Friday, October 29, 2004

A Slow Friday Night in Chilly November.

Not much to blog about today; my family spent the afternoon at my wife's company "Autumn Festival" - some really cool costumes were to be seen and the different departments went all out to decorate their areas.

I spent the morning in search of the last can of spray-on black haircolor.

What else? Oh...the Al Qaqaa explosives scandal blew away in the face of logic, proportion, and the words of the man who probably removed the stuff for the Army...if there was even any U.N. recorded material in the facility.

John Kerry, for want of a campaign theme, resurrected Bob Dole's famous "Wake up!, Wake Up, America!" rallying cry.

Dole didn't come across as so hysterical, though.

I'm missing something. Ah. The comeback of Osama bin Ladin. How careless of me.

I refer you to Belmont Club, where I find myself once again in complete agreement with Wretchard.

Make sure you follow the link back to Roger L. Simon in Wretchard's comments. I don't believe the figure in the video is OBL either. And if it is, it wouldn't matter to me at all.

We are in a war. You, me, the guy down the street you can't stand, your mom across the country, some 20 year old specialist at an FOB in Iraq...all of us. What happens in a war is killing, dying, and eventual victory or defeat. For the last eighteen months we have marked time here in the United States due to the requirement of the commander in chief to campaign for his office. I regret the lost opportunities and the frustrating drag of empty days and ceaseless hyperbole but I accept them just like I used to accept cold powdered scrambled eggs on February mornings in Korea, right up on the DMZ. There are things that have to happen. Bush taking the necessary steps to win this election has been vital to accomplishing his goal of transforming a quarter of the world's population from barbarism and deadly threat into neighbors we can live with. I accept that.

I've been too busy to hit more than my core blogs and media sources tonight. It sure seems like a lot of people are at loggerheads after the Assman the American Jihadi video/OBL Al Jazeera shows. Some think we are going to get hit tomorrow, other's think it's a hoax perpetrated by muslim fellow-travellers not connected with the Al Q organization. Still others attempt to assign political weight to one side or another in how these presentations will effect our electorate.

Ballocks to the lot of you. I buried my first personally known victim of terror in 1983. As the years rolled by and the scope and barbarity of attacks increased I waited for the day when I would once again lose someone who wasn't just a name in text or a video image on TV. Khobar Towers, The African Embassys...I watched the enemy lean into the wire a little more each time. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, myself, my wife, and our two daughters were four hours out from boarding an airplane from Salt Lake to Boston's Logan Airport, enroute to Burlington Vermont. I watched the second aircraft strike the WTC and saw the same pictures everyone else did...and felt like I was watching my family die.

When Bush was sworn in, he asked just one thing of me. He asked me to be a citizen. This was long before steel tarrifs or judicial obstruction or this war we are fighting. To be a citizen is not to benefit from the largesse of government or to be shielded from life's challenges - it means to stand with other citizens and accomplish greater things than we could ever do on our own. Citizenship is not a passive quality. It is a responsibility incumbent on the individual to do their part for the greater good.

There is a challenge before us - to change the world we live in in ways thought impossible even three years ago. We cannot do it as squabbling egos scrambling to get a larger piece of the available pie. We must accept, and embrace, our part in the struggle and sacrifice sure to come. Will we be attacked this weekend?

No fucking clue here, buddy ro.

None at all. I do know that after the shooting stops on a battlefield the proper thing to do is evacuate the wounded and dead and then resupply, reorganize, and proceed to accomplish the mission. We are all on the battlefield, and yes Virginia, it's a shooting war with dead, wounded, and hills to be taken. The last eighteen months have served to obscure that reality for some. Not for me.

I've lived the same life since '83. I hope I can stop sometime in the future. It won't be soon - and we'll just pay more in the long run by electing a commander patently incapable of leading the fight. We'll see where we stand on Tuesday.

Until then, have a Happy Halloween weekend.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Update: Tactical, not Political

A commentor on Roger L. Simon's blog asked if I was suggesting that al Qaeda was behind this story. The answer is no, not at all. The situation before us is too subtle to have originated in a cave. This idea came out of a beauracrat's dream.

I never implied that, or intended to. I responded to the commentor at length here.

Tactical. Yes, Tactical. Not Political

The New York Times, inhouse print organ of the Democrat party, on Monday published a story alleging that high-tech explosives had been spirited away from an unsecured storage site in Iraq. The imputation was that the material was removed since the invasion of Iraq, after the responsibility for securing the materials had passed into coalition hands. If you read the story closely you will notice that the last U.N. inspection occurred at least three months before the war began - and I am not aware of any specific inspection dates happening at that site that day, just that that timeframe represents the last of the U.N. inspectors leaving before the war. Anybody who stumbles in here, please advise if you know more information.

NBC news contradicted the report that evening (via the Kerry Spot), referencing their report filed 10 April 2003 by an embed with the 101st Airborne which noted that the troops searched for but did not find the explosives in question - nor did they see any intact IEAE inspection seals anywhere. Notable - I would say ridiculous - quantities of conventional ordnance were onsite, but no IAEA sealed bunkers were found and neither was any RDX or HMX.

Within twentyfour hours the rat line (Kerry Spot, again) the story followed into publication became known. The U.N. told CBS, another former news organization now doing Democrat party propaganda, who scrambled (via Drudge) to use the story on another 60 Minutes hit piece on the eve of the election. They decided, for reasons unknown, to pass the story to the Times.

The Kerry campaign leapt out of the gate this morning with a fullcourt press and stump script damning the administration's incompetence, and word is that they intend to shake and bake a thirty second ad (Drudge) on top of their stump speeches and the news blizzard this story is getting.

Now NBC has nuanced Miklasweski's report from 2003. Read the entire Kerry Spot link, and then click the "home" link at the top and read the statements emailed in to Jim Geraghty by men who were there (and others in the loop) on the military side of this story. The U.N./IAEA maintains, via a statement by a NY Times spokesman, that they found the seals intact back in April.

Who are you going to believe? Mohamed ElBaradei, who knows that the U.S. will prevent his reappointment if Bush is reelected, and the U.N., who Bush will most certainly continue to embarrass and render irrelevant in world affairs, or the statements of men who were there and their superiors in DoD?

