Thanks, Giving

November 27, 2008

Spending a few days in an undisclosed location with my family. From where I’m blogging I can look into the kitchen–mom’s got the following going: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, Watergate salad, cranberry chutney, rolls, and pumpkin cheesecake and cherry pie for dessert. Two of my brothers are here, as well as my sister-in-law. We, and dad, are all healthy and employed. We won the lottery before we ever knew it by being born into the greatest country in the world. We are far from rich, but read about that feast we’re about to have–millions of families in this country are about to enjoy the same. Our good fortune is immense, regardless of politics or economy. I am so thankful for my country, my family, and my friends. I wish them all happiness, and all strength in their adversities. I am thankful to God for the many blessings this country offers. We are all so very fortunate.

Plus, his confident smile and kind eyes are an inspiration to us all (oh, you didn’t think I’d let a day go by without politics, did you?). If a Secret Santa does not get me this priceless collector’s plate, I intend to be very disappointed.

Vital stats: I saw gas prices in St. Louis at $1.38 a gallon (!) before I left town. Paid $1.70 in the boonies; Dow closed up 247 to 8726 yesterday (down 902 points since Obama’s election); silver is at $10.17 an ounce

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First blog post about the economy ever that had a Rocky Horror Picture Show lyric as its title? Perhaps.

Why the dread? One of the very nice and well-meaning things many Obama supporters said after the election was “Don’t be afraid.” I’m not; I blew straight past fear into horror and dread almost immediately. I try to keep a handle on it, since we made fun of the Bush Derangement Syndrome weirdos back in the day. And again, I’m willing to give him a chance.

Still, the dread. Consider this. George W. Bush is a businessman from old wealth. That was one of the reasons he was supposedly evil–had an MBA, was an oilman, ran a baseball team. Eeeevil capitalist. Nevertheless, when the economy started on a rocket sled to hell, HIS default position was Socialism–bail everyone and everything out, send out “rebate checks,” nationalize banks. That’s what the evil capitalist did in response to the economic crisis. Given that, what will the ACORN-supported community organizing lawyer from the church that disavows middle-classness do? There’s the dread, right there.

To be fair, Obama’s choices so far haven’t been that bad. It’s sort of scary that he picked a person from EMILY’s List as communications director, but he has to play to his base somewhere. Clinton’s not a terrible choice. I like Bill Richardson okay. The market seemed to like Obama’s choice of Treasury Secretary pretty well, and I have yet to hear anything bad about him. Larry Summers would be a decent choice as Fed Chairman, for as long as we have something as misbegotten as a Fed.

And then there’s Pelosi. After we had a few hopeful days of thinking that we the taxpayers WEREN’T going to bail out the Big Three automakers and thus they would have to renegotiate with the unions that are bleeding them dry, I heard on the news today that Pelosi is now offering them not only the 25 billion dollars in taxpayer dollars they asked for, but another 50 billion on top of that. Ooh, there’s that dread again.

And, Obama’s talking the sort of policies that turned our 1930s Depression into a Great one. Increasing the size of Americorps, raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, taxing the wealthy, creating millions of government jobs in infrastructure and “green” jobs. For what it’s worth, many of Missouri’s state parks were constructed by the CCC–they did a great job…back in the day. That was a different culture, one that valued and was familiar with the concept of hard physical work. Will that work now? Will the banker who used to make million-dollar bonuses be willing to live in a dormitory and build rock walls? Will the college grad who can’t get a job be willing to do likewise? Will these highway building projects be subject to the same bidding quotas that have turned highway departments into such bloated bureaucracies? Will these green jobs be subject to market pressures, or government-subsidized make-work details? I guess we’ll have to see, but I have my thoughts.

