'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

30 December 2010

Death

Death
By LCDR Roberto J Prinselaar
From the book, Tears of Ink

I think of death and its rewards
Forever peace without doupt
Or will it bring my strife renewed
Or is it the way out

I'm not allowed to seek my death
In that I have no voice
My God will take me That I know
In that I have no choice

My life has not been without sin
But not without regret
So many things were not the best
And evil I have met

Oh God, my God, Please hear my prayer
Please let me live in peace
Please take away the awful hurts
And let my troubles cease

29 December 2010

But....I Hate That Guy!

Please pardon me for a minute while I go on a rant. We will return to Happy Six and the Faerie Faerts momentarily.

A couple of days ago I was surfing around and came upon a reference to an author named John Scalzi. I own and have read most of his books. At least right up to the point where I discovered his personal website and his personal politics. In reading his take on politics, the Tea Party, Republicans, Conservatives and a host of things that have meaning for me I found myself disagreeing with everything and not a little taken aback by both his stances and his opinion of those opposing his views, both expressed and implied. I consider him exceedingly intelligent (though maybe not quite as smart as he deems himself) but lacking in common sense. He's arrogant with (very) limited tolerance for those who disagree with him, preferring sycophants to honest debate. I won't quote him here because I have a strong suspicion that he's litigious but I saw him write that when the revolution came and the proletariat put him against the wall he wouldn't cry about how his wealth trickled down but rather he'd ask what took them so long. The clear implication is that he expects and supports the deaths of anyone who disagrees with his world view. That means many of us and our families. He mocks other's definition of him but you can read his political writings and make up your own mind if the elitist/socialist tags fit. I admit it, he got my goat, at least a little bit and I'm not sure what that says about me.

He's hardly alone. You can't watch a movie or television without seeing actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. who are cut from the same cloth. I've tried to adopt the Dance Monkey, Dance attitude toward these people but it's getting harder.

My question is what is the moral response? A commenter to one of Scalzi's posts wrote that he'd spent his last dime on anything Scalzi did. Scalzi's response was mockery and disdain. So what do I do now? Refuse to buy his books? Completely boycott Scalzi and anyone who is in business with him? Do I stop watching Johnny Depp movies and refuse my dollar to anyone who supports him? Tell people to stay away from him?

Let's take Ed Rasimus for example. I like Ed and his take on politics and the world. I love his writing. He has two great books out on his experiences as a Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam War, Palace Cobra and When Thunder Rolled. They're politically neutral and tell his stories from his perspective. He also co-wrote the biography of one of the finest men America has ever produced in Robin Olds in a book called Fighter Pilot. I'd love for liberals and those on the far left to read those books and I'd recommend them to anyone, regardless of political affiliation. How do I justify dis commending Scalzi's books while trying to convince him to read Ed's? I like both though my feelings on the authors couldn't be more diametrically opposed.

Maybe it's 'Line In The Sand' time?

If I decide that I just can't buy or read Scalzi's books any more then what do I do with his books I've already bought? Donate them so someone I don't know can discover them and be influenced in turn by a man who's views I find repugnant and anti-American? I can't burn them or otherwise destroy them. That's absolutely amoral in my view but every time I look at them I can't help but be reminded of who he really is and I can't bring myself to introduce anyone else to the man. So they remain in a box, unread and a waste of paper and space but I love them. Do I refuse to watch the newest Pirates movie because Depp is a deluded oxygen thief as a human being but a first rate actor in a series I also love?

Let me be clear here. Scalzi writes first rate science fiction. I've enjoyed every one of his books I've read. I'm having a hard time getting past his politics and world view, especially where America is concerned. But that can be said of many authors and entertainers, most of whom I don't read or watch because their writing or movies are crap. Someone else might read those authors and watch those programs and disagree. Then it's a case of who's opinion is more valid, theirs or mine?

I love John Ringo and Tom Kratman and RAH (PBUH) and Larry Correia and I hate it when I see those on the left skewer them and call for boycotts and all manner of vile retributuion against them because they hate their politics and what they choose to write about. Ask John Ringo sometime about what was said about him and Kratman when they wrote Watch on the Rhine. It's mind boggling.

Should I ignore politics in entertainers altogether? Some of them have powerful voices that reach to the very highest levels of government. Does my financial support grease the way for them to exert undue influence in the political arena? If so what's my moral responsibility? One problem is that true conservatives (who are in fact actually true liberals or Libertarians) have a live and let live attitude I try and emulate. Flap your gums to your hearts content, I can parse fact from fiction.

I recognize that this is essentially an act of navel gazing or perhaps grief over losing respect for an author I've enjoyed for years but the essential issue remains. I love that book/movie/song/ show/etc. but I hate that guy. What do I do? Stick my fingers in my ears where their politics are concerned and shout LaLaLaLa at the top of my lungs to avoid knowing who these people really are? I can't do that so I'm left with boycott or acceptance and moving on.

I've come to this conclusion. There is simply no way that I'm ever going to agree with most people on everything. Maybe even most things. We're all people, fallible and flawed human beings trying to get through life as best we can. Some I disagree with more vehemently than others but I can say with reasonable certainty that there isn't a single person on the planet with whom I'd agree on everything. I'm going to take my entertainers one by one. Those who's views are so skewed from mine as to be intolerable and who may have influence at a policy level will be boycotted. Those I view as simply kooks who can have no real effect on my life and the lives of those I love will be ignored until they produce something I enjoy and wish to watch or read or listen to. I will spend exactly what I have to on their entertainment and not a penny more and I will take every opportunity I can to remind them that they are indeed pretenders who owe their livelihoods and indeed their entire existence, to people just like me. I think Jennifer said it best here and I'm going to follow her lead on this. Dance Monkey, Dance indeed.

So to John Scalzi. John, you're a kook. Your politics are as out of touch with the majority of Americans as they are arrogant, narrow minded and intolerant. But. I don't think you have any real effect on policy or the views of anyone outside your limited coterie of hangers on and ass kissers. As such you pose no real threat to me or mine so I'm essentially going to ignore you and your rantings. When you produce something I deem readable I'll probably go to the library and check it out. If forced to do so I'll drop a few bucks on a book and do so without any pangs of guilt. I'll enjoy the entertainment you provide and rest well in the knowledge that, in the end, your political views will end up where they belong. In the garbage destined for also ran status.

That goes for the rest of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. You can rant and spew your brand of inanity and bile all you want but the days of your influence are passing and like the mighty Dodo you're in danger of becoming extinct.

Six

ht to Borepatch for the link and my thanks to Jennifer for saying it so well.

28 December 2010

Funny

As hard as I try to be funny, Innominatus actually is. Wait, does that sentence even make any sense?

Anyway. Inno has a post up about grandkids and Christmas. You can read it here. It makes me want to sic the rabid hamsters on him.

Not that I'm jealous or anything.

Six

Indians For Guns RKBA Article

Right to Protection- A Fundamental Responsibility & Failure of the Indian State
By- Vikram, Kona

That is an article I read on the Indians For Guns website the other day. It's a look at the RKBA issues from the perspective of an Indian gun rights activist. As I read I was struck more by our similarities than our differences. The article is by Vikram, Kona and, in my opinion, it's a brilliant treatise on gun rights and the duties and limitations of the state. It's a little long so I'm going to simply link to the PDF of the article. 11 pages and worth every one of them.

Vikram covers crime, policing, guns in India and more. I highly recommend it as well as their attendant website. Vikram is a fine writer who knows the material and is as passionate about RKBA as anyone I've ever read.

