Monday, July 25, 2005

Current Interest

I'm watching Mount Saint Helens.

Down the page there is a link that takes you to real time webicorders. Very good stuff.

There have been several earthquakes in the 3+ range there over the last week. The current seismic activity recalls flow noise displays I saw on sonar once upon a time. Rockfalls, ash, and steam, oh my.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Well, O.K., Some Politics...


That Magic Moment

I've accumulated enough small arms ammunition to satisfy my requirements for "reasonable stock on hand" should civilization fold up. I may not have to reload in any caliber for the next six months.

This means I have to buy a locking container light enough for me to hump down into the bomb shelter (former owner's doing) that sits under the backyard and is accessed via my basement. I've researched a few purpose-built products but will probably end up buying a jobsite toolbox from a pawnshop, then cutting a series of slots or holes in the top and front for blast panels.

I ended up with a three day weekend; Monday is a state holiday and my project is on track to the extent that we didn't have to work. I've fixed my lawn sprinklers, cleaned the bathroom, and done some washing today, on top of ammo inventory.

What? No politics? You are correct.

The London bombings, the Roberts nomination, and the Dem's latest efforts to sabotage the war are just noise behind my life right now. I follow some milblogs (link is my gateway), touch base at Wretchard's place, hit Totten and Simon and Instapundit... and I never miss Van der Luen.

We are in intermission.

It will be our turn, again, and soon. If not today, or next month, our turn is approaching. London is merely an ongoing sand table exercise to determine tactics. If they can successfully execute attacks against the most monitored western city in the world, they can repeat the operations here with even more effect. As a nation, we refuse to recognize the nature, and the necessary response, to the enemy.

What to do... what to do...?

I think I'll go help square away our kitchen, then finish cleaning my garage.

Have a fine week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Big Show No More

I posted the following as a comment on Gerard Van der Luen's excellent American Digest blog:

I've stopped taking the Democrats seriously.

It took a lot for that to happen - eight years of Clinton, the Florida 2000 aftermath, Rathergate... but the kicker was the Plame affair.

It was over a week ago, when the Time reporter related that Rove wasn't his source. But MSM has continued felling entire forests for print column inches to repackage the facts into conspiracy theories that would be laughed at on DU.

Watching the Dem reaction to Bush's nomination of Roberts was delicious, in a perverse, I-know-exactly-what-to-expect sort of way.

He could have appointed Sandar Day O'Connor's government-constructed clone (operation performed using stem cells stripped from euthanized Dutch babies) and it wouldn't have changed a thing.

They have no "JOIN ME" mojo. Just cynicism, fear and a broad stripe of petty viciousness of the type that alienates most Americans at a visceral level.

They can have the universities, TV, and newspapers for a little while longer. The brightest and best informed kids I've met in the last ten years never finished high school.

What is important to mark is that with Robert's confirmation and Rhenquist's immenent (sp?) departure, the Democrats are just about defeated in their generational effort to deconstruct our Constitutional system. I worried a lot on my way to these(EARLY) middle years but the feedback correction built in to our electoral system seems to have actually worked. Again. Still.

Leahy...Schumer...and Oh My GOD KENNEDY and DEAN and PELOSI...

Dean the DNC Chairman. It brings to mind the old Ed Sullivan rule: "Never Follow An Animal Act".

I don't think anyone will have to. This show is over. Oh, there's still syndication and niche markets and the cult convention circuit, of course. The papers will continue to write reviews for the benefit of the nada class, of course, but everyone else will be reading the blogs.


2006 is coming quick. I put the odds at Bush having another Supreme Court Justice to appoint at better than even. If he can get a voter positive I.D. requirement legislated before the next elections I believe that the national Democratic party will implode.

And my money is still on Judith Miller being her own source.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Well, here it is Sunday, and I'm finally at home. My work schedule has forced me to let many things slip; some important, some not so important.

I got up this morning resolved to get at least one thing done, and as I write this the gentle hiss of my lawn sprinkling system is a soundtrack that sounds as magnificent as anything Rogers and Hammerstein ever came up with.

I've just deleted five paragraphs of sprinkler repair. It's Sunday, and the both of us have better things to do than listen to that.

The damned things work, and I'm off to see the Fantastic Four with the Team.

Y'all have a fine week, o.k.?

Here's some links you might enjoy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Here it is Wednesday (fifteen more minutes at least) and I've got thirty three hours on the clock already.

I have been staking curb for roads all week. And setting redheads. And mapping utilities (power, water, sewer, electric, comms, gas) as they are built. And staking out for yet more utilities.