I've never used explosives more exotic than C4 or CompB in blocks. What would it take to move 380 tons of pure RDX? Captain Ed wonders about logistics, too.

The U.N. is at best a spectator in the war on terror. It would be a reach to even credit them with being a force for democracy in the world. Kosovo languishes in protectorate status after almost six years and Darfur bleeds as I write this. Their interests in the short term are absolutely served by a Kerry win next week. In the long the long term, a Bush presidency might just reduce the stature of the U.N. to even less than the United Way for NGO's they are already. He will surely be putting fewer zeroes on any checks we write to them after the election.

There was thought to be over 600,000 tons (via Belmont Club) of conventional munitions/explosives in Iraq before we ever invaded. The use of scavenged weapons for constructing IED's is undoubtedly a serious threat in Iraq...but why the frantic effort to exploit this story, in the face of its contested veracity, now? The Kerry ad referenced above is implicit:

"The kind used for attacks in Iraq, and for terrorist bombings."

The U.N. snapped the ball but it sure looks like friendly MSM and the Kerry campaign had the play early. Why?

Kerry can't give reasons to vote for him, so he attacks. That's traditional - almost reflexive in fact, at this stage of Democrat campaigns. They don't have another DUI story, the ANG line has been flogged to death, and this damned economy hasn't crumbled in the face of $55.00 a barrel crude. This does have all the hallmarks of an October surprise. Did Kerry's people bother to ask themselves why they got handed this story now?

Syria's Assad knows that he's on G.W. Bush's to-do list for the next administration. He also has an ambassador in that august body. Not too long ago he had a non-voting position on the security council. He also hosts Hamas and Hizbollah in downtown Damascus. The U.N. knows that coalition access to Syrian dumps, and the Bekka Valley in Lebanon, will answer a whole lot of questions about Iraq's WMD programs.

The elections in Spain were derailed by targeted bombings that occurred three days before the ballots were cast.

My conclusion: The chances of us being bombed on Friday or shortly thereafter have increased dramatically. And if we are bombed, we'll see RDX/HDX or derivative materials used in the weapons.

You can buy RDX off the shelf anywhere in the world. You can identify the compound in hours. I wonder how long to determine the manufacturer, if it is even possible to do?

Monday, October 25, 2004

IOU's or Cash?

Here's an interesting article about Social Security.

I'm a tail-end babyboomer. I don't expect to see squat from what I've paid into the system. Do you?

Last Call for Politics

The election is eight days out.

I have followed the campaigns. I have been a participant in the discussion everywhere from coffeeshops to sidewalks, to the banks of trout streams, and of course here on the web. I have supported my candidates, my PACs, and the NRA.

The war against Islamofascism did not begin on 9/11 - that day marks when we began to fight back with a defined strategic objective. The Jacksonian in me is highly skeptical of the Bush Doctine's prospects for success. It's not that I doubt the transformative power of representative democracy - far, far from it. The dangerous weakness in the strategy springs from the fact that roughly half of our own polity is either disdainful of free market capitalism and democracy as a system for us (much less tribal cultures who have no traditions of individual liberty or constitutionally restrained government) or is unabashedly willing to exploit the obstacles, mistakes, and tactical reverses inseparable from war for their own short-term political gain. We fight with one foot in a bucket. Electing Kerry would effectively remove the bucket from our foot and put it over our head.

On November second we will choose between two drastically different men and party philosophies. The president has carried the fight to Islamic terrorists where they live instead of waiting for them to hit us again. He has published victory conditions based on the faith that freedom is in fact within the reach of all men, not just certain cultures or religions and an implicit recognition of the evil facing us. He has stood solidly on his primary responsibilities of office to protect and defend this nation in the face of deadly danger and at great political cost. He acted in good faith to address EVERY campaign agenda he ran on the first time around and who did try to reestablish principled compromise as the operating norm for government decision.

His a safe loser for Hillary Clinton. His party, once it discovered that media would decline to seriously question the conduct of their last president as it related to the growing terrorist threat in the nineties, embraced obstruction and fearmongering as strategies for their own benefit. Kerry's entire career of public service has been unremarkable for either legislative or leadership accomplishments. He has been on the wrong side of every foreign or domestic policy initiative for twenty years, ranging from resisting the Reagan strategy that led to the defeat of the Soviet Union to coddling Central American communists to being in the forefront of every Democrat effort to redistribute wealth for political gain, weaken property rights, and disarm citizens. Most egregiously, he has participated in his party's efforts to divide America into balkanized factions for exploitation vice appealing to our strengths as a nation of free citizens. No man who would be president should ever place international opinion above the interests of this nation as he so clearly has and intends to do, and he has demonstrated over twenty years his willingness to put his own political fortunes first whenever making a political decision. His proposed strategy for confronting world terror subverts U.S. interest to international organizations and states that have already demonstrated their interests are clearly elsewhere.

In an arena observed by journalists and media outlets driven by objective pursuit of facts he would be fifteen or twenty points behind. Instead, the media elite see their future entwined with his and have acted accordingly. That's not my opinion - it's the opinion of the media organism itself. If you've followed the campaigns you know what I'm talking about. I'm not linking anything today - you can look back over Hugh Hewitt or Powerline or Roger L. Simon or the Kerry Spot to refresh your memory, or simply Google up "media bias worth points" and follow the links.

We can afford the odd senator who shows up for the perks and status without performing his duties in good faith. We cannot afford a president who does the same.

I pray for my country, and my children. I lost my first friends to terror in 1983. I do not think they will be the last regardless of who wins this first presidential election since we began to fight back...but they will not have died in vain if we choose leadership committed to winning, and not managing, the struggle.

Yes, Virginia, there are clear differences between the candidates and their parties. I believe that Bush will win election with 300 ECV and 57% of the popular vote. I've felt that would be the case since the first debate and have seen nothing to change my mind. Kerry is weaker than Gore was in swing states AND the states Gore did win and has lost traction with black Americans, Jews, and women. Even with the looming threat of coordinated fraud and the clear intent of the Democrats to win or grievously damage the electoral process trying, it's not going to be very close. The roster of domestic issues that must be addressed ranges from tort reform to entitlement programs to USSC appointments. I believe that these issues have been neglected by the media because most people already know which side of our political spectrum will more effectively address them. Not because of any one candidate's platform, but because the trend of public policy over the last three decades has shifted to place more conservative office holders in power at local, state, and national offices. All the trends outside of the presidential race polls are clearly following that path and my personal opinion about the presidential polls is that they are at best inaccurate, at worst dishonest, and that this race isn't nearly as close as we are being led to believe.