Vikram has given me permission to reproduce it here and send it out so if you have any problems seeing it please let me know and I'll e-mail you the article.

More brothers and sisters in the fight for our basic human rights. We can never have too many friends. Well done Vikram.

Six

goin' high tech

Well, Santa launched both the Sarge and I into the high tech age with two of these:I'll admit that I've avoided one until now. The Airman (my hubby, an E-6 in the AF) got one last January and loves the danged thing, but not me! Nope, I didn't need that newfangled crap. I love books. The feel, the smell. No, I didn't like reading on a computer and I sure as shit wasn't going to spend that kind of cash on one! Then I realized one day that it sure would come in handy for school. School only, mind you, where I'm already reading books online for papers, and I don't much care about having a hard copy book. It wasn't like it was for pleasure, it was all work! And that was the Airman's hook. He bought me one, and I figured since I actually had the damned thing I'd actually try it out. So I bought a book. And I read. And I fell in love.

And then this gift doubled, as it allowed me to buy another book, a book I haven't read in a long time.

See, there's this book, the first truly grown up book I read as a kid. Castle Perilous is a scifi/fantasy crossover about a strange castle, magic and mayhem. It rocked and I fell in love. I was already a reader, but this truly sent me over the edge. The original copy, read back in the day (1988 if you must know, meaning I was 9) has disintegrated over the years. I've since replaced it, and watched that one come apart as well. So, there I was, the day after Christmas, in Hungary, and I occurred to me to look for it for the Kindle, and there it was.

$9 and several hours of reading later, this gift brought me back to my childhood and gave me access to something I was afraid I would eventually lose forever. Not only that, my beat up copies are in a box in Hurricane somewhere, far from where I am now. I've been working at school for 7 months with one week off int hat time. I'm a history major so there are upwards of 100 pages of text to read a week, 2+ pages to write each week, response to other students and to the instructor each week, and every 8 weeks a 10 page paper. Times two. Needless to say, I haven't read for fun in a long time. This Christmas was different. I'm taking a sabbatical to get back my sanity, undig my house, rediscover my waistline... And now, to get acquainted with John DeChancie and his worlds.

It wasn't the gift this Christmas that was important. It was the hope on the Airman's part that this would be a way for my life to be less difficult and more fun. The ultimate gift, though, was that it reconnected me to my ultimate gift, given by the Six and Lu, my folks. Truly the gift of joy of reading is immeasurable!

-The DO

*Do I need a disclaimer? I'm not sure, so here goes... I don't care if you buy one of these, and I have nothing whatsoever to do with DeChancie or Amazon, apart from spending an ass ton of cash there. Seriously, this post isn't even about the Kindle, really. It's about books in general. Those, I do think you should buy, though sadly the books aren't paying me to say that. K... We good?

27 December 2010

Hurricane

On Christmas Eve the weather finally cleared so Lu and I decided that a ride was in order. It's still pretty wet so a trail ride was out so we busted out the road bikes. There's some great roads right outside our house. I know I keep saying things like this but I'm loving living in a place where a great ride starts from our front door.

This is an area that still has a lot of agriculture and ranching. I took this photo of Lu just a couple of miles into the ride. You can see the snow on Pine Valley in the distance with an irrigation wheel just behind her.

Just a bit further down the road is the Hurricane Airport, Elevation 3347 feet. It's a small airport catering to small, private aircraft with some hangers and some tie downs. About 7 miles down the road is a small community called Sky Ranch. It's a fly in subdivision with it's own air strip. each home has it's own hanger. Pretty cool. I'll post some photos next time we ride out that way.

South of the Airport and atop the hills behind and west of it is Mollies Nipple. I have no idea who Molly was but I think the descriptive origination of the name is obvious. When I was in High School this area was much as it is now but even less inhabited. Many a kegger and Jungle Juice party was thrown in the shadow of the inimitable Miss Mollie's famous protuberance. Not that I'd know. I heard is all. I swear.

It was a great day and a fantastic ride. The road is sparsely traveled and the drivers are polite and careful. Such a change from California where the drivers seem to take a perverse pleasure in seeing how close they can get without actually running you over.

It's started raining again but I think we're going to be able to ride year round. Mostly. As we ride and explore I am going to take the time to photo and document much of the area. It's beautiful country and the local government works hard to insure public access to all of it. Public access to public lands. What a concept.

I hope you all had a great Christmas. New Years is right around the corner. Then the real fun begins. Have I mentioned how much work I have to do on this house?

It's gonna be a great year.

Six

26 December 2010

Sunday Kipling

The Broken Men
1902

For things we never mention,
For Art misunderstood
For excellent intention
That did not turn to good;
From ancient tales' renewing,
From clouds we would not clear
Beyond the Law's pursuing
We fled, and settled here.

We took no tearful leaving,
We bade no long good-byes.
Men talked of crime and thieving,
Men wrote of fraud and lies.
To save our injured feelings
'Twas time and time to go
Behind was dock and Dartmoor,
Ahead lay Callao!

The widow and the orphan
That pray for ten per cent,
They clapped their trailers on us
To spy the road we went.
They watched the foreign sailings
(They scan the shipping still),
And that's your Christian people
Returning good for ill!

God bless the thoughtful islands
Where never warrants come;
God bless the just Republics
That give a man a home,
That ask no foolish questions,
But set him on his feet;
And save his wife and daughters
From the workhouse and the street!

On church and square and market
The noonday silence falls;
You'll hear the drowsy mutter
Of the fountain in our halls.
Asleep amid the yuccas
The city takes her ease
Till twilight brings the land-wind
To the clicking jalousies.

Day long the diamond weather,
The high, unaltered blue
The smell of goats and incense
And the mule-bells tinkling through.
Day long the warder ocean
That keeps us from our kin,
And once a month our levee
When the English mail comes in.

You'll find us up and waiting
To treat you at the bar;
You'll find us less exclusive
Than the average English are.
We'll meet you with a carriage,
Too glad to show you round,
But -- we do not lunch on steamers,
For they are English ground.

We sail o' nights to England
And join our smiling Boards
Our wives go in with Viscounts
And our daughters dance with Lords,
But behind our princely doings,
And behind each coup we make,
We feel there's Something Waiting,
And -- we meet It when we wake.

Ah, God! One sniff of England
To greet our flesh and blood
To hear the traffic slurring
Once more through London mud!
Our towns of wasted honour --
Our streets of lost delight!
How stands the old Lord Warden?
Are Dover's cliffs still white?

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope this Day finds you all happy and healthy. Sarge, the Mom in Law, Sis in Law and her husband are coming over tonight for the Six household tradition of Oyster soup on Christmas Eve. The Grandchildren are tucked into their beds in far off Hungary, dreaming of Christmas morning. The DO will put them on Skype tomorrow so we can see them and hear all about what Santa brought them.

I am content. I am grateful. Was there ever a man so blessed?

For our soldiers, both here and overseas, our Police Officers, Fire Fighters, EMT/Paramedics, for all those who must do their duty on this Eve and Day may God bless each of you and your families. Keep the faith and come home to those of us who love you so much. I pray God's love and care for you today and indeed all days.

For all of you, my friends, may you have a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family this past year. May the joy and blessings of this day find you and those you love wherever you may be.

Six

23 December 2010

More Kanani On PTSD

Kanani has an interesting post up here about alternative treatment for PTSD. I love her for pulling no punches where the health and well being of our soldiers is concerned. Kanani has an MD Warrior husband and has herself been intimately involved in the healthcare system for a very long time.

