Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Machine Gun Purse? I'm There...

I'm gonna get one of these for my Sweetie...the PURSE, you idiots, not the partially clad window-washer!

These machine gun purses are from designer James Piatt, who also did a lovely set of brass knuck purses.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Jeff Cooper Quote...

...I came across recently:

"Weapons compound man's power to achieve; they amplify the capabilities of both the good man and the bad, and to exactly the same degree, having no will of their own. Thus we must regard them as servants, not masters - and good servants to good men. Without them, man is diminished, and his opportunities to fulfill his destiny are lessened. An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it."
— Col. Jeff Cooper


I'm liking this piece from Ramesh Ponnuru, a graduate of the NSSF Media Program, in NRO:
NRA Nation
The Second Amendment people are winning

Bloomberg is wrong: The Democrats are not “in charge” of Congress, at least when it comes to guns — the National Rifle Association is.
What accounts for the extraordinary strength of the gun-rights movement? Four factors come to mind.

First: While the polls show that the public supports some gun-control measures, that support has slipped over the last decade. In 1999, after the Columbine massacre, ABC found that 67 percent of the public wanted “stricter gun control.” Now 61 percent do. In 1999, the public was evenly split on whether people should be allowed to carry concealed handguns. Now they think it should be legal, by a 55 to 42 percent margin. Other polling organizations, and other questions, show similar results: The public has moved to the right. That movement may reflect the fact that concealed-carry laws have spread across the country without its becoming the O.K. Corral writ large.

Second: Support for gun control is a mile wide but half an inch deep. A lot of people who support particular gun-control measures — mandatory trigger locks, say — do so because those regulations sound reasonable to them. Many of them don’t believe that such regulations will do much to reduce crime. It is not an issue that moves their votes.

Opponents of gun control, on the other hand, tend to be gun owners, for whom gun issues are much less abstract. The intensity is all on their side. Many of them will vote against a politician based on gun issues alone.

Third: Democrats are gun-shy after seeing this issue backfire on them too many times. Many Democrats, including Bill Clinton, blamed their loss of Congress in 1994 on their support for the “assault weapons” ban. Many Democrats blamed Al Gore’s loss in 2000 on gun control, too, which contributed to his losing Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

By 2006, the Democrats had backed off on guns. In some places, they ran pro-gun candidates. More often, they ran anti-gun candidates who campaigned on other issues. Guns were a major issue in only one competitive race last year: the contest to replace Henry Hyde, a moderate Republican on gun control, in the Sixth Congressional District of Illinois. Peter Roskam, a proponent of gun rights, beat back a strong Democratic challenge, partly by using the gun issue.

Fourth: The NRA is a highly effective organization. It has 4 million members — a little below its 2000 peak, but enough to be formidable. It keeps a wary eye on everything going on in Congress. And it understands that political muscle is built by being exercised.

The NRA worked that muscle twice in recent weeks. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat from Washington State, proposed an amendment banning the importation of polar-bear trophies. The NRA opposed it as a regulation on hunting, and beat it in late June.

In mid-July, congressmen working with the NRA forced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw a proposed regulation on explosives. The NRA feared the regulation was too broadly written, and would inadvertently make it hard for gun shops to store ammunition. OSHA is redrafting the rule.

TEAM OUTDOOR CHANNEL Sweeps to Style Victory!

Note the emhasis on the word, "style." We looked marvelous at the Shooting Industry Masters in Califonia last weekend! We had the cool guns, too. We smoked the cowboy stages in the event! On the tough Raahauge's sporting clays course...Team Outdoor Channel — me, Gene Burkhardt from the OC, "Lefty Longridge" (cowboy World Champion Joe Alessia) and "Tupelo Flash" (ace cowboy champion, clays shooters and top Elvis impersonator Ron Stein) — came apart like cheap suits.

Despite our sartorial splendor, we were smooked by teams from USA Shooting — yes, they slipped Olympians in on us! — DPMS, Ruger, Ellet Brothers and heaven knows who else/

NOTE TO MYSELF...remember to actually hit those orange things flying through the air, as opposed to annoying them.

BTW. the S&W M&P .45 was named Handgun of the Year by the SHOOTING INDUSTRY Academy of Excellence at last weekend's event. Shotgun of the Year was the amazing titanium/carbon fiber Remington 105CTi — that's what I needed!. Crimson Trace LaserGrips were once again the High-Tech Product of the year. The complete list of winners should be up in a couple of days on the SHOOTING INDUSTRY site.