The weird thing is, none of this will hurt me too much personally–the dread I feel is more for the economy as a whole, and our standing in the world. I have no credit card debt. I am toward the end of Step 2 of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, in that I am still paying for a car. That’ll be done by the end of next year. Then comes step 3–saving up 3 to 6 months of expenses in cash. I want to save more than that because I also want to save a 20% down payment on a Gulch of my own. That’s 2010 taken care of, maybe more than that, and I expect in 2010 to see a Republican revolution rivalling or surpassing 1994. I’m young-ish, and for now I’m only paying into my 401(k) up to my employer match (6%). By the time I get to step 4–investing at least 15% of my income for my retirement, we should have ended our sojourn with Socialism, barring a 1930s-style Depression and the market should be looking up. So, it’s all good–my destiny is mostly in my own hands. And yet, the dread remains.

Preparedness tip of the day: Booze. I was grocery shopping yesterday and noticed that the holiday liquors were out now–you know, bottles of good booze with glasses or other extras. They’re cheaper now than they usually are, and will be up through the New Year. Buy a few bottles (or more) of what you like–bourbon or vodka is probably better if things go to hell and you have to barter with them. Liquor has many uses–you can drink it to calm down when the President announces another Socialist plan, it’s as good as NyQuil for treating a cold at bedtime, etc. If you’re seriously into preparedness, consider buying the equipment and learning how to make your own beer or wine. You could be very popular if things go all to hell.

vid

As noted in a previous post, November 22, 2008 is Victory in Iraq Day. It’s a day to remember the awesome achievements of the coalition forces, and American troops in particular.

  • Enforcing the UN resolutions
  • Bringing Saddam Hussein and his henchman to justice
  • Ending Iraq’s chemical, biological, and nuclear programs
  • Sending untold jihadis to their virgins
  • Creating a space within which free elections were held and a representative government installed
  • Helping Sunni, Shia, and Kurd to being the long process of national reconciliation that would never have been possible under the Hussein regime

This victory was at the cost of thousands of American and coalition lives and injuries and tens of thousands of innocents murdered by al Qaeda terrorists. On this day, we honor and remember those losses. We stand with the Iraqi bloggers and others in that country trying to find a new way. We look forward in hope for our Iraqi allies. We celebrate victory–our own and that of the Iraqi people. God bless our brave troops, their families, and the people of Iraq on this great day.

*******************

Just got done having a snack of that bread I was talking about yesterday with a little butter and jam. Good. I used whole wheat for all of the flour so it was the very definition of dense, but satisfying. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. I’ve actually never made the recipe with regular all-purpose flour; I’ll try that next week and see if it gains a little height, but it’s still a great artisanal type bread…real food.

Currently 25 degrees. If I ever meet Al Gore, I intend to kick him in the butt.

Olbermann and Kos and a variety of bed-wetting liberals are making a big deal of an interview with Alaska governor Sarah Palin where one can see a worker slaughtering Thanksgiving turkeys in the background.

Here’s the thing. Many Americans celebrate a thing called Thanksgiving, and in this celebration, the main course is usually a turkey. This turkey is DEAD when you eat it. Before it gets to the table, it is killed, beheaded, bled, gutted, and plucked. Its wing tips are cut off, as are its feet.

Turkeys are tasty, as are most animals, and the worker was doing his job with great attention. I find that more humane than a factory farming operation. It never hurts for those of us who eat meat to be confronted with our decision, but it’s pathetic to use that to score political points or to be hypocritical about it. OMG! Sarah Palin was nearby while turkeys were being “executed” (a term actually used in a Kos post). Sarah Palin also hunts. She knows the humility of being responsible for an animal’s life and its passing. She knows what the food on the plate MEANS.

This is where certain liberal arguments backfire. Sarah Palin is apparently a hick and a monster for being a sportswoman and for being in the vicinity when livestock were slaughtered for food for people. But who is the one who is hiding from reality? The person who knows how to feed her family and what it takes, or the besuited tv announcer or blogger who recoils in horror from the precursor to Thanksgiving dinner?

One should approach the taking of an animal’s life with humility, but they are here to play their part in life, and we are to be stewards of them, providing for them in life, and treating them humbly and humanely in death. Somehow, I suspect Governor Palin understands that deep lesson better than Keith Olbermann. 

