Friday, November 16, 2007

"... your (FFL) licence will be revoked"

Due to my prior support of Red's Trading Post, I have been the recipient of several emails from owner Ryan Horsely.

Don't be confused by the stilted structure of that sentence. I fully support Horsely's objection to ATF abuses which may yet result in the inequitable revocation of his (his business's) Federal Firearms License.

The latest email from Horsely, however, reveals even more blatant excesses on the part of ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a division of The United States' Treasury Department.)

As a preface to the following email, and the embedded links, I have a few comments.

First: Jeanette Compton seems like a Janet Reno Wanna-Be. She has the autocratic attitude, the arrogance, even The Look down cold.

Second: the irony of the statement "I'm from the Government, I'm here to help you" can be no better illustrated. In other words, we couldn't make this up. It's too precious for words.

Third, in Horseley's first link there are two videos. The second is the same (if in a larger format) as the first. Choose which one you want to watch, the final words ... in regards to the close watch on FFL dealers NEED to have ....

Compton's speech is boringly presented, but she presents talking points which are chilling as she talks about, among other things, the roll of ATF Investigators. (Note: NOT ATF Agents.)

Here are a few excerpts, admittedly transcripted by an amateur:

"The purpose of this seminar is to educate you, the Federal Firearms licenses ... on firearms laws and regulations as enforced by ATF ... (and) licensees responsibility in maintaining proper records and business practices that help prevent the acquisition of firearms by prohibited persons."

(Most of her speech is a literal reading of the applicable regulations regarding the transfer of firearms. As if the FFL-holders in her audience don't deal with these regulations every business day.)

Under "Secure Gun Storage or Safety":

"Licensees are required to have Secure Gun Storage or Safety Devices available at any place in which firearms are sold under the license to persons who are not licensee (subject to the exception that in any case in which a secure gun storage or safety device is temporarily unavailable because of theft, casualty loss, consumer sales, backorders from a manufacturer, or any other reason beyond the control of the licensee, the dealer shall not be considered to be in violation of the requirement to make available such a device.)

"There is an exception, if (they're) temporarily unavailable because of a theft, or casualty loss, or consumer sales, or backorders from manufacturers, then we won't consider that a violation."

"We note that the secretary ... after the opportunity for a hearing ... we will revoke the license of a dealer who willfully violates the requirement to have secure gun storage or safety devices available at any place at which firearms are sold.

"I have been given the authority to revoke licenses. So if I determine that it was willful, then your license will be revoked."
She announces that "part of the mission (of the ATF) is protecting the public."

Compton's opening comment is true:

"I've been with the ATF for over 22 years .... It's time for me to retire"

Please, Lady. When you do retire, would you please take your boss "Maximum" Mike Sullivan with you? (Anyone endorseded by both John Kerry and Ted Kennedy can't be a friend of small business ... or the private citizen.) That would be the best way for you to protect the public ... from Sullivan's heavy-handed abuse of authority.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

BLOGMEAT! Volume III, No. 11

"Geeks Surf The Net So Americans Don't Have To ..."

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday. She'll be (mumble mumble mumble) years old. Hint: she's 5 years older than me, and I love her dearly ... if only because I always have "I'd like you to meet my MUCH older sister" to hold over her head.

I doubt that she will be enchanted to learn that her birthday is about to be shared by a cartoon character, but hey! I think it's funny.

Terrorism, American Style

The fallout from the 'right to assemble' protests at the Olympia, Washington, port protests SHOULD be over now that all of the military equipment has been sent on its way to Fort Lewis.

(Note: That's right, the military equipment was not being sent to Iraq; this is military equipment which has been returned from Iraq. Why these idiots are protesting 'returning' equipment we may never know.)

However, the breaking news is that the extremes to which these "protesters for Peace" have gone in their bid to disrupt lawful activities may result in real penalties.

One female protester went so far as to use her children as 'human shields'. It worked, because no decent person would scoop them up for fear that the children would be harmed. As it turns out, this neo-hippie Earth Mother was so distracted by the Victory Dance when the cops chose to leave their "And A Little Child Shall Lead Them" human barricade, she ... dropped her toddler son on his head. In the gutter.

[sigh] And another Liberal shall arise, which should be the final convincing argument in the "Nature or Nurture" argument.

