Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I've added another baby to my weapons collection. The Henry Repeating Arms U.S. Survival .22 Rifle. It's an updated version of the old US Air Force AR-7 survival rifle that used to be issued to all pilots. Gaze upon it's sweetness...
This bad-boy weighs only 2 1/2 pounds, and comes with 2-8 round clips. Oh, and it all breaks down and fits into the stock! It's only 16 1/2 inches long when broken-down.
When this first came out, it was roundly panned by the professional gun critics as a plastic toy (the stock is ABS plastic). Since then, real-human users, through blogs and Internet sites have almost uniformly praised it for it's ease of use, simple design, and surprising accuracy (rear sight is a peep sight, and the front sight is adjustable for windage).
I'll use this primarily for plinking, but will take it camping (fresh rabbit stew, anyone?!) and hiking. It shoots .22 LR, so ammo is cheap and plentiful.
I do need to check the regulations here in The People's Republic of California regarding having this on your person (in a pack) while it's broken down, and if there are laws against firing this "out in the wild".
My bet they're both felonies punishable by a keel hauling. Might be worth it, though ;-)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, in the East Bay. For 14 years, I lived in one of the larger East Bay cities, Antioch. It's still small by big city standards, at just under 100,000 citizens, and is primarily a bedroom community. Antioch doesn't make the news very often, so whenever it does, my ears perk up.
I was driving home last night and I heard on the radio that some guy from Antioch had won Saturday's lottery. We now had a millionaire in East County. Fifty times over! How cool. He was 50 years old and recently retired, and was going to use the help his family, our community, and send some to the Katrina victims.
Whenever I hear of big winnings, the fantasies start: Quitting work, setting up full-boat college scholarships for my kids and every niece and nephew. After family members and close friends are taken care of, I also think about doing stuff like the old 1960's TV show, The Millionaire. The guy would hand out a million bucks to deserving strangers. I remember when my wife and I were having tough financial times in the early 1990's, where a simple $1,000 would have made such a difference. I picture myself reading the newspaper, looking for good people in tough times and anonymously helping them out.
I'm buzzing along in my little fantasy, when I hear Antioch mentioned again on the radio. This time, it's not so good.
It seems that Antioch has now had it's first death in Iraq. A roadside bomb killed him and another soldier
Army Sgt. Paul Neubauer of Oceanside died Friday when a bomb went off near his M113 armored personnel carrier Friday in Baghdad. Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Scheile of Antioch died the following day from injuries sustained in the blast, according to a release from the Defense Department.It just seemed so surreal. Here, one family experiences the euphoria of winning life-changing money. Most likely, the lives of this family will be improved, possibly for generations.
Their neighbor feels the unimaginable pain of losing a son, husband and father because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most likely, the lives of this family will be devastated for years to come.
The odds of either event happening are long. The odds of both happening to little Antioch within a few hours of each other are astronomical. Yet, they have both happened.
When the anniversary of this weekend rolls around each year, one family will rejoice and celebrate, one will relive the pain of their loss.
Life will continue for the rest of us. We'll forget both of their stories over time. But the lives of these two families - these two neighbors in this little city - will be changed forever.
Monday, September 26, 2005
The Uber-Nanny State, Louisiana, has finally figured out how much it's going to cost to fix their problems after Katrina. It's not too bad: Only $250 billion.
Not too bad until you consider who has to pay for this - you and me. That sum works out to nearly $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
But at least they're not being unreasonable. They want $40 billion of it to be directed to Corps of Army Engineer projects. To put that into perspective, their entire budget for 2005 was $4 billion. Louisiana only wants 10 times that. Hey, that's reasonable.
They also want:
- $14 billion for ecosystem restoration
- $750 million for a lock for the New Orleans Industrial Canal, a project rated the fifth-worst Corps boondoggle in the country by an alliance of taxpayer advocates and environmentalists
- $50 billion in open-ended grants for storm-ravaged communities
- $13 billion for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
- $8 million for alligator farms
- $35 million for seafood industry marketing
- $25 million for a sugar-cane research laboratory that had not been completed before Katrina
Excuse me now, I've got to go puke.
