Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Earmark, anyone

This morning, the U.S. Senate voted down a measure which would have dropped the use of earmarks to add local projects to larger spending bills.  An earmark is an amendment to a bill that provides federal money or tax breaks to a cause, group, or project. A member of Congress attaches these to spending bills that he knows will be passed in order to bring home a little more of that Federal smack.  Over the years, earmarks have been the death by 1000 cuts that have packed our laws with pork spending.

There has always been an oily feeling about the whole process.  It's not hard to imagine someone making a campaign donation in exchange for an earmark.  Even if all of the earmarks ever passed were wholly virtuous, there is the perception that they are part of a quid pro quo. Caesar's wife must be beyond reproach, and so should our Congress.  The Tea Party made earmarks an issue in the 2010 Congressional elections, and Republicans in both houses have foresworn their use.  The Senate bill would have made it a matter of procedure to not attach earmarks to bills.

I don't believe that earmarks are a sure sign of corruption.  I don't even believe that most members of Congress are corrupt.  But there is a virulent minority in both houses of Congress that use their power to bring home the pork spending as a club to wring every available penny for their re-election or retirement out of their constituency.  I support efforts to remove earmarks from legislation, if for no other reason that it forces dishonest people to find a new way to steal from us.

But if Congressional Democrats, who I must give some credit to for making modest reforms to the process of earmarks, want to continue the practice, then how about we have a Federal Earmark Consolidation And Legitimization (FECAL) bill during every session of Congress?  Each addition to the bill should list which member(s) of Congress requested it, who it will benefit, and what it will be used for.  The bill will need to be passed by both chambers and signed by the President, so everyone can know exactly who is creating FECAL material in our legislative process.  You want a few million federal dollars for a highway or bridge project?  Just put it in the FECAL bill.  Want to give a tax break to the largest employer in your congressional district?  Put it in the FECAL Bill.  It's so easy even a corrupt Congressman can do it.

If we must have an unsavory, possibly corrupt process for taking my hard earned money and passing it out to our congress critters' pet projects, Congress should at least have the decency to put all of their special appropriations into one place where we can have a good look at them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Product Review - Garmin Foretrex 301 GPS

For our anniversary this year, Irish Woman got me a wristwatch GPS, the Garmin Foretrex 301.  
I asked her for either this or the upgrade, the Foretrex 401, because of its small size and ease of use. 

This diminuitive GPS is about the size of two boxes of matches stacked one upon the other, and straps to a wrist or backpack strap using an included velcro strip.  It gave me a 10 meter resolution in locations and checkpoints under heavy tree cover at Fort Knox during the hunt.  The 301 is powered by two AAA batteries, and one set of batteries were less than halfway used up after two days of use at Fort Knox. The 301 weighs almost nothing, and I carry it in my pocket without a thought.

The unit was very easy to figure out, and can mark checkpoints, establish routes, show paths already taken, and a lot more.  When you drop a checkpoint, you have the opportunity to give it a specific symbol, such as a deer shape for hunting or a house for shelter.  You can edit the name of a checkpoint on the unit, and also the location of a checkpoint to preload.  All of this is done using up and down buttons, a select button, and a back button.  The power button also controls the back lighting for the display, which came in very handy while trying to find our blind location in the dark.  The back lighting is amber, and is soft enough that it didn't mess up my night vision too terribly.

The Foretrex 301 does not work with GPS software to pre-load checkpoints and routes, and does not have an on-board mapping feature like more advanced models.  The unit is, however, compatible with the Garmin Connect web site.  I haven't used it yet, but will try it out and post a review later. There is a mini-USB port on the unit to allow connection to a Mac or PC.  When connected, it shows up as a removable storage device, and you can back up and navigate through the files it uses for its software and configurations.  There is an XML file that contains all of the routes, checkpoints, and such that can be edited.  I am going to edit the file later to see if features can be added that way, saving time in the field.   I'll update later on how editing the XML file worked and on my experiences with Garmin Connect.

The only other limitation of the unit was that it could not get a satellite lock while in the truck.  It locked in seconds once I stepped out and stood still.

If you're in the market for a basic GPS, and don't mind reading a paper map, this is a great unit for you.  If you're not ready to use a map to figure out where you are, then one of the more advanced GPS units may be for you.  This unit is small enough for me to put into a pocket along with a paper map and have to find my way in the dark or unfamiliar territory.

FCC Disclaimer - The hardware I reviewed here was purchased with my household's own funds.  No-one, including Garmin, offered me anything in exchange for this review.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Banana Bread Recipe

While cleaning up the kitchen tonight, I noticed a bunch of bananas that seemed about on the brink of organizing a communist takeover of their area of the counter, so I thought I'd make some banana bread.  Here's the recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each of cloves, ginger, and nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

1 egg
3 to 4 bananas, thoroughly mashed
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/4 cup of cooking oil.  Less if you add an extra banana
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
1/4 tsp bourbon, almond extract, or vanilla extract

Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well

Mix all of the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Scrape the side of the bowl as necessary.  Once the mixture is even and lump free, pour into a greased loaf pan.

Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes on a rack before removing from pan and finishing cooling.

Wonderful with butter.

Mental Rambling

OK, I'm a nerd.  I admit it. 

I was doing some thinking today while I was cutting up and splitting wood for the fireplace.  Try to follow this:  (Remember, I'm not a real historian, just a putz who likes to read about history)

