Monday, September 29, 2008

Taxes and Freedom

Fifty-four years ago, the Internal Revenue Code was amended to bar pastors and churches (and other tax-exempt non-profits) from endorsing a political candidates or speaking in opposition to a specific candidate.

In the intervening period, the Internal Revenue "Service" used the suspension of tax-exempt status as a sword over the heads of religous groups and other non-profits who might otherwise engage in free speech regarding a candidate.

Frankly, I think it's tacky (at best) to preach politics from the pulpit. I favor a wide gulf between church and state, being of the view that whichever one starts the fun, that both are diminished by any direct interaction.

I recognize , however, that since I've not observed any angels descending from on high to affirm my position, that the possibility exists I may well be in error - and if for no other reason, trampling other folks freedom and religion in service of my sense of tackiness and/or inflicting my political-religious philosophy on the masses.

Given the distinct lack of divine messengers affirming the correctness of those holding opposing opinions, I expect that, in all likelihood, that this is one of those questions that individual faiths, congregations, and pastors must work out between themselves and their particular peculiar notion of divinity.

In short, whether or not a church or non-profit endorses or demonizes a candidate is none of the business of the Congress, a legislature, or the United States 0r the IRS. There's this funny thing called the First Amendment, that kind of bars the regulation of speech much short of incitement to riot, libel, slander, or yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater.

Oddly enough, we managed our first 178 years as a nation without this bar on free speech - which kind of leads me to the belief that while tacky, the world probably won't end nor will democracy as we know it come to a screeching halt if a few pastors/faiths/congregations speak their mind one way or another about various and sundry candidates and issues.

Towards that end, a bunch of pastors I suspect I mostly disagree with on at least one (and likely more) topics are stepping up to the plate in an attempt to reclaim their rights to freedom of speech and religion.

Bravo, no matter how misguided many of their numbers may be in my considered opinion.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If we must spend the money...

Along the waterfront, Seattle is blessed with a stretch of 1950's era elevated highway known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Ugly as sin, it soaks up a good-sized chunk of waterfront real estate that developers lust after, and high on the list of "things likely to pancake in the next big quake" - the Viaduct, we are told, must be replaced ASAP.

However, it works. It diverts industrial traffic off of I-5, a fair number of commuters, and any plan (except in car-free fantasies) needs to figure out where those vehicles will go during construction and when the party is finally over, leaving us with something new and different.

While I'm not entirely sure that it's a "right now" kind of thing, folks have been mulling replacement options over for several years, and it appears inevitable that some kind of big project to "fix the viaduct" is going forward at some point "real soon now". Given that large highway structures going "splat" is usually a bad thing, I can understand a certain urgency....though with the current economy, I'm none to eager about the whole notion.

The first main option, beloved of our loonie Mayor Greg Nickels, is the "surface option" - knock over the viaduct and run all those semi's and cars through the downtown. This will assist in his efforts to discourage driving through increased misery, forcing the unwilling onto mass transit out of sheer pain avoidance.

The next option, refurbishing the Viaduct, offers the joys of spending *just as much* money as any of the other options (if not more), with no additional benefits. Same ugly critter, just less likely to go splat in the next quake. This is currently a long shot, as virtually nobody likes it.

The pet of the GOP candidate for Governor, Dino Rossi, is to replicate Boston's Big Dig along the Seattle Waterfront - complete with leaks and floods. And pretty darned expensive, too. Fortunately, the DEM Gov. has been waffling, so we've not yet seen how she'll outdo Rossi in the boondoggle Olympics.

So far, the least horrid option with a modicum of splat-resistance and a splash of sanity (i.e., preserving or expanding carrying capacity), was fowarded by Wa. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp - he who must not be peeved, for he may view you as small, crunchy, and tasty with ketchup. A mega-viaduct with retail below and a park on top - and best of all, likely to make Mayor Nickels head explode, along with the entrenched anti-car and liberal elite crowds...

Now if we can get a Gun-O-Rama installed on the retail level, it'll be perfect....

I disagree with her politics...

But the lady still has class...

Bette Midler, on the election and Sarah Palin (starts about 1/2 way down the article).

As I said, I disagree with the lady, but she brings a certain class to the shrillness of recent political discourse from the left.

Bravo, Ms. Midler.

First, we go after the First...

and then once we shut them up, we'll go after the Second and that pesky Heller Decision, and work our way through the rest of the Bill of Rights.

More than a bit troubling, the Obama Campaign have recruited a band of Prosecutors and Sheriff's in Missouri of a sympathetic (D) persuasion who promise to bring criminal charges against those who would speak, broadcast, or print what they label as untruths about Barack Hussein Obama* or his campaign. Criminal charges...courtesy of "Truth Squads" - but who is to decide truth?

Pardon me? Say what?

I seem to recall a revolution being fought over, in part, this very notion? The whole "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press" notion?

If Obama didn't worry me before, this rampant disregard of the Constitution worries me much more...I begin to wonder "if elected, how extracted"?

Think about it.

Related: Obama Campaign seeks to ban NRA ads.... (added 9/29/08 - 0956)

*Barack Hussein Obama's full name is used here for a variety of reasons. It seems to get the collective panties of the DNC and their fellow travelers all balled up in a capsicum-marinated knot (a worthwhile goal in and of itself) ; so many have made so much of how it's "not nice and not Politically Correct to use the middle name of Barack Hussein Obama (and PC just annoys the crap out of me, bringing out my mischievous side); and if someone is dumb enough to vote against Barack Hussein Obama because they were exposed to his dread middle name - I'm willing to take it in an electoral situation this foul.As for the other? They desperately need their chain yanked - frequently.

Just say spending

We're told our nation is in the midst of a vast financial crisis; that banks (locally, Washington Mutual) are imploding; that oil prices (and thus furnace fuel, diesel, and gasoline) will remain punishing (at best). At the same time, unemployment is rising and the real estate market is tanking, even as the foreclosure rate ascends.

For governments of various sorts at sundry levels, this means less revenue coming into the till. Fewer wage-earners means fewer income tax dollars. Individuals cutting back on spending, putting off everything from cookies to cars, means less sales tax revenue. Similarly, as property values dive, the money from property tax revenue drops off something fierce.

To summarize, most governments (city/county/state/etc) today are budgeted for average to good times with the programs and personnel to match, and are only getting the kind of revenue one finds in bad times - a path that, without correction, leads to bankruptcies and badness.

One path our elected minions are taking, given its' familiarity, is the pursuit of fear. Threaten programs the public particularly values (parks, police, fire, emt) disproportionately, and then demand a tax increase or a bond measure to save the vital programs - while all along, the pet programs of the governing sorts in question remain inviolate (or take a mighty minor hit).

Another involves attempting to persuade the general populace to drop their trousers and bury their collective heads in the sand - to better ensure that said public be properly positioned for some serious and unlubricated exploration. "Sure, the economy is in the crapper, and we can't pay for current programs, and private citizens increasingly can't afford current levels of taxation - just vote for this splendiferous new project whilst bending over to take it."

Eventually, the time comes to accept that subtle doesn't work with elected folk generally, and those with (D) after their name, particularly. Phone calls, attending meetings, sending letters and faxes - all good, and all worth the time and effort - aren't getting the message across.

Yet, at best, civil strife is tacky. Fortunately, other options exist.

Vote no. Vote no on schools, transit, transportation, and anything else that asks for yet more money. Vote against politicians with a reputation for free-flowing spending and an eagerness to tax. Right now, at least, unless you happen to be in a very strange area (demographically) we can afford precisely none of the above.

