Saturday, March 17, 2012
Oh, and Harp from a can sucks; Harp on tap is pretty good.
Remember that stuff a few months back about Texas putting together some gunboats for those lakes along the border? They're going to the Rio and Gulf, too.
Texas unveiled the second of six new ‘interceptor’ gunboats on Thursday, similar to Navy swift boats that plied the rivers of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, to patrol the waterways of the Mexico border.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Texas Highway Patrol and the Texas Rangers, said the 34-foot shallow water crafts would be deployed on the Rio Grande and the Intercoastal Waterway, which separates the Texas mainland from Padre Island.
I'd say folks in TX are getting pretty tired of waiting for the feds to do something about the problems.
Friday, March 16, 2012
That's a huge Red Flag on numerous levels. How many other "combat deaths" have been caused by insider attacks, and how often has our military covered it up? How many murderers have been turned over to Afghans? What happens when we turn over a killer to Afghans?
Thursday, March 15, 2012
And nitrile gloves are one of the greatest things around: until one tore getting at one of the effing bleed valves on the rear caliper they kept all the grease and fluid off my hands. And only got a little bit then.
On a less-successful action, the bloody tiller doesn't want to run. I think one of the fuel lines is leaking and sucking air in, so if the knee I ran into something this afternoon will let me walk tomorrow I'll pick up a set of new ones and see if that does it.
One of the things brought back from Tacoma is sons' carry piece, on which he installed a set of these XS Big Dot sights. Took it to the range a couple of days ago and tried them out; I like them. Very fast and show up very well in dim light, and glow in the dark. I may have to check these out in the future for my piece.
Finkelstein’s ideological position is not hard to find. It’s in paragraph 4.10 of his report. He thinks a council should control speech in Australia because most people are too dumb or ignorant to decide for themselves about what they see and hear and read in the media.
In response to the claim from News Ltd’s John Hartigan that ultimately readers “were capable of making up their own minds” about bias in the media, Finkelstein writes, “often, however, readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment”.
This is intellectual arrogance at its most breathtaking. And it’s a great argument against democracy. If, as Finkelstein claims, people aren’t smart enough to decide for themselves the merits of what they see in the media then they’re certainly not smart enough to decide who to vote for.
This is the totalitarian fallacy: don’t let the people decide (because the people are too stupid), let judges and academics decide for them.
Note this from WUWT on similar threats to speech here:
The same totalitarian ambitions are at work in America too. They face greater legal obstacles here, but key actors are powerfully placed. Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein wants to use the system of “notice and takedown” from copyright law to shut down “conspiracy theories.” As an example, he wants to suppress claims that:
the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.
If SOPA had passed then all of the necessary machinery would have been in place, ready to expand from copyright infringement to the suppression of conspiracy theories at the drop of a one-line rider on any bill. At that point our freedom to speak our minds would lie in the hands of Sunstein booster Elena Kagan (who brought Sunstein to Harvard, calling him “the preeminent legal scholar of our time”); the racist Sonya Sotomayor (a long-time member of La Raza, or “the race“); and a borderline Court-majority of similar un-worthies.
Let’s be very explicit about this, so that no context can be lost: Operation Fast and Furious was conceived, authorized, and executed knowing that Mexican citizens would be violently murdered as a necessary part of the plot. This is beyond dispute, and admitted to in sworn congressional testimony by BATFE agents.
As Speaker of the House, it is John Boehner’s duty to protect and defend the Constitution, especially since he is the de facto leader of the “loyal opposition” within the federal government.
He, more than anyone, has the moral responsibility to hold this Administration in compliance with the laws and treaties of this nation. Boehner, more than anyone, has a responsibility to the American people to demand that DOJ IG Schendar release her findings in a timely manner.
Schnedar has had more than enough time to complete her investigation. Boehner has refused to call for the IG’s report. Even worse, insiders with sources inside the DOJ claim Boehner is actively involved in trying to muzzle the House Oversight Committee’s investigation.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The agency has been slow to reissue the guidelines on the the rule change, prompting Republican Representatives John Mica of Florida, Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah to press TSA head John Pistole to implement the mandate.
Gee, I wonder why... OH:
The TSA has been keen to downplay the opportunity for airports to dispense with their screeners, fearing a mass exodus that could undermine the justification for the agency’s continued existence, especially given the fact that its reputation has been repeatedly savaged by a number of scandals.