Friday, July 27, 2007

It Was Me!

Yes! I was driving the Lindsay Lohan GMC! I was on the way to deliver her to Fed-Ex, where they were going to box her and ship her to Umgahwahstan for a tour of striped tents and hashish produdtion facilities. Really. Somebody call Matt Lauer, quick like a bunny!

It's only 8AM, and I'm already in FULL FIRE DRILL mode...OUTDOOR CHANNEL team member Tequila called in sick, trapped in some Texas bathroom like Lindsay after a big bender huffing glue and eating bootleg Vicodin from Pakistan, which happens to be right next door to Umgahwahstan, in case you slept through your high school geography class. Tequila's just a bad case of the flu, although he's thinking of commandeering a white GMC and driving it helter-skelter to Houston, where he's going to hurl.

So, before I get back to mining my rolodex for another shooter, here's an interesting story from AzCentral on the decline in hunting and fishing:
A fourth-grader once told journalist and author Richard Louv that he liked to play indoors because that's where the electrical outlets are.
But there are a myriad of reasons why people don't hunt and fish.

Some of the reasons discussed at the meeting were complex rules and regulations, reduced hunting opportunities, age restrictions, a lack of encouragement or help for older hunters, increasing urbanization of the population, rising license and permit costs, difficult access to recreational lands and a perception that hunting and fishing is cruel and inhumane.

"We try to placate the public by becoming invisible," Keck told the group.
I know you don't want to hear me blather about this, but notice what's missing from this article — any mention of the boom in the shooting sports. We are in the position of walking around a desert-full of parched people with a bucket of water, but nobody wants it. The shooting sports are the solution to the decline in hunting...more people in shooting translates into a bigger universe from which to recruit new hunters, as well as buttressing the RKBA battle.

Speaking of the RKBA battle, I made a scary — for me, at least — decision today...I decided to be conciliatory as opposed to confrontational in one of our on-going battles. My reflext is to always go for the throat, which I realize doesn't always produce the desired results...we'll see. I hope I'm not writing a piece next week on what an idiot I was!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Single Actions for Self-defense

See? I'm trying to get serious again. Hard to do, since I'm in California to shoot the Shooting Industry Masters, meaning I will have to pretend to shoot sporting clays. And cowboy...I'm good with cowboy. Of course, Tequila will be better...ringer! Ringer! I did bring some of my "A" stuff, including the blood-red "Cartman" Winchester X2, a Steve's Gunz Navy Arms '92 clone and — because all teh brass from Ruger will be here — two really slick Blackhawks...a 100% New Blackhawk Flat-Top from Cylinder & Slide and my fully restored 1956 Flat-Top .357 from Dave Clements. I may not be able to hit anything, but damn, I get style points!

Since I can't carry in this miserable state, I didn't bring a carry gun. But I did bring a very .357 JHPs for the Blackhawks...specifically for the C&S New Flat-Top because it's got a transfer bar and holds six rounds. Gives me something to keep me warm and fuzzy in the hotel room.

Funny story...when we were running the NSSF Media Seminars, one of our regular instructors was Angie Kelley, your basic law enforcement SWAT trainer girl. One morning we're out here in sunny CA and at breakfast Angie asks, "Hey Michael, would it be okay if I got a box of 9mms out of the case for my hotel room?" Sure, I said. Thanks, she replied, as someone had tried to break into her room the night before, screaming, yelling, etc., and she had a room full of guns and no ammo. Whoops...

So, do I feel undergunned with a 19th Century single action revolver to protect my tiny hotel room? Nahhhhh...get real! Real World scenario says someone tries to break into my room, he (or she, this being CA and all) gets to meet Mr. 125-grain JHP, who doesn't actually care what the launching platform is. I doubt there's going to be a firefight, and even if there is I have several hundred cowboy rounds for the Navy Arms carbine.

Prepare the sandbags! Get ready to hodl the fort! No wait, it's Ontario...who wants to hold the fort...give it to them and ESCAPE...

BTW, Our friend Jeff at Alphecca has fallen on some hard times...stop by the site and kick him some kibble to help tide him over!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The End of the World as We Know It Comes!

From Reuters, sad, sad news:
Weekly World News to close
(aliens not blamed!)

MIAMI (Reuters) - Publisher American Media Inc. said on Tuesday it will stop printing the Weekly World News, which for 28 years gleefully chronicled the exploits of alien babies, animal-human hybrids and dead celebrities.