The thing is, we *can* make do. Reservist programs (Police/fire/etc) useful in rural areas aren't nearly as antiquated as one might think, and go a long way towards stretching a tax dollar - putting more feet on the street, either growing a department or staving off attrition due to retirements and such. That's far from the only area that volunteers can help out, but those're the ones I think most folks are familiar with...I recently lived in a town where most of the front desk staff were volunteer, for instance - more mundane, but definitely a savings.

Most new projects don't require "right now" - or, for that matter, ever. Public transit projects in the United States are largely a failure, and mostly unwanted by the populance they claim to serve.

We have seen commuting nirvana, and for most of us it does not involve rolling petri dishes (whether on asphalt or steel rails) operating on other folks schedules and exposing us to two-legged critters of questionable intent and hygeine. It involves our making free choices, as individuals, in our own vehicles - choices and vehicles that fit our lives and finances. If we want anything from our politicians when it comes to getting to and fro, it's "drop the pie in the sky, just build the damned road and fill the bloody potholes".

To the extent transit works well, it's private companies providing transit to a service population capable of de-funding them by the simple mechanism of voting with their feet. Not tax subsidized boondoggles constantly begging at the public trough.

The time has come to say no, across the board.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Bayou Renaissance Man: Controversy at The High Road

Bayou Renaissance Man: Controversy at The High Road

Peter has joined the discussion, and offers what appears to me (at this distance) a dispassionate and forthright recounting of events as he understands them.

I suggest reading his work before commenting further on the unfortunate THR events.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The High Road (THR) Situation

Whilst on my daily meander, I found the item below, via Tamara:

In December 2002, I founded The High Road forum dedicated to the advancement of responsible gun ownership. Recently, it was discovered that in 2006, the volunteer forum systems administrator, Derek Zeanah of Statesboro, Georgia, changed domain registration to himself. After he was confronted, Derek locked out all other staff from accessing the Web server administration and would not share even backup copies of its content. After failed attempts to peacefully resolve the dispute, it has become necessary for me to initiate a lawsuit against Derek Zeanah for the return of domain name and the forum database.

I am seeking and would greatly appreciate donations to help with the cost of litigation. You can use Paypal ( or send a check to:
Oleg Volk 3112 Chambley Ct Hermitage, TN 37076

All donations shall be returned if the lawsuit is ultimately avoided. You can also aid me by re-posting this appeal on your blog, forum or web site. My legal position is already endorsed by almost all of The High Road staff as well as Rich Lucibella, the founder of The Firing Line forum.
Having not yet mastered the art of the SuperCool background block for quotes, the above is my humble best. I'm not a THR regular, but recognize it as a good place to visit...and am saddened to hear that things are flying apart over there.

Interest piqued (i.e., "oh shit, not this stuff AGAIN"), I followed the links from VFTP and not only found a worthwhile discussion of the matter over at, but insightful commentary from Xavier and Don Gwinn. I'm looking forward to the response to this kerfluffle of LawDog and MattG - I kind of suspect they will be pungent, to the point, and insightful. Good discussion over at Armed Polite Society, too.

I even found THR pseudo-alive with this disclaimer from the, to be kind, misguided webmaster/ hosting provider (Derek Zeneah); unfortunately it begins to appear that JRShirley has come down on the Anti-Oleg side of things - I hope he is able to come up with some kind of explanation in his blog that would allow me to continue to consider him an honorable individual.

It appears there's a new rule there that one cannot link or point to efforts to return THR to Oleg; dissenters are being purged, and known allies of Oleg banned. Poor form.

I hope Oleg gets the Domain and the Forum back. I'd suggest right now, as a tech step, to go in and grab a complete copy of the THR posts and begin building a neutral server; and at the same time move forward with legal proceedings at both criminal and civil levels.

IANAL, but it looks to me like not only are the web/server dude's actions causing harm (civil court), but that that individual has engaged in the illicit conversion of property to his own use (theft/fraud) and done so across state lines (which brings out the Federal can of whoopass).

Borrowing someone's domain isn't nice. Don't do it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sen. Larry Craig is soliciting....

Seems Sen. Larry Craig is soliciting....

Yes, I know. I'm bad.

Troll House Cookies

Could've swore I posted this up before, but here's the unmodified & downright bad for you version of Troll House Cookies I've stumbled to by trial and error....not the "Diabetic Damage Control Version).

Anyway, I've always found them a comfort.

Troll House Cookies

2-1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
2-1/3 Cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oatmeal (dry)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Powdered Vanilla
2 large eggs
4 cups chocolate chips/chunks (24 oz.)
2 cups butterscotch chips

Mix together and set aside flour, salt, and baking soda. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Whip butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until creamy, then add eggs, one at a time. Slowly beat in flour mixture, then oats. Add first butterscotch, then chocolate chips, taking care not to overflow the mixing bowl as you blend them in.

Place cookies in approx 1" balls on a clean baking sheet, bake 10-12 minutes (until golden) in oven (May vary at odd climates & altitudes). Feel free to fiddle with it. Makes about 60 cookies.

Bon Apetit!

Updated 0200 09/25/08


Looks like I'm still ideologically libertarian. Saw the test over at RobertaX's, figured I'd check it out. Somehow, I don't think any of you are surprised....

You are a

Social Liberal
(76% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(71% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Free Online Dating
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

What might a McCain Cabinet look like

While on yet another blog meander, one writer was enthusing about how good it would be for McCain to start dropping names of persons he'd consider for Cabinet positions. Pondering a moment or two, I thought - why not? This is a game everyone can play.

Take the list below, and fill in your own suggestions for who you think would either do a splendid job, throw a bone to an important constituency, or facilitate Jan. 20, 2009 being a very sad day for Barack Hussein Obama* and his ACORN buddies (you know, the ones that borrow elections SO well).

Proposed slate of McCain-Palin Cabinet Members:

President - John McCain
Vice President – Sarah Palin

Secretary of:

Agriculture - Richard Farmer (Agriculture Commissioner, KY-R)
Commerce – Rudolph Giulani

Defense – David Petraeus

Education – John Thune (Sen. SD-R)

Energy – T. Boone Pickens

Health and Human Services – Troy Benavidez (Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS)

Homeland Security – Colin Powell

Housing and Urban Development - Patrick Sammon (President, LCR)

Interior – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Labor – Ruth Bennett (former Gov. candidate, WA)

State – Bill Richardson

Transportation – Mike Ginn (Mayor-R, Redondo Beach)

Treasury – Bobby Jindal

Veterans Affairs – Greta Cammermeyer

Attorney General – Fred Thompson

Bonus Members
(Under Pres. Bush, these offices have been afforded Cabinet privileges)

Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency – Ron Paul
Director, Office of Management and Budget – Tom McClintock (State Sen, CA-R)
Director, National Drug Control Policy – Joe Arpaio
U.S. Trade Representative - Condoleeza Rice

*Barack Hussein Obama's full name is used here for a variety of reasons. It seems to get the collective panties of the DNC and their fellow travelers all balled up in a capsicum-marinated knot (a worthwhile goal in and of itself) ; so many have made so much of how it's "not nice and not Politically Correct to use the middle name of Barack Hussein Obama (and PC just annoys the crap out of me, bringing out my mischievous side); and if someone is dumb enough to vote against Barack Hussein Obama because they were exposed to his dread middle name - I'm willing to take it in an electoral situation this foul.As for the other? They desperately need their chain yanked - frequently.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A/D Discharge: Lessons Learned

On my evening blog-meander, I wandered over to No Looking Backwards (always a good read) where our literary leader du jour suggested a trip over to Xavier to look at a "Lessons Learned" relating to concealed carry. It seems a gentlemen was out bow-hunting, stretched, and had an AD/ND in an inexpensive imitation of a Smart Carry (formerly "Thunderbelt") holster.