  1. France and England fought numerous wars in the Americas, Europe, and India during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  2. After losing her colonies in North America, France stuck a thumb in England's eye and helped the Americans in their revolution.
  3. France went into an economic depression that was caused at least in part by the money it spent on the American Revolution, bringing about the French Revolution
  4. The great powers of Europe declared war on France following the revolution, which gave rise to Napoleon.
  5. Napoleon fought a series of wars with the rest of Europe.  These wars started the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.  They also started the ball rolling on Italian and German unifications.
  6. Europe created several multi-lateral mutual defense accords, at least in part to keep a balance of power on the continent and keep another country from creating a new Napoleon.  These agreements also ushered in a united Germany and Italy.
  7. These interlocking mutual defense pacts led almost directly to the escalation of an assassination to the beginning of the First World War, with new empires (Germany and Italy) fighting against old empires (France, Austro-Hungary, Russia, Britain).
  8. Russia's lack of ability to fight a long war with the Austrians and Germans led to the conditions that Lenin used to hold the October Revolution, establishing Communism in Eastern Europe.
  9. The aftermath of the First World War and the Versailles treaty created the conditions for the Second World War.  It also destroyed the large stabilizing influences of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires on Eastern Europe and the Mid-East, contributing to the problems we have in those areas to this day.
  10. The aftermath of the Second World War put the final nail in European colonialism, which pretty much died in Africa and Asia within 30 years of the end of the War.  
  11. The Soviet Union and the United States faced off in a stalemate in Europe, but fought a series of proxy wars in other parts of the world, such as Asia, Central and South America, the Mid-East, and Africa.
  12. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the stabilizing stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union disintegrated, bringing fights that have simmered for a long time back to the forefront in much of the world.
  13. The United States has strived to remain a relevant stabilizing force in world that is rapidly returning to the fragmented semi-chaos that ruled throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries.

So basically, I somehow came to the conclusion that the issues we are facing today are directly related to wars that France and England fought 300 years ago.

Sometime my mind wanders. I'm just surprised it finds its way back.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A good sign

The Russian Duma recently publicly admitted that the Soviet Union, under direct orders from Josef Stalin, was responsible for the massacre of Polish soldiers at Katyn Forest.  For decades, the Soviets blamed this horrific incident on the Nazi's.  After the fall of the wall, evidence came to light placing the blame squarely on Stalin and the NKVD.  This has been a bleeding sore in relations between Russia and her neighbor, Poland.

Over the past couple of years, Russia has been moving closer and closer to admitting its role in the massacre and the cover-up.  With this declaration, most of the darkness surrounding it has been shed.

Russia seems to be learning, at least in part, from what Germany has done since the end of the Second World War:  Admit everything, hide nothing, apologize profusely.  If Germany had not completely come clean about what happened in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII, then I cannot see how Germany could have become as central to Europe as it is today.  Countries that now ally themselves with Deutschland economically, politically, and militarily could not do so in good conscience if the Germans denied the camps, the ghettos, and the massacres.

Likewise, as Russia reaches out to Europe for integration and influence, it must admit to past abuses.  Mending fences with Poland over Katyn is a good first step.  I see several more years of Russia admitting to how badly it treated the members of the Warsaw Pact for 45 years.   As sunshine cleanses the history of Russia and her neighbors, hopefully it will allow Europe to truly heal from the World Wars and their aftermath.

Blue Eyed Devil

I just got back from running Girlie Bear and Little Bear to their moms house for the weekend. I was gone about an hour, give or take.

During that time, BooBoo was able to accomplish the following:

- Carry one small cat around by the tail
- Carry the other larger cat around with a two hand carry around the neck
- Drive the Siamese to higher ground

- And last but not least, discovered aerosol whipped topping. Irish Woman was putting away the leftovers from dinner, and heard him giggling. She came out to find him with a spray can in one hand and a handful of whipped cream in the other. She was able to talk him out of using it as hair gel or finger paint, but apparently it was a close call.

It's a good thing he's cute. And yes, we do live on the edge of madness.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Self Declaration

According to this (H/T to Uncle), I guess I can be described as a domestic extremist.

So I'm just going to confirm it.   My views on personal privacy, government inefficiency, and how transportation security are being done run right into that classification, according to DHS Secretary Napolitano.

As for whether or not I'm inciting others to make life difficult for TSA agents who want to check out what you look like under your clothes either by eye or by feel, let me be perfectly clear:  I believe that it is every American's patriotic duty to resist this stupidity to the utmost they can do without breaking the law.  That means forcing TSA agents to glove up.  That means slowing down the line.  That means reminding the sheep that the sheepdogs don't have the power to 'help them over the fence'. 

And you know what?  My words here are protected speech.  I invite any government goon who disagrees with that statement to pucker up.  I am going to keep ranting, complaining, and trying to persuade my fellow citizens to politely obstruct these ridiculous 'security' measures until they go away or until my fingers can no longer type.

So DHS can put me on whatever list they want.  Here's my contact information:

Mr. Daddy Bear
1234 KisMiAce Drive
Louisville Kentucky, United States of America.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

It's Turkey Day again campers, and I thought I'd share some of the things I'm grateful for:

  • I'm grateful that my family is together and healthy.
  • I'm grateful for all of the friends that I've gained over the past year.
  • I'm grateful for all of the old friends who've put up my grouchy butt over the years.
  • I'm grateful that in this time of uncertainty, both Irish Woman and I both have good jobs.
  • I'm grateful that good men and women in the armed services, police, fire, and EMS are giving up their holiday to make sure that me and mine are OK.
  • I'm grateful that my ancestors chose to leave their home countries to come to America.  

If you're traveling for the holiday, stay safe.  It's better to be late than to be a statistic.  I need every reader I can get.  If  you're flying, turn your head and cough.

I list a few cop blogs in my sidebar.  I really don't want to recognize anyone in their entries about this weekend.  I'm the designated driver this year, so there may be funny tipsy Irish Woman quotes on Friday. 

Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving, and remember how fortunate we all are.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pictures from the hunt

View from the Blind, Saturday Morning

Girlie Bear seems to be enjoying herself

Next year, she won't have to borrow Dad's gun
Our view, Sunday Afternoon

Hunting Report

This weekend was our annual hunting trip to Fort Knox.  Girlie Bear accompanied me again this year, so she's officially part of the tradition.  My hunting/shooting buddy also brought his daughter, and they hunted in the same area as us.

Saturday morning was clear, brightly moon-lit, chilly, and had almost no wind.  After finding our way to our hunting area and checking in, Girlie Bear and I picked a place on the map and hiked in.  We were assigned the area next to where we hunted last year, so the terrain was pretty similar.  We were at the top of a ridge, with multiple draws and spurs running down to very steep valleys.  This area had been spared the fires at Fort Knox last month, but was relatively clear of the heavy undergrowth and blown-down trees that we ran into last year.  After a quick hike into the woods, we found a small spur looking down to the convergence of two small creeks and set up our blind.  We settled in about 45 minutes before shooting light, which gave time for things to quiet down.