(H/T: Sondra K)

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

Kim chimes in with this article about a college Physics student who takes a bevy of friend to the range.

He got some great photos in there, too, including a young lady shooting a suppressed 10/22 at sunset (apparently they just kept shooting until they ran out of either light, or ammunition ... whichever comes first; this philosophy has always worked well for me.)

Unfortunately, there was one photo showing a nubile nimrod who managed to break not one, but TWO rules of gun-handling safety.
  1. It is always not a good idea to stick the muzzle up your nostril;
  2. Keep your booger-hook off the bang-switch.
I logged onto the site so I could add some quiet encouragement to observing the basic rules of safety, but found that others had noticed the same breach of personal-survival etiquette. I retired gracefully, without comment, comforted by the observation that I was not the only reader who noted the faux pas.

Lessons learned here:

(1) When introducing tyros to guns, it is best to have at least one experienced and safety-minded shooter watching each tyro every time they get near a gun.
(2) Those 'safety officers' should have no other duties (eg: taking photographs) than watching for unsafe gun-handling ... and stopping it when it invariably happens.
(3) Nobody wants to dampen the enthusiasm of brand new shooters, but they WILL do something scary. Expect it. Watch for it. Stop it.
(4) Remember, if you brung 'em, you're responsible for 'em. Don't let them shoot their noses off. They'll thank you for it ... and if they don't, they are among those who should be protected by not encouraging them to go shooting with you next weekend.
Who are you ... really?
The wonderful Lawdog contributes a link to a test designed to answer the question: "If you were a character in DiskWorld, who would you be?"

He (Lawdog) bravely announces that he is Samuel Vines, the notational 'hero' of Morpork.

To my absolute and total surprise, I got the same rating, but only just barely squeaking past the dubious distinction of being Lord Havilock Vetinari.

I am not amused. I have always thought that Vetinari was the real Thrilla from Manilla. On the other hand, I was worlds away ... so to speak ... from being type-cast as "Rincewind" (the Geeky Wizard). Well, now I'm twice disappointed.

I suspect that the questions which doomed me to comparison with a comic/action hero were "can you tell where you are by the feel of the road under your feet" and "do you like drinking". But on the other hand, maybe I'm just paranoid ... well, there you go again. Maybe I AM Vines.

What's that? You say "What the F are you talking about, Geek!" Is it possible that you are not acquainted with (dare I say, 'familiar with' DiskWorld?

Oh, bother.

Just check it out on (or any link that you find when you google "diskworld" except the clearly out-of-touch Wikipedia link), and write down the names of the books. No, on second thought, just write down the name of the genius who invented it: Terry Pratchett.

Then hie yourself off to your friendly neighborhood used book store and buy one of every Pratchett book you find there. Don't worry, there will be few -- folks who read Pratchett usually keep their book copies to read again. Certainly, don't buy just one because you'll just be back next week to buy the rest. Save yourself the trip.

You'll soon find yourself haunting bookstores, ordering from Amazon and Barnes&Nobel because Pratchett is one of the very few authors who can write a lot of books aiming for comedy ... and actually achieves it. First time, every time. (The only other author who can match this bizarre standard is Donald Westlake.)

Who are you ... Really? (Part Deux)
The London Daily Mail (file this under "The Brits!" has announced that the British Government has ...
... unveiled plans to take up to 53 pieces of information from anyone entering or leaving Britain.

For every journey, security officials will want credit card details, holiday contact numbers, travel plans, email addresses, car numbers and even any previous missed flights.
Not exactly "proposed", not even "tabled" and certainly not "enacted" ... but "unveiled" plans to impose this egregious really really ugly plan to force would-be travellers (both 'into' and 'out of' Britain) more than the travellers might wish to waste the time revealing .. on a form?

The plan, apparently, is that when you are required to tell the government (for example) where you are going, who you plan to stay with, and the contact information of your hosts .. why, if you (sometime in the future) 'act up, badly' the Gov will know not only all about you, but about your pals and what they are up to, too!

Well, we're all honest persons, right? Why would we object to providing this information to our Nanny-State? It's obviously vital information in The War Against Terrorism.

Stepping out of the 'sarcasm mode' for just a moment, I must admit that I've been very accepting of 'security measures' enacted in the U.S. since 9/11.