Vital stats:Gas $1.60 a gallon; Dow up 494 to 8046 (apparently they liked Obama’s choice of Treasury Secretary or now); silver up to $9.51 an ounce.

Don’t Panic

November 21, 2008

So it is written in large, friendly letters on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and so it shall be.

This is pretty much another disaster preparedness post. Again, scroll if it’s not your thing.

Vital stats: Dow down 445 to 7552 (down 2076 points since Mr. Obama was elected); silver down $0.36 to $9.32 an ounce; gas $1.76 a gallon.

There’s a lot there to panic about–even those of us who live simply and don’t have much or any debt do feel the tension of seeing our retirement plans dwindle for a few years. We’ll either bail out the American auto industry with taxpayer money (bad) or take even more of a hit in manufacturing (also bad). Not even the pundits seem to understand what’s going on.

Still, panic fixes nothing. Panicky people make bad decisions. Panicky governments throw the people’s wealth at problems with no understanding of how to fix them. You cannot control the Dow. You cannot control the worth of precious metals. You cannot control what Mr. Obama may or may not do. What you can do is to strive for greater self-sufficiency. Pay off your debts. Dave Ramsey has awesome advice for this. Cut back on lifestyle so that you can pay debts, save some cash, and store supplies for you and your family–food, how-to books, water filters, health supplies, clothes, weapons and ammo, etc. Develop skills–learn to hunt, fish, grow your own food to the extent you can, can, knit, sew. People in the last Great Depression had the advantage of living close to the land–we have the advantage of suspecting what is coming and having the time and health to prepare for it.

There’s a preparedness tip coming up, but first a cautionary note. This is something that I’ve seen repeated on Rawles and du Toit’s blogs, and it bears repeating as times get tougher.  I am a Christian (yep, true, I’m not a pure Objectivist), and I believe people have a moral obligation to help each other out (on the other hand, I don’t believe the government has the right to coerce people to help each other out, or to confiscate people’s wealth for redistribution). I believe in helping others out. I post these tips on this blog, and I give to churches and charities. However, my charity is not a suicide pact. Some people know I have preparations.  They should know this–except for those I have invited to come, if the absolute worst occurs, I will turn others away. We’ve all heard the “joke”–‘Well, if the zombie apocalypse happens, I’ll come to your place.’ No, if you’re not invited, you won’t. Most all people who prep do not have enough to provide for everyone. That’s why so many preppers work so hard to educate others. It’s part of the self-sufficiency thing. Be prepared to do for yourself. It’s not that hard, and it’s extremely satisfying. Teach a man to fish, be an ant and not a grasshopper, and all those other cliches are true. If you are reduced to trying to join up with someone who didn’t previously invite you, be prepared to offer something–money, skills, food, shelter, supplies, etc. You’ve seen photos of Katrina refugees walking into the Superdome with nothing–not a bottle of water, a toothbrush, or food–don’t be like them. It’s a scary, panicky, powerless place to be. You are at the mercy of others, or of the state.

Preparedness tip of the day: Bread. Bread is so key–a good, simple, whole wheat bread (ideally with a little butter), some protein, and some carbs will keep you going on the cheap. If you’re into basic preparedness, store plenty of flour (all purpose or wheat, your choice), yeast, and salt. If you’re a serious prepper, buy whole wheat by the 5-gallon bucket and invest in a sturdy hand grinder. If the weather goes bad for a long time, or the stores empty out, this no-knead bread will make you happy happy. It’s a recipe from the Mother Earth News adapted from the New York Times. There’s a loaf of it rising in the Gulch’s kitchen right now. Makes one 1 1/2 pound loaf.

  • 1/4 t active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 cups flour (your choice)
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • Cornmeal, wheat bran, or flour for dusting

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. Dough will look shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rise at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature (room temperature in the Gulch is cool, so I let mine rise on an electric heating pad turned to low–a gas oven with a pilot light also works).

2. Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and put dough on it. Sprinkle with flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for 1 or 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (I use a cast-iron dutch oven, but you can use an enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic pot) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t sweat it–it will even out as it bakes.