Ed. Note - Seems Tamara covered this as well....12:14 9/21

I strongly recommend reading Xavier's lessons learned. It simply *hurts less* to learn from other peoples errors, rather than repeating them.

My own "comments at a distance"?

I'm moderately pain-phobic, so I've never been especially entranced by the Thunderbelt/SmartCarry design (or the older belly-band strategy) - it's quite bad enough to be shot in the thigh or in the ass because of mechanical or human failure, and risking the family jewels is not acceptable. Thus, I dislike any holster that crosses the front of the body with the muzzle - mechanical safeties fail, people screw up, and freakish events occur...followed by a resounding bang and varying amounts of screaming.

Holster selection includes more than "if things go right" or "if things proceed in a logical and predictable fashion", or, for that matter, aesthetic considerations. Holster selection, done properly, includes considering what "what if the fit hits the shan"? What if, despite your best efforts, a manual safety fails or your trigger somehow catches on something as you insert the pistol into the holster? Where is that bullet going to go?

Along the same lines, many years ago, when I was somewhat younger and dumber, I purchased a used shoulder holster at a gun show for a 1911 - it looked good, it was a good fit for both the gun and my person, and all was well with the world. It had a nice retention strap, even. One lovely morning not long after, I had an especially lovely ham and cheese omelette in Auburn...

I stretched, begin to arise, and erupting from beneath my left arm and clanging to the ground was a bouncing baby stainless 1911 with pachy grips, to my horror and surprise. Quickly shifting to warp speed, I scooped up the metallic object upon the ground, and scarpered off someplace a bit more private to re-assemble. That was the last piece of used gun-leather I've purchased.

No harm, no foul, but lesson clearly learned. A few dollars more for new gun-leather always, always, is a better choice than "big surprise".

What I take from the post-event report is two-fold...

1) Muzzle sweep counts - even in a holster.

2) Quality counts - cash is cheaper than pain.

3) Unintended consequences can't all be planned for, but it's worth trying.

Your take?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Courtesy of the Smallest Minority: GO THERE for more good stuff

I Believe She's Struck a Nerve

I just received the images below in an email from my brother. My normally pretty apolitical


That's a lot! It's pretty bad when even the political cartoonists are siding against the Left.

Political Tidbits...and a bit of bitchiness

First off, in the Karmic offering du jour, we see the Barack Hussien Obama camp publically kick Lindsay Lohan to the curb when she offered to host events for the campaign.

Michelle Malkin does probably the best summary of the latest assault on Palin's family by both a group off hackers (who broke into Palin's private e-mail account) and those who published the illegally obtained contents of that account. At this rate, we should probably expect to see the banking records of the Palin family published shortly....

I'm sure there's been other fun out and about, but it's late, and I'm hitting the sack....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Abuse of Office 201: Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation in the age of the Internet

By way of Slashdot and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we learn that Mayor Juan Perez of Sheboygan, WI ordered the City Prosecutor to launch a criminal investigation against website owner Jennifer Reisinger (Sheboygan Spirit) for the crime of linking to the City Police website without advance permission. Perez, it is speculated, may have been motivated by Reisingers role in a failed recall effort.

Not surprisingly, Reisinger apparently felt this might perhaps be a uniquely offensive abuse of not merely authority, but authority that did not actually exist. She is now suing the City of Sheboygan, Perez, and various city officials in Federal Court, in what may well be a precedent setting case should it actually reach a courtroom without some kind of settlement diverting the case.

SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) is a type of lawsuit that plaintiff (typically a larger and better funded organization) files against a private individual or group with significantly fewer resources. The notion is to batter the defendant into submission (or just shutting up) utilizing the intricacies of the legal system (filing dubious motions, requiring vast amounts of questionably relevant information, etc) to exhaust the defendants spirtual, financial, emotional, and community resources - often succeeding well before they ever see a courtroom.

From what I read at the cited links, it appears that Perez raised the stakes - using police investigatory powers and threats of prosecution in an attempt to silence a critic.

Frankly, I hope she not only wins, but ends up with punitive damages in addition to any actual damages.

Pointing at a government website is no more a crime than telling a group of people the location of City Hall - and attempts to make it such should be punished by the courts and the voters with great enthusiasm.

Mwhahahah ...Hillary Donor switches to McCain

Oh, sometimes a news story just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, now doesn't it? :) Of course, CNN closed the comments before anyone but the Obamatrons jumped in, but ...

The sheer schadenfreude is delightful, watching the self-destruction of the Democratic Monolith...and if they do succeed in self-destructing, watching the GOP go into centrifuge mode and spin apart shortly after won't exactly make me mourn.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lohan vs. Palin

Let's take a look at the chops of 22yo dysfunctional actress Lindsay Lohan when it comes to dispensing wisdom or making really good decisions when we look at her screed on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, shall we?

I find it interesting that someone of Lohan's relatively brief life experience and track record of making bad life choices feels qualified to critique a woman, Sarah Palin, who has successfully juggled career, a successful relationship, and motherhood successfully over a period of time greater than Lohan's on-planet existence - and is in fact more qualified for the Presidency than McCain, Biden, or Barack Hussein Obama*. A quick summary can be found here.

Lohan simply rehashes the largely baseless smears of the desperate left in an attempt to sprinkle her celebrity (or was that infamy?) on top to make them seem all fresh, new, and remotely factual.

Lohan writes :

I really cannot bite my tongue anymore when it comes to Sarah Palin.

You should try. Really, really, hard. Your MySpace post simply makes you look vapid, a seeming hand puppet for the slanderous left.

I couldn't be more supportive of a woman in office, but let's face it, it comes down to the person, and their beliefs, male or female.

Riiiiiight. Let's boil it down, shall we? You can only support a woman in public life that mirrors your own belief. Ok, at least we know where you're coming from...

Is it a sin to be gay? Should it be a sin to be straight? Or to use birth control? Or to have sex before marriage? Or even to have a child out of wedlock?

What actual anti-gay actions has Palin engaged in, beyond campaigning against domestic partner benefits? Why do Palin's beliefs on

I find it quite interesting that a woman who now is running to be second in command of the United States, only 4 years ago had aspirations to be a television anchor. Which is probably all she is qualified to be... Also interesting that she got her passport in 2006.. And that she is not fond of environmental protection considering she's FOR drilling for oil in some of our protected land.... Well hey, if she wants to drill for oil, she should DO IT IN HER OWN backyard. This really shows me her complete lack of real preparation to become the second most powerful person in this country.

Um. So you're arguing that someone interested in a media career is inherently unqualified for political life? How does when a person got their passport remotely relate to their qualifications to serve in public office, any public office, from dog-catcher to President? You support continued dependence on foreign oil rather than energy independence? And, just a hint, Alaska (ANWR) *is* her own back yard - and technology has long since advanced to the point that drilling and oil production off our nations coastline is only considered a serious risk by extremists. Environmentalism vs. Economic Recovery? I think most of us living in the real world, rather than some Hollywood fantasyland with only occasional contacts with reality are pretty ok with drilling for every scrap of domestic oil that can be found, and if it's on Public Lands (resulting in oil royalties rolling into the public coffer), so much the better.

Hmmmm-All of this gets me going-Fear, Anxiety, Concern, Disappointment, and Stress come into play...

Neato. Rather'n logic and fact, you propose we decide based on "how we feel". Perhaps this explains some of your other life decisions.

Is our country so divided that the Republicans best hope is a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe?