The trouble is, who knows how far it will go? How intrusive it may become, how likely it may be to bite us in the posterior at a future date?

The Geek Rule Of Thumb is: Watch The Brits. If there's any 'security measure' which might be enacted by a Nation to the detriment of its citizenry, The Brits Will Lead The Way.

Not to say I have an opinion here, or would wish to impose it upon you. But if I had an opinion, it would probably be something along the lines of ...

What a bunch a Maroons!


Join Me! We're the ATF!

Red's Trading Post: ATF Recruitment Video

(H/T "Red's Trading Post")
Here's an ATF Recruiting Video, courtesy Ryan Horseley of Red's Trading Post.

Qctually, there are three movies shown on this page.

The first is the ATF recruiting video. I'm sorry, I know it sounds crude to say it, but I think the most telling image here (it's from ATF, for goodness sake!) is the group of ATF agents standing before the rubble of The Twin Towers, scratching their heads in bewilderment. The only element missing is the balloon caption asking"WTF?????"

The second video on the webpage is pretty much a recap of the first. I admit, I didn't play the whole six+ minute version. If I was a FFL holder, the ATF would probably bring charges against me for insufficient documentation.

The third video is apparently from "The Gang Movie", a documentary critical of the ATF (with special emphasis on the massacre at WACO.)

Isn't it a darn shame, when a governmental agency ... OUR government, America's Government ... so lends itself to the criticism of its citizens?

Maybe, just maybe, the world wouldn't have come to this state if the ATF and associated Governmental Agencies (eg: FBI) hadn't found themselves in a position where the only viable recourse was to slaughter American civilians who had not been accused of Capital Crimes (Ruby Ridge, Waco).

The situation hasn't noticeably improved under a New Administration.

I weep for my country.

CZ Extreme Euro Open website

CZ Extreme Euro Open website -

I received an invitation to register for the "Extreme Euro" match in June.

I have no idea what this is about (insufficient English on the invite), but a week-long presumably) IPSC match with 550 rounds sounds ... interesting

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

She's B-A-A-A-A-ACK!

SWMBO (She - Who Must Be Obeyed) went through major surgery on September 26, 2007. She's be recovering quickly, returning to work after only 3 weeks instead of the six-to-eight weeks predicted by her surgeon.

But she hasn't felt up to shooting an IPSC match until last week-end, when we both went to the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club (ARPC) Points Match.

We had agreed that if either of us felt like dropping out, it was 'okay' with the other. (I had been out half of October with the Flu, which makes us a pair of Sick-O's.)

As it happened, we both managed to get through the whole match, and in fact both did our share of officiating, taping and brassing.

To our mutual surprise, we were blissed out the whole day. We knew we missed our friends and the mild exercise available through IPSC competition, but the surprisingly best part was --- it was fun!

Sometimes it's easy to be so focused on "being competitive", it's easy to lose track of the real reason why we spend so much time and money on competitive shooting: it's fun!

If we did nothing else last weekend, we got back to the root-cause of the investment in shooting.

It's fun!

Here's the video of SWMBO's first stage in her first match in two months. Note the smiles, note that both She and the Range Officer have big silly grins and are laughing though most of the movie.

Did I mention the most important thing about IPSC competition?

It's fun!

I lost my glasses!

I lost my glasses!

I lost them (I think) on the mean streets of beautiful downtown Corvallis, Oregon, ten days ago.

I put them in my jacket pocket when I parked in front of the US Bank (downtown), and walked to the very very retro (read: cheesy, but '50's reminiscent) Downtown Barber shop on 2nd. One block there, only to discover that they had closed early, and a block back to where I had parked. I had my cased glasses in my jacket pocket, and I can only imagine that they jiggled out when I pulled my cell phone to tell SWMBO that I was on my way back.

Not that you care about any of this, but I'm a GEEK and if I can't see the screen, I can't work. Or blog. Or net-surf. All of this is Bad Stuff.

I had a backup of drug-store eyeglasses, which worked well for me. So I decided to Do Nothing about losing my glasses (after going back and walking the street where I thought I had lost them.... no joy, no black glasses case found on the sidewalk). My best guess was that as soon as I made an appointment to get replacement glasses, the old ones would somehow magically SHOW UP!