About 10 minutes before shooting light at 7, I noticed two small spike bucks pawing and huffing at one another in a patch of scrub about 50 yards from us.  They were too small to shoot according to the rules at Fort Knox, but it was fun to watch them for a few minutes.

About an hour later, I heard some noise in the woods behind us.  Girlie Bear looked out and quietly but excitedly told me it was a doe, and she was coming our way.  I took a quick look, and she was coming down the creekbed to our left.  If I waited, she would pass about 30 yards or so from us.  I eased myself out of the front of the blind to try and get a broadside shot on her, and Girlie Bear watched her from the blind.  Just as I was able to see her and bring the scope up to my eye, Girlie Bear made a small sound of excitement.  The doe noticed both my movement and the noise, and off she went. 

Girlie Bear was almost in tears, but I comforted her and got control of my own emotions.  Remember, this is only the second time she's been hunting.  Luckily, she learned her lesson. Unfortunately, that was the last deer we saw all weekend, unless you count the doe we almost hit half a mile from home on Sunday morning at 3 AM.

Saturday afternoon we left the blind at the truck and went a little further back into the area.  We set up under a huge old oak and watched a couple of game trails for several hours, but no soap.  While we were sitting there, I noticed a difference between our area this year and the one we hunted last year.  Last year the area was covered up in rubs and scrapes.  This area, less than a mile from where we were last year, had none.   There were lots and lots of trails running through it, mostly running east to west. 

Sunday morning was markedly warmer, and even more brightly lit by a full moon.  We set up at the same draw/spur we were at on Saturday, but didn't see anything.  At about 10, the wind really started coming up, and it got warm enough that we started to sweat.  We packed up and had lunch at the truck.  Hunting Buddy and his daughter decided to call it a day after lunch.  Girlie Bear and I walked down the road a piece and climbed to the top of a knob to watch a different part of the area.  It was warm enough that we took off all of our jackets and extra shirts.  I never thought I'd hunt in late November in a short sleeved shirt.

The afternoon was a bust, but Girlie Bear enjoyed herself by using my binoculars to spot along the multiple trails that led to the meadow we were watching.  She especially enjoyed watching a pair of huge red squirrels play tag across several oaks and hickories.  We packed it in at about 2 and took a long route back to the truck.  I made sure to make a lot of noise, but we didn't even see deer to spook. 

When we were checking out, the Fish and Wildlife representative said that no-one had gotten anything on Sunday, but Saturday he'd checked out a lot of does and two bucks that he estimated would score 140 or better on the Boone and Crockett scale.

Again, I love going out to Fort Knox.  It's a treat to hunt such well-kept land that's not crowded.  The staff is very professional and the area guides were, as usual, very friendly, informative, and helpful.

One change this year was that before being drawn to hunt on-post, we had to submit to a criminal background check.  Our guide told us that so many long-time hunters were eliminated for prior DUI's, domestic violence, or whatever that everyone who applied and passed the check got drawn for the hunt.  My guess is that this security procedure will bring in a lot of new hunters.  I also feel bad for the hunters who lost a chance to hunt in a wonderful environment because of something they did years ago. 

As for the area we were in, I think that we were sandwiched between a bedding area and a feeding/nighttime activity area.  All of the deer that people saw in our area were moving to the west in the direction of where we were last year, with a lot of bedding areas, rubs, and scrapes.  The area to our east was rich with oaks, hickories, and what appeared to be some sort of persimmon tree.  Maybe with the abnormally warm weather and nighttime illumination from full moon got the deer to move through our area to their bedding area.  Since they could move easily at night, my guess is that the three we saw on Saturday were the stragglers, and we missed the last of them on Sunday.

Girlie Bear has begun to learn how to walk in the woods without sounding like the pachyderms on parade and to sit quietly and listen, or at least read her book quietly.  I plan on getting her a muzzleloader of her own for next year.  Maybe she'll get a deer at Knox before her old man does.

One last thought:  Technology rocks.  Saturday morning, after our incident with the doe, I got the iPhone out and saw that I had 3G coverage.  I was able to email and Facebook with my hunting buddy and other folks who were hunting 6 states away.  I didn't even know how to imagine doing that 5 years ago.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear Commissioner Goodell,

I am a lifelong NFL fan.  I started out as a child watching the Vikings play at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis.  I stayed up late when stationed overseas so I could watch Monday Night Football and the Superbowl.  I have made watching football on television a family experience, and hope that my enjoyment of the sport continues in my childrens' generation.

I currently live in a market where I rarely see one of my favorite teams, the Washington Redskins, play on Sunday afternoons.  This afternoon, Fox switched to the Tennessee/Washington game after their regularly scheduled game ended.  It was a close game, and went into overtime.  Needless to say, this was an unexpected treat for me

Imagine my surprise when at 4:15, Fox broke into the game to announce they had to drop coverage of the game due to an NFL rule that forced them to stop 15 minutes after the end of their allotted time slot.  Washington went on to win the game within a few minutes.  How they did this, I do not know.  I will have to wait and hope it's available on the replays NFL Network puts on later this week.

I am the creator of all of the revenue that the NFL depends on.  I watch football for enjoyment.  I pay for the NFL Network to catch every game I can get.  If my cable operator offered a package that had all of the games the same way that the satellite folks do, I would buy it.  When I can afford it, I buy NFL jerseys, hats, and other items.  If I can ever afford it, I will be attending live games.

I. Am. Your. Fan.

I have looked past the NFL allowing convicted criminals such as Michael Vick back into its ranks.  I have looked past the almost monthly reports of sex, drugs, and bad behavior scandals with little to no enforcement of a morals clause by the League or the teams.  But cutting into an exciting game at its climax is not how you continue to get my support. 

Commissioner, I want the NFL to reconsider this rule, and explain to the public why it is in place.   I want it removed from the contracts the NFL has in place with the broadcasters. Please re-examine and eliminate this silly rule immediately.  Then we can start working on the reputation the NFL is getting via its personnel problems.