The company said in a brief statement it would end the print version of the tabloid newspaper next month but would maintain the online version (www.weeklyworldnews.com).
The Weekly World News, which boasted it was "The World's Only Reliable Newspaper," reveled in shocking and almost always exclusive reports about extra-terrestrials, ghosts, scoundrels and scientific discoveries, such as the cure for lovesickness found on the walls of an ancient Mexican monument.

Bat Boy, the half-bat, half-human child found in a cave, was a regular feature. After the September 11 attacks, the tabloid reported he had been enlisted in the hunt for Osama bin Laden because of his special cave-dwelling skills.
Sigh...I always had aspirations of becoming the 34-pound Grasshopper Correspondent, traveling the Midwest in search of the elusive giant insects. Another dream bites the dust!


From the London Daily Mail:
UFO sightings bring town to a standstill
Last updated at 11:27am on 25th July 2007

A crowd of 100 stunned stargazers brought a town centre to a standstill when five mysterious UFOs were spotted hovering in the sky.

Drinkers spilled out of pubs, motorists stopped to gawp and camera phones were aimed upwards as the five orbs, in a seeming formation, hovered above Stratford-Upon-Avon for half an hour.

The unidentified flying objects lit up the otherwise clear night sky above Shakespeare's birthplace in Warwickshire on Saturday.
Wouldn't it totally suck if the aliens actually landed AFTER WWN closes????

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Quick...Check the Basement for CHUDs!

This morning Pravda — IMO, for more objective and honest, not to mention entertaining, than the New York Times — revealed that ther may be another civilization in the hollow Earth:
Legends say that an entry to the underground realms was located somewhere in the North, and legendary ancient tribes living on the planet centuries ago used the entries to have a good shelter under the Earth's surface. Mystics believe that the entry to the legendary Hyperborea, Shambala and Plutonia is carefully concealed from outsiders somewhere close to the North Pole. Recently, a reliable edition reported that UFOs coming to this planet start not from space but burst out from huge holes under the surface in the North Pole.
Sort of like Boulder resident Jeff Long's cool best-selling novel, The Descent. Just in case, I went down and checked the basement, but no sign of underaliens. Actually, they're welcome in my basement gun room if they'll single run the Dillons for me...I've give them a case of Jiffy Extra-Crunchy peanut butter a month and an Internet connection with their own FaceBook account, so they can meet other underaliens. When I get tired of all their chitterings, I'll sell them on eBay. I am a simple man.

Great visit at Midway yesterday...Larry Potterfield cleverly spend half the day having us shoot sporting clays, where I proved once again that I can barely hit the ground with a shotgun. I swear I'm going to do an episode of SHOOTING GALLERY on clays just so I can figure out what I'm doing wrong...well, I know what I'm doing wrong...I tend to stop the gun, leading me to shoot behind the clay. Anyhow, I love to hang around the Midway plant and watch it work, sort of like a great big clock...my old manufacturing consulting background peaking out, I guess.

Placed an order today for a Stag AR today, one of the Model 2Ts with ARMS folding rear sights (shown above...yes, it looks like an AR!!!). I plan to use it in a Performance Rifle class at the United States Shooting Academy in Tulsa in a couple of months — you'll see it on SHOOTING GALLERY, of course. I'm really excitied about going to Tulsa and taking some classes...USSA is the home of USPSA Grand Master Phil Strader, one of the three nicest guys in the world and a great instructor. It'll be fun...

I also asked S&W for one of the new John Ross/Performance Center .500 blasters...I love the way John has designed the gun! You can eventually get details on it on John's site, and there are videos of the proto from the NRA Show in April on DOWN RANGE (go to DRTV Videos and scroll down the list to "2007 NRA Annual Meeting."

BTW, have you seen the new look on DOWN RANGE? We've got the MEMBER VIDEO UPLOADS engine working now, so users will be uploading their videos. I'd hoped to cut a deal with GunsAmerica.com, the large classified ad site, to put us in front of more viewers, but that whole negotiation proved to be quite the little tar baby and, unfortunately, we weren't able to make the deal work.

Marshal Holloway and I are still committed to making DOWN RANGE the ultimate community site for shooters, and I think we're pretty close to being there. We ain't no stinkin' carpetbaggers!

Time to go to work...got videos to upload for tomorrow! Plus I gotta go check the traps in the basement...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

St. Louis Blues

More or less...I'm in St. Louis on my way to Columbia to pull the trigger a bit and have lunch with Larry Potterfield at Midway USA. I am luckily in a hotel with the world's greatest minibar...this is a plus...

