Saturday, January 19, 2008
I finally finished the top of a chainmail coif that I was working on. That was the hard part. Now I just have to add length to it. Time-consuming, but not horrible.
Worked on a knife roll for the Ragin' Mrs. You know how chefs have to have their knives with them at all times. When the Mrs. went to Arizona last year, she had to deal with her sister's knives, which according to the Mrs. couldn't cut butter on a hot day. So I'm making a leather knife roll for her to carry her knives when we travel.
Did a few other things as well. Kept away from the internet except for now. Tomorrow is lawn-mowing day, so don't expect to see me much then either.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I presume he'll cough up the Marine's deductable and have to pay the insurance company for the damage.
And here I am with a taser and nothing to do with it.
I got pulled over yesterday. My fault. I ran a red light. I was sitting there, watching traffic, saw the cross traffic stop, and I hit the gas. I never bothered to actually check the damn light to see if it was green. My brain said "Oh, hey, they're stopping, you can go!" Luckily the nice officer took one look at me and decided to have pity on my red-light running ass. Maybe the fact that I didn't give her any shit helped.
I've also got one hell of a tension headache going on. My back feels like steel cables are pulling everything apart. Yeah, I'm real happy right now.
So sorry for not posting more today. I've been trying to get some projects done and kick-start my brain into working again.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Which I bought, of course.
And after making a martini (with two olives) I take a sip. And the Ragin' Mrs. is regaled with me damn near yelling:
"Oh god, THAT is what I needed!"
Oh, get that thought out of your head! What, you think I'm going to give you all the graphic details of my personal life? For shame! Those are only available to the paying customers! And since I do all this for free... well.... you're shit outta luck.
No, seriously. Samuel L. Jackson does the narration.
Anyways, we laughed our asses off. Maybe it's just us, maybe not. But it did produce a rather memorable line from the Ragin' Mrs:
"See, that's why I send you for a walk! Because I had another penguin up my butt!"
OK, so we had a couple of drinks by then. It was still funny as hell at the time. Go to NetFlicks, rent the movie, and you'll see what I mean.
You want a socialist health care system? Come on down to Puerto Rico! Give it a whirl! You make an appointment, you're given a time, and then you find out it's first come first serve!
When the Ragin' Mrs. was having back problems, we were sent to a neurologist to see if there was any permanent damage. We were told "Be there at 8:00 AM". So as we're collecting our paperwork, the nurse leans over to me and says "You might want to show up at 6 instead. It's first come, first serve."
Say what? Yes, I had heard her correctly. First come, first serve. So the wife and I arrived at that doctor's office at 5:30 in the morning, and we were SEVENTH IN LINE. Think about that.
Today was no different. The "appointment" was for 12:00. We got there at 10:30, and we were third in line. So we signed in, and went to get some lunch. Came back at 11:30. Sat down. And waited. And waited. And waited.
Guess what? We waited some more. This was the second day in a row we'd sat around and waited to see the doctor. Now, in the Doc's defense, he's a damn good doctor and he's not the one who set up this bullshit schedule. So we were happy to finally be able to see him, and then get the hell back home. So that's what I've been doing all day. Between sitting in a doctor's waiting room surrounded by loud people, followed up by driving in rush hour traffic in San Juan, I'm ready to either guzzle a fifth of scotch or go on a killing spree.
Do we have any scotch? Please?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
You can only wear so much body armor before it begins to affect you in rather detrimental ways. To wit, I don't care how much armor you're wearing; if you can't move out of the way of the incoming bullets fast enough, you're going to get hit somewhere the armor doesn't cover.
Dragon Skin for sale: I paid approximately $4,000 for this body armor but would not recommend it to any buyer who plans to use it in combat. I do not like Dragon Skin for various reasons. The Dragon Skin is too heavy and also relatively difficult to wear. If you fall in the water with this body armor, I think you will drown before you can shed the Dragon Skin, or if you are trapped in tangled wreckage after an IED, you will have an extremely difficult time shedding the Dragon Skin. There is no quick release and it’s plain hard to get in and out of. I talked with a Special Forces soldier some months ago about body armor. His humvee was hit with an EFP and was burning. He said that if not for the quick release on his armor, he said he would have burned up.