Vikings Fan  (I'm Thumbbody!)
Redskins Fan
Packer Backer
Raider Nation

Thought for the Day

One should not use the term "signal to noise ratio" when explaining why you didn't hear what your wife just said.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Gettysburg Address

Today is the anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  This simple, rather short, but extremely powerful speech was made by President Lincoln at the dedication of the cemetery at the Gettysburg battlefield.  When I was a child, we were made to memorize and recite it, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution.  I hope that children still have to learn it, because it stresses why individual and collective sacrifice is necessary every single day to preserve and defend our Union.

At the time of giving this address, our country was mid-way through the Civil War.  The Confederacy was either at or very near the high water mark in its efforts to sever itself from the Union.  Union forces had won at Memphis, and had turned Lee back at Gettysburg, but at a horrible cost at both places and to both sides.  After the battles of Gettysburg and Fredericksburg, Lincoln must have known just how bloody our soil would become if he was to carry the Union to a victory.  Napoleonic tactics of closing with the enemy, exchanging some musket fire, then charging with fixed bayonet had run head long into new technology of faster loading rifles with Minet balls and repeating rifles.

As he wrote these words, the thought of all the men who had died and the men who would die must have crossed his mind.  In his speech, you can hear the sorrow he must have been feeling at the sight of all of the newly dug graves in Gettysburg.

I will not debate the morality of the Civil War, nor its causes, nor of either side's methods towards victory, nor of Lincoln's culpability in any of it  This speech commemorates all of the men who fought and died for our country and its principles. 
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

GBC Cookbook

Most gunnies love to cook, and they tend to be very good at it.  Hey, I'm not fat because I can't cook. 

JP over at Eyes Never Closed decided to take the recipes from members of the GunBlogger Conspiracy and set up a central place for us to post our recipes.  I've sent along some of my favorites, and from now on I'll be putting anything new recipe wise up over there.

Go take a look.  It all looks sinfully delicious.  Now if we can only get Dixie's barbecue sauce recipe!

Oh, and thanks JP!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More on the TSA

OK, I promise to not go off on another rant on the TSA.  Pinky swear.

Andrew Dodge over at Pajamas Media details his recent encounter with the TSA and a pat down. During his initial pat down, the TSA agent happened upon Mr. Dodge's abdominal scar.  Mr. Dodge was then poked and prodded by the agent for several minutes to make sure that the scar was really a scar, even when he offered to lift his shirt and show the scar for visual examination.  He was apparently probulated pretty hard, as he reports that his scar and the area around it were still quite sore the day after.

So now we have another category of passenger who will be singled out for an intrusive bodily search, those with a physical anomaly.  Breda has already discussed her travails of going through a TSA checkpoint with a prosthetic limb.  And now those of us who have OEM parts, but may have something that isn't outwardly 'normal' have reason to dread travelling.

As most of you know, I have hit the genetic lottery (Thanks Mom!) and have a mild, well controlled case of psoriatic arthritis.  Beyond the skin issues, which are wholly cosmetic, the joints in my back and extremities can become very swollen and mushy.  Basically, my body inundates the soft tissue around my joints with fluid, which causes sausage fingers and swollen, red, hot, and sore elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles.  If someone was to vigorously pat me down when I'm having a flair, such as when I'm tired, stressed, or upset from standing in line for a couple of hours waiting to be probulated in an airport, they will undoubtedly find that my joints don't feel 'right'.  To me, that means that I'm sore already, and will be paying for this come the dawn.  Apparently, to a TSA agent this means that I need a vigorous kneading of inflamed tissue to make sure I haven't injected binary liquid explosives into my limbs or possibly sewn a weapon into my own flesh.  From past experience, I know that someone spending several minutes rubbing, squeezing, and kneading my joints is going to make activities like getting to my gate and sitting still for several hours on a plane extremely painful.

My mother died of Lupus.  During her life, she had multiple abdominal surgeries, and her belly was criss-crossed with decades old scar tissue, some of it quite thick and tough.  This was exacerbated by her eventual need to inject herself daily with insulin, which toughened the remaining patches of skin.  An intense patdown of her body would have found that her abdominal skin was as rigid as a flak vest.  Imagine the time a TSA agent would have taken to make sure that each of these scars was legitimate.  Imagine a middle aged grandmother, who already feels crummy, being not only felt up by a TSA agent, but having the scars on her body worked over to make sure she hasn't macramed a knife into her gut.

The TSA needs to get a grip and borrow a clue.  Middle aged American citizens with scars and physical ailments are not going to try to take over an airplane.  Neither are people in wheelchairs, Catholic nuns, or toddlers in diapers.  There needs to be a comprehensive reform not only of the methods we used to secure the airlines, but of the mindset of the TSA, the Department of Transportation, and the American public in general when it comes to effective security.  Stop harassing the law abiding public and start concentrating on those segments of our society that are a true risk.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Uncle, on Obama selecting Andrew Taver to head the ATFE:

We don’t need a guy from Chicago running an agency that deals with guns. We need Cletus and Bubba who like to blow stuff up.


Dinner Tonight

Place a butcher tied beef tip roast in a crockpot.  Pour in a can of low-salt beef broth and half a cup of bourbon.  Douse well with Worcestershire and Soy Sauce.  Season well with Canadian Steak Seasoning, rosemary, and thyme.  Add a handful each of dried mushrooms, fresh cranberries and finely chopped sweet onion.    Top with a washed bag of baby carrots.

Place crock in cradle and set to low heat for 9 hours.

Serve over al-dente pasta of choice.  We used egg noodles, but penne or rotini would also have worked.


An Apology

I just read that the Beatles catalog is now available on iTunes.

I will be unavailable for the rest of the day, and those of you in Louisville may notice a slowdown of your broadband connection this evening.

Sorry about that, but I learned Beatles lyrics at the same time my mother was teaching me English.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 15, 2010

McRib Haiku

The McRib is back
Third rate barbecue sandwich
My reaction - meh

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Voluntary One Term Presidency?

H/T to Uncle and D.W. Drang over at The Clue Meter on this one.