I'm an Army veteran but not a combat vet. However I am also a 24 year veteran police officer who has seen and done...much. As such I have more than a passing familiarity with the effects of stress and Traumatic Events. Medication is often at least an answer but stress relief takes many forms. To discount and discard ANY strikes me as being short sighted and driven by motivations divorced from the needs of the individual. Giving our stricken warriors every tool that could conceivably help them isn't just a good idea it's a moral imperative.

Keep up the good work Kanani. Sooner or later (and let's hope it's sooner) you and the others fighting this battle will win.

Six

21 December 2010

America's Number One Export

Freedom.
That is the web site of Indians For Guns. They're currently accepting membership into NAGRI, National Association for Gun Rights India which patterns itself after the NRA. The group is very individual rights and RKBA oriented and pro American. The members are passionate, committed and active. I joined IFG because they're an absolute breath of fresh air and appreciative of their rights. I love reading the forums.

I'm also open to purchasing a historic SMLE if I happen across one. That's a hint for any of my new Indian friends who happen by.

We're winning, not just here but in other nations. Keep up the Skeer my friends. We've got brothers and sisters all over the world.

Six

19 December 2010

Sunday Kipling

Recessional
(A Victorian Ode)

God of our fathers, known of old --
Lord of our far-flung battle line --
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies --
The Captains and the Kings depart --
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away --
On dune and headland sinks the fire --
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe --
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard --
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Amen.

16 December 2010

Big Bullets and Six Guns

The first handgun I ever bought was a stainless, 5.5 inch Ruger Redhawk in 44 magnum. I purchased it from the Ft. Ord Rod and Gun club in 1982. I still have it and it would be absolutely the last gun I ever got rid of. Not because it's the be all end all of modern handguns but because it was my first and has the place of primacy in my heart.

I bought that gun after careful and considered thought. In the course of my research I came across the writings and musings of one Elmer Keith and he ended up having a fairly profound impact on my views and opinions about all firearms and especially handguns.

When faced with the choice between calibers I invariably choose the larger and tend toward heavier bullets. I believe that the marksman is the true decider but something (or someone) hit with bigger notices it more immediately. Shot placement is king but big bullets tend to make more reliably lethal wounds with the tendency for all things mechanical in nature to fail at inopportune times. It's just my personal choice. Your mileage may vary.

Elmer used to write for Guns and Ammo, among others and that is where I was introduced to him. Keith was a proponent of six guns. He was instrumental in developing the 44 Special into what would become the 44 magnum. Keith was a six gun guru and became the man I most listened to when it came to big bore handguns. John Taffin has a great article about Keith and his six guns here. He designed a bullet design still in wide use today. When you hear or read 'Keith Style Bullets' this is what they mean. Love him or hate him (and there are many on both sides of that argument), Keith was instrumental in the further development of big bore revolvers.


It wasn't until years later, when I became a patrol officer and had to hand over my 4 inch 686 for an HK P7, that I lost my way and strayed from the revolver path for the sinful life of 9mm and semi auto pistols. Since then I've begun my way back to the land of big guns and big bullets. I've recently added a 4.5 inch Ruger New Model Blackhawk in 45 LC to the armory. I got to shoot it the other day. Here it is almost full recoil. I was shooting Cor Bon 335 grain hardcast. They list them at 1050 fps. I've got 500 260 grain semi wadcutters and an open reloading manual on the loading bench as we speak. I'm pretty sure I can get at least close to 1200 fps without leading but we shall see.



The real question now is how far am I going to go with this? I've been eyelusting after the S&W 500 Magnum. It's a monster but maybe a bit of overkill? How about the 475 Linebaugh? A 454 Casull perhaps? The problem is that these handguns are very narrowly focused, and yes I do include both my Redhawk and Blackhawk in that categorization. They are big bore handguns that are also, well...kinda big. Unwieldy comes readily to mind but concealable and handy do not. They're handguns and cartridges designed primarily for hunting, frightening small children and impressing your friends ("Look how big mine is!"). Forget personal defense unless it's tripod mounted and fed by a squad of native porters and gun bearers. Whenever I strap on my Redhawk I have to wear a balancing gun on the other side.


Still, I cannot deny that the allure of the big bore handgun draws me like 'Possums to headlights. Big booms, big holes and sprained wrists. What's not to love? Those guns and calibers have authority. When you touch one off there is absolutely no doubt in your mind that you have a gun in your hand. They feel solid and lethal. Thor's Hammer come down from Valhalla and taken mortal form. Plastic can't even be used on a holster for one much less the actual gun. It'll melt in pure shame upon the simple touch of a true big bore revolver.

Leather is the only accoutrement they need and whole cows are often necessary to craft one. Hip holsters that might have some fine tooling and a silver concho or two and a belt with cartridge loops. Nothing more. Throwbacks to our western heritage and a time when a man could go about his business carrying the implement that safeguarded his freedom around his waist.


We have gone far, far down the road toward emasculation but we're not there yet. Not so long as we possess the means but more importantly the mindset, to resist. Make mine in Big Bore please.


I'm in the mood to resist.


Six

14 December 2010

Happy Birthday Sarge


It's my favorite father-in-law's birthday today. What do you get such a man? I did the only thing I could think of. A couple of days ago I took him out to sight in his AR. I brought along my as yet unfired M1A1. I asked this 2 tour Vietnam veteran, a man who carried it's older brother the M14 in combat, to break her in and fire the first shot. It was my way of honoring his service and sacrifice and was absolutely the best way I could think of to let him know how I feel about him.

Love you Pop.
Happy birthday.

Six

12 December 2010

Sunday Kipling

I apologize for being so late today. Lu and I got into some great trail on our ride today and I completely lost track of time.
Six

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

11 December 2010

Army Navy And Ruminations On Turkey Dogs

Chrisi was wandering around last night, casting her sad puppydog eyes at Lu and I. I'm still not sure what she wanted but I decided she needed a treat. I opened a new package of Turkey dogs and gave her one. She slurped it down (really, did you even taste that!?) and politely inquired if perhaps she could have another. Well, she's 14 now and Lu and I tend to not deny her about anything she wants at this stage so I gave her another. And another. 8 turkey dogs later she had consumed 1 pound of the things and still gave me the sad eyes. I figured a pound was probably enough though she seemed to disagree.

Last night she fell asleep on the floor on my side of the bed. And farted her way through the night. You know those gaseous dog emanations where you can actually see the results? Yeah, hers were a glowing green mist that seemed to hover over the bed, bathing Lu and I in a soft, radioactive blanket of Turkey dog farts. Silent but truly deadly. Who knew turkey Dogs were so dangerous?

But Chrisi's intestinal Krytonite is not why we're here today. Today is the college football game of the year, the only game I truly have any great interest in. It's Army vs Navy and a game I freely admit I love.

These kids will, almost without exception, never play a down of professional football and they know it. There are a few but the number is now so small as to be statistically insignificant. Those kids play for the joy of the game, for the honor of representing their service and for each other. It's still the purest form of amateur athletics left in America. Most of the Seniors will be in combat within the year or even sooner and all will take their commission and go on to serve their country. I hold these young men in great respect and admiration. I will cry when the National Anthem is sung and again at the end of the game when the two teams stand together for the singing of their Academy songs. They are truly worthy representatives of America.

So. With all due respect to my brothers and sisters in the Navy (You know I love you all)

Go Army, Beat Navy!

Game's on at 1230 Mountain Time.

Six

Update: 24-7 Navy at the half. Ouch.
Final: 31-17 Navy. 9 years straight. ORPO will never let me live it down.