The common facilities area for my development was just permitted Tuesday morning. I've already staked out the property and limit of disturbance lines for it. There will be a clubhouse, pro shop, cart facility, restraunt, lodge, and event hall in this area. When the time comes I'll stake those out, too. If you are familiar with the way resort areas are furnished around Park City you will have some idea of what is happening up here.

I haven't spent a lot of time on news lately. I was gratified to see the shuttle mission scrubbed; you just shouldn't return to space on the thirteenth of any month. Orbits be damned.

I've been keeping an ear open to find out exactly what the Plame case is going to reduce to; I've never believed that Karl Rove was the source that "outed" that sorry excuse for a CIA hack.

If he had, it would have been in every paper in the country before the last election.

What about Judith Miller? I'm leaning toward a theory that if she actually had a source that outed Plame, the identity of that person will turn out to be a disgruntled CIA staffer - or she will have to admit that Plame was already a well-known denizen among the anti Republican/anti Bush cabal that seems to permeate agencies like State and CIA.

Or just possibly, Miller will have to admit that she already knew who Plame was, exactly what Plame's role was in getting Wilson a job, and then that she tried to do her bit for the team by assisting in the full court press media had against Bush.

If I were a high-profile Times apartchik I think I'd rather sit in jail on a contempt charge shrouded in martyr's robes by my peers than than go down in the history books as the hack that finally brought down the Newspaper of Record.

No links, alas.

I hope to have Sunday off. I'll be here if I get out of bed.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Required Reading

Every once in a while I dare to think I can write. Then I read James Lileks:

"It’s always interesting to see how people who pride themselves on sophisticated analyses and exquisitely tuned cultural sensibilities cannot see the plain home truths. The foe sneers: you are infidels; you die now. The moderns pull a face, steeple their fingers, and wonder what they really mean."

Please do read the rest.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Freedom, Ideals, and Reality

Happy Independence Day to all who happen to wander through here.

I know that most of us are busy today. Whether you are preparing to host a traditional barbeque like we are here in Utah or simply getting out to enjoy the holiday, or, heaven forbid, you have to work, the Fourth is one of those holidays that seem to require more than just getting up in the morning to get the full measure of the day.

This is my favorite day of the year. For public days at least...

We have been cleaning since seven o'clock this morning. The meat has been prepped, the front of the house is presentable, even if not ready for a photo shoot to appear in Martha Stuart living. I mowed then watered the lawns and as soon as they dry out I'll put up the canopy. The Weber, the Aussie, and the two Dutch ovens are set. When I finish this post I'll light 'em up. The four varieties of ribs will go on or in a half hour later. Chow will commence at three this afternoon if everything comes up on schedule.

My daughters are dervishes; they are keeping ahead of the wife and I where "squaring away" is concerned.

Our cannon sits on the lawn next to the driveway. The colors are posted behind it.

I've always set them up the same way for Independence Day. I don't think I'm consciously sending any message by doing things this way... but it is true that there are some things that must be defended, and things that WE will defend. Draw what meaning you will from the display. It keeps the kids from messing with the back of the cannon and puts the colors out of the way of casual traffic.

I said that we started getting ready at seven. Of course I made a few minutes to hit my favorite blogs and news sources with my second cup of coffee. Amongst the news of the world and some very uplifting blog posts I was saddened to see that Kim DuToit has elected to step off the firing step for the next little bit.

I can sympathize with him. He founded and has led the Nation of Riflemen in an unceasing and unambiguous campaign supporting the struggle to protect our freedoms both home and far abroad. He puts a tremendous amount of effort into his blog at the same time he is pursuing a business start up and writing career.

He is frustrated and depressed. He has posted a long list of undeniable facts and events that do stand, singly or in total, as direct threats to our freedoms as citizens. Take a look:

" * Real ID, passed by the House of Representatives, which effectively tags us and brands us, for the benefit of the State
* Kelo vs. New London, where the Supreme Court decided that it was just okay-dokey for local government to seize private property and hand it over to another private party
* The Transportation Security Agency and its heavy-handed, PC behavior at airports—where you can be arrested for protesting against rules and regulations which you are not allowed to see for yourself
* The War on Drugs, with seizure of private property and “no-knock” search warrants
* The so-called “Patriot” Act, which allows law enforcement to snoop around our personal papers, affairs and letters without a warrant
* A tax system which taxes wages and profits, and our property, the services we provide, and the goods we buy
* A President indicates that he would sign a continuation of a firearms ban, which bans firearms for cosmetic reasons, and which ban has been proven to be ineffectual in terms of lowering crime rates
* A government which does not defend our borders from wholesale incursion for foreign nationals
* A proposed Constitutional amendment which would outlaw the burning of a symbol
* Congressmen get an automatic pay increase each year, unless they specifically vote against it
* The FEC announces that political speech, like mine, may fall afoul of the un-Constitutional McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act.