The Washington Post is suggesting to President Obama that the only way his presidency can have any possibility of success is for him to immediately announce that he will not be seeking re-election in 2012.  Their theory is that this will allow him to rise above Washington politics and concentrate on dealing with our countries problems. 

I have a couple of problems with their theory, both in its supposition that Obama could do such a thing, and his chances of getting anything accomplished if he did.

First of all, Obama has never had to deal with problems, such as statesmanship or good governance, for any real amount of time.  During his entire political life, he's always used his current position as a stepping stone to his next position.  He has never stayed in one place long enough to form the skill sets necessary to work with people who oppose him and convince them to cooperate, either through persuasion or compromise.  He has always groomed himself for the next promotion, and right now his instincts are telling him the next promotion is re-election in 2012.  He will never preemptively bow out of the 2012 elections.  It's not in his character.  He's a born campaigner, but a poor governor.

But assuming for the sake of the argument, would Barack Obama, who has never had to compromise and work with an opponent on a regular basis on anything of importance, have the personal discipline and long vision to let go of all of the politics and work towards politically unpopular, yet absolutely necessary solutions?  Would he get into a dogfight with the left wing of the Democrat party to reform entitlements while at the same time fighting with Republicans over reforming our foreign policy?  Would he have the intestinal fortitude to either bring the financial sector of our economy under control or let it go completely if it is failing?  My gut tells me no.  He is a political animal.  He was taught political theory while still being bounced on a Marxist's knee.  He got his practical political education in the Illinois Democrat machine where party loyalty and orthodoxy is everything.  I don't think that even if he announced that he wasn't interested in the job after January 2013 that he would have the willpower to buck the old guard of the Democrats.  He would instinctively pick political fights with anyone who opposes his wishes, no matter how good or bad those wishes would be for the country.  This alone would cause him to be a failure as a president until replaced in 2013.

What would happen if President Obama announced that he would not run for relection would be gridlock even worse than what we are looking at now.  If he bows out of 2012, every hungry shark among the Democrats will be loathe to do anything to support a president who is bucking Democrat tradition.  They would start making distinctions between themselves and the president in order to stand out in what would be a brutal primary.  The Republicans have already signaled their unwillingness to work with the president on much of anything if they're not handsomely bought off.  If both parties refuse to work with him, well, he can always take up stamp collecting. 

What's more likely to happen is Obama will move towards the center for the next 12 to 18 months, try to co-opt the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in getting something through that he can point at as a good thing in the election, and then swing hard to the left if Clinton comes out of the administration and runs against him in the primaries.  His success in the 2012 general election will probably be based on what the economy does over the next year or so, whether or not we have another major terrorist attack in the homeland, and how the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Arabian Peninsula/Horn of Africa go. 

If the economy improves at anything other than a snail's pace, I give Obama an even chance of re-election.  If it doesn't, the I expect the Republicans to resurrect the "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago" and "It's the economy stupid!" slogans of old and hand him his head.  But if the Republicans are seen as standing in the way of the President trying to do good works and the economy improves, they will lose. 


Dear TSA,

Congratulations! You have finally found my threshhold of pain!

It's been a few years since you were created as part of our response to September 11. For a 9 year old, you've got quite a track record. After 9/11, you made me stop buying a $5 cup of airport coffee in the ticketing area because you wouldn't let ne through security with it. When some jerkoff lit his Nikes and got the bejeezus beat out of him, you forced me to start taking my shoes off so you could X-ray them. Then when another group of blunt skulls talked about how they maybe sorta could kinda make binary liquid explosives in the shoebox that Boeing thinks I can use as a restroom, you made me leave all of my normal shampoo and mouthwash at home. Since I take several medications a day, you've made me take each and every bottle of pills out so you can make sure they contain what I say they do. When other people tried to travel domestically with a large amount of cash, you've interrogated them for hours because honest people couldn't possibly travel with more than a couple of hundred dollars in cash.

When some dickhead tried to blow up a plane using Semtex brand tighty whities, you decided to start using xray machines on the passengers instead of just the luggage.

And now you've decided that we the cattle are opting out of the backscatter scans too often and have upped the intensity of your alternative pat downs to something approaching sexual assault.

Maybe I have body issues. Maybe I was just raised that nudity in front of strangers is to be kept to a minimum. Or maybe I don't want the unclothed persons of my wife and children to be gazed upon by a stranger.

And now you warn us sheep that if we don't let you bombard our bodies with radiation so you can have a good hard look at our possibly dangerous pudenda, you will glove up and thoroughly search our erogenous zones by hand, regardless of sex or age.

So guess what? My family and I are going to avoid any method of travel that involves the TSA. For us, this will mean that a trip that would require a day to fly will take three or more days to drive. It means we will probably spend slightly more in hotel expenses, but at least the peanuts will be nearly cost free.

It also means I no longer have a need for passenger airlines, passenger terminals, or your organization. When the airlines get in trouble financially, I will aggressively campaign to keep them from getting government support. When the airport wants government funding to add runways or to renovate the terminal, I will fight it tooth and nail. When legislation comes up asking for increased funding for the TSA, I will press my legislators to cut off your funding. Since no-one should be using the airlines, airports, and TSA due to your reactive stance on security, then there's no need to continue funding these activities.

So, please enjoy the reduced work load as I and as many people as I can influence walk away from air travel. I hope you all can find comparable employment in the mall security or similar industries.

Oh, and Happy Holidays! Kisses!

Update - Full Disclosure

I work for a cargo airline.  Doing my job entails working within TSA security regulations.  I do not hope for the failure of the passenger airlines.  I do hope that the TSA and its methods are reformed to provide for actual security, and not intimidation of the very people who are being protected.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Here's an Idea

Recently a rash of assaults against young women has hit Indiana University in Bloomington.  Apparently the goblin or goblins involved have smartened up a bit, since all of the reported assaults have occurred away from the well-lit, easily found emergency phones.