Also a plus are the rumored first 10,000 AR clones from longtime military supplier Reed Knight...looking forward to aying my hands on one of the suckers. No, that's not what the hamster has...rodents have their own weapons' suppliers.

BTW, kudos are in order for my friend Debbie Ferns of Babes With Bullets for doing such an excellent job on NBC News last week talking about high-tech rifles. Deb couldn't do anythign about the usual nitwit stuff — These guns have pistol grips! Oh my god! — but she did a beautiful job of presenting our case on the national news. Thank you, Deb!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Am Back from Margaritaville North

AKA, Miami and a trip to Taurus...shot some cool stuff, sat on the beach, ate some great fish and had a couple of good margaritas!

Should have the first video up Wednesday, along with the podcast.

More tomorrow...sorry for the light posting!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

OSHA Caves!

Some very good news for all of us! The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in the face of stunning response from gun owners and Second Amendment supporters in Congress and facing the "Centers for Disease Control" scenario — being stripped of some of their federal funds for use in anythng even resembling gun control — has caved on their attempt to back-door collapse the ammunition industry. From the NRA-ILA:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it will significantly revise a recent proposal for new “explosives safety” regulations that caused serious concern among gun owners. OSHA had originally set out to update workplace safety regulations, but the proposed rules included restrictions that very few gun shops, sporting goods stores, shippers, or ammunition dealers could comply with.

Gun owners had filed a blizzard of negative comments urged by the NRA, and just a week ago, OSHA had already issued one extension for its public comment period at the request of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. After continued publicity through NRA alerts and the outdoor media, and after dozens of Members of Congress expressed concern about its impact, OSHA has wisely decided to go back to the drawing board.

Working with the NRA, Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) planned to offer a floor amendment to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill this Wednesday when the House considers this legislation. His amendment would have prohibited federal funds from being used to enforce this OSHA regulation.
Simple truth...when we stand together, we have the power. And we are going to need that power, because there is a storm coming in 2008. Believe it!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Parker Going to the Supremes!

Get ready, boys and girls, because the roller coaster is starting up. Washington D.C. has decided to appeal the Parker decision — remember, from the D.C. Circuit, that the Second Amendment is an individual right, making D.C.'s draconian gun prohibitions unconstitutional — to the Supreme Court. This from the SCOTUSblog.com:
Local government officials in Washington, D.C., announced Monday they will appeal to the Supreme Court in a major test case on the meaning of the Second Amendment. The key issue in the coming petition will be whether the Amendment protects an individual right to have guns in one's home -- an issue on which there is now a clear conflict among federal Circuit Courts. The city will be defending the constitutionality of a local handgun control law that is regarded as the strictest in the nation.

The petition would have been due Aug. 7, but city officials said Monday that they would ask Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., for a 30-day extension of time to file the case. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and city Attorney General Linda Singer disclosed the appeal plan at a press conference, along with local Police Chief Cathy Lanier. (A news release announcing the action can be found here ) The Mayor said: "We have made the determination that this law can and should be defended and we are willing to take our case to the highest court in the land to protect the city's residents. Our handgun law has saved countless lives -- keeping guns out of the hands of those who would hurt others or themselves."

The D.C. Circuit Court ruled on March 9 that the Second Amendment does guarantee an individual right to possess a gun -- at least within one's own home. The ruling was the first by a federal appeals court to strike down a gun control law based on that view of the Amendment's reach. The case is Parker, et al., v. District of Columbia (Circuit docket 04-7041). On May 8, the Circuit Court refused by a 6-4 vote to rehear the case en banc. The mandate is scheduled to be issued Aug. 7, but will be withheld after the city files its Supreme Court petition. Thus, the existing gun law would remain in effect temporarily.
What does it all mean?

Could be nothing; could be the whole freakin' ball game. The Supreme Court scares the hell out of me (and numerous pro-2A attorneys have written me with exactly the same feelings). Yes, we have a "conservative" Court, but the Court will go where the Court will go. Read Joe Tartaro's of the Second Amendment Foundaton articulate commentary from GunWeek a couple of months back:
...the Parker case may be a turning point in the struggle for the right to keep and bear arms. It must be remembered, however, that the Parker case focuses on the question of “keeping arms” in one’s home or business, not “bearing” arms on the streets of Washington, DC, or anywhere else.

If it goes to the Supreme Court, and the court upholds the Mar. 9 ruling by the three-judge panel in the DC appellate court, it will not spell the end of all gun control laws. That decision, like the earlier 5th Circuit Emerson decision left room for some limitations on firearms possession and use while upholding an individual right to possess them.