This didn't happen; you may have seen this coming.

Still, I had the Drug-Store eyeglasses as a back-up, so I took them to work until Sunday Night when ... as I was taking the Drug-Store eyeglasses (1.5 Diopters, Bifocals, light wire frames) ... the right-hand part that hooks over my ears (the bow? I can't tell an Optician from an Obstetrician, so how should I know the parts of a pair of eye-glasses?) ... fell ... off!

The Ocular Gods hate me. After this setback, I decided I better do more than 'think about' getting replacement glasses, especially since the only other backup glasses were 3.0 diopter (read: magnifying lenses) non-bifocal glasses I bought from the Fred Meyers store five years ago ... and those lenses give me headaches.

Therefore, on Monday I called the folks who had made my original 'Computer Glasses', Valley Eye Care (VEC).

These are good people, and I highly recommend to the (one person who reads this blog and who lives in Corvallis, Oregon ... which is ME) local potential customers to go there for their ocular needs.

They made me an appointment for Wednesday at 10am (today) and took real good care of me. After the technician performed the basic tasks .. including "The Puff Test", which blows air in your face to see how well you can take it (I could get that for free any night at the Peacock Tavern), I was eventually to meet again with my Optometric Physician, "James".

I remembered James from my original appointment two years ago, and it was immediately obvious why he was so memorable: personable and professional, James understood that I was under some serious time constraints and worked hard to get me through the refresher eye exam and back to the office. What's more, the rest of the staff were able to meet my 'special needs', including a higher reach of the magnifying part of my new eyeglasses, and finding an exact match to the frames of my lost glasses. This is important to me, because I'm a picky old phart and hard to please.

After the prescription was updated and the order placed, and the check was written and I was told that I couldn't get my new glasses for two frickin' weeks ("there's a holiday in there, you know?") I was again closeted with James for the exit interview.

We got talking about my old glasses, and I mentioned that I had earlier specified Polycarbonate lenses because there was a bare possibility that I might want to use my Computer Glasses (back in 2005, when I originally acknowledged that I could no longer get a clear sight-picture of Iron Sights on a pistol). The good folks at VEC informed me that Polycarbonate lenses were, admittedly, extremely shatter-resistant. The problem is, they were very soft and they scratch easily.

In the good old days when you could get a new pair of Polycarbonate glasses from Silencio for $20 or less, that didn't matter. But I can't find Silencio glasses in these here parts anymore, so I'm looking for a better deal. Specifically, extremely shatter-resistant glasses which I don't have to replace every year or so.

The VEC folks told me about (and sold me) a set of lenses which are just as tough as Polycarbonate, just as light, but don't scratch so easily. And the name of this wonder material is ...

I can't remember. I swear, I remembered it as "Olympic" but I may be wrong. If not, here is a link I found which combines the search arguments "Olympic" and "eyeware".

Whatever it is, it should be replacing Polycarbonate glasses Real Soon Now. And I intend to get a pair from VEC or anyone else who can give me better eye protection on the range.

Moving along with the Exit Interview stuff, I started telling James about how my vision was an important factor in Practical Pistol shooting. James told me about his cousin who had encouraged him (James) to go to 'several' pistol matches at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club, which is 20 minutes away, and mentioned the USPSA National Multigun match in 2006. I told him I had been to the match as a spectator and took a large number of photographs and videos. Also the 2007 USPSA Area 1 Multigun match.

We talked about the two USPSA National Pistol matches in Bend a few years ago. I told him I had worked them as a Range Officer, and BTW what was the name of his cousin, maybe I know him?

Turns out that his cousin is Mark Seeklander, current CEO of the USSA Shooting Academy at the new Tulsa, Oklahoma range. He also said that his cousin had sent him some videos of the 2006 MG match. I said I may have filmed those videos. I also mentioned that one of the reasons I needed good 'computer glasses' is because I not only work on the computer 8 hours a day at work, I also put in something like 4 hours a day several days a week working on my Blog.

James said "So how do I find your blog?". I said: "Look for Jerry The Geek"

So James, if you're here ... this is the place. Sorry it's a particularly unexciting article, but if you look around I'm sure you can find something more interesting here.