IU has responded by upping the number of police patrols and holding several self defense classes for students and faculty.  If I'm not wrong, and that has been known to happen, these self defense classes will boil down to
  • Avoid poorly lit or empty areas of campus after dark
  • Travel in groups
  • Walk assertively
  •  If attacked, yell "Stop!", kick them in the balls, run away, and call police.
Remember, I'm not a woman, and didn't attend university in the traditional manner, so I don't know for a fact that this is what is going to be taught.  But when a civilian goblin decided to take advantage of our open post at Monterey and started attacking lone, unarmed female soldiers as they walked along the non-sanctioned Ho-Chi-Minh trail, our leadership held classes that had these as the main tenets of the course.  The attacks continued until Mr. Goblin decided to attack my then-girlfriend, a 5'1" Marine Lance-Corporal who used Thai kick boxing as an additional workout because Marine PT wasn't good enough.  After beating the snot out of the guy, she stood with her foot on his neck and yelled her head off at him until someone came along to save the poor bastard.  My guess is he would have continued his assaults for a much longer time if he hadn't stumbled upon one of the physically toughest women I have ever met.

Suffice it to say that I have little faith in what these classes will accomplish in the IU situation.  These things are a good start, but the women who attend and work at IU deserve better.  Since IU is a victim disarmament zone, I'm guessing there will be little to no discussion of the tools that a woman can use to equalize the force equation with a male attacker, namely firearms.

If IU leadership truly cares about the women on their campus, they should drop their irrational fear of effective defensive weaponry, and hold defensive training that will actually teach these ladies the tools and methods that they can use to protect themselves.  But what will probably happen is that the attacks will continue until either the attacker moves on, the campus police gets extraordinarily lucky, or he makes the mistake of messing with one of the women in the IU population who have made personal defense a personal decision.

Range Report

Took myself out to Knob Creek this afternoon.  My main goal was to check zero on my two deer hunting rifles, center fire and muzzle loader after getting new glasses this year, and to familiarize myself with the CZ-82 I bought last month from Southern Ohio Guns. To my surprise, I had to wait for a spot on the firing line.  Normally it's quiet during business days, but the RSO told me that it's been busy every day for the past couple of weeks, even taking into consideration that modern gun deer season starts tomorrow.

Once I got on the range, I put my two wooden target holders out at 100 yards, and placed a political yard sign with a target pasted to it at 25 yards.

First up was the muzzle loader.  I have used the same Thompson Center Omega .50 caliber for years, and have found that two 50grain pellets of 777 black powder substitute work very well out of it.  I have also settled on 295 grain PowerBelt Aerotip bullets.  These go down the barrel of the Omega much easier than the sabots I used for the first couple of years shooting black powder, and seem to have comparable performance.

Here's what I got out of the muzzle loader today:

The group on the right was my first three rounds, and after an adjustment, I fired the second group.  Not too shabby for a muzzle loader using a cheap Red Head 3-9 shotgun scope, if I do say so myself.

Next came my Savage 110 in .270, with a Bushnell 3-9 scope.  I switched from the Winchester white box ammunition I was using last year to Federal 130 grain soft points.  The cost difference was significant, and I wanted to see how they performed.  I had a few fliers, and I need to get more practice in, but overall, I'm happy with it.

I finished out my rifle time by plinking with the Mosin.  My goal is to get good enough with it that I can give Girlie Bear the .270 for hunting and hunt with it over open sights until I find a .30-06 or .308 that I like and can afford.

The CZ-82 is surplus, and shows it with some slight blemishes and wear on the bluing, but overall it's in good condition.  No pics tonight, but some will be forthcoming.  I forgot to purchase rounds for it last week, so I was forced to purchase 9x18 Makarov from the range at a premium.  $17.00 for a box of Norinco.  Ouch.  I've been shooting .45 ACP and .38 Special for so long, I'd forgotten just how small 9mm rounds of any form are.  It took some getting used to when handling them, but they certainly have a bark when you touch them off.

I like the CZ.  It sits very comfortably in my paw, and all of the buttons (slide lock, mag release, safety) are where I instinctively look for them.  SOG sent along an extra magazine, so I was able to practice mag changes as well.  The first couple of magazines were mostly fliers as I learned how the pistol wanted to be pointed, but once I settled in with it, it was consistently hitting the target at 25 yards.  Not a tack driver, at least not yet, but not bad for the first time I've shot it.  Once I'd gone through all 50 rounds of 9mm, I put 20 rounds of CCI Blazer .38 Special through the Taurus Model 85 that I carry.  I limited myself to only one cylinder worth of single action shooting, then shot strong hand double action.  Somewhere along the line, a couple of my rounds hit the wire holding up the sign, so it became a semi-reactive target as it was hit by successive rounds.

This was a good range day.  As usual, I enjoy going out to Knob Creek.  The facilities and staff are excellent, and conditions were perfect for zero-ing and plinking.  One highlight of the day was the father and son next to me.  He was a 5 year old who was being taught the four rules and how to shoot with a Cricket.  Extremely well behaved, and had the worlds biggest grin on his face every time his dad let him touch a trigger. 

As always, any products I mention in this blog are those that I use myself.  I get nothing from the companies or facilities I write about other than the experience of being their customer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day Music

For those who wait for us to come home:

For the Bushmasters, the Herd, the Professionals, and the Gators, and all of the other starke truppen I served with, you are always my brothers and sisters, and I will miss each and every one of you until we all come together again on that far green field:

And for those who had to put up with me as a dumbass private, thank you for using music such as this to get my sorry butt moving, and for keeping at it until I was no longer a danger to myself and those around me:

A Soldier's Prayer

I saw this a few years ago at Blackfive, and I've kept a copy of it pinned to my desk wall ever since.  I think it's appropriate for today.

I'm asking You God, to give me what You have left.
Give me those things which others never ask of You.
I don't ask You for rest, or tranquility.
Not that of the spirit, the body, or the mind.
I don't ask You for wealth, or success, or even health.
All those things are asked of You so much Lord,
that you can't have any left to give.
Give me instead Lord what You have left.
Give me what others don't want.
I want uncertainty and doubt.
I want torment and battle.
And I ask that You give them to me now and forever Lord,
so I can be sure to always have them,
because I won't always have the strength to ask again.
But give me also the courage, the energy,
and the spirit to face them.

I ask You these things Lord,
because I can't ask them of myself.

Today's Earworm

Sunny day
Sweeping the clouds away
On my way
To where the air is sweet!

