Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hulu. For your vegetation pleasure.

I'd just like to point out that Hulu now has added Seasons 3 and 4 of Adam-12 for your free, on-demand, no-sign-up-required viewing pleasure. In seasons 3 and 4, Reed and Malloy now carry 4-inch revolvers (as opposed to the 6-inch ones in the previous seasons) in the silliest floppy pivot holsters you've ever seen, and their 1970 Plymouth Satellite looks far cooler than the old Belvederes that they were driving before.

These procedurals are quick 24-minute tastes of an idealized view of police culture from the years before and during my birth. Dad was a patrolman, back then.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life is getting better. And better still.

And yet still we complain.

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Today's earworm: Synthesizers and white linen suits.

For two days I've had the song "Crockett's Theme" from Miami Vice in my head.

Must be nice to have a theme song. Me, if I ever had one, it'd probably be Muzak version of "MacArthur Park."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Resentment? Moi?!?

In late 2001, my wife and I were tired of renting. With a second child on the way, we knew the little two-bedroom apartment was about to get crowded. We looked at our combined income and realized that we might could swing a house, if we kept our sights low. And if our credit was good enough.

It turned out that our credit was great. Credit may be a score, but really, it's a series of Pass/Fail tests. That match play never showed how close to the bone I'd gotten at times-- only that I'd managed to pay my bills. Nowhere on it was reported how I had several times pawned my shotgun, or my .45, to make the rent check. (And then scurried back to pick them up at the next pay check.)

So we bought a little 19 year-old 1440 square foot fixer-uper for $70,000. We fixed it up as we lived in it, doing most of the work ourselves. We lived happily. 5 or 6 years later, we sold it for $96 grand to the first person who looked at it. I think she got a heckuva deal.

We put our little profit in the bank, and rented for a year and a half, until we saw our current fixer-upper. We plunked down about $70k for this foreclosed-on old house, and then spent about $30k fixing it up, and moved in. I still need to re-plumb the master bath's sink.

During the course of all of this, we've been driving the same old second-hand Civic, and my wife has picked up a salvage title Saturn.

I'm not trying to poor-mouth. I've got it pretty good. Damned good, in fact. My credit is just as good now as it was when I applied for the mortgage on that first house, and we're still meeting payments. Sometimes we even go out to eat. :) But I don't have a lot of extra; there is a moratorium on gun purchases until grad school is over with.

What I will NOT have to do is beg my neighbor to bail me out, for having promised to pay more than I could afford.

And if I sound a little resentful for having to bail my neighbor out for having bought a new house, and having parked a new car in the driveway of it every day, then by golly, I've managed to accurately convey my feelings on this issue.

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Infuriated.

Three Atlanta cops just got off easy, with sentences from five to 10 years in prison, and convictions in state and federal courts.

What did they do? Well, let me tell it the way I heard it:

First, we heard that there was a drug warrant service that went bad, resulting in a 92 year old lady being killed by the police as she shot at them.

And, not knowing all of the facts, I suggested* that we withhold judgement. It was too early, I said, to know how it went down. The variations and discrepancies in the stories were to be ironed out, and probably were the result of bad reporting.

But right from the start, some nagging issues about procedure were coming out. The officers serving the warrant were in plain clothes. Forced entry was very early, if not no-knock. And those discrepancies-- was it no-knock, or not? Had the woman fired after they made entry, after the knock and announce, as they stood on the porch, or as the officers walked up? Which was it? There was supposed to be a young man there selling crack, but only some marijuana was found, and no man.

Then we started hearing about the possibility that the probable cause had been bolstered by creative writing.

Then we heard that in fact the probable cause affidavit was just fiction.

And the marijuana? Planted.

And the after-action reports? Fabrications.

And the plan to go in based on what they had or didn't have? Criminal conspiracy.

So, at night, criminals with guns attacked Kathryn Johnston's home. She responded as any frightened citizen who is in charge of her own destiny might; she fought back. At 92 years of age, she could hardly be expected to fight hand-to-hand with armed invaders, and she used a gun of her own.

She wounded three men before they gunned her down, killing her.

So when I say that they got off lucky, I mean it.

All three men pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights resulting in death. Smith and Junnier also pleaded guilty to state charges of voluntary manslaughter and making false statements, and Smith admitted to planting bags of marijuana in Johnston's home after her death.
U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes ordered all three men to serve three years of supervised release after their prison terms, and to split Johnston's funeral costs, which totaled $8,180, authorities said.

