, that's about what I thought. Not a lot of shock around here. After all, we provided them with food and fuel, excuse me, humanitarian aid, which allowed them to pour what little funding they had into the project. Add that to a whack-job totalitarian dictator with a bomb fetish, and presto!

Three things that I'll be interested to see developments on. First, I wonder how long it will take the Japanese to develop their own bomb? They already have the expertise and the missiles to deliver it. Given their engineering abilities, the thing will be the size of a suitcase (Whoo-hoo, a real suitcase nuke!) and will be able to track down dear old Kim and send him blazing to wherever.

Second, China has now lost some big face. Don't expect them to take this lying down. I don't have a clue what they might do, but I suspect it will not be pleasant for the Norks.

Third, how long will it be before this whole thing is Bush's fault?

Friday, October 06, 2006

An observation

Last night, a cold front passed through, bringing rain and much cooler temperatures. On the drive to work this morning, the change in leaf colors was very perceptible. Yesterday, in the sun, everything seemed green. Shades of green, not the near-uniform dark green of summer.

Leaves, knocked off by the night's rain, lay on the road and in yards. A cool wind and the passage of cars stirred them. Rain splatted on the windshield as I drove.

I'm off to Camp Freehold for the weekend. It's going to be cool, and I'm taking what has become a rare weekend off from working on something or other in order to take the kids to the range. Old Friend's Son is also going to make the trip; he needs to zero his deer rifle before gun season starts.

Saturday night will mean a meal of chili and a sitdown around a campfire.

I think fall is officially here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pruning the HP rot

I missed the story yesterday that criminal charges have been filed in the HP spying-leaking case. According to News.com, former Chairman Patricia Dunn and former HP senior lawyer Kevin Hunsaker, along with a private detective and an employee at a data broker are scheduled to turn themselves in tomorrow.

Of course, there is a political aspect to this, as the California Attorney General's office is involved, but it's nice to know someone is at least looking at this.

I'd still like to know just exactly how a company of HP's history and stature could allow themselves to ever get involved in something like this. One of the soon-to-be defendant's lawyers said that his guy did nothing wrong, but was acting "...to end an unprecedented and prolonged breach of fiduciary duties that was harming the company."

Maybe so, but I still think there were other ways than taking unethical and possibly illegal actions. Two wrongs don't make a right, as the old fellow used to say.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Know your enemy

(Via Chaos Manner)

It starts with

"The Jihad, the Islamic so-called Holy War, has been a fact of life in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East for more than 1300 years..."

and ends with

"The West has forgotten who our enemies are, but worse, we have also forgotten who we are. We are going to pay a heavy price for this historical amnesia."

The middle is long, involved, thought-provoking and well worth your time.

Tech Support from a tree stand

Oh Lord, my sides *hurt*.

Oh yeah. Bow season ends November 3, muzzle-loading season starts November 4 and ends November 10 and gun season starts November 11 and ends January 1. At least around here.

Bambi-burgers--it's what's for dinner.

Slimeball politicians

(But I repeat myself....)

I've been watching with some amusement and some alarm the flap revolving around the Mark Foley "Hey young man, would you like a drink/ice cream/gay sex?" thing. Amusement from:
  • Watching politicians twisting themselves into pretzels to distance themselves from him
  • Watching politicians vying to outdo each other with "We told our leaders he was a pervert, but NO-O-O!" sound bites
  • Watching the Democrats nearly pissing themselves in excitement as they think that they finally have something they can use to drag themselves back into power
  • Watching the political punditry opine on the subject, knowing full well they have no earthly idea what they're talking about
The alarm comes from the idea that the Democrats may actually have something that they can use to drag themselves back into power. For gun owners and fans of small government, this is scarey. (Of course, fans of small government aren't exactly entranced by the Republicans, but I digress.)

Now, I want you to go read this from the Capitalist Lion, then come back here.

Mr. Lion has perhaps the best take on the entire nasty subject that I've seen so far. Yeah, Foley is a sleeze and an embarrassment to the Republicans. However, when faced with the fact that his misdeeds were about to become very public, he did the right thing, for whatever reason, and resigned. That doesn't pardon him for what he did, but as Mr. Lion correctly points out, it does show a major difference between Republicans and Democrats.

As gun owners, we don't have the luxury of being able to "send a message" to the Republicans by staying home in a month. The last time we sent that message (the 1992 elections), we got Bill Clinton. If we stay home, we may just get a Democrat-controlled Congress. Can you say "Son of Assault Weapon Ban"? How about "President Hillary Clinton"? Yeah, I thought so. Doesn't exactly sound good, does it?

Do like I'm going to do, go out, take your nose firmly in hand, and vote for the Republican louses. The alternative is worse.

Now, when do we get someone we can vote for, rather than against?

(EDIT: Vox Day has another opinion. I can see his point, but I can't quite bring myself to agree with him. It feels like cutting my nose off to spite my face.)