The anti-gunners has been tearing their hair out and screaming that the world of gun control will come to an end if the Supreme Court upholds the Parker decision. As usual, they are predicting nothing short of the end of civilization as we know it if the decision is upheld.

Some pro-gunners are almost as extreme in their fear of what would happen if the court overturns Parker, something I find hard to believe given the careful preparation of the case, the upstanding nature of the plaintiffs, and the scholarship woven into the Parker decision.

Sooner or later, it is inevitable that one or more Second Amendment cases will be accepted by the Supreme Court, no matter what the pro-gun and anti-gun leaders and their strategists say. I believe that Parker should be that case. As I mentioned, it is a case about the right to keep arms in one’s home. Later, there may be cases that address the question of bearing arms outside the home.

Better now the Parker case than the one involving drug dealers, terrorists, bank robbers, and rapists—all of whom frequently raise the Second Amendment in their defenses.

As Parker case attorney Alan Gura told Workman during his interview, “If not this case, which case?”
Let's talk a little about timing and the President elections of 2008. This is from the Volokh Conspiracy last March right after the decision:
Say that the D.C. Circuit decides not to rehear the case en banc; that probably means the en banc petition will be denied within several months. Assume that it's denied by late June — the petition for certiorari will be due in late September, the Supreme Court will consider it in the next month or two (unless it decides to call for the views of the Solicitor General, but I doubt this will be necessary). That means the case will likely be heard in early 2008, and decide by June 2008.
What will the extra prominence of the issue do to the primaries?

Assume the decision is 5-4 in favor of the individual rights theory; what will that do to the general Presidential election race? Assume it's 5-4 in favor of the collective rights theory, with Kennedy joining the four liberals on the collective rights side — what will that do to the race? What if it's 5-4 with Roberts or Alito joining the liberals? I take it that if it's not 5-4, or (possibly) if it's 5-4 with a less liberal/conservative split, the effect will be less; is that right? Or is this decision not that relevant, either on the theory that the issue won't energize people that much, or on the theory that plenty of people would be energized on gun control and the Second Amendment regardless of how the case comes down?

Naturally, if one of the Justices retires this year or next, the effect on the Presidential race would be still greater, I suspect. And if the case is delayed (say, by en banc activity, by a call for the views of the Solicitor General, or the like) so that it's heard in Fall 2008 and expected to be decided in Spring 2009, I take it the effect on the election would be bigger still.

Finally, note that if there is a pro-individual-rights decision from the Supreme Court, I expect it will be very narrow, will leave open considerable room for gun controls that are less comprehensive than D.C.'s total ban, and will not resolve the question whether the Second Amendment is incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment to cover state regulations.
We'll see...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jim Cirillo Killed in Car Crash

Good Lord, another dear friend lost!

Jim Cirillo, the legendary member of the New York City Police Department "Stake Out Squad" in the 1970s, was killed yesterday in a car-truck collision in New York...Jim was 76.

I don't even know what to say right now...

Back to Work!

Back to filming today for DOWN RANGE, a voracious maw that devours media. I'm working on a series of short-form videos for people who want to or are getting ready to buy a firearm. I forget sometimes that not everyone lives, eats and breathes this stuff. Here's a question — how should I balance the mix of videos on DOWN RANGE, vis-a-vis expert vs. beginner?

I think there's some utility in getting some of the top people in the industry to step back in time and remember how they started.

A second question...looking at the sweep of Gun Universe, how much emphasis do I need to be placing on all those old military rifles in SHOTGUN NEWS, the C&R stuff? It's frankly out of my venue...I've got a couple of Mausers, but in truth I haven't shot them in years. I need to get a sense of how large that market is..growing or shrinking...that sort of thing. I am going to go back and re-examine some of the older pistols like the Walther P-38/P-1, the CZ-52, the 1895 Nagant revolver and the like.

I'm having trouble putting these guns into context, so to speak. For example, yes, you can pick up a serviceable 8mm German Mauser 98 for a couple of bills or a Mosin Nagant for less than a hundred...but in my eyes those guns are either for plinking, informal target shooting, collecting or, for some of the guys I know, hunting...I'm not denegrating ANY of those activities, either! Remember, I'm the guy who thinks 38-40 is such a great cartridge he had a custom one built!