Tesler's state conviction was reversed on appeal, but he pleaded guilty to the federal charge. Junnier and Smith face sentencing March 5 on state charges including voluntary manslaughter, but according to their plea agreement, their sentence will be served at the same time as the federal sentence, authorities said.

Translation: they were offered the opportunity to avoid a felony murder rap.

We should have gotten more time out of them. 5-10 with concurrent sentencing is not enough for what these men --police officers sworn to uphold the law-- did.

That's not what I got into policing to do.

Friends with badges, hear me: we had better damned well police ourselves. If a person in your ranks is breaking the law, then he is not a police officer-- he is a criminal with a badge. And we put criminals in prison.

(Tip of the hat to Tamara. )
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*In comments. It got pretty heated with some.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Didn't know who they were messin' with.

On this date in 1836, a significant portion of the Mexican Army entered San Antonio, and surrounded the mission.

They would win the battle, and lose the war.

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These are the days of miracle and wonder.

The Boy In The Bubble died a quarter century ago.

A long distance call, indeed.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wrong hobby, youngsters.

In a rural town with crumbling asphalt streets, no curbs, and less than 100 yards of public sidewalks, why not take up a past time OTHER than skateboarding, brainiac?

Might I suggest bicycling? Or roping? Maybe weeding your folks' driveways?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Made of convenient coffee WIN!

May I suggest, for your coffee-drinking convenience, the Hamilton Beach BrewStation with timer?

In the kitchen of Casa G, we've got the large one, the model 47665, which not only will brew you 12 cups of drip, but it will dispense it without pouring from a carafe, it will keep it hot for hours without burning the coffee down, and it will make it in the morning for you after you set its simple timer.

No more broken glass carafes. No more spilling. A small footprint on the counter. At $55, we were pleased.

Look, it's not French press, but you're not going to do that every day. You can cover a lot of sins by using good fresh ground (even better: fresh roasted) high quality beans. And, seriously-- this thing is really, REALLY convenient.

Better & Better gives it Two Thumbs Up.

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Great! When do I get some? Sign me up!

Some Dutch boffins are making inroads into a fuggetaboutit pill. They claim that they can make painful memories disappear.

The most hopeful use for this is for sufferers of PTSS, including victims of terrible crimes.

Me, I just want to erase the terrible marks left on my psyche when Mary Beth Rottencrotch turned me down to the high school dance, and that time I bought a procedural in a tactical match for shooting to slide lock, and dumping a mag with rounds remaining during what should have been a tac reload.

Ouch!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh, no. HELL no.

I don't know what these jokers in Tucson wanted from their intended victim, but I know that they were willing to commit aggravated robbery to get it, and have little doubt that they would have stopped at murder. Fortunately for the resident that they were attacking, they were not equipped with a plan to accompany their carbine. Had they been, the homeowner likely couldn't have driven them off with merely a handgun. (Video of the robbery attempt here.)

Even while he had them on the run, the homeowner had trouble scoring decisive hits, only wounding one bad guy that we know of, and creating new business for windshield repairmen. It's hard to do good, fast, effective work with a pistol against multiple attackers under stress. But when out and about, a pistol is at most all you're likely to have on you.

In your own castle, though, you should be able to have access to something a bit more substantial.

Apparently much hay was made about the fact that a house across the street was hit by errant bullets. May I suggest a reliable old semi-automatic shotgun? Your local pawn shop and Gun Broker.com have a multitude of them for under $250, if you're not picky about the way it looks. Make sure that it's reliable, hack off the barrel to just over 18" (measure twice!!), and stick some high-visibility sights and a side-saddle on it. Don't be married to 12 gauge-- the semi-auto 20 gauge is the best-kept secret in home defense.

Practice your order of arms with it, and learn for good and all that you can't depend on the pattern spread to make hits; you need to center your targets. Once you can do that well, practice changing targets faster. Then faster. Then FASTER. The good news about a shotgun is that, if you center-punch your non-armored target at tennis court distances with even #6 bird shot field loads, that target has been effectively addressed. You may move on to the next target. If your adversary is wearing body armor, might I suggest holding on their face?

This is pragmatic, and admittedly bloody talk, I know. But we, here in the United States, must not accept home invasion. It is abhorrent. If a citizen is safe nowhere else in the world, he should feel safe in his own home. If your state does not allow you do effectively deal with the problem, ask yourself these two questions: (1) Are you actively campaigning to change this fact? (2) If you're not so active, then why, exactly, do you still live there?

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As usual,

The 2 dozen roses and pound of hand-made chocolates from a specialty store got nowhere near as much response as the house-cleaning did.