Add "And some screeners wondering when some molested woman/humiliated med patient/parent was going to beat the crap out of them."
Oh, and as to the "We see you naked" machines,
The most recent controversy involved a viral You Tube video created by engineer Jon Corbett which demonstrated how the TSA’s body scanners were virtually useless because they are unable to detect objects carried on the side of the body carried in a pocket.
The TSA responded by threatening the media not to cover the issue while putting out a blog statement that completely failed to rebut the claims made by Corbett.
I imagine they really didn't like having to deal with that.
Here's a link to the video;
As a side matter, I wonder if their
“In a sign of the nervousness surrounding Mr. Panetta’s trip, the Marines and other troops who were waiting in a tent for the defense secretary to speak were abruptly asked by their commander to get up, place their weapons — M-16 and M-4 automatic rifles and 9-mm pistols — outside the tent and then return unarmed. The commander, Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall, told reporters he was acting on orders from superiors.
“All I know is, I was told to get the weapons out,” he said. Asked why, he replied, “Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy; we just adjust.”
I especially like this part:
“Chris Rock shouted, ‘You want to throw down? Let’s throw down right now!’ Of course, he was standing safely behind two bodyguards when he said it.”
An excerpt which conflicts with a lot of the usual advice:
When to draw
Despite warnings I often see on the Net I have yet to encounter an instance in which a hold up man called the police to report his intended victim threatened to shoot him. Thugs do not want to come into contact with the police. They may already be wanted or realize chances are good they have been identified in a recent robbery. Or what ever. They are not going to call the police if you draw on them.
Supposed two guys are approaching you in a parking lot and do the classic fan out maneuver. You indicate you have a weapon by clearing your gun hand and fanning your jacket at them. They are not discouraged. DRAW!
I am not saying you should pull your gun out, assume a Weaver stance, and scream "That's close enough motherfuckers!" What I am saying is draw your gun and hold it beside your leg as you start to move to cover. I am very fond of telephone poles. Anything will do though. They will see this. They will remember they have to be somewhere else. They will not call the police.
Then you can just put your gun back in the holster and go back to whatever you were doing like nothing happened. Why? Because nothing did happen. A happening is when shots are fired.
Do not hesitate to draw. If you are somewhere you are supposed to be and someone appears who is not supposed to be there like a closed business show him the end of your gun. Could it be Mother Teresa looking for her lost cat behind your closed business? No it is some motherfucker up to no good. He won't call the police to report he was prowling a location when a guy ran him off.
Thanks to Tam for pointing to them.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The NM Dept of Transportation sucks.
Specifically, a few miles into the state was a big overhead sign: "I40 eastbound lanes closed at Coors, seek alternate route". Ok, pull out the map, Coors, Coor... "There's no Coors on the map?" So with no more information, we continued on. Through more volcanic countryside, including the malpais, which I'd first read of loooong ago in a Louis L'amour book. Lots more places which, with more time, we'd have taken off to see. Past places from Joe Leaphorn books, Shiprock and the Big Rez.
And then just west of Albuquerque is a traffic backup, and when we get up to the block, yeah, I40 is blocked, a big sign repeating the earlier message and two deputies impatiently waving people to an exit. Why am I saying DOT sucks?
No 'detour this way' or anything signs, just 'get off and go some other way'.
NOTHING between the first sign and this one, and- the big one-
Coors is AN EFFING STREET. Not something you find on a state map, which means unless you happen to be getting the right radio station(and our radio wasn't working) or know the area, the effing signs DON'T TELL YOU WHERE THE PROBLEM IS.
Lost some time getting around this, and then the cherry on top appeared: it didn't just cloud up, it started snowing. Light, then heavier, then light, and then damn hard. As in 'Hard to see cars very far in the other lanes' heavy at times. We'd thought of maybe stopping in eastern NM or Amarillo for the night, but not knowing what the weather might do we were concerned that, if we stopped, we might wake up to being stuck for a day; so on we went.
It continued doing this almost to the Texas line, then both stopped snowing and the temperature was rising. But it was only about 200-250 miles left at that point, so we decided to finish the drive. Which we did a few hours later at the parents' home.
I mentioned the dog was travelling very well, but he was, if anything, more sick of driving than we. He'd been here before, when son was on leave, and he walked into the house, took a big sniff and said "This isn't a motel! I know this place!" Mom petted him and sat down, he spotted a ball the cats play with and pounced on it, then flopped on the rug on Moms' feet and stretched ALL the way out.