Friday, September 23, 2005
....That I admitted I was wrong, that is!
Earlier this month, I trashed the NRA for sitting on their hands while the citizens of NOLA were having their guns confiscated. Today, I was over at No Quarters, and saw that the NRA has successfully procured a restraining order prohibiting more guns from being taken, and working to require the return of weapons already confiscated.
They also indicate they're being proactive and working to change the emergency laws in all states so that this type of thing can't happen in the future.
While I'm still not overly pleased about the amount of time this took, I must say that the NRA did it's job, and is looking forward to the future. I gotta give them their props.
Well done, NRA!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I’ve just got to shake my head in disbelief with this whole cluster-fuck caused by Katrina. Sorry for the “F” bomb so early in the day, but I’m just dumb-struck over this latest issue. Buckle up, kiddies, as I fear it’s not the last bomb for this tirade…..
I was over at Ravenwood’s Universe and happened upon this article. Oh. My. God. It’s not enough that virtually all of the “victims” are black, but now there is bitching that The Red Cross is a racist organization because they don’t have enough black members.
The Red Cross has been praised for its tireless efforts assisting storm victims in Middle Tennessee. But there are concerns in the black community that the organization lacks diversity, especially in an effort helping mostly black evacuees.
Here’s a thought, you racist, cock sucking, mother fuckers: Get off of your ass and do something YOURSELF. If you don’t like the way something is being done, change things yourself and set up your own relief agency. Or something as simple as opening up a church gym for beds or a food line to help them out.
But, NO! The first reaction, the initial push, the opening salvo has always got to be, “Us black folks are getting shit on”, when the real reason is that they all waited until the last damned minute to help out. Apparently, 63 other organizations in the area had the foresight to get pre-approved by The Red Cross. But not these black groups.
Here’s a question: Why did these black groups suddenly feel the need to assist with disaster victims? From their quotes, it seems as though it’s because the “victims” are primarily black. Wouldn’t THAT be racist? I’m just askin’…..
“When you're different and you're the lone person, you do feel different. When you're in crisis you like to have some familiarity there,” says Joyce Searcy with the Bethlehem Centers of Nashville.
It’s not important that the “victims” are being fed. It’s not important that the “victims” are being housed. It’s not important that the “victims” are being clothed. It’s not important that the “victims” are being given $2,000 debit cards. No, what’s important is that they see a familiar face.
I’m glad they’ve got their priorities straight.
Monday, September 19, 2005
It seems like all I keep seeing and hearing is this:
"They're treating us like dogs,"
Not me. I respect a good dog. I don't respect you parasites.
"They just want to get us out of Houston as fast as they can. Thanks for nothing."
Shit yeah, you're welcome. Why would folks from Houston want the scum from NOLA in their city? They don't WANT you scum to feel welcome. You might stay.
"The food is awful, it's too cold, and every time you ask somebody anything, the answer is the same: 'We're working on it,' "
Work being the operative word here. At least they're WORKING, and not acting like spoiled little rich-kids at their 10th birthday party.
These self-centered asses just don't get it.
Ronald Gorman, 45, an evacuee, said he has noticed "bad attitudes" from other shoppers who noticed him using his debit card to buy $1,500 in clothes, hair products, Nike Air Tennis shoes and a watch.He noticed "bad attitudes"? He'd be noticing a size 12 shoe up his ass if I had anything to say about it.
And then you have the spineless social-workers - Nanny surrogates - that keep perpetuating the victim mentality.
Carolyn Scantlebury, an official with the task force organized by the Harris County Housing Authority, said she is not surprised that the remaining evacuees are upset.How horrible for them. Going from free government housing in New Orleans, to free government housing in Houston. Sorry about the cot, ma'am, but there was a disaster, dintja hear?
They are going through a kind of grieving process, she said, after the damage done to their lives by Katrina.
The evacuees are moving from "shock to confusion to anger," she said. "I know many evacuees are frustrated - living on a cot is not comfortable."
It must just be terrible spending an entire lifetime having others take care of your clothing, housing, food, and education (chortle!). All you need to worry about is how to sell your ass, or rob someone with assets, so you can get your next high.