10 December 2010

Been Busy

Excuses, excuses. I have many. The posting has been light lately but we've been swamped. I have mentioned how much work is waiting on this house. Lu and I decided we'd wait until after the first of the new year to get started to give us time to finish unpacking and get settled. There were a few things I just could no longer stand though.

For some reason the shower head (we have only the one bathroom at present) was set at about 4 feet high. I have no explanation. Lu had attached a hand held and a bracket set to a proper height but it wasn't adjustable and pointed straight down. It had to go. I opened the sheet rock in the bathroom and removed the shower head but it was obvious I needed to go further. The house was built in stages out of slope stone and cinder block which means many of my interior walls are masonry. Luckily this particular one is not. I had to tear the back side out from the floor to above the shower head to get at the plumbing. The plumbing is a combination of cast iron and copper. With no anodes. Yeah. I tore it out and found that the plumbing also passed through horizontal wall supports. I said screw it and just tore everything out that I could reach and replaced it with Pex. I did a temporary wall repair because I'm going to have to do more plumbing work when I redo the bathroom but the shower is now sized for humans. I am so happy.

Got Lu's washer installed and working. Got the pantry covered. Rebuilt the toilet. Nothing major just a bunch of niggling little things that were driving us nuts and that we couldn't take any more. I think the front door is next. It hollow core and an odd size. I'm going to have to buy a solid core and size it to fit but that shouldn't be too bad. Maybe next week.

We're trying to decide what major job to tackle first. The kitchen needs a complete redo. It has no dishwasher or disposal, carpeted floors and weird cabinets. The plumbing is atrocious. We can't run the toaster and microwave at the same time and the rest of the house is badly under wired. Every outlet in the house is two prong so a complete re-wire is in order. We desperately need a second bathroom. I have the spot but it's on a concrete slab so I'm going to have to jack hammer out the plumbing runs. I need a garage.

I know, whine and snivel. It's not all bad. Lu and I were determined to get out for some trigger time the other day. We were going to invite Sarge but he's been down with some sort of creeping crud (get better soon Sarge). There's some BLM land just a few miles from our front door. We loaded up the Ford and headed out.

I brought my AR and the flat top I just put together for Lu. Turns out she hated it. Well, hate might be too strong but she definitely wasn't having a lot of fun. We took a break and I brought out the truck gun, a 1942 vintage Moisin Nagant 91/59 in 7.62x54R. I cranked off 5 rounds and asked Lu if she wanted a try. She said maybe later. Couple more shots and she was by my side ogling the thing. "Hey, let me give that a go." For those who don't know the 91/59 is handy little carbine shooting a pretty substantial cartridge. They're a hoot but they're also kinda hard on the shoulder.

Turns out Lu loved it. She shot the rest of the ammunition I brought, about 25 rounds, and was disappointed I didn't have any more. Yeah, it's her gun now. She's also eyeballing my Jungle Carbine, 03A3 and Mauser. I've created a monster. On the plus side it looks like I now have a new AR flat top.

Lu shot her Glock 19 and I put a few through my G35 in anticipation of that sweet new rig from Michael. Not that I'm anxious or anything.

All in all a fine day. It's so great to live in an area where I can travel 15 minutes from my house and shoot anything in my arsenal without anyone having a coronary and calling the local constabulary on me.

Bring it on house, we can take anything you got. Lu and I are here for the long run.

Six

07 December 2010

December 7th


There is little I can add to what has been written and told by those far better that me. So I will do what I can to remember and honor those who fought and died on this day in 1941. Lu and I will exercise one of our fundamental rights as an American Citizen. We're going out to the Arizona Strip to confirm our Second Amendment rights and remind those who would still yet take away our freedoms that the Greatest Generation may be passing but they are not forgotten nor are their lessons. We who came after still know how to keep what is ours and punish the enemies of America. We will never forget.
God Bless you all.
Six

06 December 2010

Items

A few things that popped up on the radar this weekend.

I just joined the Patriot Guard Riders. I hate the necessity but am honored to have a chance to give service to those who have given their last true measure of devotion. I've added a link to them in the Warrior Roll.

The continuing erosion of freedom aka Dumpster diving. Forget that california is dead broke. Forget that LA has had to cut back on Fire, library and abandoned child care services. How about someone in that state recognizing the concept of personal privacy and a sense of priorities. Another reason (of many) that I'm glad we escaped that cesspool.

This is almost too funny. I don't know. $14.95 to read something I already knew?

I'm now living in an area that gets some snow and can get pretty dang cold. We're adjusting but re-learning things we used to know. Brigid hits another home run with this post on cold weather preparations. Thanks Brigid.

Six

05 December 2010

Ammo

Fred is another of those shooters I pay attention to. When he speaks I listen (or read). Here's his reminder on the necessity of checking your ammunition. If it goes click when it was supposed to go boom it's a club not a firearm.

Six

Sunday Kipling

This poem was brought to mind by Ed Rasimus in a recent post. It's one of my favorites.
Six

Tommy

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

04 December 2010

Final Sweet Baby Schwinn

I'm tired this morning so I'm going to post the end of the Sweet Baby Schwinn build and take a nap.
Six
DONE.
The bike is done and I'm back on my meds again. Lu will be so happy.
When last we left our project it was basically done but not yet together. Let's now join Insane Crazy Welder Boy, already in progress.
Ok. Assembly day.
Here's the crank in place. It went in easy as pie with only a little grease and even less swearing. It's off the donor and yeah, it's a single gear. It's not rusty and simplifies the build considerably because I don't have to come up with a working front derailleur. That's a good thing because I seem to be short exactly 1 front derailleur. Also a close up of the repair, sanded and painted.
I gathered all the brake pieces I had and put them in a 1 big pile. Then I seperated them into 2 smaller piles; Parts I recognize and parts that are obviously from a crashed UFO. I took the parts I recognized and managed to make 2 brake systems. I even managed to use the old, hard rubber pads. If you put them on the grinder and go past the outer hardness there is a whole new layer of nice rubber goodness underneath. And joy of joys, they're all schwinn.
Rear
Front
Here's those bars I cobbled together with levers and some grips I had laying around. Doesn't saying I have stuff 'laying around' sound a little too convenient? It's all true. I swear. The levers went on with only a little prying and crying. And some hammering. Again.
Here it is with bars, crank, pedals and seat.
It seemed to be missing something....
I kept the Schwinn World badge from the original bike. I carefully polished it but otherwise left it alone. It's things like this that make me love this bike.
A couple of very, very small screws in hands better suited to holding heated metal make for a comedy of dropped things and colorful language. Even the dogs left in disgust.
Ah. Schwinney goodness!
Rear wheel with derailleur and chain. The chain is from the donor. I got to use my new tool, the chain breaker and a masterlink that kinda, sorta works. I think the anvil and a ball peen hammer are on the upgrade list. Notice the black painted hub shield. Dewd, it like rocks and stuff. Totally.
Cables all hooked up and a thumb shifter from...you guessed it, the donor. I hate that frame but I shamelessly stole its parts.
And here it is in all it's beautiful blue Schwinn glory. The brakes brake, derailleur derails, pedals pedal and crank...uh, cranks. The frame is solid and the wheels spin easy if not exactly up to Gary Fisher trueness specs. The rust is all gone and the paint is moderately attractive. It has a seat and a very unique handlebar.
Is it road worthy? Is it safe? Beats me. I'm certainly not going to go first. I enlisted a lovely and far too trusting test pilot. "Hey honey, can you come here for a second?"
Nothing broke. Everything worked and a good time was had by all. In fact, Lu immediately put her claim on it and declared it was just the thing for casual rides with her mom. Now that's misplaced confidence!
Lu's Tribute Collage
Before. Ewww.
After. Mmmm.
All attempted humor aside, I'm very proud of the work I did on this project. I took a pile of rust and bentness that was headed for the recycle (heh heh) bin, another donor someone also left in a field to rot like the Schwinn, 31 dollars in parts and about 16 hours of actual work time and got a pretty neat bicycle.
It's not a trainer or racer. You'll never see someone doing a century on it. It'll never see a hill higher than what the local streets can offer. It's got ancient brakes, 27 inch tires and a handlebar that's a phrenologists dream. It's a 5 speed instead of 10. It has an ungainly lump in the frame that causes people to ask "what the heck is that for?"
But everything works and she rides just fine.
In my eyes she's beautiful. Maybe because in a very real sense, I created her. I took some parts and an idea and made something of value. Maybe only valuable to me and the missus but valued all the same. To me this is way more than just a Schwinn World Traveler with some different and unusual parts and repairs.
Oh, the Schwinn is still in there, don't doubt it for a second. In fact I think she's aware of her new lease on life. Her escape from the oblivion of being melted down to provide steel for some hipster doofus' nose bolt. I think she's proud of her new clothes and her new purpose. I think she's pleased.
I know I am.
I've never had so much fun. The hours I spent totally engrossed in her and completely unaware of job, personal problems, world problems, stresses or even my surroundings were some of the most pleasant I've spent in years. So much so that I'm looking for another challenge.
To all my friends who have encouraged me and commented on my progress, thank you again. I hope you are happy with the results.
It has been an absolute ball and I have no idea what's next.
Now if you'll excuse me, I hear Sweet Baby Schwinn calling my name.
I'm think I'm going for a ride.