ItÂ’s not just one thing, itÂ’s never just one thing: each one of the above is bad, in and of itself. All of them combined have become intolerable.

If you aren't familiar with Kim, you should know that he emigrated here from South Africa. He knows what the absence of freedom is at a level that most of us are simply incapable of understanding.

"This is not the America to which I came twenty years ago, and of which I so joyfully became a citizen soon after. The dream is over, the promise has been broken."

And on that I disagree. Freedom... the freedom that we seek to enjoy, protect, and defend, is an ideal that has eluded men for centuries. We do not live in the end times for American Democracy. Not as long as citizens can be heard through the ballot. Not as long as good citizens stand and the better ideas rise to the top in the arena of politics.

Even in the face of recent and truly horrifying acts against the fondations of our republic - such as CFR, the politicization of the judiciary, the Kelo decision, the latest idiotic run at an anti flag burning amendment- the fight is not near lost.

When Kim arrived here Democrats ran both houses of Congress. Tax rates, welfare rolls, and concentrated attacks on the second amendment were threatening to destroy our economy, society, and a key component of the Bill of Rights.

Today we prosper as a nation - matter of fact, we are the only industrial power not facing recession right at the moment. Welfare reform has not only forced people back into the workplace, it has more importantly removed one of the most egregious tools by which statist politicians control populations. And were the Second Amendment is concerned, Americans have been steadily enacting concealed carry, victim shield, and manufacturer protection laws for years.

If today is not the America that he dreams of, then just possibly it can become his dream tomorrow. I know that that belief is all that keeps me going some days. Whether it is good enough for anyone else I just flat don't know.

But there is much still to be done. Kim wrote that post at one a.m. last night; a time not normally associated with high spirits. I do not judge his action - he is FREE to bear what load he chooses.

I do know that if he steps down off the firing step today... if he must unload, clear, and lock, and come away from his spot on the line for a spell that he will not go far. It is not in the nature of a true patriot to accept defeat. And I know that there will be others that step forward, or close up, to fill the gap as best as can be done until such time as he is ready to come forward again.

Today, the Team will celebrate with burned meat, gunsmoke, and the company of good friends. We will be joyful, and we will be grateful, and we will honor those that founded this grand experiment and those that have paid to get us to this troubling point in history. And we resolve that this day will not be the last we celebrate our freedoms, nor the first we dare take them for granted.

We wish you all the very best this Independence Day. Warts and all.

UPDATE 1430 4 July: I need to make one thing REAL CLEAR: I am not condemning Kim DuToit's decision to step back for a bit. Not nearly. I don't come close to having the chops to make a call like that and wouldn't presume to if I did.

I just wanted to point out that I don't think we have lost. Not yet - and not nearly.

Mrs. DuToit has posted some vital background information on just what they have been through recently - and just how blogging and their exercise of freedom of expression figures into the mix. I understand even more now why they are both discouraged. Who wouldn't be?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Recycled Content

I put up a lengthy comment on one of Michael J. Totten's always interesting posts.

Commenter novakant wrote:

"Maybe because there is no connection apart from the Bush administration's wishful thinking and intentionally misleading rhetoric. The "War on Terror" is a lame attempt at creating a carte blanche for anything and everything the WH wants to do, nothing else. 9/11 gave them that chance and they are milking it still."

I tire of public displays willful ignorance in attempting to justify opposition to this administration. Especially when the lives of millions, and the prospects for peace and freedom for millions, hang in the balance.

Down in the gunroom I have a shelf. On it sits a broken bear statue and a copy of the Koran. I believe I'm going to have to pick up a donkey statue and add it to the roll of opponents to be beaten.

Freedom Blast

Last night we went to the inaugural of Freedom Blast, Salt Lake's new version of Provo's long-running Independence Day Stadium of Fire extravaganza. SOF has been a sellout event for decades. Last night just short of thirty thousand folks showed up to Rice Eccles stadium on the campus of U of U to enjoy a Kelly Clarkson concert, a patriotic program involving a thousand dancers, bagpipers, and a moving military memorial service conducted by all five branches. There was also a BMX/blade/board act and even a high-dive troupe.