This will be my last political post until after the election. If you aren't into home remodeling, cannons, cats, or short fiction you probably won't find much here for the next week.

Good luck to you. And don't forget to VOTE!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Ever Wonder Why Kerry and His Ilk Makes Your Skin Crawl?

Gerard Van der Leun has the answer, over at American Digest.

He opens with scripture eerily prophetic in regard to our present situation:

While they promise them liberty,
they themselves are the servants of corruption:
for of whom a man is overcome,
of the same is he brought in bondage.
-- The Second Epistle of Peter 2:19

...and what follows is devastating.

Read it. Pass it on.

I cannot come close to Mr. Van der Leun where prose or analysis is concerned. I agree with his conclusions one hundred percent.

The barbarians cannot win this war. We can lose it, though. We surely could. And electing Kerry - or allowing the Democrats AS THEY ARE NOW LED any majority in any branch of government could well be a killing blow.

Abraham Lincoln was right:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

The issue he was addressing in 1858 was slavery. I believe the choice we make this November will affect our futures on a scale not seen since our Civil War.

Eleven days to go.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sure Feels Like a Monday Here

I just dropped a pencil. I was trying to initial some study/reading logs for the girls while simultaneously preaching about the virtues of made beds, clean rooms, completed chores, and the benefits of cheerful cooperation getting ready for school when I lofted the pencil. Juggled once, reaching stab, missed, it was falling to the floor, spin in the command chair and lunge to catch it...and I've just given the corner of the CPU a Liverpool Kiss that would kill a UK soccer hooligan. Heinlein was right - all humor is based on pain.

The Goddesses are howling.

Michael Moore will be in town at Utah Valley State College this afternoon. Scalpers are getting a hundred dollars a pop for tickets. KSL Radio has announced that Moore will have Roseanne Barr on stage as a surprise guest. Sounds like a Godfather horse head moment for the people who bought tickets. I won't be there. I was supposed to hunt today and tomorrow.

It has been raining here for two days. That means two days of snow up in the mountains, which means I'm not going out. The last time I hunted that area in snow I was a passenger in a short wheelbase Toyota four wheel drive truck wearing 33" knobbies and chains all the way around. We didn't see any deer (that was the season) but I took several pictures of dead Fords and Chevys upside down in the trees below the road. The reason I replaced my J55 Landcruiser wagon was to put an end to those midnight phone calls to the One True Love asking her to send out friends with shovels and winches to help me recover from yet another instance of a man denying his limitations. And to stop subsidizing mechanics' kids' Dartmouth experiences, to be honest.

I can't get in that kind of trouble with the Mighty 'Burb. And that's o.k.

My head hurts. And the hard drive on the CPU sounds angry, too. Ouch.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Madam, I am happy to see you...

...and yes, that is a cannon in my pocket.

If you've waded through my profile you already know I like shooting sports. The top of my armory is a black powder cannon.

Think of stamp collecting, only louder.

One of Roger L. Simon's frequent commentors, richard mcenroe, asked for a description. Here it is:

Our cannon is 42" long from cascabel (the little ball on the breech) to the muzzle, made of three thicknesses of high-carbon steel pipe that have been press fitted, internally welded, then turned on a lathe to give 14" diameter at the breech, stepping down twice to six inches at the muzzle. It's a 1.6" caliber smootbore (yes, designed originally with a golf ball in mind) and shoots one pound lead balls or cylindrical slugs made from pipe sections filled with lead. It sits in a naval carriage - a box with four wheels, vice the more elegant and easier to maneuver field carriage with the two wagon wheels. Carriage and tube together weigh almost three hundred pounds. I have honed the barrel over the years to the point that I shoot roundball almost exclusively; with three ounces of 4FA or 1fg blackpowder it will throw the ball into a +/- thirty foot circle at five hundred yards if I fire from a smooth surface and use the gunner's quadrant (and other tools) correctly. The accuracy trick with a smoothbore is to arrive at the proper charge and wadding combination that sends the ball out on a ring of expanding gases, not hammering back and forth against the bore and leaving the muzzle on an off-axis rebound.

It's an addiction. I did gunnery for all manner of towed and SP artillery (105mm to 8in, plus mortars) for a good while but there's nothing like the rotten egg smell you get in your hair and clothes from a long day shooting black powder arms.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

. . . - is for Victory

Here's a fine essay on words and what they mean from Varifrank.

I'm buying a cricket on Monday after I get back from the elk hunt. One is the challenge, two is the countersign. See you in the bocage.

h/t:Wichita Boy.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Vodkapundit has posted a great essay, "It's How You Play The Game", about election fraud.

I agree with him. Further, I propose that there is no national Democrat party beyond the people authorized to sign checks at the National Committee. If Terry McAullife were to split for Aruba some moonless night the party faithful would find their party to consist of an overpriced office building, some mailing lists, and a fax machine. There is no coherent alliance of progressive individuals dedicated to public service or the greater good of the nation any more - just a wildly disparate group of competing agendas scrambling for ever dwindling power, and the receding class of professional politicians that owe their offices to them. The true herd of cats.

What we see here is just another example of the pre-production work for Hillary '08. Nothing more. If Kerry had been able to actually lead his party vice the shameless hollow pandering he has executed just to keep his base he might have had some way to articulate a positive alternative to the Bush administration. That's an impossible mission. He had to take Dean's base from the beginning and with that base comes the requirement you be anti-capitalist, big government, and believe that America is evil.

The price of conforming to these orthodoxies has cost the Democrats power for over twenty years. They cost to the nation was measured in balkanization, declining public education, and the rise of an entitlement demographic that grew exponentially. These days, the closer to national power a Democrat candidate tries to get, he gets further away from the remaining concentrated dependency/victim class urban constituencies that consistently return their checkwriters to office. Bill Clinton ran in '92 not because the time was right for a liberal renaissance but because he was afraid that there wouldn't be a party left to exploit should Bush have a second term. Clinton was even smart enough to cultivate the DLC credentials and introduce the 'new democrat' talking point specifically to separate himself from the moribund D.C. elite. He wanted to be president; the party cared more about having a party member in the oval office more than what kind of man they were actually dealing with. The media was desperate for a democrat president.