Same to the rest of you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kalifornia vs STI

STI rejects California FIrearms Restrictions)

Last month we cited STI as one firearms manufacturer which was unlikely to accept the California Microstamping Restrictions:
Some manufacturers (STI specifically, with 25 models of 'semi-automatic pistols' in their current line) refused to yield to this unreasonable obligation. Manufacturers who gave in to the last (Act I: 2004) round of excessive gun-control legislation are likely to take a second look at the profitability of selling to California buyers when Act II becomes effective.

One more time, just for the record: this is not a safety issue, this is not a 'crime stopping' issue, it's not even a 'crime solving' issue.

It's a back-door 'gun control' issue ... just one more way to keep firearms out of the hands of honest citizens. And that means that by signing the bill, Arnold the Barbarian has signed the bill for purely political reasons.
This month (H/T LawDog) STI has announced that they will not ...
... renew certification nor to sell to LEO and governmental agencies in CA, regardless of their exempt status, because there was no exemption from liability or legal fees which could bankrupt this company.
By this single bold move, STI has reversed polarity on the state-wide egregious restrictions on new firearm sales, and announced that it will cease doing business in California.

While we truly feel badly for the law abiding citizens of California, we feel it is necessary to take a stand against irresponsible legislation designed solely to inhibit the American citizen’s right to keep arms. We are fierce proponents of the Second Amendment, and it is our hope that other manufacturers will follow our lead. It is time for the gun industry as a whole to take a stand against the insanity.
(ED: Emphasis added)

We at Cogito Ergo Geek recognize the monetary impact this recent law may have on small firearms manufacturers, and more importantly we recognize and approve of the "line in the sand" stance established by STI.

The Microstamping law is just one more example of arbitrary legislation designed not to increase firearms safety, or to improve law-enforcement ability to identify and apprehend criminals; but rather intended to restrict access to quality firearms which are otherwise available to the citizens of that state.

It is not the duty of the firearms manufacturer to enhance the availability of tools for the state's criminal justice system; rather, it is the goal to provide a reliable, safe product for sale.

The expressed claim (by the Governor of California) of the Microstamping bill to "... provide law enforcement with an additional tool for solving crimes committed with semi-automatic handguns in California ..." is both disingenuous and transparent.

The real reason for enacting this law is to establish just one more roadblock to private firearms ownership.

STI establishes the pure position of all firearms manufacturers:
To our loyal supporters in California, we sincerely regret the measures we feel we must take and will continue to honor all warrantee obligations. We hope for a speedy resolution of this ill conceived violation of the Second Amendment.

"I need help here"

Sondra K (of "Knowledge Is Power" continues her series of posts about protesters blocking convoys of trucks attempting to carry military equipment out of the port of Olympia, Washington. She's out there daily, protesting the protesters. But she can't do it alone.

Summer Wine Redux

Over two years ago, I published a short cultural/opinion article about a record album. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood had created (in 1968) an album titled "Nancy and Lee", which included a song titled "Summer Wine".

I made the point that this gentle song had resonated for me, because I thought it was not only decent music and mediocre poetry, but was emotionally satisfying. No, I didn't say it like that. I just said I liked it because it brought to mind the nirvana of the 60's:

Isn't it funny how a song will stay in your mind for decades, and hop onto your tongue for no good reason at all?

Since that date (2005), I have noted a surprising number of 'hits' on my statscounter for this article, as people seem to Google the song title on a weekly basis. This was vaguely interesting, but not particularly significant, until last week when I received a surprising email from a woman in the UK named Ilanna.

She said she found my ode to "Summer Wine" and wanted to know more about my personal impressions. Specifically, she wanted to know whether the song was commonly played at "high school proms in 1968 - 1969".

I replied, thanking her for her interest, but admitted that I couldn't answer her question because during that period I was a College student and had no information about High School Proms.

In subsequent correspondence, she questioned whether the song "Summer Wine" might have had a provocative influence on both The Manson Family murders and the Zodiac Killer murders.

My response was that I could see absolutely not basis for making such a connection, although the timing (1968) was coincidental I also mentioned that the Mansons scrawled "Helter Skelter"
(released on The Beatles White Album, Disc #2, song #6) in blood on the walls of the Sharon Tate home. Implied was the question why they didn't scrawl "Summer Wine". God knows they had enough blood to work with!

