Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"...Monday will be honored Tuesday..."

"It was the greatest heroic act that's ever happened on a baseball field,"


Monday, May 29, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy...

The other day, on another forum, I used the example of some documentaries making the point that 9/11 was not what we all saw it to be as a reason that I take many documentaries with a large grain of salt.

And, today, I found that my favorite magicians, Penn and Teller have another bit up debunking these documentaries. Enjoy.

Memorial Day....

I don't write well enough to put up a treatise on Memorial Day, nor well connected enough to write someone else's story, so I'll just Fly the Flag.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fun, Fun, Fun...

Yesterday I was able to get out to the monthly IDPA match. The theme this month was "Back Up Guns", so I brought out Mrs. Azlib's Walther PPK.

It's been forever since I last had that thing out to the range, and I had forgotten just how sweet that little gun is. Being the first guy up on the first stage, I was presented with one feed problem probably due to the stupid Blazer ammo I was trying to use up and a likely too-infrequently cleaned gun. [Grrrr.] But once I worked through that (and began to remember to flick off the safety on my draw), the thing ran like a champ. I've become accustomed to the stronger pulls required on my DAO
pistols and had forgotten how light a touch was necessary on the PPK.

My holster choices for this weapon were either IDPA-illegal, IDPA-stupid, or scary. I've got a nice SOB holster, but that's illegal at a match. The holster I most often carry this in is a cheap, suede IWB affair. It is OK to carry and draw from, but even two-handed re-holstering is almost impossible, so therefore not practical at an IDPA match. And I also have an ankle holster for the thing. I have exactly one pair of pants which are big enough at the ankle to allow me to pull up the fabric high enough to get to the gun. On the few times I've carried it in this ankle holster, I've always been concerned about the holster slipping down my leg, not to mention the extra time needed to get bent over my big gut should I actually have to get to the thing. So I went out and bought a fairly unimpressive OWB rig for the match. It worked, and it would conceal OK, but I really don't like it.

One of the fellas I shot with showed up with this thing. If there is a fanny-pack out there which does not completely shout "GUN! GUN! I'VE GOT A GUN IN THIS FANNY-PACK!!", then this has got to be it. [Note to self: Add this to a Father's Day wish-list.]

I ended up re-shooting Stage 1. It was set up as an encounter with one target where you shoot twice at arms-length range, then retreat diagonally for the remaining shots. Like everybody else, I initially used an isoceles stance for the first two shots and more of the same during the retreat. However, on my reshoot, I decided to shoot the first two shots from retention, then back up with the isoceles. I surprised myself at how well I did--meaning that I got the first two rounds pretty close to where I intended.

Ivan really put some thought into this match and it showed. The IDPA BUG rules are somewhat limiting, but he found a way to push the theme forward. He put up two stages where you shoot one weapon dry, then transition to another, and he provided the "other weapons". On one stage, you shot two targets with the final two rounds from Ivan's XD-45, then transitioned to your BUG in another diagonal retreat as you shot T3. His other stage was to shoot 3 targets with your BUG as you moved towards a downed soldier with a M4. [Ivan's M4 is set up with a Reddot optic instead of the ACOG shown here, but otherwise very similar.] Grab the M4 and let loose with the last five rounds into T4 (full auto--naturally!!)

Regardless of how the scores turn out, it was fun. Fun. Fun. Tons o' Fun!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Just Wondering...

...On the weekend when the premiere of The DaVinci Code sparks all kinds of debate in Catholic and Christian communities on whether the film is blasphemous or just fiction, how might the Islamic world react in the same circumstance?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Illegal Immigration...

Since this is the crisis-du-jour, I guess I ought to put something up.

As I look at I.I., I'm left with one impression: Those who use the loudest voices in their positions are more wrong than anyone else--this is an issue where the moderates ought to prevail. This goes for the Minuteman/Tom Tancredo/Lou Dobbs position as well as the Si, Se Puede/Viva La Raza position. We have every right to protect our borders from any sort of incursion, be it economic, drug-related or military. However, we also need to recognize that we are a nation of immigrants and that the illegal immigrants now at issue are providing valuable services to America.

There is another set of snakes circling around this matter...politicians. They are pandering this issue like there's no tomorrow. My own Janet-Reno-Mini-Me Governor, Janet Napolitano, once said "Show me a 50-foot wall and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder". Now, she's all over the Bush proposal of putting the National Guard on the border to assist the Border Patrol on holding back the illegals. Of course, J.D. Hayworth can barely contain himself, what with his book out and all. And now Bush has fallen prey to the noise (to mix my metaphors) and will put up a token Guard force on the border.