Six

03 December 2010

Unicorns

If you've been wondering where the skittle crapping, rainbow farting Unicorn the left is depending on, it's apparently in China.

Figures.

Six

Global Warm... Er... What's that again?


This is the view out my front door this morning. Oh, and I had already shoveled that walk to get the kids to school! That's the snow that fell between 745 and 9 am. Sigh.

So, this is my issue with Global Warming... This season has already produced massive early season snow, out-of-the-ordinary winter conditions, here in Europe and it's only the 3rd of December. Do I believe in global temperature change? Yes. Do I believe in global warming? Please see above photo for my answer.

Why? Global temperatures have fluctuated for eons, and to assume that the recent trends indicate anything other then the Earth going through another temperature shift is astronomically dumb. That the temperatures in recent times have been mild has been a lovely thing, however, that was not destined to last. The ice record tells us, if nothing else, that the Earth has never maintained constant mild weather systems; rather it's history is filled with massive temperature fluctuations. I'm not going to cite any of this information; it is both well known and easy to find. The fact that it is both well known and easy to find, yet seems to be totally ignored in our modern culture, is shocking to me. This intense winter cold may very well be attributed to the Iceland volcanic activity of the spring, as was the little ice age of the 1790's. The mechanisms of global temperatures and fluctuations are so complex that no sane person should ever claim to understand them.

So, please, don't use the fact that this last summer was really hot to claim that SUVs are evil and making the polar caps melt. Though Mar's polar caps are dry ice, and not water, they are receding as well. Why? Increase exposure to sunlight. Shockingly there aren't a bunch of SUV's on Mars, and yet temperatures have changed to the point that the frozen CO2 is evaporating. Wow, okay, so our solar neighbor is being hit with more sunlight, yet OUR global temperature fluctuation couldn't possibly be related to the big glowing thing in the sky. Right.

I'm not claiming that human activity hasn't had a negative impact on the world, or the creatures contained thereon. All I'm saying is that the global warming, now revised as global temperature change, hype has created an idea of black and white within nature. That all evil is attributed to people, and that we are in control of a system as massively complex as the weather. Talk about arrogant. It has also led to a serious issue of hate between people, of sides, and of right and wrong. The vitriol and anger leveled at the "deniers" by the "hypers" has become an evil all its own, and is so sad to see. Instead of having real conversations about honest issues, it all comes down to who is in power, and who is in control. Just ask them man who uses enough energy to power a small town, yet has made an enormous fortune bashing those "destroying the earth". Is it scientific truth, or is it political power?

So anyway, to those of you not fighting snow to get to school or work, I envy you! And to those of you with even more snow then me, I empathize.And to all of you, I hope your season is filled with joy!

-The DO
(The skull sorta kinda caved, but just slap a hat on and no one will notice! Oh, and the nose kept falling off. And it's only two snowballs tall cause the third one fell off. So this snowman really is proof that joy is locked within attitude. With all that, we still smiled, laughed, and thought this was a most handsome snowman!)

01 December 2010

Wounds Of War

From the book Tears of Ink, by LCDR Roberto J. Prinselaar, U.S. Coast Guard (ret)

Wounds Of War

Some wounds of war

Are never seen

They're buried deep within

No open wound

No Purple heart

No blemish on the skin

But these are wounds

That leave a scar

Upon our very soul

They tear our hearts

Cause misery

And take a heavy toll

Our bloodless wounds

Cause us to ask

Oh God, what was it for

We go through life

Not knowing why

We have these wounds of war

29 November 2010

IDPA Rig

When I was working I got plenty of shooting in to scratch that competition itch. I never felt the need to shoot in any of the competitive associations. All that changed when I retired.

Bear in my mind that the last year has been filled with caring for a very sick dog and preparing and executing a move from california to Utah. Because of those factors my shooty time has been limited. Like none at all. I need something to get my competitive juices flowing and keep my skills sharp. Enter IDPA.

I decided on IDPA because they concentrate on CCW and severely limit gun and holster modifications which keeps costs down. Miguel and Larry Correia are men I respect and are very experienced IDPA shooters. If it's something they recommend and enjoy that's good enough for me.

I decided I needed to start preparing early for the Spring schedule. I'm going to shoot my Glock 35. It's a gun I specifically bought a few years ago as a potential competition gun. I looked around and found very few holsters for that gun and none I really liked. In my search I found Michaels Holsters. He makes high quality and beautiful custom holsters, mag carriers and accessories. He also has a lot of very positive customer feedback, very important to me. I sent Michael an invitation, an outline and asked for a bid. We went back and forth a few times, checking out the rules and discussing what I wanted and needed in a race rig. Miguel and Larry both took the time to weigh in and give us some solid info and good pointers. Michael made a few suggestions and I decided on a final build.

This is the description we settled on;
-Concealable pancake holster to fit Glock G34/35 with concealed tension adjustment screw, hidden stitching, 5-degree cant and a fully covered trigger guard, for compliance with IDPA rules. Hand-stamped, stylized basket weave dyed brown with black edging.
-Concealable magazine carrier to carry two Glock .40-cal magazines with concealed tension adjustment screw, hidden stitching, in an upright position, covering just over 2-inches of facing tube, for compliance with IDPA rules. Hand-stamped, stylized basket weave dyed brown with black edging.
-1.5-inch wide, double grain leather gun belt with nylon webbing reinforced core. Hand-stamped, stylized basket weave, dyed brown with black edging, black stitching, and brass hardware
-Lifetime Warranty.

The total will be just shy of $500 but that's actually not bad at all considering the completely custom, hand built nature of the rig, the fact it's for holster, mag carrier and belt and the lifetime warranty. Michael even gave me a nice discount for ordering the total package. Michael prides himself on his customer service and will not rest until the customer is completely satisfied with his work. He'll also repair it for free for as long as I live (hopefully that will be a while Michael). He did a lot of the leg work, checking the rules to make sure what he made would fall within the rule book, a service that is sadly lacking in so many businesses and was greatly appreciated. I never felt like I was out on a limb. Michael was with me every step of the way, insuring we got things right.