But if someone were to ask me for a suggestion for a good cheap bolt-action hunting rifle, my answer would be a used Savage or Ruger — in other words, a modern gun made with current steels — rather than one of the older military rifles. If you asked me about a "do-everything" or a so-called "social" rifle and you wanted a bolt gun, I'm going to send you out for any one of a half-dozen modern .308s. If you wanted a fast-handling carbine and were allergic to ARs, I'd point you toward a Marlin 30-30 lever gun...you can getone that was run over by a train and it will still work great. But the 50-plus year old military rifles I see as "fun guns," much like I see my 38-40.

My exception to the "fun guns" would be the Walther P-38/P-1 pistol. If I had only a single 9mm and it was a P-38 (actually, I prefer the alloy-framed P-1), I'd be just fine, heel-mounted magazine release and all. I've put a lot of rounds through various and sundry P-38s and P-1s, and I've found them to be accurate and reliable. I've shot some WW2 relics that surprised the heck out of me on accuracy. I've actually half-way planned to get one, have Tim Wegner at Blade-Tech or Brian Hoffner make me a modern plastic holster rig for it and shoot it in IDPA just to see how it worked...my suspicion is that it would work just fine.

I will confess that I'm planning on finishing a Siamese Mauser .45-70 project my father started and like so many other things in his life never finished. It's been rechambered from the original rimmed 8mm round, rebarreled and partially refinished. I tracked down the gunsmith who did the original work back in the early 1970s — Ed Mason in Memphis — and my plan is to get them to finish the job. Like I said, a fun gun...

Am I full of elephant poopers or what?

The End of a Long Week

Well, the world spins on, or as Peggy Noonan noted in the WSJ OpinionJournal, "...a slow week in a hot era."

First I would like to refer you to Kathleen Parker's eloquent epitath for Doug Marlette in Townhall.com:
He felt it was the artist's assignment to find out -- "to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic," as Wolfe put it.
I would also like to acknowledge the gracious comments on the last post. Two of the posters, Gary & Sandi, figured large in our shared story...not only did Gary actually (and insanely) hire both Marlette and I for the Florida Flambeau, but during those college years they fed us both more than once.

I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.

— Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Doug Marlette — A Warrior for Truth

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Doug Marlette, creator of the "Kudzu" comic strip and a relentless and honest observer of the human condition, was killed in a car accident in Mississippi yesterday morning.

He was 57, my age, and one of my oldest friends.

We met our freshman year at Florida State, working for the school newspaper, and shared those crazy years together. Just when I thought we were all going to grow up and become "serious" journalists, Marlette got a job at the Charlotte Observer and talked me into moving to North Carolina. It was Marlette who believed — absolutely believed! — I could spin a haphazard career out of air. I sold him my first real bicycle, a Raleigh, when I moved to New York City to become a magazine editor.

When he drew the cartoon above, What Would Mohammed Drive?, a few years ago, he did so as a committed liberal and a religious man who was as appalled at the rise of Islamofacism as he was by the rise of the Praise the Lord Club — he was, as he always said, an equal opportunity offender. The fascist declared a fatwah on my friend and called for his death.

More painful to him, far too many of his long-time "friends" deserted him; publications who routinely ran Marlette's broadsides against the Pope, against PTL, against Jerry Falwell (a favorite target) refused to run the Mohammed cartoon out of "sensitivity" to Muslims. "Cowards," he called them.

And he went on with his life, because Doug Marlette was not a coward.

Got an email from him a month or so ago complimenting me on "your web empire" and telling me he had started drawing for the Tulsa World. "Hey, we'll get together soon!" he wrote, and he signed his note, "Your old friend..."

I don't know what else to say, except that my friend was always a warrior for truth and a true son of the South in the oldest, deepest and most profound sense.

I will miss him. So will the world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Interesting Reading on 2008

McCain's pretty much tanked — the money's running out and the rats are leaving the ship. He sold us out on the First and Second Amendments and wonders why nobody loves him any more. Pathetic.

Maybe he can move to San Francisco, where the Board of Supervisors approved more and more gun control regulation for the most antigun city, albeit with the best restaurants, in America. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, Johnny!

Been a while since I mentioned Ann Coulter, so check out this article in Human Events...just as you suspected, felons vote (when they vote), overwhelmingly Democratic (and other tidbits from John Lott):
This is not because, as you might imagine, blacks have high crime rates and also happen to be overwhelmingly Democratic. Lott compares the voting patterns of felons and nonfelons, controlling for race, age, education level, religious habits, employment, age and country of residence. Wholly apart from all these factors, felons were still more likely to vote Democratic. Indeed, in the 2004 election, Lott says, felons in Washington state "voted exclusively for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry."