Where do you get the notion that Palin is a homophobe? Simply not eagerly jumping aboard every bandwagon our community rolls out does not equate with homophobia. I've not seen any evidence yet that Palin is narrow-minded - unless that's what you call "principalled". And Palin certainly doesn't seem any more media-obsessed than any other politician - so again, this comment appears to be a speculative red herring in service of smearing a candidate.

I know that the most important thing about this election is that people need to exercise their right to vote, regardless of their choice... I would have liked to have remained impartial, however I am afraid that the "lipstick on a pig" comments will overshadow the issues and the fact that I believe Barack Obama is the best choice, in this election, for president...

Oh, ok. So your piece is really simply an attempt to sabotage the Palin-McCain campaign...not really any attempt at serious analysis - assuming you are capable of such things at this point in your existence.

Palin's Desire to "save and convert the gays"-really??

Do your research. Palin has not yet been associated with any ex-gay weirdness, and bagged out of the Wasilla AOG congregation as they got progressively more...unique in their theological views. Even if she were still a member there, I'm surprised you'd buy into the whole "guilt by association" meme - given some of your associates, as reported in the press, I'd think you'd realize that would have a certain potential for boomeranging on you.

According to this Associated Press story, the church of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is hosting a kind of conference devoted to the "conversion of Gays" -- no kidding.

The correct statement would be "former church", and just how often do you run across parishioners that blindly and without quibbles accept the entire theological stance of the church they attend?

Here's the AP text:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) ? Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.

Palin's conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain's candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

I feel it's necessary for me to clarify that I am not against Sarah Palin as a mother or woman.

But you sure are doing a good job of trying to smear her...

Women have come a long way in the fight to have the choice over what we do with our bodies... And its frightening to see that a woman in 2008 would negate all of that.

I don't observe that while Mayor, Councilwoman, or Governor of the largest of the United States (you know...the one producing 20% of our oil, with two international borders, one increasingly hostile, etc) Palin has gone on any crusades to roll back womens suffrage, oppose abortion, or sabotage the whole equal pay for equal work notion. So just what is she supposed to be negating? Beyond simply being a pro-gun, anti-tax, GOP strong woman that stands by her principles?

Oh, and...Hint Hint Pali Pal- Don't pose for anymore tabloid covers, you're not a celebrity, you're running for office to represent our, your, my COUNTRY!

Um. Catch the clue train, Lindsay. A big part of running for office, particularly national office, is posing for magazines, granting interviews, giving speeches, and being a celebrity - it kind of comes with the territory. Though it's a different kind of celebrity that doesn't involve nearly as much getting drunk or stoned, playing pretend, or trying for additonal DUI's.

And in the words of Pamela Anderson, "She can suck it"..

Care to clarify, Lindsay?

Lindsay- "I have faith that this country will be all that it can be with the proper guidance. I really hope that all of you make your decisions based on the facts and what feels right to you in your heart-vote for obama!"

Voting for any politician from the Chicago machine is nothing short of a gold-plated invitation for corruption. Voting for Obama, with his Rizzo, Daley, and ACORN (Vote fraud, that fine old Chicago tradition...) is a recipe for 4-8 years of disastrous tax'n'spend on the same old failed DNC programs. Palin-McCain at least offers hope of something better, and at worst of a relatively harmless placeholder till the 2012 election.

Samantha- "I love this country- however i wasn't born here and don't have the right to vote- so i beg of you all to really do your research and be educated when you cast your vote this coming november.... and if you're in doubt- vote for obama! Mainly because if she gets elected my green card probably won't get renewed!!!"

Samantha - if you got renewed under Bush, odds seem pretty good you'll get renewed under McCain-Palin.

Michelle Malkin calls it - ACORN at it again!

It may be too late to remedy, or it may not - certainly, if a reasonable percentage (i.e., if the average rate of voter fraud in new registrations is 10%, and those turned in by ACORN is clocking 20%, as an example) of any groups bright shiny new voter registrations turn out to be fraudulent in a random sample, it seems only reasonable to require some form of gov't issued ID for registrations originating from high-fraud sources prior to allowing a voter to access the polls.

Michelle Malkin does a good article on it over at her blog....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Galveston: A moment of Pride

Seems a gay bar, Robert's Lafitte, in Galveston has turned out to be one of the first home bases for survivors, gay/straight/otherwise, post-Ike. Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, it does...

According to Reuters, they mopped up the next morning, opened up, and are keeping locals in food and drink. I don't see a website, but if you've a few kind thoughts *snail mail* them, and if you're willing to help them with their expenses for comestibles...the contact data is below:

Robert's Lafitte

2501 Avenue Q
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 765-9092

They apparently are doing some good things...let's support them if they want our help...

Palin vs. The Feminists

I've been muddling around trying to find some way to objectively write about what I view as the ever-increasing hypocrisy of the feminist left as regards the Palin candidacy...

Unfortunately for me, while I was contemplating, Labrat was typing...saying anything I would say better, with greater depth of research, and probably - better grammar.

Bummer. But a heck of a good read, and pretty darned insightful as well.

Takei (Sulu) marries!

Found over on FreeNewHampshire notice that George Takei (played Lt. Sulu in the original Star Trek ouvre) has finally been able to get hitched to his long time partner!! Took place yesterday, down in Cali....alternative story over at BBC.



One of the bonuses of the brunch is I got to hear about new toys...I'd pretty much come to peace with the notion that rifles and I weren't friends anymore, what with some missing bone structure that you normally balance a rifle against...

Joe Huffman
mentioned a rather nice choice he'd run into at the Blackwater Blog Shoot...the new .223 Para-Ordnance rig that's supposed to come out later this year; minimal recoil, common cartridge, and apparently accurate (based on a prototype).

At least for the moment, the rifle is now added to my list of "WANT"...

Obama - Unequal work for Disparate Pay?

Whilst reading my way through the blog list, I meandered into Captain of a Crew of One only to discover this bon mot....

On Obama's staff, women average 83 cents for every dollar that men make.
On McCain's staff, women average $1.04 for every dollar that men make.

Of Obama's five highest paid employees, one is a woman.
Of McCain's five highest paid employees, three are women.

Of Obama's 20 highest paid employees, seven are women.
Of McCain's 20 highest paid employees, 13 are women.

So. What's better for women professionals? The one who TALKS about "equal pay for equal work"? Or the one who actually practices it?

Food for thought.
From an article at, of all places, the Seattle PI - a historically liberal bastion. I'd strongly urge readers, particularly those who think that "equal work for equal pay" is an important issue, to meander over to the article and take a good read...and then another meander to Captain of a Crew of One to read some of his other good stuff.

Good News...

One thing I forgot to mention about the Blog seems that Rep. Jim McDermott has a GOP competitor in this go-round, one that keeps popping up...building more support each time...

Steve Beren.

A former leftist who's seen the light according to Phil over at Random Nuclear Strikes, Beren may well be what's needed to extract the silliest member of our states Congressional delegation from the strangeness that is D.C....and take one small step forward towards deposing Pelosi.

He survived the top-two primary this time around, and this is the first time I've taken real notice of him. The one thing that concerns me is his rating with SEAMEC (think LGBT version of a League of Women's Voters, but a bit less multi-partisan) ...or lack thereof.

For one reason and another I have some insights into SEAMEC's process, and usually a rating of (?) means either that a candidate has refused to respond to either the standard questionaire and/or interview request, or that the responses and history available were so sparce as to make an informed rating untenable.

Sometimes this means that a candidate is a fervent anti-LGBT bigot; other times it means that while friendly (or at least not hostile) that the candidate is of the view that an LGBT group blessing him is electoral poison in their district; and yet other times, the candidate simply views an LGBT elections rating group as a self-destructive waste of time (since, according to this theory, we all hate the GOP unalterably and in lockstep anyway - so why try, and potentially hand ammunition to the enemy).