The base of the Democrat party objects to the concepts that have made it possible for this country to arrive at this place as the most free nation on the planet, and the last superpower. Their own ideas failed in execution from the thirties through the seventies and the long road back to individual responsibility and the end of generational welfare is one they refuse to acknowledge as a success.

All indications are that they intend to sabotage these elections and run the very real risk of destroying the trust and confidence of the wider electorate in elections. This in a time of war. They've abandoned legislating their agendas in favor of judicial fiat for over two decades already. With Bush's reelection they see the end of their last instrument of power - Bush will certainly appoint constitutional constructionists to the Federal bench. He will also privatize wide swathes of the entitlement swamp, force accountability into public education, and push hard for tort reform. He'll probably cut taxes again. And he won't pander to groups based on color or ethnicity; he will speak to the nation as a whole because that was what we were intended to be: citizens united by a dream of freedom. Not groups to be farmed for votes.

Every tax cut makes us more free. Every tax cut means less money for the federal government players to redistribute and overdraw on. Every tax cut carries the defense of forcing politicians to go on record when they try to raise them. Every move that strengthens personal property rights and rewards individual efforts to excel weakens any chance that the Democrats can recreate the entitlement herd so vital to their agenda.

There should be NO surprise at the tactics and strategies being employed by the Democrats now, and what we see coming with manufactured class/race conflicts sure to come. Kerry must lose this round, but for McAullife and the Clintons the real need is to keep the hate stoked for the next four years.

People who hate don't think, you see, and that's exactly what the Top Tier wants to exploit come 2008. In four years the heavy lifting will have been done just like it was in 1992; we may even try to celebrate the end of history again. What happened to G.H.W. Bush was what happened to Winston Churchill. There's nothing that says we won't screw up and do it again.

They have nothing to offer. Not in the past, not now, not even in time of war. Their politics is about power, not duty. They can only take.

I haven't voted a straight ticket since '88. I think it is time for me to do it again, though. If the Democrats are determined to destroy the system they cannot compete in, they should be excluded from government until they can bring themselves to participate in, not sabotage, the debate.

The Ultimate John Kerry Ad

The OTL sent me this. Enjoy!

I'm not hunting today - homestretch on framing and moving some more drywall instead. The weather looks to hold through the weekend, so it's off to Strawberry tomorrow. My daughter may have her grade up by tonight.

It's not about putting meat in the freezer. It's about the time spent with my girl.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Tonight's Debate

Will not be blogged here. Enough is enough.

I am locked in a death battle with my basementremodel.

I wonder why Kerry's Navy seperation is packed with the odor of three day dead tuna but am comfortable with the fact we'll never know - unless it looks like he's got a chance to win. Then a helpful fax from Chapaqua will drive the stake well and truly home. One of the most depressing aspects of the Kerry dog and pony show was the monumental waste of time its been. Then there's the subgutter rhetoric and poisoned political arena...but that was as much the design as having a zero like Kerry end up in the catbird seat.

Even if Kerry was seperated under censure because of his treasonous contacts with the North Vietnamese (and who ever else he felt like sucking up to) by a mean-spirited Nixon still doesn't change the fact that he's a treasonous flighty bastard with zero credibility as a candidate for president. Or as dog catcher. He is uniquely qualified for elected office from Massachussets, though. Let him stay there.

Leaving before the sun tomorrow to hunt Strawberry again. The Eldest Goddess has not raised her Algebra grade, so will be in school.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Library Run 10/12

Flashman and the Angels of the Lord, George MacDonald Fraser
Rogue State, William C. Triplett II
Gods and Generals, Jeff Sharra
A Wodehouse Bestiary, P.G. Wodehouse, ed. D.R. Bensen

I hit the library about every two weeks.

The Department of Homeland Security probably thinks I'm harmless. Or on crack. If they are looking. I read more Edward Said in 2001 and 2002 than any man should be forced to endure in a lifetime. On the other hand I discovered Victor Davis Hanson at the same time so it worked out for the best.

Story Time

The man shambled by the fields of an English autumn. The sound of tractors in the fields rose and faded through the dense hedges on both sides of the road. The macadam was smooth and flat and the day was pleasantly cool. He stopped frequently
to rest. The tall boots he wore were heavy and crowned with wooly sheepskin. The left one was torn and the wool crusted and brown.

Trevor McAig was a Canadian abroad. The faint rumble of an airplane engine beyond the trees froze him in his tracks until he recognised the familiar Merlin rythm; it was the tired sound that came from a Hurricane that had flown at emergency power too often. He flew a Hurricane MkII for Fighter Command of the Royal Air Force. He knew that there was more to it than that but he had no clear memory of what came before. His life had begun on 10 May, 1940. Now in September he was a thousand years old. He was twentytwo.

Trevor stopped opposite a gap in the hedge to rest. A tractor rolled across the broad field. A farmer was rapidly smoothing over one of the brown patches that marred the flat plain of smooth, short grass. There were dozens of these patches,
as well as unfilled craters, scattered into the distance. The farmer drove off, swinging wide around the holes, to begin again at the next one. Another tractor towed a skip heaped high with dark, dense soil for filling the craters. Uniformed
ratings walked in a long line abreast collecting jagged chunks of metal. A truck idled slowly along behind the line. The men and the farmers split their attention between searching the ground and searching the horizons. A shout from the walking line brought a crew of men from the truck to a smallish crater. They gently tapped in wooden stakes festooned with white ribbons to mark the site - an unexploded bomb had been found. The line moved on, and torn steel clattered into the truck for delivery to salvage. The shrapnel would be recast into weapons. The breeze stank of diesel, gasoline, smoke, and cordite. This was Biggin Hill, the shattered home of of 32 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Required Reading

While I was out hunting, John Kerry declared Terrorism equitable with prostitution and gambling as some form of chronic ill in a long New York Times Magazine interview. No, there's no link. I don't link to anything the Times (or CBS) publishes.