5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is browned. Remove the bread from the dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Dense, dense, but satisfying and good. Awesome with soup or stew.

al Qaeda #2 (perhaps #1 since I suspect bin Laden’s been taking the dirt nap since Tora Bora) Ayman al Zawahiri has put out a tape calling Mr. Obama a house negro.

I, and other American bloggers, have every right to dissent against Mr. Obama’s policies. We’re Americans, we voted, we have the First Amendment. However, very few of us will put up with scrofulous disease-raddled cave-dwelling racist terrorist scumbags insulting the President-elect. Be brave, Zawahiri–come out and talk your smack to an American Marine. 72 virgins await, and that rug-banging callus on your forehead would make an awesome target. It’s insulting to me and to the American people to hear a Muslim terrorist–a person in whose language the word “black” also means “slave”–lecture Americans on racial policy. Come back when the Janjaweed Arab Muslims stop murdering black African Muslims in Darfur. Come back when it’s been more than 50 years since Saudi Arabia outlawed slavery. 

That’s a funny English translation, too–one doesn’t expect a raddled old monster like al Zawahiri to know about Malcolm X and his term “house Negro.” Looks like bloated American terrorist Adam Gadahn may still be alive and instructing al Qaeda on PR. Too bad. Oh well, evey day they’re alive brings the one day closer to death by Hellfire missile. Having these two reduced to a pink mist would be the best Christmas present ever.

**********************************

Saw something neat this weekend. I like to drive through Lone Elk County Park near Valley Park, Missouri, every now and then. It’s an old WWII ammo dump that had, in the 1940s, a small elk herd. Soldiers resolved to kill the elk because they were going to be endangered by the munitions anyway, but one lone elk survived. After the war, local school children collected to get a small herd from Yellowstone to keep the lone elk company. So, there’s the elk, and also a small herd of buffalo. Since it’s a county park, there’s no hunting, so one also gets to see deer and turkey.

I was driving off the hill, and at the bottom were two small bucks, but both with at least six points. They were fixing to fight–lots of rubbing of antlers on trees, grunting, and pawing at the ground. I wondered where the doe was, and after looking for a bit, I saw her blended well into a thicket, watching what the result of the fight would be. I watched for about 5 minutes, and then cars were piling up behind me and I had to leave. They hadn’t fought by then, but it was an extraordinary thing to watch. I talked about it to some of my buddies at work who hunt, and they were totally jealous–it’s just not something you get to witness very often.

Disaster preparedness tip of the day: Do you like to garden? Even if you don’t, it’s an inexpensive preparation to buy some open-pollinated seeds. The economy has been on a rocket sled to hell for over a year, and there’s no good evidence that things will be all unicorns and sunshine next spring. Growing your own food, even a little of it, saves money and is healthy and good for the environment. I like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds because of their great customer service and because, since they’re in Missouri, a lot of their seeds are suitable for this climate. Open-pollinated seeds means you can save the seeds from your produce for future years, and they will still breed true. Hybrid seeds (pretty much anything you buy at a store) are designed for big yields and better disease and pest resistance, but if you save the seeds and plant them the next year, your crop won’t look much like the previous crop. You can either buy a few envelopes of the stuff you like, or Baker Creek offers “collections” that include scores or hundreds of seed packets. Baker Creek also sends free bonus seeds with every order; as Forrest Gump says, you never know what you’re going to get. Keep them dry and cool and dark, and at least SOME of them will still sprout after years. Read up on storing seeds.

Vital stats: Dow down 427 points to 7997 (down 1631 points since Mr. Obama’s election); silver down $0.27 to $9.32 an ounce; gas $1.76 a gallon.

Good Lord, I’ve been serious lately. I’m really a pretty light-hearted person–not a “face without pain or fear or guilt,” as Rand calls it, but pretty laid back. Here’s a bit of a change-up.