As much as I like Beren's positions on guns and fiscal issues - the phrase "social conservative" without substantially more definition makes me nervous. I'm not especially thrilled with his views on abortion, but that's not an absolute deal-killer for me - I tend towards Roe v. Wade being absolutely horrid precedent that, in spite of itself and the miserable can of worms it opened, actually accomplished a good end.

Not every moral decision is best made in a courtroom or in a legislature - some are best made by individuals, affecting their own lives, in the darkness of their souls - and having made those decisions, answer for them to their faith and their ultimate judge.

Abortion, I believe, is one of those intensely personal decisions. One that with ridiculously rare exceptions, should be the untrammeled choice of the woman involved right up till that point in time where the fetus is externally viable. And even then...there are issues that trouble me.

For me, just for me, that is the line where medical treatment becomes murder, with all the defenses inherent to that act - including that hoary old classic, self-defense - where it's either the mom or the kid, it doesn't seem unreasonable that the Mom or her representative have decision making power.

Beyond that, in that whole theoretical grey zone where life gets complicated, I don't have all the answers. Hell, I don't think I have the answer to hardly any of the questions on this one.

Late stage foetal injuries? Late appearing genetic issues? Anencephaly? I don't have those answers, and I don't think the law should carve out a "one size fits all" solution, because I don't think all situations are identical (or even comparable). And that barely even touches on the realm of issues that can go awry as a foetus develops...

And that's merely the beginning of the debate - if a child (i.e., sticking carefully to what we all agree is a child - the critters that've hatched and are still under 18) is struck down by some terminal or near-terminal event (disease, accident, or malicious act) the parent(s) are stuck with the hard decisions about treatment or the lack thereof. Even that last and most horrible decision, to let a child go, falls on the parent(s) under such circumstances. And barring rare circumstances, they don't go to jail for it.

Apply that same logic now to abortion. See why I might be conflicted? Or have issues with someone that claims there's a black'n'white solution?

Yet, that's not a deal-breaker. Not by itself. After all, he's running against McDermott. But I'd sure feel better if he played nicely with SEAMEC.

Q: I need info on airlines

A: They exist. They are in trouble largely due to post 9/11 "security theatre" that has made flight a miserable thing to be avoided, with fuel costs making things worse by driving consumer costs higher, and reducing the potential market beneath the size necessary to support current fleet sizes and employee numbers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stumbling across misfortune...

I moved back to Seattle in December of '06 after various adventures and misadventures in the dustier regions of Southern California, and high on my list of things to do (that I knew about at the time) when I moved back up here was to reconnect with friends that I'd lost touch with, what with time and distance and all.

One that seemed to have vanished managed to surface the other day, in rather negative way...while I've still not had the chance to chat with him, it seems he's suffered severe professional reverses. :(

Wherever he is, I hope he's doing well in recovering from his reverses...

Palin: Unintended Consequences


This one isn't easy to write, simply because I've largely been beaten to the punch by *so many* others. From vicious smears in main stream media masquerading as journalism ("Pissed About Palin", Salon, Cintra Wilson), to members of the left implying and in some cases outright claiming that women (or at least conservative women) should be kept barefoot/pregnant/kitchenbound as anything less would be child abuse, and on and on in an ongoing shotgun-style series of attacks (i.e., throw enough crap in the air, some is bound to stick, reality-based or not).

CNN's painfully detailed "coverage" of the Palin "travel scandal" (She never visited Iraq. She never said she visited troops in Iraq. Sooo.....where's the scandal when it's discovered she never visited the troops in Iraq?) related by Newsbusters is a classic example of the heavily spun reporting to which I refer.

A good piece over at the Weekly Standard covers the phenomenon nicely, with delightful humility in its' updates. It also points a link at the best list of Palin rumors I've run across thus far.

Someone else (memory fails me) commented elsewhere that while the "smart lefties have shat a brick, the dumb ones think they're winning" - and that pretty well sums up my analysis as well.

When I start running across lifelong Democrats at the grassroots level blogging away with angry repudiations of the party of their youth based on recent events, I'm guessing something unusual is happening.

When I see steadfast and principaled libertarians such as RobertaX so sickened by the depths to which the left has sunk as to declare for a Palin-McCain ticket, I suspect the political landscape is shifting.

When I see former Hillary supporters banding together to specifically to defeat the Democratic Party nominee, it's a hint of a sea change in progress.

And let us not forget Barack Hussein Obama's* positions on firearms.

*Barack Hussein Obama's full name is used here for a variety of reasons. It seems to get the collective panties of the DNC and their fellow travelers all balled up in a capsicum-marinated knot (a worthwhile goal in and of itself) ; so many have made so much of how it's "not nice and not Politically Correct to use the middle name of Barack Hussein Obama (and PC just annoys the crap out of me, bringing out my mischievous side); and if someone is dumb enough to vote against Barack Hussein Obama because they were exposed to his dread middle name - I'm willing to take it in an electoral situation this foul. As for the other? They desperately need their chain yanked - frequently.

NW Blog Brunch

Joe over at View From N Central Idaho and American Mercenary both beat me to the punch as far as reporting on the brunch (Joe has pics). Many subjects were touched on, ranging from the idiocy of Nickels and his crowd, on to the joys of Crimson Trace and Para-Ordnance, military service (among those who've served), and a wide range of other notions.

A good crowd, and we'll likely do it again in a few weeks.

Now, on to what wasn't covered by my more alert fellow bloggers - the food. When I try out a new place for breakfast, no matter how well recommended, I stick with a ham'n'cheese omelette and biscuits if they have them - if only because there's a sharp upper limit as to how badly either biscuits or a ham'n'cheese omelette can be screwed up before it's visually obvious, and this is usually well short of food poisoning.

I'm pleased that the food at Eggs Cetera's Blue Star Cafe out on Stone Way was generally well received, and I thought my omelette and biscuits were pretty good, though I wasn't really all that impressed with the potatoes.

Good food, good companions, and a pleasant morning.

How's Sun evening Oct 26 sound to everyone? :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blog Brunch Reminder

Blogger Brunches

Umm...BORROWING a notion from Tam over at VFTP and RobertaX, I'm throwing open an invite to fellow liberty-minded & gun-friendly bloggers a blogmeet invite in conjunction with View from NW Idaho and the folks over at RNS.

Nothing fancy, nothing formal, just food, BS'ing, and the occasional mad conspiracy to demonstrate the essential foolishness of Nickels & Co and his regrettably common fellow travelers.

Sat. Sept 13
Sunday, September 14th
10:00 AM

Eggs Cetera's Blue Star Cafe
4512 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: (206) 548-0345

Rumor has it that Eggs Cetera makes good & affordable food, and at 10am, we should slide between the weekend brunch rushes (one hopes).

Friday, September 12, 2008

D.C. Police Chief Lanier

"Imagine how difficult it will be for law enforcement to safeguard the public if semiautomatic guns are allowed"

- D.C. Police Chief Lanier testifying on , Washington Post, September 10, 2008

Given the record of successful crime-fighting in the District over the last thirty years, it would be difficult to imagine that allowing law-abiding citizens to own or posses a single additional type of mechanical action (recall things don’t really change until the action is “full-auto” – not “semi-auto”, where a single pull of the trigger still equals a single muzzle flash).

Muzzle/Projectile diameter, velocity, and projectile design are all vastly more significant in determining lethality and wounding capacity than the design of a particular mechanical action. Getting wound up about semi-automatic pistols and rifles based on action design departs from the land of the rational on the express train for the Isle of Silliness rather early on, say, about the time the notion passes the lips of a speaker.