Again, please do not buy this for combat. There are cheaper body armors that are better. I’m starting the bid at $1 and will use the proceeds to return to Iraq at the end of January.
Bottom line is this: The free market can provide better healthcare with less cost than the government. And the nanny-statists are shrieking about it for all they're worth.
Piss on 'em all.
UPDATE: I remembered seeing a review of one of those clinics on Instapundit. Found it.
I will never go to a regular doctor for a minor, routine illness again. Sick and wanting an appointment immediately, I went to one of those medical clinics in Wal-Mart. I got in almost immediately, everyone on the staff was extremely friendly, and it only cost $59. Wow. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed.
I'll have to post something later about clinics like that. But, yeah, later.
As of yesterday, the Byrne's have raised almost two-thirds of what they need. According to folks who know, it's that last bit that's the hardest to raise. They're better off than they were last week, but they're not out of the woods yet. So I'm going to try to keep this post at the top just so folks know about it.
One of the good guys on the 'net has been caught in a bit of difficulty. Short short version, he needs some cash. You can read the long version for yourself. Unfortunately I don't have much cash, so I'm auctioning off one of my cameras for him. If you're looking for a camera, or you know of someone who's looking for a camera, send them to this Ebay auction. It's a Mintolta X-700 35mm SLR camera. It comes with a Mintolta 50mm 1:2 lens, a Tamron f1:4.5/80-205mm zoom lens, and a Vivitar 3X Teleconverter. It's a good camera. I've taken some damn good pictures with it. Here's a few:
This picture was taken at Harvard University in Boston. It used the 50mm lens.
After I took this shot, I changed the lens to the zoom lens with the 3X teleconverter. I stood in the exact same place, and took this shot.
It's one of the gargoyles hanging off the cathedral. Take a look at the first picture. Those tiny little nubs coming off of the corners about halfway up? Yep. That's them.
It's a good camera. If it weren't for the fact that the Byrne's needed the money, I wouldn't be selling it.
Luckily I still have two other cameras. Anyways, spread the word. I'd like to get as much as possible for them.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
“When Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks, America listens…For his commitment to truth, education and leadership, we honor Minister Louis Farrakhan with the Rev. Jeremiah W. Wright Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.” -- Barack Hussein Obama's personal Mentor, the Minister of Hate, "Rev" Jeremiah WrightUh... "truth"?
Maybe for Wright and some others, Farrakhan “epitomized greatness.” For most Americans, though, Farrakhan epitomizes racism, particularly in the form of anti-Semitism. Over the years, he has compiled an awesome record of offensive statements, even denigrating the Holocaust by falsely attributing it to Jewish cooperation with Hitler — “They helped him get the Third Reich on the road.” His history is a rancid stew of lies. -- Richard CohenBryan at HotAir sums up:
Farrakhan is one of the country’s most bizarre, most repulsive, most openly racist, most offensive public figures. Yet Obama’s minister lauded Farrakhan with an award for epitomizing “greatness.” What’s doubly strange about the Farrakhan award is that Obama’s is a Christian church. Why would a Christian church magazine laud a racist radical Muslim? It’s impossible to get past concluding that it did so because, while it disagrees with Farrakhan on religious matters, it agrees with him on political and racial matters and those agreements trump the religious disagreement.Is this what Obama meant when he said some people aren't the right sort of Christian?
Is Barack Hussein Obama's "Rev" really the kind of "Christian" you've ever heard of?
Given that Barack Hussein Obama's father is Kenyan, and he grew up in Hawaii, going to private schools... isn't this a bit... cynically exploitive:
"He is, it turns out, perfectly willing to let this racial stew fester, so long as he thinks it will work to his advantage -- even though the controversy is totally baseless, and he knows it. That suggests to me that, as president, he would let any racial controversy fester if he deems it politically advantageous." -- Brendan Loy
Is there a better illustration of the MainStreamMedia's partisanship then the cover they provide for the race-baiting haters that are so close to Barack Hussein Obama?
Yet next to Hillary(D), Barack still looks good.