I sent him a confirmation e-mail just a few minutes ago. We'll settle on payment method and I'll get an idea on build time. When it comes in I'll fit it, shoot it and post some pictures here.

I've never ordered a completely custom rig of any kind before. Call it a combination Christmas and retirement gift from Lu who never even batted an eye. She asked me if that was what I wanted and then said order it. I do love that woman. And no, she doesn't have any sisters.

More to come later. It should be beautiful. I'm really, really excited. Thanks Michael.

Six

For the FCC, this is with the strict understanding that no monetary compensation or other considerations have taken place between Michael and I other than the bid he submitted before I made the post (and he didn't know I was going to or that I even had a blog) and my acceptance to pay full value. (Really, you people just irritate me to no end)

28 November 2010

Sunday Kipling

I hope you're all having a great weekend.
Six

The Young Queen
1900
The Commonwealth of Australia, Inaugurated New Year's Day 1901

HER HAND was still on her sword-hilt, the spur was still on her heel,
She had not cast her harness of grey, war-dinted steel;
High on her red-splashed charger, beautiful, bold, and browned,
Bright-eyed out of the battle, the Young Queen rode to be crowned.

She came to the Old Queen's presence, in the Hall of Our
Thousand Years-
In the Hall of the Five Free Nations that are peers among their peers:
Royal she gave the greeting, loyal she bowed the head,
Crying-"Crown me, my Mother!" And the Old Queen rose and said:

"How can I crown thee further? I know whose standard flies
Where the clean surge takes the Leeuwin or the coral barriers rise.
Blood of our foes on thy bridle, and speech of our friends in thy mouth
How can I crown thee further, O Queen of the Sovereign South?

"Let the Five Free Nations witness!" But the Young Queen answered swift:
"It shall be crown of Our crowning to hold Our crown for a gift.
In the days when Our folk were feeble thy sword made sure Our lands:
Wherefore We come in power to take Our crown at thy hands."

And the Old Queen raised and kissed her, and the jealous circlet prest,
Roped with the pearls of the Northland and red with the gold of the West,
Lit with her land's own opals, levin-hearted, alive,
And the Five-starred Cross above them, for sign of the Nations Five.
So it was done in the Presence-in the Hall of Our Thousand Years,
In the face of the Five Free Nations that have no peer but their peers;

And the Young Queen out of the Southland kneeled down at the Old Queen's knee,
And asked for a mother's blessing on the excellent years to be.

And the Old Queen stooped in the stillness where the jewelled head drooped low:-
"Daughter no more but Sister, and doubly Daughter so
Mother of many princes-and child of the child I bore,
What good thing shall I wish thee that I have not wished before?

"Shall I give thee delight in dominion-mere pride of thy setting forth?
Nay, we be women together-we know what that lust is worth.
Peace in thy utmost borders, and strength on a road untrod?
These are dealt or diminished at the secret will of God.

"I have swayed troublous councils, I am wise in terrible things;
Father and son and grandson, I have known the hearts of the Kings.
Shall I give thee my sleepless wisdom, or the gift all wisdom above?
Ay, we be women together-I give thee thy people's love:

"Tempered, august, abiding, reluctant of prayers or vows,
Eager in face of peril as thine for thy mother's house.
God requite thee, my Sister, through the excellent years to be,
And intake thy people to love thee as thou hast loved me!"

26 November 2010

Man Cave

We're getting settled in pretty well. All the boxes are empty and most of the stuff is at least theoretically put away. Out of sight, out of mind.
No slacking on my part was allowed. I had to go down into the dungeon...er, basement and put the Man Cave into some semblance of order. The Mistress's orders. The space is 12 by 12. 144 square feet of manly privacy to finalize my nefarious plans and create my army of mindless minions. Bwaahahahaha!

Abandon All Hope...
I managed to get the ammo on the shelves. Along with some...clutter. But still, it's a start.
2 Gun safes that need to go somewhere.Crap all over the place and ne'er a house fairy to be seen. Man, those guys are lazy.
The reloading table becomes a usable space. Mostly. I got some good advice from Brigid regarding lead contamination so the Lyman tumbler isn't staying there. I'm going to construct a sealed chamber for it and do my brass cleaning outside or in one of the storage buildings. I've got my mechanical reloading stuff and manuals on the bench, brass, bullets and primers (for now) on the cabinet in the background and powder on the shelves, across the room. I'm going to bolt the press to the table tomorrow. It fits nicely. I can only hope the Dillon RL550B progressive that's in my immediate future will fit as well. The Stack On safe along with ammo boxes, soft cases and a SWAT calender. This is it's temporary home until I get some more de-construction done.
Shelves are basically in order. Well, order as I define it anyway. The Stack On will eventually go next to the Winchester safe over to the left there and the wooden shelves will be replaced with steel ones. All those boxes and cans? Yep, they're all full of ammunition for my various flavors of shootin' iron. If any lefties make their way in here relax, it's strictly personal use.
So there it is. The place has testosterone dripping from the walls. Lu will tell you it's ground water seepage coupled with poor house cleaning habits from yours truly but trust me, it's pure manly goodness. It smells of cordite, leather and awesomeness as any Man Cave should. I can feel my eyebrows growing together every time I go down there. I can comb my knuckle hair.
I can now start reloading again and that is a very good thing. I have seven #10 cans of 9mm brass that I seriously need to get busy on and that apparently ain't gonna load themselves. I'm short also on 30-30, 45-70 and .40 S&W as well. Plus there's that new 44 magnum recipe I've been waiting for an excuse to load.
No rest for the wicked.
Six

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Lu and The Sarge and Mom-In-Law and I will be having dinner at the compound today. We'll stuff ourselves and watch some American Football. Chrisi's already salivating at the prospect of leftovers.

I'm thankful for my many blessings. My Daughter, grandkids, wonderful in-laws and to live in this beautiful, chaotic and irreplaceable place called America.

I'm especially thankful for each of you who visit here and have supported and encouraged me since this place went up. You have touched my life and made it better.

Thank you.

Now let me at that turkey.

Six

23 November 2010

Cats vs Dogs

Who's smarter?

Heh heh. What? I didn't say it.

Dogs rule!

Six

22 November 2010

TSA

I've been watching the continuing TSA debacle unfold but haven't had the time to give it serious thought until lately.

I'm not a lawyer and don't profess to be but I was a Police Officer for a long time. As such I do know a thing or two about searches, both the justification for and the mechanics of.

The primary rule on searches is the 4th Amendment. Read that link and take a look at some of the rulings quoted in the body of the article, especially this one:

Chambers v. Moreny, 399 U.S. 42, 51 ('70). Because '[t]he integrity of an individual's person is a cherished value in our society, searches that invade bodily integrity cannot be executed as mere fishing expeditions to acquire useful evidence: 'The interests in human dignity and privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any such intrusions on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained.' Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 772, 769-70.

A 1968 Supreme Court ruling governs what are commonly referred to as Stop and Frisk or Pat Down searches (also called Terry Searches) of people where probable cause to arrest does not exist is Terry vs Ohio. For their own protection, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on "specific and articulable facts" and not merely upon an officer's hunch. Terry vs Ohio is an interesting read and a good example of the kind of police work we should expect from all of our law enforcement officers and agencies. A Terry Search is an exterior check for weapons, not a 'check the package' search required subsequent to a probable cause arrest.