Most resently, the correspondent replied with an apology for suggesting a connection, mentioning a (deceased) relative who had some connection .. not clearly established .. with one or the other massacre event.

I don't pretend to understand the thought processes of my correspondents, I only mention it here to illustrate the startling twists such exchanges can elicit however unintended the connections and inferences may have been originally.

As a curious 'unintended consequence', this exchange rekindled my interest in the album. I discovered that the original "Nancy and Lee" was no longer available for blood nor money (apologies for the implied relationship) but the album had been more-or-less re-released under a new title: "Nancy and Lee, Fairy Tales and Fantasies".

Apparently there is a hunger for the original album, and some doubt whether the re-release is true to the original. This seems to center on two points:
  1. Whether all of the songs on the re-release were those which were available from the original "Nancy And Lee" album; and
  2. Whether the re-release presented them in the same sequence as the original.
Although I cannot find my (Columbia Record Club) original album, I did take the opportunity to buy the download of the re-release. Judging only by my memory, I didn't remember the songs until I listened to the MP3 download version. They seem to be the same songs, and they 'seem' to be presented in the same order.

With one perhaps insignificant difference:

The 8th song, "Some Velvet Morning", was originally released under the title "Phaedra".

I know this intuitively as certainly as I know my own name, which is "Jerry the Geek" to you, but which is ... something else, according to my mother.

Curiously, as I listen to these "Nancy and Lee" songs again, I find that the song which plagues me during my morning showers is not as often "Summer Wine" as it is "Greenwich Village Folk Song Salesman". This is perhaps due to my own personal psychological imbalances, as I also find that my most-often-sung-in-the-shower QUEEN song is "Bicycle Race".

Most people cannot abide that song. Yet I find it difficult to get out of my head.

Go figure.

Rush Limbaugh and "Phony Soldiers"

A couple of weeks ago ... when this was all 'current news' ... I followed this story.

To recap, Limbaugh referred to "Phony Soldiers" during a session of his radio show. For whatever reason, Liberals in Congress pounced on this conservative commentator with all talons out. Besides speeches in Congress, a baker's dozen of United States Senators signed their name to a letter to the president of Clear Channel Radio (host of Limbaugh's show)castigating him for his lack of support for the troops.


By now we all know the story: Limbaugh put the original letter up for sale on EBAY, with a promise to match the winning bid, and the letter sold for a huge amount of money. With Limbaugh's matching funds, the total was millions of dollars, all of which was donated to a fund benefiting the families of servicemen who had died in combat.

This not only re-established the already long-established support of troops by Limbaugh, but resulted in an embarrassment for the congress-critters who were signatory to the letter.

One of the signers was, sadly, a Democratic senator from the great state of Oregon, Ron Wyden.

Background: Wyden was elected to congress on the basis of his personal support for 'old folks' in Oregon. He had initiated a group which he chose to call the "Grey Panthers" in an effort to get more Federal funding to support retired persons in Oregon. I thought it was a worthwhile goal, although suspiciously smacking of Nanny-statism, so I supported Wyden even though I knew him from the days when he was a City Councilman in Portland, and later a State Representative. (I once was visited by Wyden when he was door-to-door campaigning for the House in Oregon, and told him that he didn't have my vote because I didn't agree with his politics ... even though I was a registered Democrat at the time. This was Long, Long Ago and Far, Far away.)

Moving up to Current Era:
When I saw that one of the signers was a senator from my home state, I wrote to him to express my disappointment that he had allowed himself to be distracted from the important business of the Senate to lend his name, and the prestige of both his office and his constituency, in the service of a purely partisan attack on a private citizen. I thought that Limbaugh had established the appropriate context for his comment, and that it had been validated at least twice (here and here) in sufficient detail to confirm that his reference was NOT intended to castigate serving military personnel who disagreed with current use of the military, but rather to identify and disavow private citizens who were NOT 'serving military personnel' although they claimed to be such for their own personal aggrandizement ... a la Jesse MacBeth.

In my email, I stated these facts (although without the links which you see here.)

Why do I bring this up after the controversy is essentially over?