Cross Posted at DANEgerus
Update... the Rev: Obama’s Spiritual Mentor Brings Up Monica
Some argue that blacks should vote for Clinton “because her husband was good to us,” he continued.So... if the Mormon Church gave David Duke of the KKK a lifetime achievement award, would the MainStreamMedia rush to preemptively report that Mitt Romney(R) is "distancing himself" from that act?
“That’s not true,” he thundered. “He did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky.”
Yet this is Barack Hussein Obama's "Mentor"... and Ed Lasky isn't buying it:Obama 'repudiates' Farrakhan?
This statement by Obama is a political maneuver that should be given little credence. Obama is very actively involved in his church; he knew of this award long before Richard Cohen publicized its grant to Farrakhan. Furthermore, Pastor Wright has had a long relationship and alliance with Louis Farrakhan.
Obama did not object to these ties between Pastor Wright and Farrakhan before; nor has Obama rejected the anti-Israel diatribes of Wright. Regardless, Obama adheres to a church and a minister that have long espoused positions inimical to the American-Israel relationship, let alone the trumpeting of black values and racial exclusiveness.
Yet another pile-on, IBD on Obama's Church
At the core of the Democratic front-runner's faith — whether lapsed Muslim, new Christian or some mixture of the two — is African nativism, which raises political issues of its own.
In 1991, when Obama joined the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he pledged allegiance to something called the Black Value System, which is a code of non-Biblical ethics written by blacks, for blacks.
It encourages blacks to group together and separate from the larger American society by pooling their money, patronizing black-only businesses and backing black leaders. Such racial separatism is strangely at odds with the media's portrayal of Obama as a uniter who reaches across races.
The code also warns blacks to avoid the white "entrapment of black middle-classness," suggesting that settling for that kind of "competitive" success will rob blacks of their African identity and keep them "captive" to white culture.
In short, Obama's "unashamedly black" church preaches the politics of black nationalism.
Wright makes the Rev. Jesse Jackson look almost moderate and patriotic. Yet this is whom Obama picked to baptize his daughters, plus to act as his "sounding board" during his presidential run.
The candidate already has heeded his church's "nonnegotiable commitment to Africa," spending an inordinate amount of his campaign time on the Kenyan crisis, for one. Obama has close family ties to Kenya, and even founded a school in his ancestral village — the Senator Obama School.
In the bloody conflict there, which already has claimed some 700 lives, Obama appears to have sided with opposition leader Raila Odinga, head of the same Luo tribe to which Obama's late Muslim father belonged.
Obama's older brother still lives there. Abongo "Roy" Obama is a Luo activist and a militant Muslim who argues that the black man must "liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture." He urges his younger brother to embrace his African heritage.
Beyond family politics, these ties have potential foreign policy, even national security, implications.
Odinga is a Marxist who reportedly has made a pact with a hard-line Islamic group in Kenya to establish Shariah courts throughout the country. He has also vowed to ban booze and pork and impose Muslim dress codes on women — moves favored by Obama's brother.
With al-Qaida strengthening its beachheads in Africa — from Algeria to Sudan to Somalia — the last thing the West needs is for pro-Western Kenya to fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.
Yet Obama interrupted his New Hampshire campaigning to speak by phone with Odinga, who claims to be his cousin. He did not speak with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.
Soooo... Barack Hussein Obama's brother is in alliance, and has tribal ties, to a Marxist revolutionary working in alliance with Al-Qaeda style Islamofascists, who Barack Hussein Obama chats with on the phone... but that isn't news?
Will it become news if the riots over Odinga's defeat in the Presidential election turn tribal>
The response from the MainStreamMedia? Same as the apologists: "*Yawn*"
In arguing that the Second Amendment case now before the Supreme Court shouldn't have any bearing on state gun control laws, Attorney General Cuomo is finding himself largely alone among state attorneys general.
Mr. Cuomo filed a brief, signed onto by only four other states and Puerto Rico, to the federal high court last week in District of Columbia v. Heller, which will be heard in March. In the case, the Supreme Court will review whether Washington, D.C., residents have a right under the Second Amendment to keep handguns at home for self-protection. The District of Columbia has what amounts to a blanket ban on handguns.