So, for most situations where authority wants to initiate a search of your person they need Probable Cause, a Warrant or Reasonable Suspicion with clear and articulable facts that those to be searched are either engaged in or have been/will be engaged in immediate criminal activity. These are constitutional or well established and long standing case laws that govern what the government may do and how they must do it.

I think the requirements, case law, and outlines are pretty clear. Government is restricted in it's ability to conduct searches. You can go through the law and find cases involving involuntary blood draw, exigent circumstances and the like but the overarching concern for 4th Amendment rights is always present, even when exemptions and modifications are granted by courts. By courts are the key words.

One argument in favor of intrusive airport searches is that there is no requirement to fly. Don't want to go through the process? Fine, drive, take a train, boat, etc. Except that's a specious argument. There are many who must travel as a requirement of their job, including but not limited to airline pilots. Their choice is to submit or lose their employment. I want to go to Hungary to visit my daughter and grandchildren. Must Lu and I submit to current TSA screening searches prior to being allowed to exercise our rights as citizens and freely go where we please?

A second is that it's 'not that bad and it's for the public good'. Well, I've conducted my share or searches, both of the pat down and more intrusive varieties and I can confirm that they're anything but 'not that bad'. Every time a governmental agency searches a citizens person it's a seizure and an intrusion and the people being searched are keenly aware it is so. Even the criminals hate them and not just because I'm about to discover that crack rock in his pocket that he has no idea how it got there. It's just a bit dehumanizing. Searches are often necessary and justified and when so they must be carried out as emotionlessly, professionally and thoroughly as possible but they cannot be random.

Lastly, and it's the kicker, in 1973 the 9th Circuit Court ruled in U.S. v Davis that airports were allowed to conduct administrative screenings. It reads in part “noting that airport screenings are considered to be administrative searches because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme, where the essential administrative purpose is to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft.” They also noted that the search 'must be no more intrusive or intensive than necessary...' Clearly Homeland Security and the TSA are taking this ruling as far as they think they can get away with. What is going to be needed is a challenge to Davis to either set it aside or modify the ruling. Either that or an understanding by the administration that a lower level of initial screening is reasonable with a more intensive and intrusive search only where probable cause or specific and articulable facts exist to justify such.

Let's talk about the mechanics of a search. Essentially there are 3 types. There may be some differences among the various departments out there but these are representative of the basic policies and procedures all agencies should be following.
-Pat down/Terry. A pat search of the outer clothing for weapons. Illicit substances may be seized if the officer can articulate how he knew what the object was by feel and inference. Deep search, including checking the package are not allowed.
-Subsequent to an arrest. This is where check the package comes in but groping and cupping are strictly forbidden. Normally the search is done by quadrants starting at one side of the upper front of the body and continuing to the leg areas and then switching sides. When the groin area is searched the hand is laid flat against the inseam and then moved upward so the edge of the hand only comes into contact with package area. Bras are searched similarly where only the leading edge of the searching hand is used to bisect the breasts. Cupping either area is considered to be sexual battery. Clothing in non sexual areas is grasped and checked carefully but care is taken to avoid contact which can be misconstrued or crosses the line. If there is further probable cause that contraband exists where the arrest search cannot find it then a strip search may be authorized but that's so rare I never conducted one outside the correctional institution where I started my career. Even then they are always carried out at a jail and in the presence of multiple officers including a supervisor.
-Correctional institution. This is where you find routine strip searches. Anyone sentenced to a correctional facility, whether at the federal, state or local levels will be strip searched when they enter the facility, any time they have been outside the facility confines or when the staff suspects contraband has been introduced and is hidden in a body cavity. Keistering is the phrase most often used and needs no further explanation. Even then no physical contact is made with genitalia. If such needs to be done, for instance to remove a secreted object, it is either removed by the inmate or done at an approved medical facility by medical professionals. Never by staff. The reasons are obvious.

You will find things like metal detectors at government buildings, large auditoriums and the like but they are generally considered non-invasive and not really searches as such.

In my opinion the TSA and Homeland Security are exceeding their legal and moral authority. It shouldn't take more case law to introduce common sense and reasonableness into their thought processes but that is exactly where we're heading. If a police officer can't do it to you why should a poorly trained TSA agent be allowed? A fishing expedition is a fishing expedition no matter who's casting the lure and the 4th Amendment exists to protect our rights regardless of the administrations reading of Davis. The rules need to be modified and the TSA staff better trained and screened. Barring that I'm on board with San Mateo County DA Steve Wagstaffe. Incidents of inappropriate touching should be prosecuted as what they are, sexual battery.

I won't criticize without putting forth a possible solution. You need look no further than that Terry vs Ohio case. The officer was a 39 year veteran with 35 as a detective. He was smart, well trained, observant and very experienced. He noticed suspicious activity, watched the men and compiled a list of the specific and articulable facts that led him the the correct conclusion that Terry and his fellows were up to no good. Please note that the third subject, the one without a weapon, was subjected to no further action by the detective.

And that is the answer. Having the TSA staffed by folks no reputable law enforcement agency would touch is insanity. Instead how about this;
There is a wealth of experience out there, both police and military, currently being under utilized. I'm speaking about those who, like me, have put up their uniforms and settled into a life a little less exciting. We have the maturity, education and experience the TSA is crying out for. We'll even work at cut rates. Hell, I'll volunteer. I'll to go to any airport they need me at and I'll work for free. I don't need a salary, I don't need benefits and I don't need a union.
Let's add in another ingredient to our TSA stew. Dogs. I've worked with narcotic and bomb detection dogs and they're pure magic. How about we crank up the procurement machine and put out a request for bids and get a whole bunch more detection dogs out there working our airports. I mean a lot more. Like 2 or 3 orders of magnitude more. Dogs are relatively inexpensive (especially as compared to the unionized TSA) and far more reliable than back scatter scanners being operated by the incompetent and physical searches being conducted by their more morally ambiguous colleagues.
Bring back the metal detectors and x-ray machines for bags. Do more invasive searches only on those you have reasonable suspicion needs further scrutiny.

Will it work? I don't know. Could it work? Absolutely. Don't take my word for it. Ask any retired military or police officer you can find and ask them if they'd be willing and if they could handle the job. If you can't get a 90 percent "Hell Yes!" I'll eat my badge.

Here's the real truth about airport security. Airport screening will catch only the morons and the incompetent. I hate to say this but the truly smart crooks rarely get caught and then usually only by dogged work, a fortuitous break or a mistake. Even then the apprehension almost always occurs at a time and place away from the actual crime scene. I've put a lot of criminals behind bars and, with a few notable exceptions, they were invariably drunk, stoned or stupid.

The real work is done by Intelligence (I'll add detectives to this because they serve many of the same functions) and is done far away from the airline gate. To stop a smart and aggressive opponent it is necessary to intercept him before the attempt is made. We need to stop the bombers and hijackers in their homes and labs, not as they attempt to board.

The Romans understood this dilemma well. They knew that the key to the long term health of their nation and people was their ability to keep the roads open and safe for the free passage of goods and people. When they lost control of their roads they lost control of their empire.

Our skies are the roads that we depend upon. Don't think so? Try and run a business larger than one confined to a single general locality without the ability to hop on a plane and go visit suppliers, customers, investors, etc. Try to imagine a vibrant economy with brisk overseas business ties limited to the speed of an ocean liner. Consider the limitations to education and career opportunities if coast to coast travel was strictly limited to train and automobile.

We are in danger of losing control of our roads. Already the outcry is reaching a fever pitch and people are refusing to fly. Yet the TSA and the government, aside from providing a few reluctant apologies and explanations, show no signs of backing off. It's time for a new solution. It's time for the government to recognize that safety can never be assured but that reasonable and effective precautions can be taken at less cost to our personal freedoms than is currently embodied in the TSA.