Because today, LONG after I had taken my U.S. Senator to task for supporting the vituperative and odious attack on a private citizen, I received an email from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) which attempted to justify his participation. I offer the full text of Wyden's letter here, without comment, so that you can know the perfidy of our serving senators:

Dear Mr. *********:

Thank you for contacting me about statements made by Rush Limbaugh regarding American soldiers. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

During a September 2007 radio broadcast, Mr. Limbaugh used the term "phony soldiers" in reference to soldiers who are critical of the U.S. effort in Iraq. In response, I joined several Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, which syndicates Mr. Limbaugh's show. Our letter called on Clear Channel to repudiate Mr. Limbaugh's comments and to request that he apologize to our men and women in service.

I have heard from many Oregonians who condemn Mr. Limbaugh's comments and many who defend his right to free speech. Let me be clear: our letter did not call for Mr. Limbaugh's termination or threaten his right to express himself as he wishes. Instead, the letter simply expressed the belief that the brave men and women risking their lives in Iraq deserve the right to question the wisdom of the war without having their military service or patriotism called into question.

Thank you again for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you. If I may be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Ron Wyden
United States Senator

To write to me, go to and choose the "E-mail Ron" link. Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

Monday, November 12, 2007

ARPC November, 2007

SWMBO and I have been 'out' of the sport for the past couple of months, give or take.

She had Major Surgery in September, and I lost half a month in October because I had The Flu. (Broncheal Congestion, not the nausea and vomiting "Stomach Flu", thank you Jesus!)

By the time we felt strong enough to shoot another IPSC match, it was November. So we showed up for the November ARPC match despite weatherman prognostications of "rain, wind"!

This only serves to prove that the weatherperson's goal is to NOT disappoint his audience: the weather on the Second Weekend of November was gloriously sunny, and mostly characterized by match competitors taking off the extra layers of clothing they had worn in anticipation of a rainy day.

The match administrators (Mike McCarter) didn't even bother to hang plastic bags (rain protectors) on the targets. The weather was THAT GOOD.

We started the match at 9am, and finished a bit after 1pm. No rain showers interrupted the match, thanks to pre-arrangements by the ARPC Staff (according to MD Mac.

By the end of the day, the imevitably clement weather had encouraged "head - to - head" competition between individual competitors, which always adds flavor to the match.

Here's the video which demonstrates last-stage competition between WhiteFish and The Geek. The match results aren't yet available, so we'll leave it to you to decide who REALLY had the best approach on this stage.

Fish was ready to concede the points, but I'm not so sure .../

What do YOU think?

SWMBO Laughs!

Albany Rifle and Pistol Club, November Club Match -- "Who Listens?"

You've got to appreciate the irony here.

Also the Chutspha (sp) , the nerve, and the confidence.

When you're shooting an IPSC stage, you're all alone. Anyone who offers advice from "The Peanut Gallery" runs the risk of incurring a procedural penalty (how this applied? Anyone?) and the shooter who obviously changes his/her approach to engaging targets on a stage risks incurring a similar penalty on the stage.

The Best Thing To Do is, invariably, Shoot 'Em as You See 'Em, and if you screw up ...

Let's Face The Music and Dance.

Here SWMBO loses track of her Round Count, and out of frustration makes a standing reload which eats up her time.

Does that deter her? Hell No!

If anyone ever thought that the best shooters are those who gets the most points in the least time, they have no idea why people come back every week to compete in IPSC matches.

If everyone ever thought that the best reason to compete in IPSC matches was to have a good time, and to enjoy the process, they simply have no idea why ... but you get the picture.

And in case you are among the benighted few who Have No Idea, here's a hint:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day, 2007.

It may alternatively be describe as Veterans' Day, or Armistice Day.

Sufficient to say that, although this date (November 11) is generally reserved to honor American Military Veterans, it was originally intended to recognize the Armistice ... which occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (November 11) and acknowledged the surrender of the surrender of the German forces at the nominative end of World War One.

Since then, it has been alternative named Armistice Day and Veterans' Day, and has been the instrument of acknowledging the contributions of American Military Veterans.

So much for establishing cross-links between the date, the event, and the raison d'etre.

It may be useful to note that, since November 11, 2007, falls on a Sunday, this date and this event is formally recognized on Monday, November 12, 2007. Also, the union (Service Employee's International Union, or SEIU) in my home state, in negotiated agreement with my State employer) has 'traded' this day of observation in exchange for a Three Day Weekend, which this year is represented by The Day After Thanksgiving (a Friday). Much as it has 'traded' Presidents' Day for The Day After Christmas.