Yet, simple common sense undermines the Chiefs’ statement yet further. D.C. is by far the exception in banning semi-automatic pistols and rifles, yet its’ level of injuries and deaths are significantly higher than areas where gun control consists of hitting what you shoot at and keeping accidents to a minimum.

Finally, the bill in question does *not* legalize open or concealed carry in the streets of D.C. (pity, that) – it merely legalizes ownership without forcing the law-abiding through expensive, time-consuming, and purposely torturous hoops. Lanier is just throwing red herring to distract us from her interest in maintaining the status quo and keeping D.C. citizens defenseless.

(Inspired by Another Gun Blog)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Flag ban? I thought we were done with this...

According to reports on KATU TV, it seems an apartment complex in Vancouver, WA managed by Al Angelo Property management is banning the display of the U.S. flag (or other signage) on the exterior or interior (say, a window) of residents apartments.

Rather thought we were past all that, what with the 2005 Flag Display Act and all. We then proceed to a WA Supreme Court ruling that restricting residents display of signs (generally, but would *I think* tend to include flags - IANAL) on their doors (and by implication, in their windows) is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

Now, my reading of the letter and the story is somewhat less sensational than that of KATU, but Al Angelo does seem to cross the line. I'd bet they could legitimately enforce a rule barring residents from obstructing halls and common spaces - but *not* from displaying a sign/flag in a resident window or upon a residents door.

Just my take on it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Maintaining a peaceful Union...

Over at Wolf Howling, please find posted an excellent article on some of the more dangerous aspirations of the Obama-ites and Barrack Hussein Obama* his own bad self.

The article is, indeed, excellent - but it only lays the foundation, failing to follow founding notions laid within to their logical conclusion.

Why is it, when we've made numerous attempts since the Second World War to export our unique brand of democracy-drive republicanism abroad - that it has failed with such regularity outside of its natural habitat?

Vengeance. High stakes. Transition of Power. Fanatics/True Believers.

Wolf comes close with this paragraph:
The fact that we are at this point in America should be chilling indeed. America is founded upon Enlightenment ideals. It is those ideals - tolerance of dissent, objective truth, reason, democracy - that have allowed our nation to prosper and to do so peacefully for nearly one hundred and fifty years since the end of our civil war. But clearly, those Enlightenment ideals have no hold over the far, post-modern left. Indeed, the far left seem far more animated by Josef Stalin than John Locke.
But doesn't quite bring it home.

Our special form of a democracy-driven republic is founded on the peaceful transition of power from one administration or office-holder to the next.

We can believe that all our office holders are such noble, saintly, and self-sacrificing sorts that they will peacefully leave office to face tribunals for political crimes and acts of state, the persecution of their families and friends, and face a barely-disguised pseudo-rational inquisition.

Or we can believe they are human.

And assume that, at most, such a thing can occur just about once in any given nation before folks catch on and decide that they will employ every means at hand to stay in office perpetually in order to evade the wrathful vengeance of their foes, cloaked behind an imitation of investigation and blessed by a kangaroo court.

Look at Africa, or South America.

Probably one of the bravest and most self-sacrificing acts I've seen on the political stage in my life, that I only came to appreciate years later, was Ford's pardon of Nixon. With that one act, he effectively ended his political career and pulled our nation back from the brink.

Our system works, as clumsily and fumblingly as it does, as long as the stakes are low enough when it comes time to hand over the reigns of power. We vote (with greater or lesser amounts of fraud), our pundits (print, electronic, or net - depending on the era) either celebrate or throw hissy fits, hand over the reigns of power, and then wait the requisite number of years (depending on the office) and try again.

When the whole "hand over the reigns of power" piece becomes to dangerous to the office-holder, it all falls apart. That, my friends, is what the DNC, Barack Hussein Obama*, and their followers on the left propose to meddle with...and the logical completion of Wolf's insight.

Worry is appropriate.

*Barack Hussein Obama's full name is used here for a variety of reasons. It seems to get the collective panties of the DNC and their fellow travelers all balled up in a capsicum-marinated knot (a worthwhile goal in and of itself) ; so many have made so much of how it's "not nice and not Politically Correct to use the middle name of Barack Hussein Obama (and PC just annoys the crap out of me, bringing out my mischievous side); and if someone is dumb enough to vote against Barack Hussein Obama because they were exposed to his dread middle name - I'm willing to take it in an electoral situation this foul. As for the other? They desperately need their chain yanked - frequently.

On Guns in Schools....

The Walla Walla Union Bulletin editorial board strode forth on Monday to bloviate in opposition to guns in schools. I beg to differ.

"Guns have no place in schools."

Actually, they do - several, really. Until quite recently, rural school parking lots and locker rooms were the frequent location of student/faculty/staff rifles and shotguns - particularly during hunting season. However, another, sadder purpose is served in the present day ... as indicated by the Appalachian Law School Shooting in 2002, Assistant Principal Joel Myrick stopping a shooting cold in 1997 in Lubbock, or the Jerusalem Seminary shooting stopped by an armed student in March of 2008.

The source of the Editorial Board's distress is the policy of the Harrold School District in Texas that allows designated teachers and staff with appropriate licenses and training to go armed in the course of their other duties. The Harrold School District is a small rural district that cannot *afford* luxuries like dedicated school police or security officers - they must make do with what resources and staff they have, and that includes funding - people end up multi-tasking.

The problem with gun-free zones is that they create a large and well-known body of defenseless potential victims - enhancing the odds that the villain or whack job du jour will choose to target those in said "self-defense-free zone".

No magic wand exists that will miraculously prevent every single possible bad thing from happening. No matter *what* any of us do, school shootings/bombings/disasters will take place - our absolute best hope is to keep the frequency and the casualty count as low as is practical. Part of that solution can well be the course found in Harrold, or, for that matter, in the entire State of Utah.

On the same topic, school teachers and staff are neither so stupid as to be unable to learn the necessary skills to carry safely in a work environment, so inherently unstable as to be wholly untrustworthy, nor so evil as to be conspiring in an evil plot to shoot up a school as soon as they are allowed to lawfully carry after they've been vetted by both the license process and additional school board required training and certification.

When local law enforcement is the better part of an hour away, the budget isn't there for a dedicated security team or school police department, and you have a whole bunch of something ( that you think it'd be good to keep safe? The Harrold School District solution starts seeming eminently sensible.

Lots of bad things can happen in 45 minutes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Scient_ology & Censorship

One of the problems with the DMCA (the infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act), is that it offers anyone with a whim and a pen the ability to censor the web (or try *really, really* hard to not awfully much effect).

Note the latest efforts of the ever-litigious Church of Scien_tology noted over at the Electronic Freedom Foundation - apparently the lovely Church-folk managed to send out 4000-some "take-down" notices to YouTube regarding video submissions that might be considered...critical...of that Church.

Neato, eh? Find someone whose work or writings you object to, fire off a DMCA takedown notice, and (at least temporarily) your targets work/writings vanishes - courtesy of the notified hosted ISP.

Perhaps it's time to rethink, and perhaps massively narrow the scope of, this legislation.

Space Shuttle: Ooops!

One of the joys of reading Slashdot is that when someone does something of a blindingly stupid technical nature somewhere in the world, the odds are fairly good that sooner or later - assuming the foul-up is particularly spectacular - that word will seep out from beneath whatever rock the knowledge of said foul-up has been festering beneath to see the light of day on Slashdot, the perpetrator ridiculed extensively, and occasionally, insights offered. And then, of course, the mandatory ritual beatings of the dead horse.