Six

B-1's In Afghanistan

This is an interesting article on the role of the B-1 in the Afghan War. I get a little queasy when they talk about the procedures they go through prior to actually putting iron on the target but I understand the reasons behind the switch from ground controlled to air controlled release. Hearts and Minds. I hope it works but even more I hope it doesn't cost us casualties.

Six

21 November 2010

Sunday Kipling

Dedicated to Lagniappe and the guy who buys the dog food. May we all have a dog to tear our hearts.
Six

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find, it's your own affair
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone, wherever it goes, for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short time loan is as bad as a long
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

20 November 2010

Lagniappe

A good man lost his best friend. If you can please go leave him some love.

I'm so sorry my friend. Lu and I grieve with you.

Six

Pictures

I finally got some broadband access instead of dial up so the promised pictures of the move.

Here's Chrisi on the field expedient bed. I slept on it for 2 nights, Lu for 3.


An empty garage with a mostly loaded trailer. That garage took up a lot of space to get moved. I'd have gotten rid of some stuff if I wasn't a guy.

Chrisi in a really empty house.

The Ford and Vette all ready to go.

Lu and the house. We didn't build the house but we did build the home. We were here for 18 years, longer than we'd been anywhere. We love the place and put a lot of hard work into it. Why do we leave places as soon as we get them exactly the way we want them?


The last shot, me and the Vette turning the first corner away from the old place, en route to the new. 29 years in Salinas, California, almost to the day. Good times and hard times but our times. 12 hours later we were home.


We're settling in to the new place pretty well. It's great to have so much family so close. We're re-connecting with family we haven't seen in a very long time.

We've spent all week getting unloaded, unpacked, stowed and trashed so Lu and I are taking tomorrow off and going for a nice ride. I'm thinking Gooseberry if the weather allows.

It's good to be back.

Six

16 November 2010

Arrived

We're here all safe and sound. No issues with the final trip(s). Chrisi is happy she's finally out of the truck. The house is a mess. We're very, very tired. But we're happy to be here and have california in our rearview mirror. Thanks to everyone for your well wishes. I'll post more tomorrow with some pictures.

Six

15 November 2010

Greek constitutional history

Since Lu and the Six and in transit, I figure this is as good a time as any to continue the conversation on the Greek influences on the American Constitution. Part, er, 3? Yeah, lets go with three. Enjoy.

-The DO


From Plato and Aristotle, to Polybius, to Montesquieu and finally to the Founding Fathers, the idea of the separation of powers was well seated in the annals of history. Plato and Aristotle both argued for mixed government, though in different forms. Plato came from the school of Socrates, a man who had been a dedicated hoplite in war, yet had chosen to live outside politics. Socrates is the foundation for Plato and Aristotle and their idea that the best ruler was the best educated, or the most intelligent.
Plato took the teachings of Socrates and developed his own vision of the perfect government. Plato believed in a caste system, where the children of the people were raised by the state. Once an individuals talents were assessed they would be assigned to a particular role in the society. Those that proved to be brave and strong would be trusted as guardians of the state, the intelligent should be educated to rule, and the average man and woman would be the workers to provide for the warrior and the rulers. Aristotle was the student of Plato, and on one hand he agreed with Plato and Socrates that the best ruler was a man best educated; however, he maintained a more Athenian view of government, as he believed that the Athenian tradition of democracy must be maintained.
As the Founders looked for rhetoric and example of a democracy that safeguarded liberty, they often looked to the Frenchman, Montesquieu. Montesquieu was well versed in the Greek traditions of Plato and Aristotle, and followed their reasoning on a mixed form of government; however, Montesquieu believed in the three part government proposed by the Greek historian Polybius. Indeed many of the ideas the Founders used from Montesquieu’s writings were based in Greek history, and the Founders were well aware of the Greek basis for his work. Eric Nelson notes that “Montesquieu does not draw… from ‘ancient sources’ in general, but rather from almost exclusively Greek sources,” and that “John Adams observed as much when he characterized Montesquieu’s republican ideas as ‘imaginations of his own, derived from the contemplation of the reveries of Xenophon and Plato’.”#
The ancient had not always gotten their republics right; that is, often the ancient republics fell to tyranny and the founders wanted to know why, so they could attempt to keep the same from happening to their republic. “Uncovering the cancers which had killed the republics was the principle obsession of the founders’ leading coroners.”# A Greek example often used during the constitutional debates was the Lycian League, and was the ancient example that James Madison believed the American constitution most emulated.
In the Federalist Paper #45, he states that “In the Achaean league it is probable that the federal head had a degree and species of power, which gave it a considerable likeness to the government framed by the convention. The Lycian Confederacy, as far as its principles and form are transmitted, must have borne a still greater analogy to it.”# The issues that Madison sees from these two examples are that they never consolidated under a central government, which he believed led to their ruin, and that the external pressures faced by these confederations was greater then what the American states would face. For Madison this was an important consideration for the creation of a strong central government. He stated that “these cases are the more worthy of our attention, and the external causes by which the component parts were pressed together were much more numerous and powerful then in our case; and consequently less powerful ligaments within would be sufficient to bind the members to the head, and to each other.”# Madison is convinced by the example of the Achaean and Lycian confederacies that either the colonies voluntarily bound themselves to each other under a strong central government, or the confederation would not last.
The idea of a strong central government was paramount to Madison, who wrote at great length about the defense of the weak from the strong, and how to maintain union that did not dissolve into rivalry. He mentions a few example from his historical studies, and from the Greeks he specifically highlights the problems that the “contentions, not the Coalitions of Sparta, Athens & Thebes, proved fatal to the smaller member of the Amphyctionic Confederacy.”# In his quest to unite the States of America he is looking to the evidence of the past, to the lessons taught by the experiences of the Greeks, as passed down by Plutarch, in his considerations on how to proceed in America. “What was the condition of the weaker members of the Amphyctionic Confederacy. Plutarch [life of Themistocles] will inform us that it happened but too often that the strongest cities corrupted & awed the weaker, and that Judgment went in favor of the more powerful party.”# The Amphyctionic example, and the Achaean and Lycian confederacy examples, added up in Madison’s mind as proof of the necessity of a strong central government for the American confederacy. As Madison believed these stories were not just examples, but were a place to start in the decision making process, they became his ground work for the Constitution.
Both the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists of the constitutional era used the ancient tales of democracy to prove their decidedly opposite views on what was a heated topic. Interestingly, as both sides agreed on the dangers of pure democracy, the argument was over how best to control the tyranny of the demos while maintaining a free society. The Federalists felt that a strong federal government would defend the peoples interests, creating wealth through government programs. The Republicans, on the other hand, viewed this strong central government as a threat to individual liberty. Hamilton, in the Federalist Paper #10, makes the case that in a pure democracy, “…there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.” Hamilton’s studies of the ancient democracies led him to believe that, in a pure democracy, the majority had no reason to protect the rights of the minority. “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”# A governmental system where the rights of the minority were not guarded, therefore, would lead to mob rule and tyranny.
For Hamilton, after his study of the ancient democracies and historians, the idea of a pure democracy equated to mob rule. In these pure democracies the majority are able to abuse the liberties of the weak. He makes this case several times throughout his career, and each time he contends that to avoid the fate of the ancient states, the Americans had to avoid democracy in favor of the republic. The argument in favor of a republic didn’t settle well with all, however, and the essays that make up the Anti-Federalist papers countered the arguments of Hamilton.

Cont.