With so many felons being Democrats, the party might want to think about changing its mascot from a donkey to a jailbird.

Needless to say, Democrats are neurotically obsessed with restoring the right to vote to felons. But the ex-cons themselves rarely express any interest in regaining this particular right. What ex-cons want is the right to own a gun. "Felons," Lott says, "who frequently live in poor, high-crime neighborhoods, want to be able to defend themselves."

So the evidence is in on that one, too: Preferring the right to bear arms to the right to vote (for choice), convicted felons have a superior value system to liberals.
And John McCain, too!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Two Mondays in a Week...

...well, two Fridays, too! Am going to go see Live Free or Die Hard today, just because I haven't seen anything blow up in awhile. My Sweetie and I did a long bike on Independence Day, up Mt. Evans, which is, I believe, the highest paved road in America. At about 12,000 feet I got minor mountain sick — splitting headache, nausea and the "whirlies." I rode on for another 500 feet of elevation, but finally packed it in when we saw a big thunderstorm swirling aout from behind the summit. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, although, in truth, the mountain sickness was sucking out all my enthusiasm for biking!

I strongly urge you to avoid steep descents on twisting mountain roads with big drops off the side while the world in your head is spinning around...remember, I'm a professional! The weird thing about mountain sickness, of course, is that it goes away as quickly as it comes on...at just below 12,000 feet, I felt great again. It's also a "luck of the draw" sort of thing...I've been at 12,000 feet a bunch in the last couple of years with no ill effects.

Interesting piece in Reason Online on the militarization of the police, based on senior editor Radley Balko's testimony before the House Subcommittee on Crime a couple of weeks ago:
This is troubling because paramilitary police actions are extremely volatile, necessarily violent, overly confrontational, and leave very little margin for error. These are acceptable risks when you’re dealing with an already violent situation featuring a suspect who is an eminent threat to the community.

But when you’re dealing with nonviolent drug offenders, paramilitary police actions create violence instead of defusing it. Whether you’re an innocent family startled by a police invasion that inadvertently targeted the wrong home or a drug dealer who mistakes raiding police officers for a rival drug dealer, forced entry into someone’s home creates confrontation. It rouses the basest, most fundamental instincts we have in us – those of self-preservation – to fight when flight isn’t an option.
Check out this map on botched police raids put together by the Cato Insititute. The red dots are raids that resulted in the death of an innocent person.

Quickly switching gears, I just finished reading DEER HUNTING WITH JESUS — Dispatches From America's Class War. It's interesting because the author, redneck Internet columnist Joe Bageant, is also a self-described socialist who moved back to his home town in Virginia, Winchester, and decided to address the issues of class he found there.

I enjoyed the book and found much to agree with...I am, of course, Tennessee born and bred; And, as Conway and Loretta once noted, "we ain't the jet set." Sadly...at least to me...much of Bageant's "solutions" are the same Sad Sack socialist recipes served cold...if the underclass only taxed themselves silly to build mass transit instead of buying trailers! If they only traveled and saw other people with different value systems — only 20% of the people in America even have passports!

Oh gosh, Joe, I have traveled...I'm one of the 20% with a worn passport full of fascinating stamps. I have visited countries where people have other belief systems, and — let me put this in the vernacular of my home or your home — most of them suck dog balls.

We did find some serious common ground...on guns, of course:
So when the left began to demonize gun owners in the 1960s, they not only were arrogant and insulting because they associated all gun owners with criminals but also were politically stupid" [P129; graf 2]
And this on Hollywood's love affair with gun control, talking about the infamous Handgun Control Inc. "Open Letter to the NRA" a few years back:
Personally I love 'em all, but Hollywood doesn't seem to have the common sense God gave a soggy animal cracker when it comes to guns. Maybe they signed up to endorse HCI because their agent says they need a cause and there is no more room on the AIDS bandwagon. I don't know. But according to HCI and the well-meaning but clueless stars who endorse it, "Every day we lose 13 children to gun violence in this country...The debate is not about guns. It's about children." Nah, It's about middle-class liberal feel-good masturbation and celebrity-identity franchise building through causes. In reality, 90 percent of the "children" we lose to gun violence are gangbangers between 15 and 19 years of age. Which is not quite the same as your average elementary or middle school kid shooting up the neighborhood or popping little brother with daddy's Magnum pistol. [P136-137; graf 3]
Couldn't have said it better myself, Joe! He goes on to discuss gun control's ugly little closet secret, that it was born primarily to deprive black Americans of their right to self-defense. Of course, he can't resist working up a little liberal sweat on those of us with high-tech rifles in the basement:
Yet I shudder to think about what the Glens and the Donnys of the world will do one day if things spiral out of control. What happens when this country finally hits Peak Oil Demand and the electrical grid starts browning down and even little things become desperately difficult or unaffordable? What happens if the wrong kind of president declares the wrong kind of national emergency. What will be the first reflex of those hundreds of thousands of devotees of lethality? [P156; graf 1]
Now that's a thorny question, isn't it Joe?

