Friday, October 24, 2008

Are you Joe?

(Via Varifrank. Graphic from Iowahawk, who started the meme sweeping around the blogosphere with this post.)

Think about it--are you Joe? Do you work at a job, mind your own business, make some mistakes and pay for them, try to make things better for yourself and your family? Do you have the naivete to say what's on your mind, no matter who you're talking to?

Then, my friend, you are Joe. The world is made up of Joes. They may be imperfect, but it's an imperfect world--and they keep it turning. One Joe may unclog your pipes. Another Joe fixes your car. One runs the grocery store where you stopped on the way home for milk, bread and 2 rolls of paper towels.

Now Joe, I want you to reflect on just who lately has taken your name and dragged it through the mud, and just why they've done it. Then get good and mad. Hold that anger until November 4, and go vote for the guy that those miserable slugs hate--you know, the one with the white hair and the partially crippled arms. The one who had the temerity to select a woman--a conservative woman--as his vice-presidential pick. That's the best way to get back at them.

(Edit: Good Lord--me and Varifrank are running on the same track. I swear I hadn't read down his blog before writing that. Of course, he said it much better than I did, dammit.)

History lesson

Tam has a history lesson on Joe Biden.

"It is to laugh."

Life after 9/11

We all know that life changed after 9/11. The Patriot Act and Patriot II, along with a compliant Supreme Court, have stolen from us much of what our forefathers bequeathed.

...an aggressive new ACLU campaign highlights a fact of which I was previously unaware: the Constitution-free zone that exists a US borders and airports actually extends 100 air miles inland and encompasses two-thirds of the country's population. The US Border Patrol can set up checkpoints anywhere in this region and question citizens.

Ars Technica has the entire frightening story.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Funny...

(Links via the Drudge Report)

McCain supporters are not carving "M"s into the faces of young women.

Houses displaying Obama signs in the yard are not being shot up.


Republican campaigns are not using foreign services to make misleading phone calls.


No one is asking the IRS to investigate clergy who have used their pulpits to support Obama.

Just sayin', is all.

(Edit, 10/24/2008: OK, it seems the one who had the "B" carved into her face lied. Batting .750 will still get you into the Hall of Fame.)

Are you...undecided?

Polls show that perhaps as much as 20% of the electorate remains in the "undecided" column less than 2 weeks before the election. If you're one of those people, this is addressed to you.

Barack Obama, is a young, handsome, well-spoken man in the prime of his life. John McCain is distinguished (the nice way to say "gray hair"), not terribly eloquent, suffers from his battle wounds and is old enough to retire. Much has been made of these characteristics of both men.

You should look past these external factors, and concentrate on two things. First, who is the Man Who Would Be President? I mean really, who is he? What is his history? Does he have staying power when things get tough? Does he have the background to be successful in the job? Does he have the judgment necessary? Does he have the skills it takes?

Second, you need to look at where the new President will lead us. Do you really want to go there? Do you want to live in that world? Will you be comfortable there? Will you be able to work, marry, raise a family? Pursue your interests wherever they lead you?

It's no secret to those who have read this blog that I'm not a McCain fanboy. I view him as the least objectionable person running for the job, which is faint praise indeed. I support him solely becasue I think that the place Obama would take us is far worse than where we are, and far worse than where McCain wants to go.

Neal Boortz has written an essay outlining the sort of world Barack Obama wants us to live in. Please read it and consider what he says. Do you own research--one thing about the Internet is that if you ever uttered something on camera or in front of a microphone, it's out there.

In the case of Barack Obama, it's way out there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ma'am? I think I've figured out your printer problem...

(Via Timebomb2000)

Just thought of this...

...and I'm sure I'm going to regret it.

Obama knows the trouble I've seen,
Obama knows my sorrow.
Obama knows the trouble I've seen,
Glory Hallelujah.

I'll probably fry for that if The Messiah gets elected.

Have you been watching the economy?

Not the markets, which have whipsawed violently over the last few days, but the economy. There is some good news.

First, we have some indications that credit is starting to flow again. The Libor has retreated for two whole day in a row and banks are starting to figure out that not everyone is up to their armpits in sub-prime mortgages.

Second, the markets themselves seem to be settling a bit. In the US, we're not seeing days where things are down 5+ percent or up 3+ percent. The swings have damped out to some extent.

Third, I've seen a number of banks advertising to inform their customers (and potential customers, I'd wager) that they are solvent, quoting their ratings from various agencies, especially ones that are independent, such as the ratings at TheStreet.com.

As I said, this is all good news. Remember, however, that it's just little bits of good news in a flow of things that you should be worried about.

Risk and uncertainty still abound, and all it will take is one bad piece of news (Credit Card default up 20%; film at 11!) and we're going to see lenders clamp down again. If that should happen, market volatility can be expected to increase, perhaps drastically.