Can you tell me how to get
How to Get to Sesame Street?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On Veterans

Ever since the first cave men grouped together around a fire, there have been those who wanted to steal that light and warmth from them.  Accordingly, there have always been the warriors who would step beyond the safety and warmth of the campfire to protect the young, the old, and the infirm. When these men, and sometimes women, would return to the circle of firelight, they would be different.  Maybe they would be scarred physically, but they would always be changed.  They had gone into the night, and willfully looked for those things that most of their group had fled.  They knew just how precious the women and children, the good food and warm fire, and the safety of their group was.

So, as long as there have been people, there have been warriors.  Almost as long as there have been warriors, there have been veterans.

Don't take this to mean I place myself in the warrior grouping.  I was just an intel weenie in a mostly peacetime army.  I was closer to Sad Sack than to Sergeant Rock.  But as the man says, I served in the company of heroes.

92 years ago tomorrow, the guns fell silent on the biggest, most deadly war the world had ever seen up until that point.  On the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, the meat grinder shuddered and sputtered to a halt, at least temporarily.  An entire generation of mankind prayed in vain that it would never be restarted.  When it roared back to life a generation later, the best of humanity stood up to make other men free, and stood guard over the world trying to contain the beast for yet another generation.  Sometimes they just watched it, sometimes they fought it. Now, another generation is fighting against those who would steal the peace and the light from the world.  My prayers go out for their success and their safe return to our campfires every night.

I was lucky to meet an extraordinary man, Robley Rex, several years ago.  This man joined the Army for World War I, but didn't get to Europe until after the fighting was over.  He lived out his life quietly here in Louisville, and in 1986 devoted himself to his fellow man.  He volunteered regularly at the local VA medical center, and never seemed to meet a stranger.  I only spoke a few words with him, and only learned his story after he passed away earlier this year, but his example touched my life.  That is what a veteran is to me.  After a youth dedicated to his country, he gave his older life to us as well.

So, if you're a veteran or are currently serving, thank you.  When you get to Valhalla, look me up and we'll tip back a few.  For those of you who are protected, please take a few minutes out tomorrow to remember those who place themselves outside the circle of light and warmth for our sake.

Psalm 91

 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”  3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.
 9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

On Respect

A couple of posts on a couple of blogs caught my eye and my mind over the past few days.

OldNFO talks about how being in the military changes you, and how you never completely leave the uniform behind.

The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced; a place where everybody is busy but not too busy to take care of business. Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

Brad Torgersen, who will be going up on my bloglist next time I update it, talks about what it means to be a gentleman:

I think this code can apply anywhere, at any time, and it’s a shame to see so many males advance through adolescence and into adulthood without receiving either a proper role model — or proper guidance. Because the honest truth of it is this — and I speak comfortably as a man who knows his limitations: women civilize us. Left to our own devices, we are selfish, brutal bastards. We need the women in our lives to remind us of a higher responsibility, beyond our own carnal lusts and the rumbling of our stomachs. A gentleman rises to this challenge like a falcon rises to the morning sun. He does not shirk it or shrink from it, or cast it off as old-fashioned.
Go read the entirety of both articles.  What I have to say can wait while these two gentlemen have their say.

What I believe both of these articles boil down to, and my own personal views go along with them to a large part, is respect.  Respect for yourself, respect for another, and respect for your group as a whole.

NFO talks about how people in the military tend to work together towards a common goal with a lot less of the societal grease that you find in a civilian organization.  In a corporation, there is a lot of stroking of egos, both individual and collective, in order to get cooperation.  In the military, while it is also a common phenomenon, it's not absolutely necessary.  If you give a group of professional military people a goal, explain the goal to them, and let them know what resources they have to achieve the goal, they will tend to maximize each others skills to achieve the goal.  In the civilian realm, where power relationships aren't as cut and dried and personal gain is usually more important than collective success, a lot more convincing is necessary to get coordinated work accomplished.

Mr. Torgersen makes excellent points about how a gentleman (or lady) acts.  He boils  these down to a few maxims, but again, it's all respect.  A gentleman respects the women he comes into contact with, and treats them accordingly.  A gentleman also doesn't stand for someone else acting disrespectfully to others. 

I'll admit it, I sometimes oggle.  I have to concentrate to not look down a woman's shirt.   I use rough language in mixed company.  But if I ever catch myself crossing lines, I'm quick to throw it into reverse and apologize without prompting.  I never use my position, knowledge, or privileges to get away with outrageous behavior.  In fact, those who do make my stomach turn. 

To bring this down to a point, those of us who miss the military miss it because it is an organization based on trust and respect.  Members of that organization are exceptionally good at policing themselves and correcting or ejecting those who can't work within that framework.  While it's not codified anymore, "An Officer and A Gentleman" is still part of the ethos, for officers, NCO's, and privates who took the oath of enlistment last Thursday.  "Conduct Unbecoming" is still one of the worst things that can be said about you. 

As for why the general population has lost this to at least some extent, I believe it has a lot to do with how you were raised.  If I ever show disrespect to a woman or an older man, I fully expect the ghost of my sainted German grandmother to rise up and bring Gotterdammerung down upon me.  Men who are younger than me or my age are expected to correct me themselves.  Women are capable of doing this, and I've had my butt kicked by enough older men to know they can too, but they should never have to.

Example:  This evening, I stopped at Walmart to buy a new power supply for Little Bear's laptop.  It had one of those strapped-on electronic alarm gadgets on it, and the elderly lady working the register had trouble taking it off with the proprietary magnetic tool.  She took it to customer service for help after a few fruitless minutes of trying to remove it.  I stood and waited quietly, and when she'd left, I turned to the teenager behind me to apologize.

His answer, which caused the hair on the back of my neck to raise up, was "Dried out old woman shouldn't be doing this anyway.  Guess it's a too complicated for her."

As I counted to ten in Serb under my breath, a hand appeared in the air behind his head, and smacked him hard enough his glasses came off.  You guessed it, it was an older, female family member who was in line behind him.  He stammered his apologies to her and stood there silently while the cashier returned and finished ringing me up.  All this time, his Auntie was watching him with a look that would turn most men to stone.