Let's look at who signed this brief, shall we?
The brief, prepared by Mr. Cuomo's office, is joined by Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.
I don't know much about Hawaii or Maryland, but I know that the crime rates for New Jersey and Massachusetts is up there. And since I happen to be living in Puerto Rico right now, why don't I expound a bit on that, Hmmmmm?
Let me start by telling you about La Pearla. La Pearla is a barrio right outside the northern walls of Old San Juan. It occupies maybe five to ten acres of land, squeezed in between the wall and the Atlantic Ocean. It's known as an area controlled by gangs, drug lords and criminals. A couple of years ago, the Feds decided that they were going to go into La Pearla in order to pick up a criminal they knew to be living in there.
They made it about 100 feet before their cars were turned into Swiss cheese. No lives were lost, but they made a hasty retreat, and have never attempted anything like that again. They came up against too much firepower.
Now, keeping that in mind, let me inform you that gun laws in Puerto Rico are stricter than almost anywhere else I've been in the USA. You have to apply for a permit to get a gun. And if you are allowed by the corrupt, shit-eating bastards in the PR gummint to buy the gun, you must then apply for a permit to travel with it. If you wish to carry it with you, that's another permit. One of my co-workers added it all up, and figured that you might spend $2,000 in permits just to be able to get a firearm, IF, and let me restate that, IF the gummint allows you to buy one.
So, just how did those criminals in La Pearla get all those firearms?
I had to leave my guns in my father's gun safe when I PCS'ed down here, because there's no guarantee that the Puerto Rican gummint would even allow me to have those weapons. And if they were in my household goods, that means that I don't get my household goods delivered.
And yet, the drug lords of La Pearla have enough firepower to keep the cops well away from their barrio.
I was once lamenting the fact that since I didn't have my weapons, I couldn't go to the range to practice. A fellow Soldier told me "Oh, I can get you a gun if you want it." I asked about the permits. He stated "I didn't say it would be a legal gun, but I can get one if you want it."
Guns, illegal guns are easy to get, cheap to buy, and everywhere on the streets. And yet a law-abiding citizen can't buy a gun without jumping through multiple hoops and the possibility that the gummint will tell them "Nope. You can't buy one. Thanks for the permit fees."
Did I mention that the crime rate here in Puerto Rico is astronomical? Oh yeah. People either live in a gated community with private security guards, or they have bars on their doors, bars over their windows, barred and locked garages. It's like a prison everywhere you go. Bars and locks, bars and locks, on everything from private homes to shops. Until you get to about the third or fourth floor of a building, and then the bars seem to peter out. The gated communities have barbed wire on the walls, razor wire, I've even seen broken glass sticking out of the top of the concrete.
Forget the white picket fence. Here in Puerto Rico, it's white iron bars with multiple locks on them.
And yet people keep dying, murdered by some criminal or another. Here's a link from 2004, that shows the murder rate for NINE MONTHS was 574 murders. In 2003 for that same time period, it was 604. Puerto Rico has a homicide rate three times that of the USA. All with the most restrictive gun laws in place.
I have no choice but to call that an abject failure at every level. This island doesn't need gun control, it needs to start allowing the law abiding citizens to protect themselves. More laws that people refuse to obey WILL NOT SOLVE ANYTHING. Allowing private citizens to protect themselves from criminals would bring much of the problem to a screeching halt. When the people no longer have to barricade themselves into their homes, and instead have the means to defend their property and their families, the criminals will either die off, move elsewhere or find a new line of work.
Repealing the gun laws would be one of the best things to happen to this island. But if a Gun Bigot like Cuomo gets his way, it's not going to happen.
UPDATE: SayUncle says that "Gun Bigot" was coined by Joe Huffman. There's another blog I have to add to the blogroll.
Monday, January 14, 2008
by DEBORAH SONTAG and LIZETTE ALVAREZ
Shocka... Sweetness & Light notes the propaganda rag:
Color me surprised that the "study" fits the narrative of this, the most recent in a long list of frauds by the whores of the NYTimes.To compile and analyze its list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families, the victims’ families and military and law enforcement officials....Needless to say The Times has its usual “experts’ at the ready, like Dr. Robert Jay Lifton — who oddly enough writes anti-US books and even little screeds for the America-hating Nation magazine.