Those bank ads I mentioned could backfire as well. If people who are concerned about their banks stability (rightly or wrongly) start moving money en masse to institutions they believe are "safer", that sort of thing can feed on itself and become a bank run.

For now, consider this as an interlude. Make your moves wisely and after due consideration. If you want to reenter the markets (brave person there), do so with caution. Hedge your bets.

Cash is still your friend, and I expect it to remain so for a while. Precious metals (and I mean in your hands, not in some trading account) are a good hedge for your cash.

Be sure that you're prepared to weather a time where goods in stores might not be as available as they are now. This is good advice anytime; doubly so now.

Also remember that our elections are November 4, and that no matter who is the winner, upset somewhere is inevitable. If there is no clear winner, the upset could be more widespread--and the longer clarity is delayed, the worse it may get.

In short, enjoy this breather, and use it wisely.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Life under a liberal supermajority

(Via Refuge)

The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal site has this piece about things that may come. Those of you who are still pissed at the Republican party, like me, don't care for McCain, need to think about this before pulling that lever.

I did, and I'm going to vote for McCain as the lesser of two evils. Maybe one of these days I can vote for someone again, but it won't be this election.

A contribution to voter information

Grass Roots North Carolina has their 2008 Voter's Guide online. If you live in North Carolina and you care about your right to be armed, give it a read.

So, a guy walks into a gun show

Yesterday afternoon was spent working a table for my gun club at a local gun show. As usual, I got to talk to a number of really nice folks, and as usual, I got to walk the show for free. Sort of.

For the first time, Son was with me to help out at the table. We all hoped that this would help show interested folks that we are a family-oriented group (which we are). A lot of gun clubs are a bit, well, unwelcoming to women and children. Foolish and unfortunate, but true.

At any rate, after an hour or so The Insatiable Teenage Eating Machine kicked in, and we had to go find it food. Luckily, this show always has some good food (outside of beef jerky). After eating, we walked a couple of isles, and in doing so, I spied one of these:

That is an Ithaca 900 in 20 gauge. I bought it for Son, who, as noted earlier, is really starting to get into this "clay thing". As best we can tell without a range trip, it seems to be a good fit for him. The gun I bought is not as pristine as the example pictured--it's walked a lot of fields in it's day. The metal is very good, the wood has some dings and the finish is showing it's age. Of course, if any of that starts to be an issue, we can address that as a father and son project.

Walking along further, I saw a Henry .22 pump action on another dealer's rack. I checked the price and raised my eyebrows, since it seemed kind of high. I mentioned it to someone, and they said that they thought that was a pretty good price.

Later on, we took another little walk, and saw some Taurus .22 pumps. Checking the price, my eyebrows went up again--because they were only $30 less than the first dealer was asking for the Henry. I found another dealer with a Taurus, and his price was in line with this guy. O-o-o-k....

Knowing that the Henry is a considerably more expensive piece than the Taurus, I headed back to the first dealer's table. The gun is still there, and he has another that has never been out of the box. So I started out the traditional negotiation on price. He asked me to wait a second, and pulled out some paperwork from the wholesaler and handed it to me. His asking price was $27 over what he paid for it, if you accepted the paperwork as genuine--and it appeared to be.

A 4473 and some cash later, it's under my arm. A bit impulsive, sure, but I had a hunch the guy was on the up-and-up.

Doing some checking later, I find out I paid about 25% less than current retail for the Henry. I'm good with that. It may not be the greatest deal in the history of firearms, but for a new gun from a dealer, it's good enough.

Now for a few observations.

Attendance was off rather heavily--it was way too easy to get around and see things. I talked to the promoter (I know the guy) and he told me that attendance was off over 20% on both days.

Ammo prices are down on some calibers. .223 was down about $35/500 from what I last paid for it (Wolf Military Classic).

There were far fewer people selling their guns than I expected. I had actually expected to see a flood of them, given the economy. There was a story about one guy on Saturday, who had came in to sell every gun he owned. The story was that he was self-employed, and hadn't paid himself in 3 months.

Finally, there is much concern about the future for gunnies if Obama wins the election. A lot of the conversations started off with "Well, McCain isn't who I'd have like to see running, BUT...".

All in all, a very enjoyable and interesting day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Read and learn

(Via Timebomb 2000)

Bernanke Is Fighting the Last War


So says Anna Schwartz, who co-authored, along with Milton Friedman, "A Monetary History of the United States" (1963). It's a very enlightening view of current events through the eyes of someone who has been there and done that.

Bernake likes the book, saying that it is "the leading and most persuasive explanation of the worst economic disaster in American history."

Damn shame he didn't read it--or at least didn't understand what he read.

The High Road bookmark update

Without going into all the stink involving The High Road lately, the site's moral owner, Oleg Volk, has moved it to http://www.thehighroad.us. It seems that everything is there, including your login, if you had one. For right now, the two sites are going to fork, but hopefull they can be integrated after this unfortuante business is concluded. Add to/update your bookmarks.