Not a bad gig if you can get it.
Friday, September 16, 2005
- One Dozen BBQ Tri-tips
- Five Dozen BBQ Bratwurst
- Five gallons each of Root Beer and Cream Soda, plus 10 gallons of carbonated water to make 5 other types of soda, PLUS 3 gallons of lemonade and two cases of bottled water.
- Thirty five gallons of home made beer. Five gallons each of: American Pale Ale, Dry Stout, Honey Blonde Ale, Oktoberfest/Marzen, Bohemian Pilsner, Steam Lager and Kolsch.
Oh baby, it's that time of year again! Tomorrow - the official start in Germany - we will be having our annual O-fest party. It is so much fun. It's all about eating, drinking and being merry. Each year, this beast grows, and it takes longer to get the beer all brewed up.
I've been home brewing for 25 years now, and have a great set up for serving the brew. I converted a freezer into a monstrous kegerator that has 10 taps on it!
Sunday, though, is going to be rough. It's the home opener of the Raiders. Thank goodness it's a late game on ESPN so I'll be able to get some sleep before we have to leave.
I'll have a liter or two for ya!
Please, check these folks out:
Ravenwood's Universe: I like the way this guy thinks - keep the government out of our damned lives as much as possible, keep your paws off of my guns, and as long as I'm not infringing on your rights, just let me live my life as I see fit. Damned good philosophy.
Charming, Just Charming: I think I ran into Guy's comments over at Ravenwood and I liked what he had to say. Checked out his site and found a kindered spirit. A no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is, kinda guy, with a wry sense of humor. He also likes to fish, so he can't be all bad!
Caiterwauling: We DID NOT hit it off on the right foot. We got into a pissing match over at Mad Mikey's where we went toe-to-toe. This lasted a couple of days, over many posts. When it was all said and done, we realized we weren't that far off from each other on most things! There is one drawback, though. Her site often is about cats. I can't stand cats, other than Bar-B-Qued or sometimes roasted with onions and garlic. She's got 'em all over the damned place.
Now GO! Check 'em all out...
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
In my post from yesterday, my last item was about the disgust I have for the NRA not making a peep about the NOLA government officials confiscating legal weapons from their citizenry. I mentioned that I had written an email to them, and wasn't really expecting a response.
Surprise! They actually did respond. Here's the text:
Thank you for contacting the NRA-ILA. In regards to your concerns, please read the following statements from Wayne LaPierre and Chris W. Cox:I give them credit for responding to my email, but not much else.
National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre slammed New Orleans authorities Monday for seizing legal firearms from lawful residents.
"What we've seen in Louisiana - the breakdown of law and order in the aftermath of disaster - is exactly the kind of situation where the Second Amendment was intended to allow citizens to protect themselves, " LaPierre said.
"When law enforcement isn't available, Americans turn to the one right that protects all the others - the right to keep and bear arms," LaPierre said. "This attempt to repeal the Second Amendment should be condemned."
The New York Times reported last Thursday that no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to have guns, quoting the superintendent of police that "only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."
A Louisiana state statute allows the chief law enforcement officer to "regulate possession" of firearms during declared emergencies. "But regulate doesn't mean confiscate," said Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist.
"Authorities are using that statute to do what the looters and criminals could not: disarm the law-abiding citizens of New Orleans trying to protect their homes and families," Cox said.
"The NRA will not stand idly by while guns are confiscated from law-abiding people who're trying to defend themselves," he said.
"We're exploring every legal option available to protect the rights of lawful people in New Orleans," Cox said, "and we're taking steps to overturn such laws in every state where they exist."
"Local authorities in New Orleans are turning nature's assault on human life into man's assault on human rights," LaPierre said. "Four million NRA members intend to stop this unconstitutional power grab."
No where on their site, did they mention anything about this issue. Until today, that is. Suddenly, it is top and center. I guess they've been getting a little bit of grief over this.
OK, so it seems like they have some movement, but stop the BS with the, "The NRA will not stand idly by while guns are confiscated from law-abiding people who're trying to defend themselves," political pablum. That's exactly what's happening. Do Something!