I will note further that, after a break, we opened the door and set him loose in the yard: not only was he cool with having his personal dog park, but "NOBODY else has peed on these trees! Cool!"
That ended the critter end of the trip. After some sleep, and a big bowl of stew accompanied by a large wedge of fresh cornbread, I headed home the next day. Dog was too busy exploring, peeing, drinking from the bird bath, scattering his toys and so on to care. When I got home my dogs proceeded to tell me how much they missed me by, when I opened the gate, zipping right past me to check the front yard pee-mail they hadn't covered for days("Gee, I missed you too, you little bastards.")
Thus ends the tale. I'm sure I'm skipping over things that ought to be noted, but I really don't care; as I said, not a trip I want to repeat anytime soon.
Biden made the remarks at the Georgetown home of Senator John Kerry, where some 87 guests paid a minimum of $10,000 per couple to dine on char-grilled grass-fed New York strip steaks and white truffle mashed potatoes beneath a tent basked in soft pink lighting. Biden told attendees that he is confident about Obama's reelection because Republicans are being open about their intent to cut programs important to a large swatch of the electorate -- the middle class.
“These guys don’t have a sense of the average folks out there,” he said. “They don’t know what it means to be middle class.”
Seems one of the things I missed while disconnected from the 'net was that video of Obama's college days involving a black racist pushing a 'evil white people' line that Obama approved of; hilarity ensued, with various journalists and other clowns screaming "That doesn't mean anything!". And one of them in particular doesn't like blowback from being a 'cover for Obama' jerk.
Admitted terrorist(connected to at least one murder he doesn't want to own) and Friend of Obama Bill Ayers accuses someone else of 'calling for violence'.
That's it for now: it's been two weeks and I'm in withdrawal, I'm heading to the range to enlarge my carbon footprint.
By the way,
Monday, March 12, 2012
And yes, impeachment SHOULD be filed over this shit.
Few years back a bedroom community called Forest Park on the east edge of Okla. City got in trouble over something similar: they were hell on '2mph over the limit'-type speeding tickets, and a guy not only fought the ticket, his attorney demanded the records on the maintenance and calibration of the speedgun.
Turned out they hadn't bothered to check it for more than two years, and when it was checked for the court it was off by 5-7mph(as I recall; it was a significant amount). They wound up refunding the fines from hundreds of tickets, notifying the state so points could be taken off peoples' driving records, and other such fun activities. I can't remember if anyone was held personally responsible for not taking care of the maintenance on the thing.
Same goes for some of this range in northern Californicated.
Can't remember too much of this, too busy concentrating on the road and trying to get my ears to clear. Then down out of the mountains and you run by Mount Shasta; one seriously impressive pile of rock. Nearby you have Black Butte; both are something to see as you approach, I promise. Between the others and these two, half of one of my wishes has been fulfilled: I've seen volcanoes, but none had the manners to burp or roll over in bed while we were in the vicinity, so an erupting/active one is still on the list.
After that, just lots and lots of driving on I5. Gas was now in the upper $4 range. And further south... remember some of those 'Congress created dust bowl' signs? Kind of jarring: fields of grown or new-planted trees, then stretches where every tree was dead. Not an encouraging sight.
Somewhere in there we spent the night in a motel, but right now I can't remember the city it was in; kind of depressing to lose a detail like that.
Shortly after that, take a state highway 58 to go from I5 to I40.
Last real thing to note on that stretch: near Tehachapi were two hillsides bloody covered with windmills: bleeploads of small ones, a smaller number of medium, and a few huge ones. Renewable power, right? Except I couldn't help noticing that a good half of them were not running. I'd heard of this, seeing it really brings it home.
One last note about Californicated: they don't recognize OK carry permits. We had sons' carry piece with us, and since Dad has the retired LE nationwide permit he wore it through the state. I was still a bit worried, as CA authorities have a reputation for being assholes on such matters. But neither of us wanted to go through without having something handy, just in case.
On into Arizona, where the gas was upper $4 range, with a few places at $4.99. We managed to miss the worst of those. Lots more signs of past volcanic activity, more pretty country. Dry country; crossing it on horseback or foot would be interesting.