The Volohk Conspiracy has a take (via Instapundit), but Mr.Lileks wrote the words in his Monday Bleat I can only wish I were capable of putting on paper:

Tony Soprano doesn’t take over schools and shoot kids in the back. The doxies of the Bunny Ranch don’t train at flight schools to ram brothels into skyscrapers.

Read it all. Please.

UPDATE: Powerline quotes Rudolph Guiliani.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Hunting Day One

We were on the ground at eight a.m. this morning. Conditions were cool, with clouds that promised rain for later. We parked at the top of a steep rutted trail about a mile off of Trail Hollow road. There were only two hunters on the entire road; we stopped where it ended and spent a quiet half hour getting our gear organized. With so few hunters in the area we could actually expect to see game just as soon as we left the rig. I spent about ten minutes giving my daughter a map and compass class before we took off into the boondocks. Orient the map, apply the declination correction, shooting azimuths, how to use reciprocal bearings for backtracking, journey logging by bearing and estimated distance, the importance of checking your back trail frequently, and for the capper we did a three point resection to figure out where we were on the map. It was easy to do. Even with all the high ground being similar, the obvious solution jumped out when our triangle was about the size of a BB and put us at the end of the road, concurring with the map.

We climbed through stands of quaking aspen and intermittent fields of molted chokecherry bushes. Our plan was to advance due east to the top of a four hundred foot ridge (at a saddle), then hook quietly to the north along the crest for a mile, with thirty or forty minute stands wherever good sight lines opened up. The wind was in our face climbing up - GOOD - and the rain started with intermittent lightning and thunder about halfway up. Not so good, but the lightning/thunder interval was never closer than four seconds. By the time we reached the saddle we had put on ponchoes and were carrying our rifles muzzle down beneath them.

My daughter really enjoyed the trip and so did I. The pace was easy and even with the modest climb we were getting to see some great country. An aspen forest in Utah is almost like a wall in an Egyptian tomb. It seems that everyone who passes through has to cut initials and a date in the youngest aspen they pass. After five, ten, or even thirty years the scars become black bas relief monuments. "Roger '73" was the oldest one we saw. "J.D.doesn'tlove A.C. was kind of sad; somebody climbed back up the mountain to carve "doesn't" after the original message was posted. Windows into other lives, I guess.

The saddle we were climbing is an intersection on an elk migration route between two watersheds. The well beaten game trail we shadowed on the way up joins with three others from the opposite side; we thought we could smell the musk but it may have just been the forest. As we crested the first saddle, we heard movement to our front, crossing to the left. After skittering up and left we caught sight of two yearling antlerless elk just entering into a stand of pines.

No, I didn't look back at my back trail before going after them. Nor did I whip out my compass and notepad to tick off a waypoint. The elk were going the way we had intended to go so we gave them five minutes and then slowly picked our way after them. They were young enough to probably be part of a larger herd. In the damp shadows of the forest, we call this "optimism". We spent almost an hour under the cover of the pines, stopping two times to watch some good sight lines into meadows that I didn't remember seeing on the map. By this time the clouds were in the treetops and the rain had increased to a steady drizzle, mixed with flurries of frozen stuff. This kind of weather drives elk to ground. I knew that we faced a good chance of this kind of weather, so I was carrying my M1 Garand in case we actually busted one off a bed. The entire area beneath the pines was dotted with elk beds, tracks, and spoor.

The oldest Goddess asked how I knew if it was fresh or not. I told her the fresh stuff tastes sweet. I love the looks she gives me at times like that. I didn't tell her that it was the truth of course. In desperate times with little or no sign, there are extremes of analysis you can use, but we were tramping through an elk resort during maid service and a plumbing incident. We hoped to catch them moving from the bar to the dining room since it was obvious nobody was in their rooms...

Two hours away from camp we hit a beautiful meadow. It looked like the clouds might be lifting so we set up on a little knoll overlooking two different drainages and snacked a bit. I decided to do a map spot as soon as I could see some peaks and pulled out the map. I had the Quad map for Strawberry SE...which meant that the SW that I needed was back there on the front seat of the truck with the...checking..yep, pencil, scale, and notepad I had used for the class.

The compass was still on its lanyard, down inside my shirt, where it had been for the entire hunt since the class. *sigh* Well, we'd started out climbing a ridge on a due east bearing (hey - did you shoot that bearing or just bought the map spot...?) then topped it and generally followed a contour running to our left give or take, ergo we should be facing northish ...that way.

Azimuth reading 170 degrees. Emphatically southish. Clouds coming down again. Take binoculars off chest harness, ditch the large hunting knife, hand old reliable chunk of steel M1 to the Goddess, unhook the waist pack with the camera and radio, and step off ten casual feet to check again. The bearing remained unchanged - south is south, and no, it's not the equipment that's screwed up.

Hmmm. "Oldest Goddess, which direction is that way?" pointing up the bearing line I had measured. "I don't know dad. Give me the compass and I'll tell you."

Damn. She had just graduated from Hunter Safety the week before. I told her I didn't know where we were. She asked for the map. I told her where the map was. That's NOT the look I try to generate from her. She has a lot of her mom, in case I haven't mentioned that before. I got a lesson from Hunter Safety - STOP. Sit down, Think, Observe, and Plan. We settled down on a stump and listened to the rain beat on our ponchoes for a bit. I attempted to use our Motorola only to find that somebody else had keyed the security lockout so I was stuck with our regular family channel (six, sideband one). We did the Stop and Sit think to the highest marks...observe was kind of a win/lose scenario. Awful quiet out there - no road sounds was right at the top of the list. No gunfire either, which wasn't a loss since the clouds and canyons made any concrete guess at direction impossible. On the win side, I understood what had steered me off into the hinterlands (besides the atrocious carelessness already noted): the wind was in my face. Still. And had been the whole time except for the time spent in the thickest of the pines. No sun, no mountain tops, and two or three minor rain squalls...and you always want to hunt upwind. Duh. I was pace man on a patrol in the Mojave Desert one moonless Marine Corps night, and the exact same thing happened. No moon, flat terrain, one missed compass bearing, and a four-point shift in the wind put us almost a kilometer from where we thought we should have ended up.