Still, DEER HUNTING WITH JESUS is the perfect gift book to buy for your liberal friends...the first few chapters will get them all heated-up and aroused on the Usual Agenda and frothing about Bush, then the gun chapter falls on 'em like an lard-based atomic weapon! Be fun to watch!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independence Day, 2007

Recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center, September 11, 2001

And I keep on fighting for the things I want
Though I know that when you're dead you can't
But I'd rather be a free man in my grave
Than living as a puppet or a slave
The harder they come, the harder they'll fall one and all

Jimmy Cliff
"The Harder They Come"

Remember our soldiers, heroes one and all! Sean, keep your head down over there.


We Can Forget It For You Wholesale

This from LiveScience:
Researchers at Harvard and McGill University (in Montreal) are working on an amnesia drug that blocks or deletes bad memories. The technique seems to allow psychiatrists to disrupt the biochemical pathways that allow a memory to be recalled.
I can't wait to get some, because I've been trying to forget the Clintons for 8 years; I suspect that I'll need a second dose to forget most of the Bush Presidency.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Newest Battleline...OSHA

From NSSF:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government agency charged with assuring the safety and health of America's workers, is proposing a regulatory rule affecting the manufacturing, transportation and storage of small arms ammunition, primers and smokeless propellants.

As written, the proposed rule would force the closure of nearly all ammunition manufacturers and force the cost of small arms ammunition to skyrocket beyond what the market could bear—essentially collapsing our industry. This is not an exaggeration. The cost to comply with the proposed rule for the ammunition industry, including manufacturer, wholesale distributors and retailers, will be massive and easily exceed $100 million. For example, ammunition and smokeless propellant manufacturers would have to shut down and evacuate a factory when a thunderstorm approached and customers would not be allowed within 50 feet of any ammunition (displayed or otherwise stored) without first being searched for matches or lighters.
Go to the NSSF site for details on how to contact OSHA!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Moon's a Harsh Mistress

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

— Robert A. Heinlein

We're coming up on the 100-year anniversary of science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, July 7, 2007. There's an interesting essay on Fredericksburg.com (thank you, InstaPundit!) on the upcoming anniversary:
Almost half a century later, the book [Starship Troopers, of course] continues to outrage, shock--and awe. It still has critics, but also armies of admirers. As a coming-of-age story about duty, citizenship, and the role of the military in a free society, "Starship Troopers" certainly speaks to modern concerns. The U.S. armed services frequently put it on recommended-reading lists.

There's even a grassroots campaign to have a next-generation, Zumwalt-class destroyer named the USS Robert A. Heinlein.

Heinlein's influence reaches far beyond a single book, of course. He was the first sci-fi author to make the bestseller lists, the winner of multiple awards, and the inspiration for a legion of proteges and imitators whose own volumes now weigh down bookstore shelves. He was not the most accomplished literary stylist in his genre, but he spun a good yarn, grappled with big questions, and left an enduring imprint on a popular field. He was arguably the preeminent sci-fi author of the 20th century.
One of the key differences between him and the two men who might also compete for this title--Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke--is that whereas they were political liberals, Heinlein was a Man of the Right.
Interestingly enough, Brian Doherty's book on American libertarianism, Radicals for Capitalism, notes that most modern libertarian activitists list Heinlein as an early influence. I consider myself a libertarian activist who focuses on the gun issue, and, of course, much of my early thinking (such as it was) centered around Heinlein, Ayn Rand, and some crotchety bastard firebrand named Jeff Cooper.

Later I was priviledged to spend time with both Ayn Rand and Col. Cooper...and I can't tell you have lucky I am...but it has always pained me that I never got to sit down with Heinlein...so many questions!

Back in high school, I sketched out the outlines of my haphazard career after reading (many times) the Heinlein short story "We Also Walk Dogs." And, of course, this quote:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert A. Heinlein