Van Helsing points out the obvious, that American's who serve have a much lower probability of committing violent crime:
Move America Forward points out that despite putting seven researchers on the story, the Times was only able to find 121 cases of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan committing murders in the USA. That comes out to a murder rate of 1.34 incidents per 100,000 vets per year. The murder rate for the general population is 5.80 per 100,000 per year. For men, it's 7.67 (all of the vet killers were male).So logically... service in Iraq should be universal to lower violent crime rates?
Do the math: the 121 alleged instances of homicide identified by the Times, out of a population of 700,000, works out to a rate of 17 per 100,000--quite a bit lower than the overall national rate of around 27.Taranto
But wait! The national rate of 27 homicides per 100,000 is an annual rate, whereas the Times' 121 alleged crimes were committed over a period of six years. Which means that, as far as the Times' research shows, the rate of homicides committed by military personnel who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan is only a fraction of the homicide rate for other Americans aged 18 to 24. Somehow, the Times managed to publish nine pages of anecdotes about the violence wreaked by returning servicemen without ever mentioning this salient fact.
Are they depraved on account of they were deployed? In fact, the Times's data are not sufficient to establish a correlation, much less a casual relationship, between stateside homicide and previous service in Afghanistan or Iraq.So the NYTimes has done a study and discovered the NYTimes is murdering our servicemen's reputation.
To determine whether there's such a correlation, we'd need to know, in addition to the number of war vets charged with homicide, the corresponding figure for the general population, as well as the denominators--i.e., the number of war vets and the size of the population as a whole. A serious analysis would also take into account the demographic characteristics of the veteran population, which is disproportionately young and male. ...
What the Times has discovered, then, is a dramatic increase in the number of news reports in which homicide defendants are identified as servicemen or recent veterans. Does this mean that those who've served their country are more crime-prone now than they were in peacetime? Or does it mean that reporters are more prone to perpetuate the wacko-vet myth than they were during peacetime?
The Times is trying to prove the truth of a media stereotype by references to media reports. It might have proved nothing more than that it is a stereotype.
Cross Posted at DANEgerus
10. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.
9. You own a $300 machine gun and a $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can't afford shoes.
8. You have more wives than teeth.
7. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can't think of anyone you HAVEN'T declared Jihad against.
5. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry ammunition in your robe.
4. You've been asked, "Does this burka make my ass look fat?"
3. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
2. You've uttered the phrase, "I love what you've done with your cave."
1. You wipe your butt with your bare left hand, but consider bacon unclean.
And no... this can't be interpreted as anti-Muslim, unless you personally consider Taliban or Al Qaeda inseparable from, and representative of, the Ummah. In which case isn't that really your own personal issue?
Too Harsh? Really?
Cross Posted at DANEgerus
Well, they have gotten a couple.
From their Claims Management Office
TSA recognizes baggage locks.
I am only going skin deep on this, since I do not want to repeat the web pages I have referenced. I just found the locks listed as "travel sentry" at our local PX. The beauty of it is that not only is TSA the only one who can open them, but, with most of these locks there is an indicator if they have been opened by the TSA.
Now I will get into my favorite rant about the TSA: their treatment of the handicap. I make no secret that I had back surgery a while back. On our return trip, I was still in a wheelchair, and they expected me to stand for long periods of time, hold my feet straight out, they would not let the Raging_Dave in the area with me etc, etc, etc.... And do *not* get me started on their handling of medical devices! Since my surgery I have been quite horrified by the inability of the TSA to deal with handicap passengers and their equipment. I am surprised that I have been allowed to fly at times because it has been so ridiculous! Last time they closed down our line, had several TSA agents looking at the X-ray, and were unwilling to do a visual inspection, despite me telling them it was medical equipment that required a visual inspection.
This is the new guidelines for Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
This is a bit more extensive, so, I will give you the hi-lights. I have a suspicion that this will look fairly invasive to most, but, it is such an improvement over their previous *lack of system*. I actually have hope that I will not feel the need to strangle the TSA next time I fly.