I was reading James Lileks’ blog today, where he mentioned his screedblog. I went over to read it, and it was about David Byrne being a raving Obamaton of the “You’re-all-racists-if-you-didn’t-vote-for-him” ilk. I had no idea David Byrne wasn’t American. Go figure, and he’s apparently a bit of a douchebag, but these things happen.

I love the Talking Heads. Which leads to this entry. I joke with my friends about bands that would lock themselves up if they knew a knuckle-dragging right-winger like myself was a fan. These are bands that wear their politics on their sleeves; I assume most bands are lefty, these ones are open about it, yet I still find myself liking them:

  • Talking Heads
  • Peter Gabriel
  • k.d. lang
  • Elvis Costello
  • Indigo Girls
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Public Enemy
  • Moby
  • B-52s
  • Billy Bragg (seriously)
  • REM

That last one’s kind of a funny one. I was an intolerable lefty in college. The editor of the campus conservative paper lived in my dorm. I walked past the door once, and REM was blaring out. I asked the conservative–“you know they’re huge lefties, right?” and the editor answered “Of course, I just like the music, I don’t get my politics from them.” Wise person. These folks are all fine musicians, I just put their politics out of my mind.

Vital stats:Dow down 224 to 8274. That’s down 1354 since Mr. Obama’s election. Gas is $1.76 a gallon. Silver down $0.06 to $9.31 an ounce.

It Begins

November 18, 2008

Assault Weapons Ban Bill  introduced in the House…by four Republicans (one of whom, Chris Shays, has already been thrown out on his ass, good riddance).

Here’s part of the text, boldface mine:

(b) DEFINITION OF SEMIAUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPON- Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding after paragraph (29) the following:
‘(30) The term ‘semiautomatic assault weapon’ means–
  •  
      ‘(i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models);
      ‘(ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil;
      ‘(iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70);
      ‘(iv) Colt AR-15;
      ‘(v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC;
      ‘(vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12;
      ‘(vii) Steyr AUG;
      ‘(viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and
      ‘(ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12;
      ‘(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
      ‘(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
      ‘(iii) a bayonet mount;
      ‘(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
      ‘(v) a grenade launcher;
      ‘(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;
      ‘(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
      ‘(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;
      ‘(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and
      ‘(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and
      ‘(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
      ‘(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
      ‘(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and
      ‘(iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.’.
  • ‘(A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the firearms in any caliber, known as–
    ‘(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–
    ‘(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–
    ‘(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of–

I didn’t understand this the last time this bill rolled around, because I didn’t understand guns (as the sponsors of this bill surely don’t), but this bill is simply designed to ban guns arbitrarily based on appearance, not on what they actually do. Part A is literally banning rifles of any caliber based strictly on manufacturer. Here’s an example. This is a Ruger Mini-14. This  is an AR-15. They look different, don’t they? They’re not–they shoot the EXACT SAME round (.223). The Ruger Mini 14 is perfectly legal under the AWB (as long as you don’t add an eeeevil high-capacity magazine to it), and the AR-15 is illegal. The Ruger Mini 14 is sometimes called a ranch rifle or a “varminter.” It’s designed to kill coyotes and bobcats and the like. In many states it’s illegal to deer hunt with an AR-15/Mini-14–not because it’s a devastating, eeeeevil caliber—but because it’s not powerful enough to be sporting. Yep, the dreaded AR-15 is suitable for pest control on the ranch. Telescoping stocks, bayonet lugs–this is the basis on which whole classes of firearms are to be banned.

These four RINOs started it, and Mr. Obama has said he wants to make the ban permanent.

So, why not? If you can have a Mini-14 that shoots the same round, it’s okay if the government bans eeeevil black rifles, right? You don’t really NEED a 20-round magazine. What are you going to do with all those guns, anyway? It’s not okay. Some people golf, and have hundreds of clubs. Some people have thousands of books. Some people juggle geese (/Hoban Washburn). Some people like to go out in the woods or to the range and spend a productive afternoon running a couple of hundred rounds through their AR-15s. Some people own several, or more. It’s not the government’s business what law-abiding people do. Indeed, only the latter is enshrined in the Bill of Rights–“the right of The People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

It’s time to stand up. Liberty is eroded this way–one tiny step at a time. This time it’s a ban on scary-looking firearms. Maybe it will be something you love next. Maybe when it issomething you love, people won’t be able to stand up for you. Call, fax, and e-mail your members of Congress. Do it now. Be on record as standig up for liberty.