Well, hell, flowers don't look good in a cluttered kitchen.

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Don't even start.

Don't start whining to me about how hard it is to rear teenaged girls, when:

For the second time in 4 months, I come across your 15 year old teenaged daughter, in the company of drug and alcohol-addled grown men, and you didn't even have a clue where she was, at 9:00 on a school night.

Or where the 16 year-old daughter was.

And we've received not one single run-away report.

And you lie to cover up that your 15 year-old has been dating her second 20-year-old.

You, madam, are part of the problem. And if it hurts your feelings to hear me say it, get ready to not like me very much.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Seriously?

No, seriously?!?

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Preparedness.

Being prepared for any degree of self-sufficiency has picked up a strangely kooky reputation. Prepare too much, and you're bordering on being a "survivalist," and we all know they're crazy, right? But of course, the funny thing is, we all want to survive. We all want to live, mostly in the manner that we've become accustomed to. Or better.

Survivalists got smeared a couple of decades ago by the truly bizarre among them, who made it clear that they looked forward to the day when society comes crashing down, and they could be one-eyed kings in the land of the blind. I personally think those kooks were the minority, but it certainly tinted negatively the public view toward anyone who would identify himself as a "survivalist."

While I agree that there's a point where one puts more time and resources into preparing for the possible than dealing with the present, I think that it's wise to prepare. I put on my seat belt whenever I'm driving, but I don't want to get into a car accident. I lock my doors but I don't want to have my house or car attacked. I put in smoke alarms, but I don't want a fire. I carry a gun but don't want a shoot-out. I do some contingency planning.

When a large hurricane hit my friend's county in southern Florida, the local police came to his house to take showers and charge their radios and cell phones, because he had taken the relatively minor steps, when building his house, of installing a medium-sized underground diesel tank and a generator, and of putting in a large propane tank for his heat, cooking, and hot water. When rolled into the cost of his house, these were very minor costs for him. He also had plenty of clean fresh water, and fuel for his SUV, which even fairly poor person could fund. In short, he was prepped to bunker in place.

At any rate, on Friday, 02/13/2009, at 11:00 PM CST, my pal Mark at Blog Talk Radio is going to be interviewing the guys at Alpha Disaster Contingencies, who think a lot about these concepts, and spend a lot of their philosophy debunking the whole "bug out" concept of survival.

Give 'em a listen.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Socialism is coming tragically into sight.

Tamara makes a prescient comment here:
Of course the .gov thinks it's right and proper to tell you the minimum you can pay someone, so why not dictate the maximum, too? And if CEO's are limited to $500k/yr, how about CFO's? Regional marketing directors? What about customer service supervisors, server maintenance guys, and janitors? Heck, why don't they just gin up a table of the acceptable wages for every job title in the country?
As fun as it is to see the instructive lesson being demonstrated of what happens when you take Ceasar's coin, Tamara's point is disturbingly spot-on. Think of the eventual ramifications.

'Way back in 1942, Wickard first said that the Fed could tell you whether or not you could grow wheat even for your own use, because it was a fungible item, subject to control by the Interstate Commerce clause. I've already ranted on how that got extrapolated into Raitch [2005].

Between the occasional tax break given for businesses, and federally-secured college loans for company officers, I reckon that the fed could claim to have a finger in the pie of every business in the U.S., to justify its interference. Using the Raich standard, it probably doesn't even need that; it's got the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Somebody stop this train. I believe that I'd like to get off.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Would be news if it were NOT the case, actually.

The A.P. is reporting that US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Sully Sullenberger sounded very calm on the tapes of his radio broadcasts before setting his Airbus into the Hudson.

Uh, yeah. I want three things on the flight deck of any plane I'm on: A touch of gray, a belief in man's mortality, and utter, complete confidence that the pilot knows what he (or she) is doing.

And the person who should feel that confidence most should be the pilot.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Upon reflection, it makes so much more sense to me.

Why would one, in this day and age of superlight pocket pistols, carry a medium-small pistol that was extremely heavy? I've long said that weight is one of the biggest considerations to picking a carry pistol.

(Well, you know, besides the fact that they might be reliable and accurate and serve perfectly well.)

A very good answer to this question might well be: Because you are a very small person yourself, and the good honest steel helps attenuate the recoil of a little bitty gun in an intermediate caliber.

Being the biggest guy in the room with the smallest and lightest pistols on him, I joked about my online pal FarmGirl's guns being so heavy. Then she showed me her hands.

Damn, but she's tiny. And I'm, uh, not petite.


Photo stolen shamelessly from Old NFO.

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