There was a street fair set up in one corner of the stadium parking lot. The Marines were doing a land office business exchanging spiffs like carribiner lanyards, tshirts, and posters in exchange for how many pullups from the boys and men and arm hang times from the womenfolk. One little girl (ten years old - maybe) stayed up there for one hundred ten seconds! I was watching the fun when one of the sergeants asked "Hey, are you a former Marine?"; yah, my hair is short and I still have the shoulders, but it was probably the USMC pin on my NRA hat that clued her in. She reached under the counter and handed me a handsome blue baseball cover (hats don't exist in the Marines - they are "covers") embroidered on front with the eagle, globe, and anchor in gold, with "Marines" stitched beneath it. That's when I noticed the rest of the old jarheads packed around the booth. We are a rough looking lot, but damn it was a proud moment. The Marines manning the booth were all out of the local recruiting command. I ran into one staff sergeant who was a cannon cocker from my old battalion at Camp Pendleton. He'd left Alpha 1/11 (two tours to Iraq) to come to recruiting. He knew my former roommate Ron - who went on to retire as a SgtMaj with twenty two years - from Ron's time on the drill field. The crowd and confusion may have garbled the communication, but I believe that the staff sergeant was one of Ron's recruits when he was a D.I. Now I DO feel old...

The show opened with a local lady singing a very good rendition of the national anthem. The boys from the 338th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB showed up spot on cue at the end of the last note with five F-16's punching cans traveling south to north about five hundred feet over the lights. So loud it HURT - love that sound. You could even smell the JP in the air afterward.

Twenty four new citizens were sworn in on the main stage. No standing O from the crowd; they got one for me. Legal immigrants understand the preciousness of citizenship more than we who are born here. We can always use more like that.

The military memorial ceremony effected me strongly. I don't think I've been quite right at some deep level since 1983. The calling of the roll, ending with the three, unanswered, calls of the name of the fallen and capped by twenty one guns and taps just about reduced me to tears.

The trumpeter had his own problems with dry lips; it took nothing away from the solemnity of the moment.

The military departed the field to the strains of "Amazing Grace" played by a pipe and drum band. I have always loved the pipes. I can readily believe that somewhere back in the mists of time, some Scot invented them because he couldn't get his companions motivated for a fight. Introduce bagpipes to a Quaker service and the next thing you know there will fisticuffs in the aisles. Pipes at a PETA picnic? There would be an ox on a spit before you could shake a stick. I love the pipes.

Ms. Clarkson put on a good show. She remarked on the dry air more than once and I believe that the lack of humidity had a lot to do with the lack of an encore. She carried a water bottle constantly. Pretty good pipes; she recalls a Janice Joplin without the edginess. Or the depression.

The fireworks were not as impressive as what we've seen at SOF. In the past we've usually climbed on the roof of our house in south Orem to watch them. The Freedom Blast people also had a technical glitch with their ignition system that caused an interruption and forty minute delay. In the spirit of "the show must go on" the BMX kids and the dive team improvised to fill the time. The problem was eventually solved and we sat happily beneath the last fifteen minutes of smoke, light, and thunder "oohing" and "aahing" and cheering along with everyone else. Not a bad show for their first effort.

Home via TRAX light rail to Sandy, thence by Mighty Mini to Orem, arriving just after one in the morning. I had hoped that UTA would put on the same logistical tour de force they did during the 2002 Olympics. Back then we were among the last people to leave the stadium (Mrs. Utah doesn't do bleachers very well), but less than thirty minutes after the end of the Para Olympics opening ceremonies over sixty thousand people were on their way home via dedicated buses and express rail trains. They ran a few extra trains last night, but only one express to the Sandy park and ride. It took almost an hour to leave the stadium grounds.

A good time was had by all.

Tomorrow we will have a curtailed potluck barbeque in our driveway and then haul our cannon down to the park to bust off a few blanks. Neighborhood children get the honor of lighting the fuse but only after they answer a history question like "who gave the Gettysburg Address?" or "what year did we declare independence?". We hope to have finished the fireworks in the culdesac by ten. Six a.m. comes early, even if you are only dealing with a belly full of pork and not a case of beer.

As our weekend winds down I hope that we all take a moment to reflect on just how we have arrived at this Independence Day. Celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, understand just why this grand experiment has worked so well, remember what it costs to be free, and resolve to do what we must do to ensure that this bright light of democracy continues to shine in a dark and dangerous world.

God Bless America. Guide her leaders, protect those who stand to defend her, and give grace to those who live here in oblivion of the cost of freedom in the hope that someday they, too, can love this nation for its honest pursuit of ideals rather than condemn it for its imperfections.