Saying, "We're exploring every legal option available to protect the rights of lawful people in New Orleans," is political-speak for, "we're waiting to see if we can bring this up without getting our asses handed to us".
They need to be filing lawsuits right now so that a precident is not set whereby local officials think they can trump the Constitution whenever things get a little rough. It's times like that when adherence to the Constitution may very well save lives.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Item 1: I dislike President Bush a great deal. Fiscally, border protection, war in Iraq are just the high points. But I will say, I think he has damned near ZERO reason to apologize for what happened in the aftermath of New Orleans. For God's sake, he declared a State of Emergency two friggin' days before the hurricane hit. The mayor and governor had their thumbs up their asses. Bush did his job on this one.
Item 2: Where are they pumping all of this polluted NOLA water? Into Lake Pontchartrain? Holy shit, don't eat the fish for the next couple of decades...
Item 3: Two big thumbs up for Judge Roberts. The guy's a stud under pressure. I liked his answers and I like how he told Fat Teddy to shove it. Well done.
Item 4: While I'm not a big gun owner - two pistols and a shotgun - I am an ardent believer in the Second Amendment. This gun confiscation in NOLA is wholly unacceptable and illegal. Where are the gun lobbies about this? I just wrote this email message to the NRA:
I have considered joining the NRA for the last few months. I've been an avid sporting clays shooter for the past couple of years, and I own a couple of handguns. It just seemed right to support the largest pro-gun organization in the country.I'm not holding my breath waiting for a reply...
Then there was this abomination in New Orleans.
I first heard of the illegal confiscation of weapons by government authorities, I could not believe my ears. Under what authority could they conduct such confiscations?
What was even more shocking was the silence coming from the NRA. Where are you guys? Why aren't you filing lawsuits to force the government authorities to stop this illegal act? If you won't stand up for something this repugnant to gun owners, what will you stand up for?
I'll hold my membership contribution until I hear or see a satisfactory reply.
Monday, September 12, 2005
In high school, I was a pretty good athlete. In football, I made first team all-league as a defensive lineman. This got me noticed by a number of colleges, who contacted my coach for some information on my statistics. All of my game stats were great: Sacks, fumbles caused, fumbles recovered, blocked passes. I lead the league in all of these numbers. The problem was my size.
At the high school level, I was decent sized: Six foot three, two hundred and forty pounds. For major college, that wouldn't make it. Both Cal and Stanford had shown an interest, but both wanted me to go the Junior College route and bulk up first. Being pig-headed, I blew them off and went with football power-house Gators. The NCAA Division II San Francisco State Gators (they actually no longer have a football program)!
As soon as the summer practices started, I quit my job. I had pre-paid my tuition, room and board, but had neglected to think about spending money for
One of our coaches was the brother of a guy I had played with in high school. He lent me $50 (which I have since found out was an NCAA violation). He soon realized that there was no way in hell that he would ever get his money back.
He worked at Wells Fargo Bank in the evenings, and set up an interview for me and my roommate. We both got jobs working part-time swing shift after school and practice.
Well, I took to banking like a duck to water. I spent 12 years with Wells, and have been in banking now for 28 years. I'm glad it was all so carefully planned......
Friday, September 09, 2005
My wife called me a crotchety old man yesterday. She may be right. Maybe.
You see, I’m still in a funk over what’s been happening in New Orleans. And it’s not what you might be thinking.
I have had no compassion for the folks that are now “refugees”. Zero, zip, nada.
I feel very deeply, that for the vast majority of these folks, they have put themselves into their current predicament, or did nothing to try and prevent it (like putting one foot after the other and walking to safer ground). Their actions subsequent to the storm have only reinforced my belief. Our “rescue” efforts will do nothing but perpetuate their perception that they are “owed” by The State.
I have never seen such a large group of ungrateful people in my entire life. “Gimme my food”. “Gimme my clothes”. “Gimme my housing”. “Gimme my money”.
Did you see them when they heard they were going to get $2000 “gift cards” from FEMA, but the Red Cross only put out with a couple of hundred dollars? By their reaction, you would have thought they had been robbed at gunpoint.