So, what are their orders? Posse Commitatus probably enters here somewhere. Do the National Guard have any orders on lethal force against these illegal immigrants? Can the Guard defend themselves? Let's not rely on the idea that the Guard will be REMFs in purely supporting roles to the Border Patrol. They're there for a reason. Just what is their mission (beyond the public relations angle, at least)?

In the name of this public mass hysteria over I.I., we're embarking on a massive wall-building, Border Patrol build-up, and the politicians are scrambling over each other to see who can move to the furthest to the right the quickest. Just how different is this than the Berlin Wall? In terms of how much it costs to operate, does it really matter which direction the Guards are facing? One of my favorite blogs, Op-For [Note to self: Update the favorites!] once put up an entry with a parallel between what we did to the Soviets in the Cold War, and what al Queda is doing to us today. His point was that we "won" the Cold War by forcing the Soviets to do things that their economy couldn't stand. And now, in the combined (and confused) interests of Border Security controls Illegal Immigration, we're putting up the same sort of Wall that bankrupted the Soviets. Do we ever learn anything?

America has always had a shortage of labor here. From the days when indentured servants paid their way to get over here right up till today, there has always been a need for more labor. We've endured other immigrant waves (which today, are almost universally viewed to be "legal", but I'm not willing to concede that point). Germans, Italians, Irish, Chinese all flooded into this country seeking jobs that Americans decried at the time. Yet, somehow, we're all the better for it. And, surprisingly, after all these immigrant waves, we're still speaking English. I confess I don't understand why the "Mexican" Illegal Immigration Wave we're now in the middle of will turn out any differently.

I'm wondering just how many of the "Build-the-Wall" types have thought about just how expensive it would be to live off of American-only labor. How much would you have to pay an American kid to put down the PlayStation and go get a job picking lettuce? How much more would your house run--or said another way--How much less house could you afford to live in today if it was Americans who had built it?

The Pro-Immigrant marches in mid April and on May Day may have backfired. They left the impression among the majority here that the I.I.'s really didn't care about our laws. Talk Radio included one of the dumbest things I've ever heard...some college girl spouting off about how entire states of the West ought to be ceded back to Mexico. Then there was the "Boundaries without Borders" argument...to which I answer: "Huh? WTF are you talking about?"

Here is where I stand on Illegal Immigration...We are far better off by having these illegal immigrants here than we would be if we kicked them all out. Mexico and the other Central and South American countries sending us their labor are far poorer by having their ambitious and industrious people leave their homes to work here.

I think the real answer lies underneath the complaints many here have on I.I. and it is an example of needing to be careful what you ask for. The main complaint is that the I.I.'s burden our schools, healthcare and don't pay taxes. Firstly--they do pay taxes and they often get far less of a return on those paid taxes than Americans do. Yet if I.I. presence in our tax-paid schools and healthcare is such a problem, I say get rid of tax-paid schools and healthcare. Make them entirely private. The free market will quickly find a way to deliver these services to Americans, and probably at a lower cost than the .gov delivers them to us.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This is why God invented the internet...

To allow laymen the ability to make clear something that the press will or can not.

The current crisis-du-jour in the Bush administration is the phone call data that the NSA got from 3 major phone service providers. Note: Although the press is doing their damnedest to avoid explicitly making this point, no one here is claiming that any phone calls have been listened to.

However, here, Kim du Toit explains in perfect pitch just exactly what is going on here. Please read it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Now this is interesting...

I sometimes take some time to go over just who is reading my stuff. And some weeks, I make it into the tens of readers [Instapundit--watch your six, buddy!].

So what should a poor, and crappy blogger as myself make of a ping from somebody like this?

Guess who said...

Never for the sake of peace and quiet deny your convictions.

Ronald Reagan?


Jimmy Carter?

Nope. [One would hope this would be obvious.]

George Bush?


John Kerry?

Nope. [Ditto.]

John Bolton?

Nope. [But you're getting close.]

Since I don't know how to format a "Continue Reading" link, I'll put the answer in the comments.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hey! Does anybody else remember this guy???

This morning President Bush will nominate Air Force General Michael Hayden, now the head of the National Security Agency, to replace Porter Goss as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, who has resigned/been fired from that position.

This article typifies much of the opposition to Gen. Hayden--essentially that a military officer shouldn't head a civilian agency.

Question: Does anybody else remember this guy? Wasn't he a military guy at the head of a civilian agency? Doesn't his background include much more of the warfighter military stereotype than does Hayden's?

I think the Democrats know that they'll lose if they oppose Hayden on the point that he was in charge at the NSA when the NSA "Warrantless Surveillance" program was instituted. It appears that the Democrats are instead grasping for the straw that too much military leadership leads to the erosion of liberties. They're hoping that we've forgotten past military leaders of the CIA, and that we're still very much in a war.