We had bags of daylight left, so we just unloaded our rifles and listened for traffic. Why unload the rifles? Because you don't shoot a four to six hundred pound animal when you don't have the first clue which way you need to drag it, that's why. Eventually we caught the haunting call of a Chevy 350 through the trees to the EAST (see, Goddess, that way is EAST!...another look) and made our way down to Trail Hollow road, a mile beyond the point that we had turned off to go up to our parking spot. After we were back at the truck I pulled out the right map and figured that as close as I could tell we actually completed the better part of a mile and 200 degrees of a circle somewhere under those pines. Distance covered in six hours was about five miles (plus the one mile lift we got back to our turn off). That's too much travel for most hunting, yes, but we intended today to be a scout as much as a hunt. The rain made taking long stands a losing proposition.

We had a fine day.

We stopped at the Strawberry Reservoir Visitor's Center on our way out. I talked with a couple of rangers. I showed the Goddess the Kokanee Salmon all dolled up in their orange spawning colors in the creek. We chatted with some Texans on holiday and then headed back to the truck. I took off my new hunter orange ball cap and saw the two inch by five inch "ON SALE/$2.50" Walmart tag poking straight up like a damned Minnie Pearl prop anchored to the button on the top.

The Goddess laughed. Sometimes I really hate heredity.

Tomorrow I'm helping a friend work on his deck. Friday he called and said he needed to replace a rail section and maybe four or five deck boards. Saturday morning he called and said a few of the joists looked questionable. Saturday night the message on the machine was that the uprights might be sound enough to salvage, but everything else was trash. This is payback. He was with me when we mapped the circuits in my basement for my modest remodel project. Frankenstein's lab made more sense and he helped me fix it. So tomorrow is deck day.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

It's Elk Season in Utah

Tomorrow morning the elder Goddess and I will be walking the hills south of Strawberry Resevoir in central Utah. Look for us in Sec 7 (the red numbers in the middle of the squares) right in the middle of the map.

It's her first hunt carrying a rifle. We both have tags for spike elk. This morning we zeroed the Remington 700 in .30'06, the M1 Garand (same caliber/match iron sights), and a Swedish Mauser Model 98 in 6.5mmx55mm (Iron milstandard). Elder Goddess dislikes the scoped Remington's kick only slightly less than that of my family of vintage Winchester shotguns. I am sadly out of practice; shot well enough for getting good dope on the guns but NOTHING like I used to even five years ago.

*note to self: Maybe if you dragged your armory out more than once every three months you might retain proficiency. Pistols monthly are great - but the rifle exists to keep the pistol in the holster.*

Before my hunting partners drifted to other states I would start preparing for the October hunts in late March or early April, when the snow began to come off the places I like to shoot. I'd have reloaded most of my available components for all my iron during the winter, with a modest cache of brass left to try new loads mentioned by friends or publications. The rifles would have been stripped to the screws (except for the scope on the Rem - never mess with a Leupold solid base that is already working) during the depths of January, cleaned and tweaked, and ready to roll.

The Remington was an early Christmas present from the wife. I was ready to execute my first Utah deer hunt with the beloved Garand. From the first time I shot it it had been an amazingly dependable and accurate weapon. Don't' take my word for it - ten thousand dead Nazis can't be wrong, etc, etc. She doesn't do rifles but she did think that it was more than I should have to carry up and down the hills. So she surprised me with a Gart Brother's Special - rifle, scope, and sling in a package.

Two days later she came downstairs to find the rifle exploded across the work bench. The broken Simmons rings were in a cup. Wood shavings covered the floor. The last inch and a half of the original butt was gone - cut off to allow me to mount a Pachmeyer recoil pad with a slight offset from perpendicular to the long axis of the rifle that would fit my draw length exactly when shooting right handed. I had relieved the receiver part of the stock to make ready for the Acra-glass bedding. The forestock channel was rasped out and then sanded and sealed to keep the wood from bearing on the barrel. I had ground out the pillar that surrounded the bolt that pinned the barrel into the stock and replaced it with an oversized Delrin bushing. The trigger assembly was in pieces, ready to be assembled after each pin had been rolled across a microfine gunsmith's stone, then kissed with GunSlick lube. The entire basement reeked of epoxy from the bedding compound.

I hadn't fired the rifle yet. I am male. If I haven't taken it apart it's not really mine, right?

I pointed out she would often try on ten pairs of shoes to end up with a pair of flat heel black pumps but that didn't do anything to turn down the volume.

The Remington will shoot a quarter sized group at one hundred yards from a bench with factory ammo. I've had one dime group using my own 168gr Speer Match bullets but freely admit that the gods were involved. For the quality of the barrel and scope, it's a sweeter shooter than I ever expected. Now all I have to do is practice.

Back when I was serious about shooting, by the time the last weekend before the hunt rolled around I would have been out at least three or four times to practice, test loads, and verify my scope zero. But I'd always go out to my favorite spot on the west side of Utah Lake that last weekend for one more round. I'd have to squeeze in amongst the herd of pickups and Blazers and Broncos belonging to the people who had just that morning dragged out their rifles, still dirty from last year, to race across the lake to sight in.

There's nothing more motivating than standing offhand on a firing line and punching milk jugs at will out to five hundred yards while clusters of shooters to the left and right are trying to find the paper at a hundred yards from benches.

Today, I was one of the guys seeking paper (BRIEFLY) and teaching my girl how to deal with healthy recoil. We had a good time. We'll have a good time tomorrow, too.

I'll let you know how it turned out.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I didn't want to blog the debate ...

...but watching Dick Cheney vs. John Edwards is like watching a sushi chef work with a sledgehammer.

John Edwards made how much as a lawyer? I am revising my already-low opinion of trial juries down an order of magnitude. Edwards is doing a horrible job of countering. He's not doing it at all. He just falls back on calling Cheney a liar and the administration a failure.

Counter the points, counselor.

And conflict isn't failure, fuckhead. It's called fighting a war. Go back to the state you couldn't win for you OR Kerry.

I am listening to this on radio. I really wish I could see Edwards' demeanor right now.

Cheney is explaining how sanctions work, our posture to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and has mentioned A.Q. Khan...

Edwards is casting the fear fly - "how many countries will we attack?".

The ones that harbor terrorists you preening little shit. (Not the V.P.'s response)

Haliburton!!! I'm glad I'm not a drinker anymore. I think there's going to be a dip in the national vodka reserve tonight...