May I go on record as stating that I find this trade-off as an egregious exchange which disallows me from celebrating the entirely laudable option of celebrating the sacrifices of my fellow Americans in preference for a three-day weekend?

Okay, I've SAID that, but I don't really mean it.

I can celebrate the military sacrifice of my fellow Americans ... and some of my family ... anytime. The difference is that the Federal Government has 'adjusted' the legal holiday to fall on a week-day, so we can all rejoice in a paid holiday. And my union has negotiated the date so it falls on (this year) the Friday after Thanksgiving, so we can all enjoy a 4-day weekend.

I wonder how many of us, given the option, would take an unpaid day away from work to recognize and acknowledge the sacrifices of our friends and family, and people we never met, who gave their lives in support of their country, to protect the freedoms of their fellow man, and in service to their country?

Show of hands? Nobody? Probably not.

I know I wouldn't be comfortable with taking an unpaid day to recognize Veterans' Day. I am willing to wager that few of you who would be given the the option of working on V-Day, would be willing to take an unrecognized (unpaid) day off to march in a parade.

Perhaps I "under-misestimate" your patriotism, and if I do ... I apologize. I only offer my own poor integrity for your consideration.

It has been 37 years since I wore the uniform as a member of the American Military. Since then, I have chosen one single way to offer my own personal manner of recognizing the Sacrifice of Service.

There is a "Wall" (similar to, but smaller than, The Wall in Washington, DC) in a park in Portland, Oregon. This Wall lists the name of all Oregon servicemen and women who gave their lives in the Vietnam Conflict.

For over a decade, it was my habit to go to The Wall on the 11th hour (pm ... the dark of night) with a six-pack of cans of Budweiser Beer and a hard-pack of Marlboro Cigarettes, and a new book of matches.

I would 'infiltrate' the park area of The Wall, open the package of cigarettes and light and smoke one cigarette. Then I would open, and drink, one can of beer.

This was my way of 'sharing' with my past comrades a drink and a smoke.

I would then leave the (closed) pack of cigarettes, with matches, and the five remaining cans of beer, in memorial to my comrades. And I would then go home.

I assume that the remaining beer and cigarettes would be picked up by park employees the next day. They would either join me in imbibing, or throw everything away. (If I was park Maintenance Staff, I would throw it all away ... who knows where that stuff came from? I'm not talking!) I hoped that they would understand.

In recent years, I have not chosen this way to recognize the sacrifices of my fallen brothers. It seems too dramatic. Or it's disrespecting of the people who have to pick up after me.

Or it's too much trouble.

I probably don't do this any more because after thirty plus years, I've become too detached from the experience to feel the immediacy I felt before.

I'm reminded of the final scene of "Saving Private Ryan", where the Senior Citizen / Private James Francis Ryan comes to the military cemetery (in France?) and wails that he has spent his entire life in an attempt to "Earn This" ... the sacrifice of his fellow soldiers to save his life.

I do not wish to become a Private Ryan. I do not wish to 'earn' the sacrifice of my fellow soldiers. I saw them die in 1969, and never hope to be the REASON why I lived, while they died.

The point of a MOVIE is that your fellow soldiers gave their lives that you ('We', "I") might live.

And while it is true that men in combat most often risk/sacrifice their lives for their brothers, I can only hope that this "Band of Brothers" sacrifice themselves for a higher purpose than my personal survival.

I have seen men ... American Soldiers ... die in combat.

If I thought for one moment that they gave their lives for me, I would .... well, perhaps not be "unable" but certainly "not accept" that I was the reason for their gift of life.

Who could live with that burden?

And so I have put aside the burden of the sacrifice of my Brothers assuming that they have accepted the Ultimate Sacrifice for perhaps the meanest of reasons:

We were there. And it seemed to be The Thing To Do. We were young.

Had I been the one to die, I would never have wanted to put a 'guilt trip' on the men I/we fought and lived with and died before.

I hope I would have been so brave. I'm not sure. But I have too much with the men I knew in Vietnam to think otherwise.

Or perhaps I'm just getting too old to feel the pain ...