Then jackasses like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton throw in the race card. They can lick me from my ‘taint to my tip.
You now have the poor fighting the poor. In the capital of The People’s Republic of California - which is, of course, San Francisco - the “homeless” are bitching because some shitty public housing units that have been boarded up for years are going to be opened up for the worthless shits coming from New Orleans.
On the news last night, they showed some lifer Nanny State recipient who was bitching that she had been on the waiting list FOR SIX YEARS, and the Katrina victims need to wait in line.
What shocked me wasn’t that these assholes were turning on each other - “the rats eating the rats” - but the fact that someone had been on a waiting list for 6 years for public housing. Holy Fucking Shit. (For the record, this is when I started yelling at the TV, and my wife called me the “C” word.... that's Crotchety!).
How is that possible in America? How could someone ALLOW themselves to be in that kind of situation for that long of a period of time?
I was reading this awesome post by The Grouchy Old Cripple, and this paragraph brought it all into crystal clarity:
At the risk of repeating myself (and sounding like Neal Boortz), the rich get richer because they do the things that make them rich (hard work, saving money, and investing) and the poor get poorer because they do the things that make them poor (drop out of school, refuse to learn English, don't develop a work ethic, and have children they cannot afford.).Without going into great detail, my dad – the sole monetary support for our family – was a beat cop in Oakland that worked his way up to Lieutenant over his career. He did this all without a degree, just a lot of hard work. His work ethic was passed down to all of his sons.
I, the oldest, am a bank executive. I’ve been in banking since I started college. My parents were not rich, so I had to work to pay my own way. I did not complete my degree, leaving school for a managers job when I was 22 years old. Of the three boys (no sisters), I am the only one not to finish my degree. In 5 or 6 years, I will be president of this bank (this has already been approved by the board of directors).
My middle brother is a captain for a large police department here in the Bay Area. He has both a bachelors and masters degree. He has paid for all of his own college.
My youngest brother was actually the first to get his degree. In aeronautical engineering. Yep, he paid his own way. After working in the airline industry for 10 years, then the silicon wafer business for 10 years, he now owns his own business, where he out-earns both of his older brothers!
I'm not telling you this to brag. I'm pointing out that we are three very successful individuals, nothing had been given to any of us, other than a work ethic and a drive to succeed.
Read Grouch Old Cripple’s paragraph again. I think the key is the hard work. An education greases the skids, but your own personal work ethic is the key. You have to want to succeed.
So what are we to make of these people, all with their hands extended, looking for their next payment from Nanny? The only time they get some fire in their belly is when someone is going to cut in line and get their hand-out first.
No one in this country really believes that any of them will be miraculously changed by this rescue, and be turned into productive citizens. Then why do we keep saving them? Does no one else see that we are actually making their lot in life MORE difficult by keeping them dependent on Nanny? Why is it so difficult – primarily for the black community – to instill a work ethic into their ranks?
I am indeed crotchety. And deeply saddened that a segment of our society does not see the means of shedding the bonds of slavery – and that’s what welfare is - is within themselves.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I've written a number of times about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). It is a great tool for tracking TV sets in a warehouse. Not so good of a tool for tracking humans. Take a look here and here for a more detailed analysis of why this is bad policy for our country.
I just read an article, Electronic Tags Used To Track Immigrants, which disturbs me greatly.
I've written a number of posts about my feelings regarding Illegal Aliens. I think they're a scourge on our country. They break our laws, rob us of our tax dollars and take jobs from citizens and legal aliens. We need to do everything possible to run them out of our country.
That being said, this article is about "tagging and bagging" aliens that are here legally. They've followed the rules and we've granted them permission to be here in our country. They are our guests. Besides, the way they are using this technology, it will actually make it easier for "bad guys" - terrorists, smugglers, etc. - to enter the country.
During the testing phase, travelers with I-94s hold up their RFID tag as they drive through the border crossing. A reader device, about the size of a computer screen, records entry and exit of individuals crossing the border on foot or by car, transmitting information from up to 55 tags per vehicle.This means that each person entering the country is not verified individually. The obvious scenario is not hard to imagine: Valid visa holder has I-94 stolen by bad guy (or is threatened if it is not given to bad guy), bad guy enters US by waving I-94 by card reader, entering country, does bad deeds and leaves.