Sort of a combined schadenfreude festival and educational discourse, all in one tasty serving.

Today I ran across the third article on the Space Shuttle gap. You know that little detail, where Congress and sundry co-conspirators bollixed things up?

Shuttle program end date is 2010. Earliest U.S. replacement, it seems, is 2014. Only alternative in the meantime is the Soyuz fleet run by our good buddies, the Russians, in our newly polished-up, renovated, and freshly upgraded iteration of the Cold War. Wheee!

This leaves our only access for a four year period to the International Space Station pretty much at the mercy of a nation who's expressions of undying love, loyalty, and affection towards the United States have been rather limited of late. Ooops.

Now comes to light a scathing memo from the NASA administrator...pointing out, ever so gently via the careful use of a sledgehammer, the sheer dunderheadedness of putting the sole means of getting to a 100 billion dollar asset in the hands of another nation without some sort of viable Plan B.

A lovely bit of snark, indeed. And rather on target, as well...

Read the article, read the e-mail, make up your own mind.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blogger Brunch Update

NOTE: Moved to Sunday 9/14!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blogger Brunches

Umm...BORROWING a notion from Tam over at VFTP and RobertaX, I'm throwing open an invite to fellow liberty-minded & gun-friendly bloggers a blogmeet invite in conjunction with View from NW Idaho and the folks over at RNS.

Nothing fancy, nothing formal, just food, BS'ing, and the occasional mad conspiracy to demonstrate the essential foolishness of Nickels & Co and his regrettably common fellow travelers.

Sat. Sept 13
Sunday, September 14th
10:00 AM

Eggs Cetera's Blue Star Cafe
4512 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: (206) 548-0345

Rumor has it that Eggs Cetera makes good & affordable food, and at 10am, we should slide between the weekend brunch rushes (one hopes).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Where was that Fred Thompson a few months ago?

And then Lieberman's speech - I never thought I'd hear Bill Clinton applauded at the GOP convention...

More later...

Fred Thompson's Speech

Tonight our thoughts are still with our friends and fellow citizens in the Gulf Coast area, and our thanks go to those who have worked so hard to keep them safe. There can be no more important work than this.

But what we are doing at this convention is also important to our country.

We are going to nominate the next President and Vice President of the United States of America.

We do so while taking a different view of our country than that of the other party.

Listening to them you'd think that we were in the middle of a great depression; that we are down, disrespected and incapable of prevailing against challenges facing us.

We know that we have challenges ... always have, always will.

But we also know that we live in the freest, strongest, most generous and prosperous nation in the history of the world and we are thankful.

Speaking of the vice presidential nominee, what a breath of fresh air Governor Sarah Palin is.

She is from a small town, with small town values, but that's not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family.

Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit. Well, give me a tough Alaskan Governor who has taken on the political establishment in the largest state in the Union -- and won -- over the beltway business-as-usual crowd any day of the week.

Let's be clear ... the selection of Governor Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment.

Sound like anyone else we know?

She has run a municipality and she has run a state.

And I can say without fear of contradiction that she is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose ... with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt.

She and John McCain are not going to care how much the alligators get irritated when they get to Washington, they're going to drain that swamp.

But tonight, I'd like to talk to you about the remarkable story of John McCain.

It's a story about character.

John McCain's character has been tested like no other presidential candidate in the history of this nation.

He comes from a military family whose service to our country goes back to the Revolutionary War.

The tradition continues.

As I speak, John and Cindy McCain have one son who's just finished his first tour in Iraq.

Another son is putting "Country First" and is attending the Naval Academy. We have a number of McCains in the audience tonight.

Also here tonight is John's 96-year-old mother, Roberta. All I've got to say is that if Roberta McCain had been the McCain captured by the North Vietnamese, they would have surrendered.

Now, John's father was a bit of a rebel, too.

In his first two semesters at the Naval Academy, he managed to earn 333 demerits.

Unfortunately, John later saw that as a record to be beaten.

A rebellious mother and a rebellious father - I guess you can see where this is going.

In high school and the Naval Academy, he earned a reputation as a troublemaker.

But as John points out, he wasn't just a troublemaker. He was the leader of the troublemakers.

Although loaded with demerits like his father, John was principled even in rebellion.

He never violated the honor code.

However, in flight school in Pensacola, he did drive a Corvette and date a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida.

And the reason I'm telling you these things, is that, apparently, this mixture of rebellion and honor helped John McCain survive the next chapter of his life:

John McCain was preparing to take off from the USS Forrestal for his sixth mission over Vietnam, when a missile from another plane accidentally fired and hit his plane.

The flight deck burst into a fireball of jet fuel.

John's flight suit caught fire.

He was hit by shrapnel.

It was a scene of horrible human devastation.

Men sacrificed their lives to save others that day. One kid, who John couldn't identify because he was burned beyond recognition, called out to John to ask if a certain pilot was OK.

John replied that, yes, he was.

The young sailor said, "Thank God"... and then he died.

These are the kind of men John McCain served with.

These are the men and women John McCain knows and understands and loves.

If you want to know who John McCain is, if you want to know what John McCain values, look to the men and women who wear America's uniform today.

The fire on the Forrestal burned for two days.

20 planes were destroyed.

134 sailors died.

John himself barely dodged death in the inferno and could've returned to the States with his ship.

Instead, he volunteered for combat on another carrier that was undermanned from losing so many pilots.

Stepping up.

Putting his "Country First."

Three months later John McCain was a Prisoner of War.

On October 26, 1967, on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, a surface-to-air missile slammed into John's A-4 Skyhawk jet, blowing it out of the sky.

When John ejected, part of the plane hit him -- breaking his right knee, his left arm, his right arm in three places.

An angry mob got to him.

A rifle butt broke his shoulder.

A bayonet pierced his ankle and his groin.

They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return.

John McCain said "No".

After days of neglect, covered in grime, lying in his own waste in a filthy room, a doctor attempted to set John's right arm without success ... and without anesthesia.

His other broken bones and injuries were not treated. John developed a high fever, dysentery. He weighed barely a hundred pounds.

Expecting him to die, his captors placed him in a cell with two other POWs who also expected him to die.

But with their help, John McCain fought on.

He persevered.

So then they put him in solitary confinement...for over two years.

Isolation ... incredible heat beating on a tin roof. A light bulb in his cell burning 24 hours a day.

Boarded-up cell windows blocking any breath of fresh air.

The oppressive heat causing boils the size of baseballs under his arms.

The outside world limited to what he could see through a crack in a door.

We hear a lot of talk about hope.

John McCain knows about hope. That's all he had to survive on. For propaganda purposes, his captors offered to let him go home.

John McCain refused.

He refused to leave ahead of men who'd been there longer.

He refused to abandon his conscience and his honor, even for his freedom.

He refused, even though his captors warned him, "It will be very bad for you."

They were right.

It was.

The guards cracked ribs, broke teeth off at the gums. They cinched a rope around his arms and painfully drew his shoulders back.

Over four days, every two to three hours, the beatings resumed. During one especially fierce beating, he fell, again breaking his arm.

John was beaten for communicating with other prisoners.

He was beaten for NOT communicating with so-called "peace delegations."

He was beaten for not giving information during interrogations.

When his captors wanted the names of other pilots in his squadron, John gave them the names of the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers.

Whenever John was returned to his cell -- walking if he could, dragged if he couldn't -- as he passed his fellow POWs, he would call out to them.

He'd smile ... and give them a thumbs-up.

For five-and-a-half years this went on.

John McCain's bones may have been broken but his spirit never was.

Now, being a POW certainly doesn't qualify anyone to be President.