If more young men were raised by women who weren't afraid to beat some sense into them about how to act, maybe the gulf between those who know respect and those who don't wouldn't be that wide.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Jockey Calvin Borel decided to take a poke at another jockey after a race at this weekend's Breeder's Cup. 

Nothing like making friends and influencing people on national television.   All of a sudden I'm glad I didn't apply to work security at the track this season.

New Look

If you're not reading this through an RSS reader, you've probably noticed that I've moved some things around.  I changed the template and layout of the gadgets in the blog, as well as the color scheme.  I've added a link to Soldier's Angels on the right side to go with the SAF link I talked about earlier.  I also added a Creative Commons statement at the bottom.  Anyone who wants to use my original content is free to do so, so long as they attribute it back to this blog.

Hope you all enjoy.  And before you ask, yes, my Saturday evenings are just that boring.

Overheard in the McDonalds Parking Lot

DaddyBear, singing along to the radio: I don't know where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been. Hanging on the promises and the songs of yesterday, I've made up my mind.
Irish Woman: Are you trying to woo me?
DaddyBear: Yes, now go dance on the hood of the minivan.
Irish Woman: Snort!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Time to get ready

Girlie Bear and I got our packets from Hunt Control at Fort Knox last night. I was getting worried. This is the latest we've gotten our notification. We got drawn for the first weekend, the 20th and 21st of November.

I made the customary horse trade with her mother to get her that weekend, so we will both be able to go to the woods.

This weekend I'll get all of the gear out and prepped. The clothing needs to be washed and descented. The blind needs to be set up and left in the yard to air out. My rifle is clean, but I'll take her to the range and check the zero, then give her a good cleaning. I've been really impressed with the Thompson Center Omega and the cheap 3-9 Redhead shotgun scope I put on it. It holds zero very well, and hits well within minute of deer at 150 yards.

Don't know if I'll get MREs again this year or just make soup and sandwiches. I'll figure that out based on the time I have in the next couple of weeks.

I love going to Knox, and last year was even better than normal because Girlie Bear was along for the hunt. If she continues to improve with her shooting, next year she'll have her own rifle.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I have

I have held new life in my arms and cried sweet tears of joy.
I have held new death in my arms and cried bitter tears of pain

I have watched the best of humanity reach out to help the afflicted
I have watched the worst of humanity snatch bread from a starving child

I have been the prodigal son
I have stayed to do the hard work

I have soared with the eagles
I have bedded down with the pigs

I have laughed with old friends
I have cried with strangers

I have nurtured
I have destroyed

I have loved, and been undeservedly loved
I have hated, and been deservedly hated

I have been a stranger
I have been an old friend

I have been a father
I have been a son

I have learned
I have taught

I have watched the sun rise over the desert
I have watched the sun set over snow fields

I have stared at the stars in the sky
I have wondered at the sand in the sea

I have danced in the rain
I have mourned in the sunshine

I have been blessed
I have forgotten to give thanks for my blessings

I have prayed for peace
I have prayed for victory
I have prayed for forgiveness

The Difference

Last night, there were no tanks or armed soldiers roaming the streets of major American cities.

Foreign troops were not imported to ensure the safety of Americans as they lined up to vote.

While no election is 100% clean, when our politicians cheat, it's done under the table.  They're still afraid to do it where we can see.

When I woke up this morning, the incumbent losers of last night's election weren't assassinating the winners.

When I woke up this morning, the winners of last night's election weren't executing the incumbent winners.

As I look up and down my street, I see campaign signs for all of the candidates, regardless of party.  My neighbors didn't come to blows or gunfights over them.

The supporters of the losing side in this election did not riot, bomb buildings, set city blocks afire, or lynch anyone.

The winners of the races, for the most part, gave gracious acceptance speeches that didn't call for the ethnic/ideological cleansing of their opposition.

The losers of the races, for the most part, gave concession speeches that didn't call for the destruction of the winners.

The United States and other western democracies, either republican or parliamentarian, have been holding orderly elections, with some very notable exceptions, for several centuries.  We do not immediately go to the cartridge box if we feel we've been given a fair shake at the soap and ballot box, but still lose.  While we sometimes denegrate those who oppose us politically, we never stop seeing them as human beings with the right to hold whatever opinions they want to and to take whatever legal political actions they care to in order to further their causes.

We're not perfect and we're not pretty, but we hold a bloodless revolution every couple of years.  In the United States, we've gone almost a generation without major bloodshed or violence surrounding the democratic process, and every year the gap between Jim Crow and how we do things widens.  We have and mostly impartially enforce laws that define who can and cannot vote, and provide for the protection of this most basic right in a democracy.

I want to remind all of my fellow citizens and my readers overseas that the tree of liberty was thoroughly watered with the blood of patriots last night, as it was in each preceeding election since Washington, Adams, and Jefferson created our system of government.  While no actual blood was shed at the polls, the right to peaceful elections has been paid for in blood on battlefields both foreign and domestic.  We should never forget that the exercise we just went through is the most beautiful thing that our country does on a regular basis.  We may be the world's default aid giver, policeman, and guard dog, but we can do none of the good that comes from those things unless we continue to have elections such as what we had yesterday.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Initial thoughts on Election 2010, Phase I

The attack ads, robo calls, junk mail, and wall to wall media sycophants are over.  The ballots have been cast.  The counting begins in an hour here in Kentucky, and soon there after in the rest of the country.

Thank the Lord for that.

Now for the additional phases:

  1. The first contesting of vote counting will begin tomorrow.
  2. The first lawsuits will be filed within 96 hours
  3. The lame duck congress will go nuclear option and try to stuff as much of the crap they've been holding off on in hopes of re-election into the next two months.

Buckle up kids, this ain't over yet.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day, and I thought I'd check in with the prayer of my name saint, Saint Francis of Assissi.  It's been an important thought and prayer to me for a very long time.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Second Amendment Foundation

Via Joe Huffman, I'm adding a link to the Second Amendment Foundation to the sidebar at the right.  The 2AF has been and continues to be a great resource for gun owners in this country, and I want to show my support for them.  Go give them a read.
Creative Commons License
DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at daddybearden.blogspot.com.