The Department of Homeland Security also admits that there is the ability to track someone as they move about the country.
EPIC points out that in the DepartmentÂs own "Privacy Impact Assessment," it admits there is a risk that the RFID tag "could be used to conduct surreptitious locational surveillance of an individual; i.e., to use the presence of the tag to follow an individual as he or she moves about in the US."What I find amusing is that DHS specifically said that this technology could not be used to track Americans with US passports when security experts pointed out this possibility. It seems they've changed their tune now that the technology will be used with foreigners.
The biggest concern is that, once again, we dismiss these invasions of our privacy as minor inconveniences. Look how willingly we accept - in the name of safety -surveillance camera deployed by our government. Look how willingly we accept - in the name of terrorist prevention - the warrantless searches allowed by the USA Patriot Act. Look how willingly we accept - again in the name of safety - the government making random automobile stops with no probable cause, looking for drunk drivers.
Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The NewStandard that RFID is popular because it is convenient, "but also because it has the spill-over tracking benefit." Tien believes that once enough businesses install RFID readers, or when the reader technology becomes available to the general public, a person could theoretically be tracked numerous times each day.
"Two, three years ago when we were talking about this, people thought that it was crazy," said Tien. "What we're seeing today is a strong trend toward that pervasiveness where different entities, for their own reasons -- some will be commercial, some will be government, some will be library, some will be transit systems, you name it -- they will all be looking at deploying RFID censors and RFID tags."
We're nothing but herd animals to be counted and tracked. Bagged and tagged, baby. Bagged and tagged...
Friday, September 02, 2005
I just paid for this feller yesterday. It's a Smith and Wesson 686-P, .357 Magnum, 7 shot, 2 1/2 inch barrel. Here in the People's Republic of California, it will take 10 business days before I'm able pick it up.
Once my boys finish school and we move from the state, this will be a concealed carry piece. Here in The People's Republic, to get a concealed carry permit, you essentially need to bring in your would-be assailant as a character witness before you'll be issued. That, or your death certificate.
The state would probably perfer the latter.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I don't know why, but I find myself with very little compassion for what is happening down in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. I'm actually feeling kind of pissed off.
Why in the hell would you live in a coastal city that is below sea level? Isn't that just tempting fate just a little too much? And why in the hell should I have to help rebuild this mistake with my tax dollars?
This may seem odd coming from someone that lives in the San Francisco Bay Area - Earthquake Central, so to speak. But it's not.
We have major earthquakes maybe every 30 or 40 years. And I have earthquake insurance. If my house is trashed during a big one, I'm not looking to the government to fix my ills. If my house was getting destroyed every 3-5 years, I would not live there. I also would not be able to get private insurance because the cost would be astronomical. That should tell you something.
You can't say the same thing down in Hurricane Country (or Tornado Alley). Coastal cities are trashed every year. Some times on multiple occasions. Very often, the rebuilding has not even been completed before the next destruction happens.
Ben Franklin's great quote, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results", is so appropriate in this circumstance. So why in the hell does our government continue subsidizing irrational behavior via payouts from FEMA?
I think it's about perpetuating the Nanny State mentality - keeping people dependent and beholden to the All Powerful Oz - but I have a hard time believing the government is that smart. I just don't know.
Look at the "refugees" that are all so helpless right now. Easily, 95 percent of them are black. Why is that? My gut tells me that they have no ability to think and act for themselves after a lifetime of accepting hand-outs from Nanny. Being rescued is all they've ever known. The same thing happens at the local and state level when these types of "disasters" occur. With outstretched hand they beg, "Give us money, Washington".
Bullshit. You want New Orleans back? Fine, pay for it with private dollars.
What has happened in the South is sad. It would be even more sad to pump our tax dollars into a region that we know will be trashed again in the near future. The best thing to happen would be to scrap New Orleans as a once-cool place, and to let the swamps and water reclaim the land.
But we all know Nanny could never let that happen.