But it does reveal character.

This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders.







It's pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, "Who is this man?" and "Can we trust this man with the Presidency?"

He has been to Iraq eight times since 2003.

He went seeking truth, not publicity.

When he travels abroad, he prefers quietly speaking to the troops amidst the heat and hardship of their daily lives.

And the same character that marked John McCain's military career has also marked his political career.

This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular.

At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops.

And now we are winning.

Ronald Reagan was John McCain's hero.

And President Reagan admired John tremendously.

But when the President proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake.

My friends ... that is character you can believe in.

For years, members of Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, have gouged the taxpayer with secret earmark spending.

Well, he has never sought an earmark.

I've experienced John's character first hand.

In 1993, when I was thinking of running for the Senate, I went to John for advice. He convinced me I could help make a difference for our country.

I won that election, and with Republican control of Congress, we reformed welfare.

We balanced the budget.

And we began rebuilding our military.

What I remember most about those years is sitting next to John on the Senate floor as he led battle after battle to change the acrimonious, pork barreling, self serving ways of Washington.

The Senate has always had more than its share of smooth talkers.

And big talkers.

It still has.

But while others were talking reform, John McCain led the effort to make reform happen -- always pressing, always moving for what he believed was right and necessary to restore the people's faith in their government.

Confronting when necessary, reaching across the aisle when possible, John personified why we came to Washington in the first place.

It didn't always set too well with some of his colleagues.

Some of those fights were losing efforts.

Some were not.

But a man who never quits is never defeated.

Because John McCain stood up our country is better off.

The respect he is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship.

There has been no time in our nation's history, since we first pledged allegiance to the American flag, when the character, judgment and leadership of our President was more important.

Terrorists, rogue nations developing nuclear weapons, an increasingly belligerent Russia.

Intensifying competition from China.

Spending at home that threatens to bankrupt future generations. For decades an expanding government ... increasingly wasteful and too often incompetent.

To deal with these challenges the Democrats present a history making nominee for president.

History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for President. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat controlled Congress. History making because it's the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation's history.

Together, they would take on these urgent challenges with protectionism, higher taxes and an even bigger bureaucracy.

And a Supreme Court that could be lost to liberalism for a generation.

This is not reform.

And it's certainly not change.

It is basically the same old stuff they've been peddling for years. America needs a President who understands the nature of the world we live in.

A President who feels no need to apologize for the United States of America.

We need a President who understands that you don't make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don't lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases.

They tell you they are not going to tax your family.

No, they're just going to tax "businesses"! So unless you buy something from a "business", like groceries or clothes or gasoline ... or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small "business", don't worry ... it's not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the "other" side of the bucket! That's their idea of tax reform.

My friends, we need a leader who stands on principle.

We need a President, and Vice President, who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking.

And we need a President who doesn't think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade.

The man who will be that President is John McCain.

In the days ahead at this convention, you will hear much more about what John will do as president -- what he will do on the economy, on energy, on health care, the environment... It is not my role tonight to explain that vision.

My role is to help remind you of the man behind the vision. Because tonight our country is calling to all of us to step up, stand up, and put "Country First" with John McCain.

Tonight we are being called upon to do what is right for our country.

Tonight we are being called upon to stand up for a strong military ... a mature foreign policy ... a free and growing economy and for the values that bind us together and keep our nation free.

Tonight, we are being called upon to step up and stand up with John just as he has stood up for our country.

Our country is calling.

John McCain cannot raise his arms above his shoulders.

He cannot salute the flag of the country for which he sacrificed so much. Tonight, as we begin this convention week, yes, we stand with him.

And we salute him.

We salute his character and his courage.

His spirit of independence, and his drive for reform.

His vision to bring security and peace in our time, and continued prosperity for America and all her citizens.

For our own good and our children's, let us celebrate that vision, that belief, that faith so we can keep America the greatest country the world has ever seen.

God bless John McCain and God bless America.

Gun Rights Policy Conference - Heads Up

"Elect Freedom!" 2008 Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC)

The 2008 Gun Rights Policy Conference will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 26, 27, & 28, 2008. We look forward to seeing you there, so make sure you save the date!

This year we will be hosting the 23rd Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, where we will discuss topics such as city gun bans, youth violence, "smart" guns, concealed carry, federal legislation, legal actions, gun show regulation, state and local activity. We'll also preview the upcoming Presidential Elections and analyze the U.S. Supreme Court Heller Decision.

Hotel information, last year's archived agenda, and more, is available on the Second Amendment Foundation website.

Registration is now open! Click here to register online or by mail!

Party of Caring, Dem's attack children

It is a true hint of desperation and viciousness when one must attack children or teens who never chose to run for public office, rather than discussing issues, the virtues of a candidate one supports, or even the vices of the *candidate* one opposes.

Yet this morning, in the second round of attacks on Sarah Palin's children, activists (I ran across it at the Yahoo-Groups based Lone Star Activists List) have now outed the alleged father of Palin's daughter's child, in articles in the NY Daily and gleefully trumpeted over at HuffPo. I link, because the level of hatefulness must be seen to be believed. The NYTimes (membership required, to protect privacy, see is doing three page one articles on Palin's daughter.

Attacking children and teenagers is a vicious, gutter-dwelling, low-class approach - one that until now, even Dem's have managed to avoid - leaving the Bush daughters largely alone, leaving Mary Cheney largely alone (although not entirely, and she *was* an adult before the media swooped in fine vulture-like form). Amy Carter and the Reagan kids were left largely unmolested during their fathers presidency, as was Chelsea Clinton.

Why are Sarah Palin's kids suddenly fair game?

This kind of attack on the children of candidates also tends to persuade the opposition that playing nice with one is wholly uncalled for - and either responses in kind or of substantially greater viciousness are appropriate. Folks get funny when their children or teens are under attack, and an awful lot of other folks can be pretty forgiving of truly over-the-top responses to such things.

At 17, most of us made (or if I have any younger readers, are making) no shortage of really bad decisions - and through either divine intervention or dumb luck, managed to miss getting nailed by the life-altering consequences most of the time. We are not often at our best and brightest in our teens and early twenties, at least in terms of decision-making.

But... to suggest that no parent should ever run for office in order to protect their kids is a disservice to the adults, the community, and the nation. To attack those children or teens is equally a disservice to the victim of the attack, to the political dialogue, to communities, and the nation. Palin's daughter and her significant other never chose to run for public office, never sought out the national spotlight, and deserve - much like any other innocent bystander - to be left the hell alone.

I suggest this path is dreadfully ill-advised generally, but for persons identifying as members of the LGBT community in particular, as it could easily equate to jumping up and down and showing "Ooo! Ooo! Can I be the scapegoat!! Please??!!!!" As a special downside, so-called LGBT activists don't even have to originate such unpleasantry - by gleefully spreading it, we embrace the tar baby (look up your Brer Rabbit stories..)...

These attacks on Palin's daughter are wholly uncalled for, and certainly I would have no qualms whatsoever to see an absolutely scorching GOP response doing the equivalent or far worse to Biden and Barack Hussein Obama*.

*Barack Hussein Obama's full name is used here for a variety of reasons. It seems to get the collective panties of the DNC and their fellow travelers all balled up in a capsicum-marinated knot (a worthwhile goal in and of itself) ; so many have made so much of how it's "not nice and not Politically Correct to use the middle name of Barack Hussein Obama (and PC just annoys the crap out of me, bringing out my mischievous side); and if someone is dumb enough to vote against Barack Hussein Obama because they were exposed to his dread middle name - I'm willing to take it in an electoral situation this foul. As for the other? They desperately need their chain yanked - frequently.