Hey 52, help your brothers out. Hugs and kisses, 48.

Blogger Zombie has taken upon itself to do what our current President should have done.

Declare Victory.

We have enforced the UN mandate. We have deposed, tried, and executed Saddam Hussein and brought justice to his henchman. We ended Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programs. We have exposed the mass graves. We have made it possible for a representative government to form. We have made possible free and fair elections. We have trained new Iraqi security forces. We have sent untold terrorists to their virgins. Stores are open, girls are learning, there is a future.

War’s over. We, the supporters of liberty, won, and so did the Iraqi people. Our troops have done the impossible.

Does that mean Iraq is a perfect example of parliamentary democracy? Of course not. Name a war that we won where the immediate postwar situation was all smiles and sunshine. Iraq has a long way to go, but it now has a fighting chance to get there.

In a sane world, President Bush would be organizing tickertape parades, days of thanksgiving, etc. He won’t. Mr. Obama certainly won’t. 

We need to do it for them.

November 22, 2008 is Victory in Iraq Day. Celebrate it:

*Thank a vet

*Write to an Iraqi blogger to encourage him

*Give money to the USO

*Tell others about Victory in Iraq

*Tell KIDS about Victory in Iraq. You may be the only person they ever hear it from.

*Remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for victory in Iraq

*Celebrate your OWN rights, especially those described in the Bill of Rights.

The Return of Change.gov

November 17, 2008

It’s baaaaaaaack!

After it was “disappeared” for a while after the election, Mr. Obama has put his agenda back up on his change.gov website. Let’s examine it, shall we?

From the Urban Policy Agenda:

Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

Remember what happened to Joe the Plumber? Mr. Obama was campaigning in Joe’s neighborhood, and he asked Joe to ask him a question. Joe asked his question, Mr. Obama answered with a Socialist comment, and then Joe’s life was destroyed. His federal records were accessed by at least 6 different people. They illegally looked at his tax records, his child support records, everything. They then leaked it to the press, who published it for the world to see. What will happen when it’s you? What happens when any federal employee can find out about your personally owned firearms?

Here’s the gun show loophole, for those who don’t know. Until Mr. Obama makes his judgment from on high, in some states it’s legal to bring a firearm to a gun show and sell it to another private individual with paperwork or background checks–you know, basic commerce between folks. Apparently that’s evil. It was going away regardless–McCain had said he’d close it, too, so use the chance you have–go to a gun show before January 20, 2009. Pay cash.

Childproof guns? Super. Responsible gun owners already lock up their weapons when not in use and educate their children about them. What Mr. Obama is talking about here is keeping guns locked at all time. I don’t have children–if I have to keep a childproof lock on any firearms I may own, their value in self-defense goes down to their utility as clubs.

The AWB? Keeping the world safe from varmint rifles with scary black composite hardware. Stock up on 30-round mags, ammo, and other accessories for your evil black rifle. They’re about to be worth a fortune. 

Here’s your mandatory volunteerism and a 300% increase in the size of Americorps.

From the Homeland Security Agenda:

Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: Support efforts to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities. Give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability.

Canada has a human rights “star chamber” that was used to harass bloggers like Ezra Levant. Coming soon, to a country near you…Under what part of the United States Constitution is this even legal?

This isn’t paranoia. This isn’t a right-winger’s black helicopter fantasy of what the future may hold. This is Mr. Obama’s very clearly stated policy and agenda. During a time of two wars and unprecedented economic difficulty, Mr. Obama is going to concentrate on reigning in the rights of the American people.

Congratulations, 52! We’re about to have change we can believe in. Hugs and kisses, 48.