Cheney rebuts - See (URL to come)(here) for in-depth examination of Haliburton charges. Edwards is equating investigation with guilt, and the no-bid contract with corruption....talking points.

Edwards straddling a hugeous fence on Israel. Ah, folksy story. He was in Israel about the time as the Isbarro (sic, phonetic) Pizzaria bombing; ambiguous how close, but he intimated it was "there but for the grace of God go I".... we have to 'confront' Saudi...and Iran.

How, Senator, without we have bases?....(not a V.P. answer)

Cheney OUCH bringing up Edward's infrequent visits to the Senate; "first time I've ever met you (after being president of Senate for four years) was TONIGHT...and called him on his poor record.

OMG....he's calling Cheney on voting conservative. Will Cheney say "I was there to vote."?.....

Grrrrrr....nope. "Not a distinguished record" more to be said.

Economic policy - to Cheney. Talking points answer....wait, concentrating on education. References NCLB - including Kennedy's cosponsorship - but what will Edwards do about dodging the employment and poverty?

Cleveland highest poverty rate in the country? He's never been to the Brownsville triangle in South Texas.

Edwards rolling through talking points...outsourcing, lost jobs, worst employment since EVER...blahblahblah....

Cheney comes back with blanket effect of tax cuts. Calls Edwards on the validity of his numbers.

Edwards numbers, "millions" in poverty, "millions" unemployed, healthcare costs up...

Good question to Edwards - Where's the budget balancing going to come with your economic (Author: Bread and Circuses) policy...?

Tax increases on 200K+ bracket. Tax cuts for a shitload of "please vote for me" demographics. Attack corporations. I lost his thread near the end there. Rhetoric overload.

Cheney rebuttal - beautiful. Clear layout of fundamental differences in fiscal/tax/economic philosophy between the contenders. 50% deficit reduction in the deficit as five year goal.

Kerry cosponsored 600 (HUNDRED???) times to REDUCE taxes? I'll have to check that out; that's from Edwards.

Question on SSM. Good answer; state issue, and not one for courts to legislate...

Edwards doesn't counter; returns to damn the rich. I see a beautiful opening for Cheney here: Just how much are Edwards and Teresa paying as a rate, since they use the same loopholes and shields available to any sub-s chapter filer...?

No rebut from Cheney. Exchange with moderator -

*flash* Gay marriage hurts Kedwards more than it helps. Edwards is dancing on eggshells to not offend anyone who isn't a radical gay activist. Now he's trying to sell that "equal treatment" won't be applied to gay marriage passed in one state.

Right. And monkeys fly out of my butt on a regular basis.

*interruption - right down Ken Jenning's win number for the One True Love who bowls on Tuesday's....*

Cheney mentioning tort reform. Kerry has voted against liability reform ten times...Cheney believes that Edwards has too, but names no number.

Edwards is piling sand. Calling for another layer of peer-review (NOT his words). Referencing a valid personal injury case (swimming pool cover outfit that sold a dangerous product). Doesn't mention why malpractice insurance costs over 200K a year for a residents without a previous suit loss (my figures/analogy - nothing from Cheney).

Edwards claims that tort costs are half of one percent of medical costs. See monkeys remark, above.

Another Kedwards plan to bring down costs, and STAND UP to drug and insurance companies...

There's got to be a huge fucking hangar in the middle of a cornfield stuffed with all these plans....with a version for each focus group you can kill a lot of trees quick.

Cheney responds with line by line explanation how medicare traps doctors...and how sub-s shields the rich (law supported by Kerry, 1997) from paying for medicare... Edwards rebuts I pay my legal taxes/HALIBURTON does business offshore to dodge taxes!!!

AIDS question to Cheney - excluding Africa/elsewhere - I missed the identified victim group mentioned by the moderator. African American women were the specific group. Cheney concedes he wasn't aware of the specific infection rate there - lays out what the administration has done, and why...

Edwards - We'll DOUBLE the fifteen billion, and deliver it in wheelbarrow tomorrow. Ties in Dafur as an aside. Repeats five million lost health care insurance and 45 million uninsured numbers...seems to think that not having health insurance contributes to AIDS...huh?

To Edwards - what makes you fit for VP, a heart beat away from the presidency?

"We won't be liars". In many more words, of course. Said "kill" regarding terrorists. The ONE thing we know about this administration...a long resume doesn't equal judgement. ? Says kill again. Stop spread of nuclear weapons. Strengthen military. 40K more regulars, double spec ops, health care...what did she pull that string on his back?

Cheney rebut - back to original "Why fit question" - didn't pick Cheney for electoral vote (ouch) and concedes that Wyoming's three votes ended up important. Points out he has no future political ambition. Stands on his public record for effective service in office and business.

Edwards counter - slurps Kerry, referring to last Thursday as landmark example of performance. Cheney points out that Bush has done the real thing every day for four years. Good point.


Personal stories...?...Cheney first in family to graduate college. Was a union electrician for six years. Regards that potential for terrorist attacks and our policies are vital responsibilities. Stands on willingness to use force aggressively when and whereever we identify a threat.

Edwards rebuts - agrees that terror must be confronted. We'll do it better...cites lack of a standard, unified terror watch list as things undone. Cheney declines rebut. No need, I agree...

Hindsight question..."What's wrong with a little flip-flop now and again?" to Edwards. That's a hell of a question. Edwards denies flipflops. Points to conflict=failure meme to indict war as failure. *sigh*

Now off on a tangent....trying to rehash combat pay talking point AND health insurance AND patients Bill of Rights AND something else...?

Cheney rebuts - denies any consistency. Cites Vote for war/against funding. Mentions use of hindsight by Kerry as cover for condemning administration. Points out that we have concentrated on making Iraqis responsible for their own security/sovereignty as fast as possible - which is what we set out to do.

Edwards rebuts - damning NCLB as underfunded, stat 800 teachers in Cleveland laid off...

Cheney - both Edwards and Kerry voted for NCLB. As well as Patriot one and two...and HSA. Points out both candidates have condemned all three as polls have driven them.

Last question - retrospect - Cheney regrets inability of bipartisan effort to be realized. Remembers working with Foley and another senior democrat in years past and enjoying it. Is committed to working as hard as possible to engage as many legislators as possible....