Spent the night in Flagstaff, and being sick of food on buns tried Sizzler; beat hell out of burgers. Then an early start the next morning.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
I won't go through details of "Now they're saying 'X' days, maybe"; let us draw a curtain over that not-exactly entertaining drama. Tuesday morning I woke up and Dad said "Look outside" in a disgusted voice. Yeah, it snowed. Happily it warmed enough that the roads went to wet only in a few hours. Between that and the Army stuff, we got a later start than planned(Surprise!).
South on I5, out of Washington and through Oregon. Pretty country, what we could see of it; mountain roads like I've only driven once before, and these went on a lot further. And, just to add to the joy, it sprinkled rain. Then it snowed. Then it snowed and sleeted. Lather, rinse, repeat, with short breaks between, and a grand total of maybe a half-hour of actual sunlight all day. Again, beautiful country, but I think I'd mildew if I lived there.
A ways south of Tacoma, before we reached the mountains, saw a railroad siding with flatcars for hauling freight containers. Miles of them, and they'd been there for weeks at the least, probably months; there were branches and blowdowns from winter draped over them in a number of places. I have to wonder if that many idle that long is because of lack of shipping.
By the way, gas in WA ranged in the $3.79-4 range.
Somewhere along here saw a couple of extinct volcanoes, the remnants at least: the basalt cores where magma had cooled in the throats and the softer outside rock had worn way, so you had slopes with a flat-topped column sticking up from the center. Lots of other signs of such activity, these were the first "Wow!" type sighting. There were others, but I admit not remembering exactly where along that route: I did most of the driving through that area, and those roads plus weather meant I was paying more attention to that than the scenery. I want to get back up to that area when I can have a few days to just look around; Ranier, St. Helens at least. To give you an idea of what there is to see on this subject, look here; you can click on the individual peaks for more data.
Stopped in Medford for the night; be it noted that Motel 6 has no problem with dogs, and the critter was very glad to get out of the truck for the night. One blessing, he travels very well.
I'll take up California tomorrow.
This starts with sons' unit going to A'stan. Which wouldn't really have meant all this, except
They only got four months official "You are going" notice.
Then the Army changed the date. Moved up about two weeks.
Then they were advised "Well, there's some training on new equipment we were supposed to have done, but since we didn't do it when we should have, you guys don't get any pre-deployment leave because we're short on time." You can imagine how that went over.
His plan had been to use his leave to drive home, leave his truck and some personal stuff here when the leave was done and fly back. So now the plan became I would fly up there, visit a couple of days, then drive back. Dad decided to go along(a good thing) so we could trade off driving.
Except the unit wouldn't give an actual "You are leaving this date"; which makes travel plans kind of difficult. FINALLY he was told "Between this date and this date, you're going", so I bought tickets.
Oh yeah, you did guess what happens next!
A week later he calls, "You're going to love this." They moved the date up. So change things around for new tickets, change dates, etc. And spend the next ten days worried the morons in charge are going to change things again. Which added one more concern: sons' dog.
As in "If they change this again and we can't get there before, where can we put the truck and dog till we get there?" Which is where I say "Thank you, again" to Sondra; she lives up in that area and when contacted, despite a, ah, 'hectic' situation said 'If it happens, we'll figure out a way'. Took a lot of pressure off.
Now we come to the flight. First,
Fuck the TSA.
No, we had no real problems getting through. Fuck 'em first, for causing the "What that I need to take might cause a problem because of them?" worries. Like deciding to leave my usual jacket behind because it's been worn at the range and might freak them out if they test it; that kind of PITA. Oklahoma City now has two of the "We get to see you naked" scanners, but I was spared deciding whether to be irradiated or to tell them "No, I'm not walking through a possible unsafe scanner, you'll have to feel me up", we weren't 'chosen for special treatment'. But I did get a fine demonstration of why 'security theater' is the description for this: they did decide that Dad and I both needed to have our shaving stuff checked for explosive residue. So we had to stand there trying to put our shoes back on and watching("You're supposed to watch while I do this") as they selected a bottle from each and ran a swab around the lid. That's it. That's 'keeping us safe in the air, for which we have badges and can screw your life around if we get annoyed. Or just want to order someone around, 'cause we have badges we don't deserve.' Speaking of which.
So we get through screening and fly out. First leg, no problem. Second leg, well, due to lack of choices at short date we had a total of 30 minutes to change planes, and since they didn't get the door open on the first until almost ten minutes into that, it meant walking fast/trotting all the way; if it'd been any further we wouldn't have made it. Barely did, which had been my real worry after having to change tickets.
But we made it.
Did you know Seattle has a troll under a bridge?