Tips for Screening
Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
- If a personal search is required you may choose to remain in the public area or go to a private area for your screening. If you refuse either option you will not be able to fly.
- You should be offered a private screening before the beginning of a pat-down inspection if the pat-down will require the lifting of clothing and/or display of a covered medical device.
- You should be offered a disposable paper drape for additional privacy before the beginning of a pat-down.
- You may request a private area for your personal search at any time during the screening process.
- Your companion, assistant, or family member may accompany you and assist you during a private or public screening. After providing this assistance, the companion, assistant, or family member will need to be rescreened.
- You may ask for a chair if you need to sit down during the screening process.
- You should be allowed to raise you arms out during an inspection only as far as you indicate you can.
- You should be allowed to remain in your wheelchair if you indicate that you are unable to stand and/or walk through the metal detector.
- You may request a pat-down inspection in lieu of going through the metal detector or being handwanded. You do not need to disclose why you would like this option.
- If you have a disability, condition, or implant, that you would like to remain private and confidential, ask the Security Officer to please be discreet when assisting you through the screening process.
- You have the right to ask a Security Officer to change her/his gloves during the physical inspection of your accessible property, before performing a physical search (pat-down,) or any time a Security Officer handles your footwear.
- Medication and related supplies that are carried through a checkpoint are normally X-rayed. However, as a customer service, TSA now allows you the option of requesting a visual inspection of your medication and associated supplies.
- You must request a visual inspection before the screening process begins; otherwise you medications and supplies will undergo X-ray inspection.
- If you would like to take advantage of this option, please have your medication and associated supplies separated from your other property and in a separate pouch/bag when you approach the Security Officer at the walk-through metal detector. Request the visual inspection and hand your medication bag to the Security Officer.
- In order to prevent contamination or damage to medication and associated supplies and/or fragile medical materials, you will be asked at the security checkpoint to display, handle, and repack your own medication and associated supplies during the visual inspection.
- Any medication and/or associated supplies that cannot be cleared visually must be submitted for X-ray screening. If you refuse, you will not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile area.
If not for the massive volunteer work of persons concerned about the Second Amendment, George W. Bush would not have won the very close elections of 2000 and 2004. To state the obvious, the citizen activists would never have spent all those hours volunteering for a candidate whose position on the constitutionality of a handgun ban was "Maybe."
The GOP has seemed to do everything in it's power to drive itself into the ground as a smoking, broken wreck. If one were to simplify the issues that matter to the GOP base, one would get a checklist that looks like this:
1. Secure the border.
2. Win the war on terrorism.
3. Control government spending.
3a. Shrink the size of the government
4. Repeal as many gun restrictions as possible.
(note - those are not listed in order of importance per se, it's just my list)
Now, let's look at what the GOP has been doing.
1. Secure the border: Complete and utter failure. The GOP actively tried to push a shamnesty bill down our throat.
2. Win the war on terrorism: Average. We've finally done the right thing in Iraq, but the GOP allows the
3. Control government spending: Yeah right. The GOP has proven that any political party, if in control long enough, turns into big spenders of someone else's money.
3a. Shrink the size of the government: Again, yeah right. The only difference between the GOP and the
4. Repeal as many gun restrictions as possible: Based on the brief filed by the Solicitor General, they're a failure at that as well. I would note that most of the heavy lifting done in the fight to keep and bear arms has been done at the grassroots level, NOT by the GOP.
In short, given how the GOP has been acting for the past eight years, it's no surprise that they lost their majority in Congress in 2006. We were given the choice between big government nannystatist fuckheads who admitted what they were (D), and big government nannystatist fuckheads who claimed to be conservatives (R). It's about time that someone actually stand up for what they claim to believe in. Otherwise the GOP is going to continue to bleed until it finally dies a death that it deserves.
As a side note, if you hit up the blogroll section "The 2nd Amendment", you find scads of people posting on the amicus brief filed by the SG. Read 'em all. You need to be informed on who and what you'll be voting for this November.
You know what this means? It means the next game is going to be at Green Bay. And I don't think Little Manning's recievers are going to like that one bit.