Edwards blames Bush for dividing country. *coughcoughBULLSHIThackcough*

Back to healthcare stats talking points. They are going to make all healthcare the SAME AS CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE????

It's another Global Test moment. Thank you, Mr. Edwards.

More health care talking points...

Cheney rebuts - cites Medicare reform bill. Kerry Edwards both voted against it.

Edwards - more health care talking points...'we're the little peoples' guys' Populism just jars when coming from millionaires/billionaires...

Closing statements:

Edwards: America is on the edge of disaster. Bush and Cheney don't understand. Another plan (outsourcing slap) (big FUCKING warehouse out there) for middle class success....

Cheney: Proud to have served as VP. Cites growing economy. Cites commitment to strength of economy, and country...declares (restates support) of Bush Doctrine, and points out that citizens will make the decision which course to follow, and which leadership to follow.

Moderator thanks students and faculty of Case Western in closing, delivers schedule for remaining debate. Ms. Gwen Ifill signs off.

Good debate. Cheney labelled as CEO of "war contractor" HALLIBURTON by CBS pundit; the pundits characterize the debate as feisty. I didn't see it that way.

I score Cheney A/A, Edwards B/D style/substance.

I believe that Edwards had to present concrete policy alternatives to do much good; it was clear from the first that that was never given serious consideration. I also thought that Edwards could rise somewhere above petulant on the attack...but that does not appear to be the case.

Maybe because their alternatives don't extend beyond "we will do the same thing, just better", no?

It's all over here but for the punditry. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

If you've made it this far, I thank you for your indulgence. I've never done something like this before.

I'm a Tolkein voter; we are in a climactic struggle between good and evil. The choice of leadership before us is not much of a contest for me. If the Democrats could get past being out of power for being their motivation to seek high office I might take them seriously.

Until such time I will continue to support Bush, and the Bush Doctrine, as long as I believe we are being led with a commitment to win.


Well, That's a Relief!

I'm glad that's all settled.

Monday, October 04, 2004

What a world we live in...

...and it is fantastic beyond description.

47 years ago today the Soviet Union punted a basketball-sized radio transponder into orbit. Early this morning a private company based in Mojave, California launched their third suborbital space mission, thus earning the ten million dollar purse of the X-Prize.

I watched the coverage (including feeds from Spaceship One; nothing more beautiful than the round rim of the white and blue earth against a bottomless black universe) on a live webstream. During breaks in the actions I toodled over to Michael J. Totten's blog to see what was happening there. I remain unconvinced that there existed a straight-to-the-coffers-of-the-evil-republican-apparatus money chute; if such had been the case my Google searches would have come up with more than just links to the history of public campaign funding schemes. Boredom set in so I watched Mount St. Helens do her thing for an hour or two; shuttled back and forth between the KIRO coverage, to include another live feed of a steam explosion. I followed the almost real-time siesmo reports at The Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network's site.

Jaded with reality I perused a few lefty blogs; bad, bad news for Kerry. They still don't understand that their own press releases and talking points aren't the world other people live in. Global Test is going to be right up there with Ford's Poland remark and Jimmy Carter's Rabbit Experience. Get past the happy smiling faces of Newsweak's and Gallup's efforts and the state poll standings remain about where they were last week - especially if you ditch Zogby. I highly recommend Dale's site for the detail political junkie. He has made the cut in the WaPo's Best Blogs (political/elections) nomination competition. He's going on the purser's list soon.

Work in the basement is getting easier as the actions become routine. Measure twice, cut once. That's a rule to live by, it is.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson...

... has been added to the purser's list.

The First Debate

If you had been confined to a cave prior to last night, Kerry looked pretty good right up to the point he returned to the nuclear freeze positions of 1968 and proposed some sort of "world test" for executing U.S. foreign policy.

I graded the debate Kerry A/C (F for the two points above) and Bush C-/A, performance/substance. It was about what I expected it would be.

If you have been following the campaign, there wasn't much here to change anybody's mind. One of the recurring tropes I've heard since I began voting (1980) was "I wish we had clear choices to vote for."

Well, Virginia, this is YOUR year for stark choices.

Bush's high points came during the exchange over North Korea. Kerry proposed to abandon the six party talks in favor of direct bilateral diplomacy. Bush properly corrected Kerry on which materials were actually at issue (enriched plutonium vice uranium) and the timeline of the Nork malfeasance which began long before Bush arrived in the Whitehouse. More importantly, Bush spelled out exactly why it is essential for the Nork's neighbors to have a place at the table. Since the collapse of the agreed framework we don't provide food, fuel, or other aid to the Pyongyang regime. China, Japan, and Korea are all neighbors to the whackjobs and all maintain economic and relief links - especially China. If we were to exclude them from the talks the Norks have no reason not to walk away from the table - we don't have any leverage to bring to bear short of blockade or other quasi-military actions.

And why is unilateralism the answer in Korea, but cardinal sin in Iraq? Especially when our Iraq coalition already numbers more than thirty nations?

Ah, the 'bribed, coerced' alliance. Right.

The Creator of Worlds has an excellent roundup of debate opinions. Check out Roger L. Simon as well; Typekey is being squirrely so comments might be lean there.

And then came Mister Lileks.

More work on the basement today. We are concentrating on refinishing one room out of the whole...but my fingers itch and drift toward my hammer every time I walk through the narrow, dark panelled hallway to get there. "Attractive, bright painted rywall HERE, NOW" say the voices in my head...

Trivia question: What kind of hardware is on the lower left hand armored seatback of a Hurricane Mk2? A bolt? Maybe some sort of arcane fastner to anchor the pilot's seatbelt? This has to do with a potential story; any input would be appreciated.

UPDATE: I mistakenly attributed the words "world test" to Senator Kerry. Poster FactCheck on Michael's post-debate thread informed me of my error. After inspecting the transcript at the Washington Post I find that the correct quote should have been "global test". I apologize for the mistake.

I'm listening to my local CBS-affiliate AM radio station as I type this. The last caller into the morning show made a point of noting that "global test" scored no points with local voters.

UPDATE: How about the 1984 Nuclear Freeze issue, instead of 1968? I think I'd better stick to drywall...