*Or, John Galt Field-Strips an SKS.

Some background: I didn’t get into the gun thing until about 7 years ago–my family didn’t hunt or keep firearms for self-defense. Since then, I’ve grown to really enjoy shooting, and I acquired a nice little battery of boomsticks. After Mr. Obama’s election, I decided to get something that shot 7.62 x 39 in anticipation of either a foreign-ammunition ban or an “assault weapons” ban. At the gun show I attended, the AK-47s were crap, but I saw a nice 1952 Russian Tula Arsenal SKS with a 1 on the front sight. I got a good deal on it.

Here’s the problem–I knew Jack about Commie guns. Today when I was out shopping I picked up a maintenance guide and was able to field-strip the weapon with no real difficulty. I’ve started cleaning it (there goes my dream that it was unfired), and I can’t believe the schmutz in it, but it’s cleaning up easily, so I think the weapon’s been well-maintained. Firing pin moves easily in the bolt, which as far as I’ve read is the only real problem people ever have with this weapon–when they were prepared for export they were coated in Cosmoline, which sometimes caused the firing pin to stick, causing the SKS to slamfire–fire all 10 rounds in quick succession.

It’s an attractive weapon–sort of a red lacquered wooden stock with Red Star, bayonet, very basic looking. It’s constructed out of equal parts of Win and Commie. I’ve seen pictures of SKSs that have been rendered tacticool, and even though it’s heavy, I don’t think I’ll go that route. It just doesn’t look like the sort of weapon that should have a composite stock and a 5000-round mag with a huge scope and Surefire light mounted on it. It is what it is. I’m looking forward to firing it, but I still have a couple of hours of cleaning left to do. I know, without pictures it didn’t happen, but I do not yet have a digital camera, a situation I hope to remedy at Christmas. 🙂

Is there any doubt now that there would have been riots had Mr. Obama lost? Just witness the behavior of the “No on California Proposition C” idiots. Proposition C was a ballot question asking whether the California Constitution should be amended to ban gay “marriage.” The people voted, and they voted for the ban. Ever since then, opponents of the ban have been protesting in California, especially against LDS churches, and now the protests are spreading–they had one in St. Louis today even though Missouri has had a gay marriage ban for 4 years. If a small minority is this incensed at the will of the people, imagine what would have happened if Mr. Obama had lost.

I do not care what gay people choose to do. I believe they should have the same rights as co-habitating straight couples–they should be able to have inheritance rights, be able to get power of attorney, visit each other in the hospital, etc. That is only just. But they are not married. Marriage is between a man and a woman–any other definition leads to a slippery slope. The behavior of the protesters toward the Mormons has been reprehensible. Fact is, the Mormon Church is not big enough in California to have made a difference. A large cross-section of people voted for the ban–the protesters know the Mormons are peace-loving and will not fight back as they are smeared. I’m usually not a huge fan of amending constitutions, but when pressure groups do an end-run around the will of the people by going to the courts, or when rogue mayors like San Francisco’s Gavin Newsom decide to ignore the will of the people, that’s the only recourse left to them. It says a lot about the protesters that they cannot respect the will of the people.

Disaster preparedness tip of the day:If you have friends and relatives who wouldn’t be totally freaked out about it, consider buying or building them a basic “go bag” for Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, or Festivus. Take a small bag, like a bike messenger bag. Put in a small knife, some portable food like nuts or jerky, a small first aid kit, a bunch of lighters and some candles, a gallon of water and some iodine tabs for purifying more, a flashlight, an emergency space blanket, some basic fishing equipment, baby wipes, and whatever other small items you can think of. Tell them to add some cash to the bag and keep it in the trunk of the car or in the front closet. It may save a life someday. If you think your gift recipients will look at you like Joe Survivalist if you do that, be a little more subtle. Buy people hand crank radios and flashlights, car emergency kits, warm sweaters, and other useful things built to last. They’ll thank you for it.

Vital stats: None, because it’s a weekend, but we got our first flurries of the fall. May be a hard winter…